Sumba is one of the remote island that located in the eastern of Indonesia. It lies in the East of Bali, 2 hours flight from Denpasar. The island is quite exotic to do the road trip overland, so I’m super excited to share our ultimate 7-day road trip itinerary in Sumba! There’s so many great locations, that it was hard to choose some over the other, but I think for the most part, we were able to experience everything we wanted on this trip to Sumba Island.
If you are doing this itinerary, I highly suggest getting a proper car/mini bus. We went trip with adventurefestival.id since it’s a recommended travel agent and offered many undiscovered destinations and experience that many people haven’t done in Sumba. This trip called Festival Jelajah Tanahumba held once a year. The trip was divided into 3 groups; Culture, Photography, and Adventure. Each group has a tour leader and its own itinerary based on the interest. The participants should choose one of the group that suit them best.
We also suggest getting a Telkomsel number, while Telkomsel is the only network available in Sumba Island (no connection in some areas). It might help you out in navigating. We used Telkomsel network as a GPS and it worked out great in some places! One more tips; If you’re going to have a money (cash), do as soon as you get the city. BNI, BRI & Bank NTT are the ATM available in Sumba Island (mostly in the city).
Day 1 – Southwest Sumba
We arrived at Tambolaka Airport (Southwest Sumba) at 11.00am. And went straight to Rumah Budaya Sumba at Waitabula City. As we arrived, we noticed the traditional museum of Sumba with its high-pitched central peak in its roof. The staff said every house in Sumba has strong connection with the spirits. After had a lunch, and welcome speech from the staff, they gave us a little bit tour over the museum of Sumba. The space within a Sumbanese house is divided into three: the upper space, the middle space, and the lower space. Each space has its own meaning, you can read about the philosophy of Sumba’s traditional house here.
We had some coffee break, did some museum tour, and went to Sumba Hospitality Foundation, a hotel school for Sumbanese children to give them the basic knowledge needed to pursue a career in the Hospitality Industry. This school also provide a traditional bamboo hotel and restaurant, served by their hospitality student. The students are supervised with professional tourism-hospitality teacher that give them a platform to share knowledge about the operational departments of hotels, namely Front office; Restaurant and Bar; Housekeeping and Kitchen to the students of each department respectively.
5 minutes away from Sumba Hospitality School, lies Mananga Aba Beach. We went there to enjoyed the sunset. The place was quiet and it seemed that there were only us in that beach, and there was not much to do in that beach, besides taking pictures as much as we could and waited for the sunset. The pristine water and the calm ambience were perfect for a relaxation after a long day.
Day 2 – Southwest Sumba
Day 3 – West Sumba
Waitabar Village held a yearly ceremony named Wulla Poddu. Wulla Poddu is the holy month of Sumbanese people. There are many rituals performed in Sumba during the Wulla Poddu between the months of October – November every year. We got the chance to watch the ceremony and we were amazed by its uniqueness and the ceremony was mesmerizing. The religion of the participants is not important for a ceremony, everybody is welcomed!
After had some lunch, each group has different itinerary. Adventure Group headed to Matayangu Waterfall, while Culture Group went to Lapopu Waterfall. Both are 70-100 feet tall waterfalls and is quite a sight to see. You can go behind the waterfalls and climb up top to get some different views. Make sure you’re wearing waterproof material because you will get wet the closer you get. If you have a nice camera, we would recommend you to bring protective gear. Photography Group stayed at the village to continued the photo hunting of the ceremony.
In the afternoon, all groups gathered at Savanna Mamboro. It’s a camp night. We stayed in the tent in the middle of Savanna with some of night attractions; amazing traditional Sumba live music and dance!
Day 4 – Central Sumba
Early in the morning, all groups joined photo hunting session at the savanna and beach with Sumba Horses. Surprisingly, few horses came up to us and wanted attention. We were so excited at how friendly they were! They also have the most gorgeous furry hair. I’m forever in love with Sumba horses. After had some breakfast, Adventure Group went to Tanggedu Waterfall, while Culture & Photography heading to Purukambera Beach.
All groups joined at Walakiri Beach for sunset. And stayed overnight at Pau Traditional Village.
Day 5 – East Sumba
This day was an ambitious travel day, as we planned to hit up 6 locations. At 4 am, we headed to the Watuparunu Beach for sunrise. We spent about 3 hours there and headed back to Pau Village to join other groups. We explored the village, to see the progress of tenun ikat Pahikung and the megalithic tombstone. After had lunch and checked out, we headed to the city Waingapu and stayed at the Hotel.
We were invited for farewell dinner in the regent house of East Sumba. We all wore traditional ikat Sumba, designed by Dian Oerip, who is now globetrotting to introduce Indonesia’s woven fabric to the world while supporting marginal communities who earn a living from traditional weaving. It was an amazing night, we were singing and dancing through the night with traditional sumbanese music!
Day 6 – Extended Day
The trip is over. But we decided to take one day more to explore this exotic island. We planned to go to Purukambera Beach and Tanarara Hills. On the way, we pulled over on the road to a couple of interesting locations that caught our attention. One was Purukambera Savanna. Never thought a Savanna could look so beautiful until I approached this!
Not sure what the second location is called, but you can’t miss this spot either. It’s near the Laindeha Hills. Along the way, you can see the greeny hills with full of beautiful layers. To get more of the stunning views, you have to drive a few more hours to the east, but we didn’t have the time, so we stopped and parked the car near Laindeha area to watched sunset. On the way down, we pulled over a couple of times to snap some pictures of more glorious hills.
We checked in to our hotel, ate some food, packed and went to bed early to wake up for our 10:30 flight.
“Our most cultural state is one of total certainty—which is the reason those of us who are most certain are those who are most out of touch with nature (i.e., reality).”
What a beautiful island Sumba is. This is still my favorite island to visit and I would go back again and again. There’s just so many spectacular landscapes, and cultures on this island that you feel like you’re on a different planet and all you want to do is explore more and more. On our next visit, I would really like to explore the East Sumba as we didn’t have enough time on this trip. Thank you Sumba for another great adventure!