There is nowhere else like it

Forgotten, lost, ignored. Perched near the bottom edge of the Indonesian archipelago, Sumba is the third island in the chain that stretches east of Bali and is just 700 kilometres from Australia. Sumba’s rich ancient culture and stunning landscapes will have you wondering why you’ve (till now!) never heard of it.

More on Sumba
Around Sumba

Sumba is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Sumba as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Sumba’s different areas.

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Wonky cigar-shaped Sumba is about twice as big as far more popular Bali but is home to only 15 percent of the population. Very, very few Western tourists make it here. Most of those who do are the cashed-up-crowd staying at Nihiwatu Resort or a seasonal handful of surfers.

Women at Pasola. : Sally Arnold.
Women at Pasola. Photo: Sally Arnold

Surfers have known for years that Sumba’s coastline is one of the most spectacular in Indonesia. Beaches feature silky white sand, blue ocean and often good waves and are guaranteed to convert even the most beach adverse. Coastal cliffs and limestone formations are dramatic. Of the 16 beaches we visited for research, we saw local tourists on only two and fishermen on three. The rest were empty. Snorkelling and diving is possible in a couple of areas, but the places we visited didn’t offer that much. Some beaches have crocodiles, so check with locals or it may be your last swim.

In the south, you will find tropical rainforest, including in two designated national parks, which boast an abundance of bird life including several endemic species. Very pretty waterfalls feature in the forest areas, and a few waterfalls near hydro power stations can be visited. Lakes are dotted along roads and tucked away in forests; some tidal lakes have sea connections, most notably the gobsmackingly stunning Weekuri ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 2,600 words.)

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