WELCOME TO WEST SUMBA
The land of the spirits
West Sumba is one part of East Nusa Tenggara province which location is only one hour flight to the east of Bali. The remnant of megalith era can still be seen in this land, and the primitive culture afterward that still put into practice by its followers make West Sumba one of the most culturally interesting place to visit in east Indonesia.
West Sumba and its people are very rich in cultural heritage from the ancient time includes gigantic megalith tom stones, traditional thatched peak house raised on still, ancient ritual worship based on an animistic faith called Marapu and such variety of cultural attractions.
West Sumba is also blessed with lots of fantastic panorama like hills and valleys, waterfalls, gorgeous deserted white sand beaches and tropical forest with rare kind of birds that can only be found in Sumba.West Sumba regency consist of 6 districts i.g. Kota Waikabubak, Lamboya, West Lamboya, and Tana Righu.
Currently, the population of West Sumba is more than 100,000 people. The majority of people there are Protestand and catholic that were introduced by the Dutch missionaries centuries ago. Some of them are Muslims and the rest are Hindus and Buddhists. But that does not mean the indigenous people of Sumba have left the belief inherited from their ancestors. Approximately 39% of them are still listed as adherents of Marpu, Sumba traditional belief which is based on the worship of ancestor spirits who are believed to act as an intermediary or connecting them with the Almighty. Basically the whole substance of Sumba culture is rooted in this belief that the core of the teaching is to maintain a harmonious relationship between humans, ancestral spirit and the universe.
Getting To Sumba
There are two main alternatives to choose to reach West Sumba regency: sea route by passenger board or ferry from Waikelo port in Southwest Sumba and Waingapu port in East Sumba, or air route by plane from Tambolaka Airport in Southwest Sumba regency or Umbu Mehang Kunda Airport in East Sumba.
Garuda Indonesia has direct flight between Sumba / Tambolaka and Denpasar every day
Nam Air Has Direct Flight From Bali to Sumba Daily
Wing Air / Lion air flies between Bali and Sumba Daily. The Companies code share, so you may purchase a Lion air ticket and find your self on Wings Air flight!
Sape (Bima) – Waikelo – Sape.
Every Tuesday and Saturday
Tanjung Perak – Benoa – Waingapu – Ende – Sabu – Kupang.
Every Wednesday / twice a week
Pasola the only war attraction in the word
Posala is the most spectacular ritual in West Sumba. Pasola derived from the word sola or hola, which means a javelin. In the context of ritual, Pasola is the name of a war game tournament played by two groups of selected Sumbanese men. They are riding their decorated selected horses fling wooden spears at each other. The government allows the ritual game to take place, but the spears must be blunt. According to local belief, is an accident occurred, it means the soul of the victim has not been purified or he has violated the rules or customs. Blood spilled on the ground is regarded as an offering to the god of earth so that the land becomes fertile and protected from pests.
Pasola is held once year at the beginning of the growing season, precisely in February in Lamboya district and in March in Wanokaka District and West Lamboya / Gaura. The exact date of Pasola celebration is determined by the Rato (Marapu Spiritual Leader) based on the calculation of the light and dark moon , as well as the sign of nature.
Pasola celebration, especially in Wanokaka, is always preceded by a ritual of calling Nyale, a type of sea worm that appears only once a year. According to legend, Nyale was the name of the king of the Moon’s daughter who felt sorry for the misery of the earth so that she was willing to sacrifice herself in order to guarantee prosperity for them. Once a year, the princess transformed into a sea worm and comes to the beach to give fertility to the soil. Until now, many natives of Sumba believe that large number of Nyale appearing during the ceremony is a sign of the abundant harvest. The attraction of Pasola itself is rooted from the legend of love triangle, which almost caused a war.
LAMBOYA & WEST LAMBOYA DISTRICT
This beach is located in the village of Gaura, West Lamboya district, about 45km south Waikbaubak. Because the location is quite far and unavailability of adequate access road and transportation, the beach is rarely visited by people. However, its real beauty is undeniable. White sand and crystal clear water become the main attraction of this beach. Its underwater life is also very beautiful and suitable for those who love diving. the best time to visit the beach is in March during Gaura Pasola when transportation can easily be obtained.
The Village of Malisu
Malisu village is situated on top of small hill which is quite steep with a view overlooking the sea. Although its located about 40 km from Waikabubak, this village is quite easily accessed because its not so far from the main road connecting the capital city with Malisu village in West Laboya district, where the village is located. Malisu could be categorized as a historical site, because this is where Benaka Hurka, a local hero who was born in 1911. He led the people fought against the Dutch colonial. In this village there is olso an old anchor, which is by local residents has been considered a sacred item. according to the story spread, as well as based on several research documents, the anchor is said to be derived from a British ship which sank in the waters of Lamboya in 1838.
Marosi is located in Lamboya district, about 32 km from Waikabubak. It can be said that this beach is one of the prettiest beaches in West Sumba. A large atoll divides the beach into two parts and both are charming. The water is crystal clear, and almost all the people who’ve been to the beach were impressed by the soft sand that seems to swallow your feet once you walk on it. Marosi also has the diversity of marine life that has not been exposed or studied. The beach is easily accessible so that on holiday season the beach is crowded by domestic tourists.
Hobba Kalla is a custome area. It is a 2 ha-open field that is used as the venue for Pasola by the people of Lamboya. While on the days other than the period of Pasola, the field is used as a buffalo grazing field. Hobba Kalla is located right on the edge of men road that connects Waikabubak with villages in the south, 2 km before Marosi. The view from this place is complete: the sea, rivers, valleys and hills that lies beautifully.
Because it is located on top a high hill, a lot of people consider Sodan as the highest village in Sumba. Sodan is one of the oldest and most traditional villages in Lamboya district. As in Malisu, Sodan villagers also fought against the Dutch in 1914 under the leadership of Tadu Muli. Until now the ratos of Sodan still have central role in the ceremony of Pasola and are responsible for the existence of a number of items including the sacred tambourine called Ubbu Yane Radang. According to legend, the skin of tambourine was made from human skin, the victims of wars that happened centuries ago.
BIJALUNGU HIU PAANA
New year procession of Wanokakans
Bijalungu Hiu Paana that is centered in the village of Wei Galli, Wanokaka District (22km from Waikabubak) is a traditional ritual welcoming the new season. Bijal means putting while Hiupaana is the name of small forest. The name is related to the peak of the ritual, which is held by placing offerings in the forest, precisely in a small sacred cave. On the night before the ceremony, many sacred objects are taken out for cleansing. The villagers are lining up for the blessing from the Rato and then taking turns to dance all night.
Because it is a ceremony welcoming the new season, it has many rituals related to prediction, including the ritual of slaughtering chickens by Rato (priest) Marapu in which the condition of chicken intestine indicates whether the incoming harvest is good or bad. There is also a ritual of watching Wulla Manu Manu Laddu, a philosopher’s stone which according to legend is a gift of heaven to earth man who married his daughter. If the position of the stone in the cave in the woods Hiupaana is perfectly attached, then the harvest will be plentiful, otherwise it will likely come in a variety of disease.
Interested in fortune telling you can participate in the ritual of Kabena Kebbo (throwing the buffalo). In this ritual, a young buffalo was chosen specifically as animal offering and will be driven into the ceremony area. At the same time, everyone is welcome to throw the buffalo with betel nuts that have been distributed. If someone could hit the buffalo’s forehead, it is believed that person will get big profit. Hitting the neck is also a good sign, while stomach and feet are believed to be not-so-good parts and much more.
La Popu Waterfall
La Popu Waterfall is located in the Manupeu Tanadaru National Park, precisely in the village of Katiku Loku, Wanokaka District. This waterfall situated on the 70m high cliff, and many visitors said that it looks like a ladder of angels. Currently there is no public transport to La Popu and the access road’s condition is not too good. Thus, special preparation is required before visiting the waterfall. However, this is certainly not a problem for a real adventurer. Many aspects can be enjoyed along the way, such as a stretch of mountains, the fields of villagers and sub-tropical forest shade with a number of endemic species.
The Village of Wei Galli
Wai Galli Hamlet is located in the village of Tara Manu, Wanokaka District, about 12 km far from Wakabubak. Wei Galli is one of the main custome villages responsible for the implementation of Pasola, Bijalungu Hiupaana and Purung Lahi Madodu. A number opf interesting megalithics are located in this village. Some of them even considered sacred and have megical powers. According to local legend, the village was built by Ubu Palabang, one the ancestors who first set foot on the land Sumba.
The Village of Ubu Bewi
As Wei Galli, Ubu Bewi is located in the village of Tara Manu, about 13 km from Waikabubak. Ubu Bewi also has its own responsibilities in the implementation of traditional rituals, such as determining the date of the fall of Pasola as shown in the picture, where the Rato are waiting for the emergence of the moon that is considered as a sign.
This gravestone can be said as one of the Wanokaka district’s mascot. It is located in the village of Prai Goli, 20 km from Waikabubak. No one knows for sure when this megalithic established. It was probably around the time when the Portuguese attacked, because according to local stories, unlike order gravestone, Lakara Kajiwa was built not as human grave but to hide a variety of heirlooms when Portuguese invaded centuries ago.
Lai Liang Beach
From Waikabubak, this beach can be reached in two ways, namely via Wanokaka district (42km) or via Loli district (30km). although the coast is not too long because both sides flanked by cliffs, but Liang Lai’s beauty is unquestionable. The cliff, which is combined with white sand and crystal clear waters make it looks so exotic.
Tei Tena Beach
The location of this beach is not far from Lai Liang, approximately 2km to the south. According to legend underlying Pasola ritual, on this beach, Ubu Dulla, the central figure, and his siblings stranded while returning from wandering. They managed to survive, but when he returned to his village a harsh reality awaited Ubu Dulla because his wife had left with another man. The pursuit of Ubu Dulla’s wife that finally led to the ritual of Pasola. Now the beach becomes the venue for traditional boxing game that is held in the middle of the night, two days before Pasola.
Nihiwatu is a place for a totally unique holiday experience, perfect for those wanting a remote and exclusive stay in one of the most stunning location on earth. Guests here have a chance to experience an adventurous holiday in a dramatic, unparalleled setting. The island of Sumba has an ancient culture, untouched by the modern world and a visit to the villages of megalithic tribes is fascinating.
With lush jungle on one side and the exclusive beach and Indian Ocean stretching out as far the eye can see on the other, the property encompassed 175 hectares of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands, while its stunning two and half kilometers of beach front are protected by headlands that ensure total exclusivity. With an idyllic setting that is pristine, romantic and endlessly peaceful Nihiwatu is the perfect tropical retreat for honeymooners, couples and families alike.
Enjoy the many water sports or lands activities, from diving, fishing and yoga to horse riding along the beach at moonlight. Nihiwatu boasts one of the top waves in Indonesia, if not the world and the professional surfers who have visited Nihiwatu over the years have attested to this. There have been several surf movies made here with the arraignment of the owner that the filmmakers and the photographers with not name the location. Nevertheless the word has leaked out and now there is a cult following of surfers who know about Nihiwatu. In some circles Nihiwatu has already acheaved legendary status.
The holy month of West Sumbanese
Wulla means moon and Poddu means bitter. It is called bitter because during this month all villagers should prohibit themselves from a number of things. Many rituals performed during Wulla Poddu which runs from mid-October to November each year. Some are aimed to beg for blessing and some are forms of gratitude. There is a ritual that tells about the origin of the ancestors as well as the birth of the firs human on earth. Wulla Poddo is also the time to hunt wild boar. The first wild boar caught is usually used as an indicator of crops. Male boar, for example, is considered a sign of a good harvest, but if the pig bites someone, it means there is going to be rat pest. In this month also the youths who have undergone circumcision process, and for several days will be exiled to the wild to live independently as sign of maturity. Wulla Poddu feast is always be homecoming event, just like Lebaran or Christmas.
1. Boga Dima: two young men who collect the sacred rice from house to house in the ritual of Dengi Wini (collecting rice) in the village of Tambera, Loli district, 9km north of Waikabubak
2. Dua Na Ka Mete: two male adults whose bodies are blackened as a symbol of the origin of Sumba people in the ritual of Kalango Lado in the village of Tambera.
3. Ritual Pogo Mawo or the planting of the guardian tree in the village of Tambera.
4. Ritual Oke Wee Maringi or taking the holy water.
LOLI DISTRICT WAIKABUBAK CITY
Waikabubak is the capital of West Sumba regency. It is a small town with a population of about 26,526 people located is a valley surrounded by hills. Even though it is the capital district, the fill of the life of the past is still felt in Waikabubak. Here we can find the stretch of rice fields as well as traditional villages built on a hilltop, many scattered on the outskirt and in the city. Waikabubak is unique city. On the one hand you could easily see the icons of modernity that shows the city stretching towards change, but on the other hand there are many city dwellers, especially indigenous people who in the traditional village in a traditional way. They live in thatched houses that also serve as a place of worship, make beautiful woven with old equipment that has been used since centuries ago, and remain faithful to adore Marapu, traditional religious heritage which has been preserved until now.
The village of Gollu & Bodo Maroto
The two villages are located close one to order. Gollu is on the foothill and Bodo Maroto is on its peak. Both villages play important role in the implementation of Wulla Poddu ritual. Several megalithic located in those villages in addition to having a practical function also has a magical-religious function, such as Watu Pawai in the village of Bodo Maroto. Apart from being used as a grave, it is also used to put the ashes from the kitchen that is a symbol of the expulsion of evil spirits during Toba Wanno (village Cleansing) ritual.
The market better known by the name of pasar Inpres Waikabubak is located on Ahmad Yani Street, adjacent to the city terminal. This market is the center of commerce in Waikabubak. All sorts of items are sold here, ranging from staples, vegetables to clothes and traditional woven fabric.
The village of Tarung & Waitabar
both villages are located in the city center, near the complex of Waikabubak Inpres market. There are two alternatives to reach it: through traditional market to Tarung and then to Waitabar, or via Manda Elu junction to Waitabar and then to Tarung. Their strategic location has made both villages the most visited villages by tourist. Although they are located in the center of modernity, bit the authenticity of the tradition and culture of the ancestors is still well maintained. There we can find houses with thatched roof build around open space where the ceremony takes place, megalithic tombs, Marapu temples, Adung a pole that was used to hang the enemies, all of them will make you fill back to the past.
The village of Prai Ijing
Prai Ijing is one of the traditional villages with beautiful scenery. The village is situated on top of small hill of tree levels. From the top-level or second, you can see the whole village that situated at the lowest level, and it is very charming indeed. The best time to visit the village in the morning when people start their activities or in the afternoon when they returned from the fields. Distance village is close to it, just 2km east of town.
The village of Lapale
Lapale is a small village, obout 3km outside the town of Waikabubak, on the main road leading to Wanakoka and Lamboya. From this village we can see stunning panorama of valley and hills that stretch far away until it meets the sea. The best time to visit this village is in the morning when the sun rise or in the dusk as the sun sets.
TANA RIGHU DISTRICT
The village of Ombarade
Ombarade is located in the village of Manu Kuku, Tana Righu District, about 25 km to the north of Waikabubak. The people of Omba Rade originally came from the village of Eka in Weijewa, who then migrate to find new settlement. Near the new settlement area was once lake inhabited by wild ducks so that a new village called Omba Rade, which means wild ducks. The village is saving some sacred objects used in certain rituals such as the ancient ceramics plates which are believd to ward off poison and usually used for serving food to the king or main Rato. There is also Kangali Atura, stone fence surrounding the Natara Poddu (sacred Courtyard). These stone are considered to be sacred and if one of them falls, it is a sign that one of the relatives in one tribe who died.
The beauty of Bina Natu
This beach is located in the village of Loko Ri, a small fishing village on the north coast of West Sumba. Like most beaches in West Sumba, Loko Ri also has white sand with unique view. Currently, a new port is being built in the area of Bina Natu beach. This port later would provide a new alternative to reach Sumba.
ART & CRAFT
In general, the art and craft of West Sumba include dance, music and literature as well as traditional handicrafts such as wicker, carvings, sculptures and especially the traditional weaving. West Sumba woven fabric made with techniques and equipment that are still very simple. Motifs are generally small and have a magical-religious meaning such as a sign of condolence and respect, as well as a reply belis (dowry) given by the family of the woman to the man.
West Sumba literary arts are related to traditional poems recited by the Rato during the customs ceremonies. While a variety of sculpture and carving are usually associated with decorative patterns found in gravestone and traditional houses, as well as complementary fashion accessory. Other crafts such as wicker and rattan from pandan leaves are woven into a variety of shapes and carvings.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation in West Sumba is still concentrated in Waikabubak, generally in the form of a simple hotel that is relatively cheap but with satisfying service.
Infrastructure: nearly all of the attractions in West Sumba, especially those located outside the city of Waikabubak do not provide adequate and infrastructures. Hotel and restaurant can only be found in Waikabubak so you need to schedule your trip well and equip yourself with as much information as possible. Each time you visit the tourist attraction outside the city do not forget to bring enough food and drink.
Transportation: the most convenient transport to get to the attractions that are spread in West Sumba is by a personal or rented vehicle. Indeed, there is public transportation routes serving the entire district but may not reach the remote location of the object that you might want to visit.
Telecommunications: currently there are only two telecom operators operating in West Sumba, namely Telkomsel and Indosat, so if using a mobile phone or modem, make sure the card used is from the two operators.
Security: If you travel to remote areas, you should be accompanied by a friend or guide. Leave valuables in the hotel room or the front desk.
Etiquette: When visiting a traditional village you may be offered a piece of betel and areca nut, do not resist because it is an expression of welcome from people of Sumba. If you do not like it you do not have to eat it, keep it in your purse on pocket. Greet the people in friendly manner or meet with elders to inform your arrival. There is no formal entrance fee, but some villages may have some sort of guest book and visitors are expected to give donation.
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