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Overview

“Off the beaten path” describes Sumba, isolated in the Savu Sea south of Komodo and Flores. Traditional culture seekers will find what they’re looking for here. Once a rich resource of sandalwood and slaves, the island is environmentally and ethnically separated into two parts, the east being barren and rocky, and the west a luxuriant green during the rainy season. West Sumba is best known for its megalithic tombs and dramatic Pasola festival where tribesmen bearing spears charge each other on horseback in a ritual battle upon the sighting by holy men of a migratory sea worm. Spilled blood is believed to ensure a good harvest in the ...

“Off the beaten path” describes Sumba, isolated in the Savu Sea south of Komodo and Flores. Traditional culture seekers will find what they’re looking for here. Once a rich resource of sandalwood and slaves, the island is environmentally and ethnically separated into two parts, the east being barren and rocky, and the west a luxuriant green during the rainy season. West Sumba is best known for its megalithic tombs and dramatic Pasola festival where tribesmen bearing spears charge each other on horseback in a ritual battle upon the sighting by holy men of a migratory sea worm. Spilled blood is believed to ensure a good harvest in the following planting season. In East Sumba, women weave fabulous textiles with bold, animistic designs and bright colors on backstrap looms as their mothers and grandmothers did before them. Some of the finest Sumba cloths are housed in museums in The Netherlands and are collected globally. With the exception of one resort, most accommodations are simple, but plans for more resorts are underway.

Linda Hoffman
About the Expert

Linda Hoffman is a contributing editor for five Periplus guides, including Bali (two editions), Papua, Java, Nusa Tenggara, and eight editions of Insight Guides Indonesia and the Indonesia section of their Southeast Asia guidebook.

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Linda Hoffman for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Translated as "Southeast Islands," Nusa Tenggara is in the eastern region of Indonesia
  • Language: Indonesian
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    By air – any time; by sea – dry season (April-October)