From Bali to Sumba | Exploring the Untouched Beauty of East Tenggara Archipelago

From Bali to Sumba | Exploring the Untouched Beauty of East Tenggara Archipelago

From Bali to Sumba

Sumba remains a confidential destination. Tribal villages, hilly landscapes and dream beaches, this island of the Nusa Tenggara peninsula is very different from its volcanic neighbors. From Bali to Sumba only takes 1 hour 30 minutes by direct plane.

This island is located in southwest of Flores, the island of Sumba is part of the Nusa Tenggara archipelago, also called the Lesser Sunda Islands. Covering an area of 11 150 km² (4 305 miles²), twice the size of Bali, Sumba stretches almost 200 km (124 miles) in length from the arid areas of the East to the lush mountains of the West.

Explore the unique cultural and religious traditions of Sumba, Indonesia, a fascinating island destination just a short flight away from Bali.

Sumba is known for its unique culture, traditional architecture, and stunning natural beauty. The island is home to many beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and forests, making it a popular destination for tourists who want to experience Indonesia beyond Bali.

Please don’t get confused between SUMBA and SUMBAWA.

From Bali to Sumba by plane

From Bali (DPS) to Sumba (WGP airport) takes only 1h 40mn flight.

The main airport on Sumba Island is Tambolaka Airport, which has regular flights from Bali, Jakarta and other major cities in Indonesia. From Tambolaka, visitors can hire a taxi or rent a car to get around the island. There are also public buses and mini-buses that run between major towns and cities on the island.

The island has two airports

Tambolaka located in the North West and Waingapu in the East. Depending on the route you have chosen, we recommend that you land at one and leave at the other so that you do not have to retrace your steps.

Only two airlines fly to the island: Nam Air and Lion Air (previously Wings Air). Some Nam Air flights are direct from Jakarta but most often you will have to transit through Bali, Ende or Kupang.

Once there, the distances are relatively long. If you want to take advantage of all the richness of the island, the most appropriate option is to hire the services of a guide with driver.

Example flights from Bali to Sumba:

  • Direct flight: From Bali (DPS) to Sumba (WGP airport) takes only 1h 40mn flight.
  • Direct flight: From Bali (DPS) to Sumba (TMC Tambolaka airport) takes only 1h 25 mn.

Airlines from Bali to Sumba (TMC Tambolaka airport) WEST part of Sumba:

Airlines from Bali to Sumba (WGP Waingapu Airport) EAST part of Sumba:

Sumba Strait
Sumba Strait. edited by w:nl:hanhil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Sumba, between ancestral traditions and wild beaches

Sumba is a hidden gem that is well worth a visit. The island is known for its pristine beaches, rugged landscapes, and vibrant cultural traditions. If you’re looking for a destination that offers a mix of adventure and cultural immersion, Sumba is the perfect place to go.

It’s important to note that Sumba Island is a relatively remote destination, and visitors should be prepared for limited tourist facilities and infrastructure. However, this also means that the island has preserved much of its natural beauty and traditional way of life, making it a unique and authentic destination for adventurous travelers.

Visitors to Sumba can also explore the island’s rugged landscapes, which are dotted with rice fields, waterfalls, and traditional villages. For the adventurous traveler, there are opportunities for trekking, hiking, and even surfing.

1. Waikelo Sawah Waterfall (West Sumba)

The Waikelo Sawah Waterfall and its emerald green lagoon under a historic cave.

The Waikelo Sawah Waterfall, from which 1000 liters of water fall per second, was part of a government-run hydroelectric power station in 1976. Men then made it into a magnificent waterfall of turquoise water, which is elsewhere the largest in Sumba! The current is really strong, swimming is not appropriate but you will be amazed.

It is often mistaken as a waterfall, since its outlook and landscape portrays a waterfall, but it is actually controlled dams that functioning as irrigation system in Sumba. In Indonesian it’s called Bendungan Waikelo Sawah or Waikelo Sawah Dam.

The waterfall is located in the village of Praigoli, which is approximately 20 kilometers from the city of Waikabubak. The journey to the waterfall is an adventure in itself, with visitors having to navigate through rugged terrain and hike through dense forests to reach their destination. However, the journey is well worth it as the waterfall is a truly magical place.

Surrounded by lush greenery at the foot of the hill, this waterfall is also located under several magnificent caves. So you can see one of nature’s best designs: a lagoon under a cave, emerald green in color with a truly impressive sunken entrance.

Visitors can explore the area around the waterfall, including the rice fields and nearby villages. The local community is known for their weaving skills, and visitors can purchase beautiful, handwoven textiles as souvenirs of their visit.

How to get there: Waikelo Sawah is located in the village of Tema Tana Village. To get there, you will need to take the main road from Tambolaka airport to Waikabubak town center. It is about 12 km from the capital Tambolaka and it takes about 40 minutes by car to get there. You can also opt for an ojek (motorcycle taxi) from Tambolaka.

2. Weekuri Lagoon

In this heavenly lake, the clear blue water turns to gold at sunset, a magical moment not to be missed! Separated by cliffs, this shallow lagoon is just 20 meters from the sea with a sandy bottom and cool waters that are perfect for swimming.

Weekuri Lagoon
Weekuri Lagoon, Sumba. Bimantara.prawoto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Come in the morning when you can see sunlight streaming through the water to the bottom of the lake, and put on your snorkelling gear to see the beautiful fish.

How to get there: Weekuri Lagon is located north of Kodi, west of Sumba and the journey takes about 2 hours from Tambolaka.

4. Mondorak beach

Mondorak Beach is a picturesque beach located on the western coast of Sumba Island, Indonesia. It is known for its pristine white sand, turquoise waters, and stunning rock formations that provide a unique backdrop for beachgoers.

Mondorak Beach is located in the Wanokaka district, around 30 kilometers from Waikabubak, the capital city of West Sumba Regency. The beach is accessible by car or motorbike, and the journey takes around 1-2 hours depending on traffic and road conditions.

Pantai Mandorak, Sumba Barat Daya
Mondorak beach, West Sumba. This beach has a characteristic with the cliffs that surround it. Zahrasrtn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors to Mondorak Beach can enjoy a range of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The beach is also popular among photographers, as the unique rock formations and stunning sunset views make for some incredible photo opportunities.

While there are no facilities on the beach itself, there are a few small warungs (local eateries) nearby where you can buy food and drinks. It’s recommended to bring your own snacks and water as well, as the options on the beach may be limited.

5. Visit traditional villages

Sumba Island is home to many traditional villages, each with their own unique architecture, customs, and traditions. One of the most popular villages to visit is the village of Praijing, which is known for its towering megalithic stone tombs.


Praijing is a traditional village located on Sumba Island, near the town of Waikabubak in the West Sumba Regency. The village is known for its unique architecture, which includes towering megalithic stone tombs that are over 1,000 years old. These tombs are constructed using large stone slabs and are believed to be the final resting place of the village’s ancestors.

In addition to its megalithic tombs, Praijing is also known for its traditional houses, which are made of wood and thatch and are adorned with intricate carvings and decorations.

The houses are built around a central courtyard. They are designed to accommodate multiple generations of a family.

Kampung Praijing
Praijing village is a traditional village located on a hill. This village is a tourist attraction for the West Sumba region. Fakhri Anindita, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors to Praijing can take a guided tour of the village and learn about its history, culture, and traditions. You can also see traditional weaving and other crafts being made by local artisans, and purchase handmade textiles, carvings, and other souvenirs.

Praijing is just one of many traditional villages on Sumba Island, each with its own unique features and attractions. If you’re interested in learning about Sumbanese culture and history, visiting these villages is a great way to immerse yourself in the local way of life.


As Bondokodi is a village located in West Sumba Regency, there may not be specific tourist attractions or activities in the immediate area.

Houses bondokodi sumba
Traditional houses in the Bondokodi area. Wybe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Google map

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6. Nihiwatu Beach

This remote beach is known for its stunning scenery. with clear blue water and soft sand. It’s also a popular spot for surfing and other water sports.

Nihiwatu Beach is a stunning and secluded stretch of coastline located on the island of Sumba, Indonesia. Known for its crystal-clear waters, pristine white sand, and epic surf breaks, Nihiwatu Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Sumba.

Getting to Nihiwatu Beach can be a bit of a challenge, as the beach is located in a remote part of the island. The easiest way to get there is by flying into Tambolaka Airport on the west side of the island and then taking a taxi or private car to the beach. The journey takes around 2-3 hours depending on traffic and road conditions.

7. Bwanna Beach

Another beautiful beach on Sumba Island, Bwanna (Mbawana in Indonesian) is known for its crystal-clear water and spectacular views of nearby islands.

Imagine yourself alone, far from the tourists, on a secret white sand beach with a high arch-shaped cliff in the background… Well, all that exists at Bawana Beach On the beach, you won’t be able to miss its iconic arch – a large hole in a rock that stands firmly on the shore, formed by the crashing of the waves.

Mbawana Beach, Sumba, Indonesia. AgungSetiawanSamuelPutra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From a distance, the view of Bawana Beach will remind you of the green cliffs of Ireland. You’ll see miles of unspoiled beach with rolling waves rolling along the majestic cliff.

Pantai Mbawana, Sumba Barat Daya
Mbawana Beach (Bwanna Beach) or Batu Bolong Beach is located in Kec. Kodi, Southwest Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The view from the top of the beach can be seen from Tanjung Mareha. Zahrasrtn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get there?

Bawana Beach (or Mbawana beach) is located in Kodi, and the best way to get there is by car or scooter/motorbike. The journey takes about 1 hour from Tambolaka airport.

Mbawana Beach is located on the southern coast of Sumba Island, about 1.5 hours drive from the town of Waikabubak. The road leading to the beach can be quite rough, so it’s recommended to hire a 4WD vehicle or a motorbike with good suspension.

8. Pasola Festival

This traditional festival is held in various parts of Sumba Island, and involves a thrilling game of horseback jousting. It’s a colorful and exciting cultural experience that’s not to be missed.

The festival takes place annually in February or March, depending on the lunar calendar, and is known for its colorful displays of horseback spear-fighting.

During Pasola, two teams of riders, each consisting of dozens of men, charge at each other on horseback while throwing wooden spears. The aim of the festival is not to injure or harm the opposing team, but rather to demonstrate skill and bravery. The festival is steeped in tradition and is believed to have been held for centuries as a way to appease the spirits and ensure a bountiful harvest.

In addition to the spear-fighting, Pasola is also marked by traditional ceremonies, dancing, and singing. The festival is a major cultural event for the Sumbanese people and attracts visitors from around the world.

Pasola is celebrated in various locations across Sumba, including Lamboya, Wanokaka, and Kodi. If you’re planning to attend the festival, it’s recommended to check the exact dates and locations with local tourism offices or travel agencies in advance, as they may vary from year to year.

Pasola is a mounted spear-fighting competition from western Sumba, Indonesia. It is played by throwing wooden spears at the opponent while riding a horse to celebrate the rice-planting season. RaiyaniM, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

9. EAST Sumba

You better fly from Bali to Sumba WGP Waingapu Airport.

East Sumba is a district located in the eastern part of Sumba Island, which is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia.

The district is known for its stunning natural beauty, including picturesque beaches, lush jungles, and rolling hills. It’s also famous for its traditional culture, which is still very much alive and celebrated by the local people.

Visitors to East Sumba can experience traditional dances, crafts, and ceremonies, as well as explore the unique architecture and art of the region.

There are plenty of things to do on Sumba Island, which is known for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique attractions. Here are some suggestions:

Waimarang Waterfall

Waimarang Waterfall is a stunning natural wonder located in the western part of Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia.

This waterfall is located in the middle of a dense forest, and is surrounded by beautiful rock formations. It’s a great place for hiking and taking a dip in the refreshing water.

Surga tersembunyi di Waimarang, Sumba
Hidden paradise in Waimarang, Sumba. This very beautiful waterfall is located in the Waimarang area, East Sumba. To reach it, it only takes about 20 minutes of trekking from the available parking lot. Jordan siva, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Waimarang Waterfall is a beautiful and secluded waterfall with several cascades and a pool at the bottom where visitors can swim. The water is cool and refreshing, making it a great place to cool off on a hot day. The area around the waterfall is surrounded by lush jungle, providing a stunning backdrop for photos. There are also several small stalls selling snacks and drinks nearby.

How to get there

You better fly from Bali to Sumba WGP Waingapu Airport. (if you drive from Tambolaka Airport to Waimarang Waterfall, it takes about 5 hours drive)

Walakiri Beach

Walakiri Beach is a beautiful and popular destination located in East Sumba. This  is known for its stunning scenery, which includes long stretches of white sand, crystal-clear water, and lush greenery.

The beach is also surrounded by a mangrove forest, which provides a unique backdrop for photos and adds to the overall beauty of the area.

Walakiri Beach is located in East Sumba district, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. This place has white sand beaches and is a tourist photo spot. AgungSetiawanSamuelPutra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are several activities that visitors can enjoy at Walakiri Beach, including swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the mangrove forest. Visitors can also hire a local boat to take them on a tour of the mangrove forest and nearby islands.

One of the most popular times to visit Walakiri Beach is during sunset. The sunsets here are known for their vibrant colors and make for a great photo opportunity.

Pantai Walakiri, Sumba Timur, Nusa Tenggara Timur 20170610
Walakiri Beach is located in Watumbaka Village, Pandawai District, East Sumba Regency, East Nusa Tenggara. It is about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Waingapu City. Supomo Hanasti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While there are no accommodation options directly on Walakiri Beach, there are several options nearby in the town of Kalena Rongo, which is about 10 minutes away by car or motorbike.

Religion in Sumba

The majority of the population on the island of Sumba, practices a unique blend of animism and ancestor worship known as Marapu.

Marapu is the traditional belief system of the Sumbanese people, and it is still practiced alongside other religions such as Christianity and Islam.

Rumah adat Sumba (Uma Bbatangu)
Sumba traditional house or uma mbatangu, the peaked house refers to the vernacular traditional house of the Sumba tribe from the island of Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Sumba traditional houses have a high peak on the roof and a strong connection with the spirits or Marapu. RaiyaniM, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Marapu is a complex system of beliefs and practices that centers around the veneration of ancestral spirits and the natural world. It involves rituals and ceremonies that are believed to help maintain the balance between the physical and spiritual realms. This is to ensure the well-being of both the living and the dead.


Christianity was introduced to Sumba by Dutch and Portuguese missionaries in the 19th century. It has since become one of the major religions on the island.

The majority of Christians in Sumba belong to the Protestant Church of Sumba (Gereja Protestan Sumba), which has its roots in the Dutch Reformed Church.


Islam is also practiced in Sumba, particularly in the eastern part of the island. The Muslim community in Sumba is primarily made up of migrants from other parts of Indonesia.

Despite the presence of these other religions, Marapu remains an important part of Sumbanese culture and identity. Until now many people continue to practice it alongside Christianity and Islam.

Photo credit (main picture): Zahrasrtn (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: Waikuri lagoon, West Sumba, Indonesia.

Idea to hire a private boat and go to Komodo island from Sumba

The Komodo archipelago is located in east part of Bali, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. It is home to the prehistoric Komodo dragon. You can hire a private boat and leave in the direction of Komodo. For example:  Lombok > Sumbawa > Sumba > Moyo Islands to the famous Komodo Islands, a combination of surf – dive and explore!

From Bali to Komodo | Complete guide to visit the Komodo Islands in Flores, Indonesia

Journey into West Sumba: Waterfalls, Ancient Villages, and Untamed Adventures

Embark on a captivating exploration of West Sumba, where enchanting waterfalls, time-honored villages, and untamed adventures await, promising a journey unlike any other.

West Sumba: Exploring Lapopu Waterfall and Beyond in a Full Day

Discover the enchanting allure of West Sumba on a captivating full-day highlights tour. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region as you visit the stunning Lapopu Waterfall, where cascading waters create a serene oasis. This tour invites you to delve into the heart of West Sumba’s landscape, offering a taste of its hidden treasures and picturesque landscapes.

West Sumba Island: Embarking on a 4-Day Wild Trip from Bali

Embark on a thrilling 4-day adventure that takes you from Bali to the untamed beauty of West Sumba Island. This wild journey immerses you in the heart of Sumbanese culture, allowing you to witness age-old traditions and experience the island’s untouched landscapes. From traditional villages to breathtaking vistas, this trip offers an unforgettable encounter with the raw and wild side of West Sumba.

West Sumba: Exploring Ancient Villages and Cultural Highlights

Uncover the rich tapestry of West Sumba’s cultural heritage on a highlights tour that delves into the ancient villages of the region. Immerse yourself in the traditions and way of life of the Sumbanese people as you visit these time-honored settlements. From unique architectural wonders to the warmth of the local communities, this tour offers a deep and authentic connection to West Sumba’s past and present.

Things To Do in Bali and What to Visit, Where To Go While Vacationing in Bali? (Top Attractions)

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Carissa villa in seminyak
Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

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