Tambolaka - Waikabubak (Tarung and Waitabai villages) - Pasunga - Gallubakul - Praidi - Wainyapu - Ratenggaro - Paranobaroro - Pero - Waitabula - Tambolaka
The following itinerary is a part of our bigger trip to Indonesia (“How to see Bali, Flores, Komodo, Rinca, Sumba and Java in 25 days”, soon to be published on whattoseenext.com).
Our time in Sumba was extremely limited, that’s why we decided to visit only the most interesting western part of the island.
At the airport, after arrival, we found a driver who agreed to take us to Waikabubak for a sum we were able to pay (if you find the transport in Flores unduly pricey, wait till you go to Sumba).
The trip takes around 45 minutes – 1 hour, depending on the location of your hotel in Waikabubak.
Our note: When it comes to hotels in Waikabubak, try to find something close to the Prai Klembung, Tarung and Waitabar villages (all three located in the same quarter of the town). They are the main attraction of the town. Waikabubak seems a small place on a map, but it grows enormously when you have to walk around in 40-degree heat.
We decided to start with Tarung and Waitabar. They are two villages, but they look like one, separated by a border known only to their residents. Situated on a hill, they look spectacular. Before the climb, near the main road, you’ll encounter a couple of very interesting graves decorated with animal motives.
We planned to stay in Tarung and Waitabar only a couple of hours, but accidentally we came during Wulla Poddu (the Holy Month) festival and got hooked up till the late dusk. We didn’t know that but Wulla Poddu is the second important (after Pasola) celebration in Sumba, so if you come here in late October / early November, you’ll have a chance to witness it. That is, if you have the stomach for animal slaughter, as no celebration in Indonesia would be successful without heaps of dead creatures.
We could probably have stayed in the village until morning, but we had duties to perform – a car with a driver for the next day wouldn’t magically appear on its own. We needed to find it.
We hoped to be approached by someone with a “commercial offer” on our way to the hotel, as often happens to us on our trips (our appearance doesn’t allow us to blend into the crowd in most places on Earth). Not this time, we weren’t.
Our last chance was a receptionist in the hotel, and he didn’t disappoint us. He found for us a car with a driver we desperately needed.
We visited the above places in this exact order.
Pasunga and Gallubakul. The Pasunga graves are probably the most frequently photographed objects on the island, but personally, I think I could live without seeing them (and the Gallubakal grave as well). Chris doesn’t agree with me.
Praidi is a hill village guarded at the bottom by the circle of the stone (megalithic ?) graves -
a unique feature we spotted only there.
Wainyapu is a traditional village in Sumba where the Pasola festival is celebrated in especially grand style (they even have a huge field where the game is played). The village has
an enormous number of monumental stone graves.
What you definitely can’t miss is Ratenggaro – it’s the essence of your trip to Sumba. The seaside location of this traditional village is simply stunning, and it will be one of those views you’ll remember till the end of your days.
Paranobaroro was the most lively village we visited, with lots of kids following us around and loudly cheering at our words.
Pero looks like a tiny little gulf, with the coral cliffs on the one side (good spot for photos) and a sandy beach on the other (perfect for swimming). If we had more time in Sumba, I think we’d choose to stay here (it’s close to the main road and there are several homestays in the village).
I can’t imagine anything more perfect than that.
Waitabula was a cherry on the cake for Chris – the excellent Museum Sumba Barat, attached to the Catholic parish, is located here. They have an amazing collection of the Sumbanese anthropomorphic statues. They also have rooms to rent (new ones!), so if you’re looking for accommodation in a convenient spot (close to everything worth seeing in West Sumba), you should consider Waitabula Catholic parish.
After late breakfast, we took a taxi to the airport and went back to Denpasar (Bali), our starting point for all the island-hopping trips in Indonesia.
in 3 days
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