Ratenggaro is probably the most photographed place in Sumba. And the most touristy one (for the Sumbanese standards). As you can see the in the photos below, there are some good reasons for that. The combination of the picturesque thatched roofs, white sand beaches, megalithic tombs and smiling kids riding horses is a (surprise, surprise!) appealing mixture that no other place can beat.
Even if you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll find Sumba a total blast of a journey. The mixture of the exoticism and beautiful landscapes will stay with you for a long time, also on those 3 000 000 pictures you’ll take ( the first-hand experience, took us months to organize them).
To learn more about the places in Sumba we liked the most, click on a specific picture or a link.
And if you want to know how to see all these places in three days, see our detailed itinerary here: How to plan a trip to Sumba, Indonesia.
Waikabubak is the second largest city on the island of Sumba, after Waingapu. Actually, it’s more of a town than a city, but grows enormously, like New York City big, when you walk around on hot days (it’s true, checked firsthand!). The main attraction of Waikabubak is a twin village called Tarung and Waitabar, located on a central hill. In fact, they are two villages, but they look like one big collective from some fantasy movie set, ready for a Hollywood crew to start shooting. Tarung and Waitabar are also a place where Wulla Poddu (the Holy Month) celebration is held. The residents like it grandiose, so you might want to consider coming here if you visit Sumba in September.
Waikabubak is also a good starting point for Pasunga and Gallubakul.
For many a place of choice to stay in Sumba. In fact, it is a very convenient starting point for trips to several locations in Western Sumba. Plus there are brand new rooms waiting for the visitors near the Museum Sumba Barat, attached to the Catholic parish. It’s an excellent museum to visit on its own, with an impressive collection of the anthropomorphic statues collected by father Robert Ramone, a great enthusiast of the Sumbanese inheritance. In the museum, you can also buy his book about the Sumbanese culture called Sumba, Forgotten Island.
The road to the village leads through a big court surrounded by the stone graves. The court is a place where the residents of Wainyapu celebrate the Pasola festival, and judging by the size of it – the celebration must be grand. If we ever came to Sumba to see Pasola, I think we would seriously consider watching it in Wainyapu. Especially that the village has so more to offer, including the beautiful scenery (with the surrounding cashew nuts groves, beaches and cliffs) and the proximity to our favorite Ratenggaro.
Pero is located in a picturesque bay, where the traditional Sumbanese boats find a haven from the huge waves crashing on the shore barely a dozen meters away. One side of the bay is a coral cliff, where a lighthouse keeps a guard, the other is a sandy beach with crystal clear water, perfect for swimming (so bring a swimming suit).
Praidi was a complete mystery to us. It wasn’t even on our list of places to visit in Sumba, and it was suggested to us by the driver, who saw Chris’s fascination with the megalithic stones. Located on a hill, it required some driver’s skills to get to. Before the final steepness, we saw the circle of the stones (it’s the only place in Sumba we saw a true stone circle). No one in the village spoke English, so till now we don’t know whether it was megalithic or no and what it represented.
The village itself was very picturesque, albeit a bit empty.
Paranobaroro is a very loud and vivid village with lots of things going on. Fantastic spot for photographers who prefer taking photos of people rather than places. Just keep in mind your presence will be announced by the loud hordes of kids following you everywhere. And you’ll be asked for the small donations by everyone, regardless the sum you’d left with the guest book keeper.
Pasunga and Gallubakul are two neighboring villages east of Waikabubak, where you’ll find the most famous, ornamental graves in Sumba. As impressive as they are, in our opinion, they are worth the fuss if you stay in Waikabubak, but not necessarily if you limit your trip to the west coast.
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