Exploring the Rich Culture and Breathtaking Scenery of Sumba Island, Indonesia

Sumba island in Indoensia

Rooted deeply in tradition, Sumba in Indonesia is famous for surfing, pristine beaches and a natural landscape that will blow anyone’s breath away, no matter the time of year. Delve into the rich culture and astonishing heritage of this unique island.

Sumba island

From the moment of arrival, you are surrounded by beauty and cultural immersion, including the islands’ love for horses and horseback riding. This was embodied through the beautiful sandalwood pony, a small breed of horse named after its coat that pairs perfectly with the island’s countless sandalwood trees. Considered one of the finest breeds of horses in Indonesia due to its mix with Arabian blood, these horses are an essential part of the Sumban tradition. 

Horses in Sumba island

The islands’ appreciation for horses only begins with the elegant sandalwood pony. Maintaining a long history of farming, Sumba marks the harvest each year with the annual Pasola Festival, a celebration that appeases the spirits through mock horse battles. Like jousting, this tournament features horse riders throwing wooden spears at each other while riding at full speed. The festival acts as a way to pray for a good harvest next year to ensure that the crops, animals and people remain in good health. 

Festival in Sumba island

Beyond their love for horses and festivals, the people of Sumba live a life powerfully embedded in the Earth’s natural resources. Ikat weaving, the most popular textile craft in Sumba, uses natural Ikat, dyes, and long-standing techniques to hand-weave traditional garments, festival clothing and accessories.

Weaving a single fabric, especially those with more intricate designs, can take up to a year, showcasing the delicacy, meticulousness and care incorporated into each piece. These pieces were, therefore, more traditionally worn by noblepersons and their horses, but have since become a way for Sumban persons to honour their culture, especially during the Pasola Festival. 

Textile weaving in Sumba island

When the celebrations, horse riding and textile crafts are complete, and the sun is setting, the Sumban landscape turns into a more than picture-perfect place. Witness the dancing trees that line Walakiri Beach in East Sumba, creating a stretch of white sand and nature that dazzles the eye and infuses the soul with harmony. 

Nature in Sumba island

This is just the beginning of a cultural escape to Sumba, too. A journey to this getaway is one where rich customs, sandy plains and dense jungles fuel the soul with tranquillity, appreciation and an immersion unlike any other in the world.


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