I was in Bali a long time ago, that was a dream for me. When I got there 10 years ago, the blow hit me, I didn’t recognize it: instead of tropical idyll, overpopulation, mass tourism, rip-off, full beaches, blocked streets, malls and rubbish, pollution and prostitution.
Since then I’ve been an enthusiastic Sumba traveler. A lot in Sumba today is similar to what I remembered in my dream of Bali from back then.
But Sumba is different: the landscape is rather hilly – no volcanoes, sometimes extremely dry – not harmoniously green. The traditional festivals are not for the faint-hearted – not homely. But for me, perhaps due to their predominantly different religion, people seem to be more understandable.
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The conventional travel guides for individual travelers, travelers and backpackers hardly pay for Sumba more than one few pages. They provide little more than factual information about flight connections, hotel prices and mainstream sights. And these facts are usually out of date at the time of printing.
I thought I would need a guidebook in the form of a website to provide up-to-date information about Sumba, which gives visitors a comprehensive picture of this island. Something that helps to provide visitors with more information, to help steer negative developments like in Bali a little bit in a different, positive direction.
The general topics and background information should not be presented scientifically and completely, but only briefly. I only describe marginally, if at all, information about individual sports, such as diving, snorkeling, surfing, kite surfing, fishing, cycling and for bird watchers, speleologists and sailors. Further information can then be called up via the links provided.
There is also no clear map of Sumba. I have therefore created a sumba card that can be ordered in high resolution as a paper version
Tourist Map of Sumba or Peta Wisata Sumba
Sumba’s tourism future
According to official information, about 15,000 tourists come to Sumba annually (most of them from the domestic). Boosting tourism is a very important issue in local politics.
3 airlines currently offer daily flights to Sumba. The runway from Tambolaka Airport has been extended and the wooden shack from the airport has long been replaced by a real reception building. The extension of the runway at Waingapu Airport is planned, the airport building is already in the works. There are discussions about other airports in the Anakalang and Waijelu districts.
New roads are being built everywhere in Sumba. Rather, they do not connect the people in the villages, but above all they lead directly to the beaches and sights of the island. Fences are being built and hotels are being planned. Everywhere, locals offer land for sale. Flocks of investors are looking for land in Sumba. They do this not only on foot and in an off-road vehicle, but also fly over the area like vultures with drones and present their prey on the Internet. Almost all beautiful beaches are already in the hands of Balinese or Chinese, Russians and French, ….
Many Sumbanese who happily returned to their villages after a job in Bali today dream of the flourishing of tourism in Sumba. In many villages there are ideas to build huts or guest houses for tourists to get at least a small piece of the cake to be distributed.
The decreasing attractiveness of Bali due to too much tourists, noise, rip-off, traffic chaos and environmental problems means that many travelers want to discover Sumba as a new travel destination. Many surfers have surf- circus and kindergarten in Bali are looking for the original experience. And Sumba is little more than an hour’s flight from Bali.
Sumba – or rather not?
People’s lives in Sumba are more difficult than on other islands in Indonesia. The northern part of Sumba in particular is extremely dry. The ground is depleted by deforestation and erosion. Sumba is one of the poorest islands in Indonesia today. What is grown is usually not enough for your own diet. About half of the residents have no access to clean water. Malaria is common. There are hardly any doctors. Hardly more than a quarter of children have a qualified primary school qualification.
It may be that the state of Indonesia pays less attention to the areas in which the residents are largely non-Muslim.
If you can’t do without WiFi, your social network, daily comparison of private data and similar achievements of the western world, you should wait a little while before traveling to Sumba.
Tourists, travelers and backpackers are unstoppable – they will come. Sumba will not be able to remain a lonely planet. Tourism could provide a source of income for the people of Sumba.
There is a lot to discover in Sumba: a lot of culture, traditional way of life, cheerful and hospitable people, bizarre landscape, untouched nature and many beautiful beaches.
It is hoped that the bulk of the revenue from tourism will remain on the island and for those who need it. This website / guide is intended to contribute to this.
With this website I do not pursue any economic interests for myself. Selling the brochure and cards barely covers the operating costs. I use donations entirely for projects in Sumba.
Only with your help will this page be a real help for others. Therefore, please send me information, contributions, comments, updates and corrections to this website.
Again and again I am asked about private accommodation and competent tour guides. Please write to me if you live in Sumba and would like to accept tourists or work as an English speaking guide. In Indonesian: Silahkan menuliskan saya, jika Anda tinggal di Sumba dan ingin mengakomodasi wisatawan; mungkin Anda ingin menjadi Guide yang berbicara bahasa inggris.
Last update: June 19, 2019
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