Sumba, Indonesia

Even within the rest of Indonesia, the mention of Sumba tends to elicit blank looks. A couple of hours’ flight southeast of Bali, the island is little known and little visited compared to its more well-trodden neighbours on the archipelago, attracting mainly hardcore surfers who’ve heard rumours of its legendary breaks. Beyond the pristine untouched beaches and rideable waves, however, Sumba is full of unexpected joys. Its richly spiritual tribal culture dates back millennia, still preserving its ancient religion and megalithic burial tradition. The island’s forests brim with birdlife and its seas swarm with tropical fish, making it the ideal destination for nature lovers and scuba-junkies, but it’s the unspoilt tranquillity, the stunning scenery and the escapist air of romance that makes Sumba such a perfect pocket of paradise.

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When to go

Although drier than many other areas of Indonesia, Sumba has a rainy season between January and March that is best avoided; April is the ideal time to visit.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    An hour’s flight east of Bali, Sumba has two airports – Tambolaka and Waingapu's Mau Hau airport – served by domestic flights from Denpasar, Jakarta and other Indonesian islands.
  • Automobiles

    The condition of the island’s roads can be unpredictable: leave driving to the professionals.
  • Taxis

    As Sumba is still a relatively undeveloped island, it has no formal taxi service; you should always arrange for a car service with the resort.



Underwater explorers will love Gayana Eco Resort's coral-dotted, marine-reserve dive centre (the treks into the Borneo jungle won't disappoint, either). Bali's Alila Manggis is splashing distance from seven of the globe's best dive sites and is edged by sublime snorkeling waters. Sumba, an hour's flight from Bali, is a hush-hush travellers' secret, and at Nihiwatu you'll sample the island's best: incredible ocean views, breeze-cooled outdoor living and world-class surf breaks in reach. A speedboat ride from Amanzoe, a marble-hewn hilltop haven in southern Greece, is the island of Dokos, whose diver-drawing coast lays claim to the world's oldest known shipwreck. 

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