First Timer Guide to Sumba


Sumba has been gaining a lot of popularity in the last couple of years. It’s just crazy, when we started there was practically no one coming there unless maybe on some long weekends. But now, it is much more busy and you can see photos of the destinations all over the instagram.

Well we can’t blame anyone for that, since this island is just so beautiful. And although it has been getting more popular, it is still considered an off beaten path destination, and proper information about this island is still kind of rare.

So, we assembled this article, to help you understand a little bit more about this beautiful island. The destinations, how to get there and everything you need to expect if you’re travelling to Sumba for the first time.


Well we know maybe some of you think that ‘LOCATION’ is too basic to be discussed but since it’s first timer guide and we know that not many of us know about where’s Sumba located, so here’s the info for you 

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Yes! it’s located in East Nusa Tenggara / Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) - Indonesia.

Many of us think that Sumba is near the Labuan Bajo. Well technically it is near cause it’s located right below the Labuan Bajo. But to get to Sumba from Labuan Bajo, you have to pass through the ocean. Even if you choose to take airplane, you still need to transit at Bali or Kupang airport (x mark on the map) before landed to the island.


If you’re looking for airplane to Sumba, there are only 3 airlines to Sumba. Garuda Indonesia, Wings air, and Nam Air. Since there is no direct flight, you can choose any airlines and transfer through Bali and Kupang. 

This flight took you around 60 minutes flight from Bali / Kupang to Sumba and it costs around 100 USD / IDR 1.500.000 for one way flight from Bali / Kupang.

The island is divided into 4 regions, Sumba Barat Daya, Sumba Barat, Sumba Tengah & Sumba Timur.

There are 2 airports on the island. 

  1. Tambolaka Airport in Sumba Barat Daya - Waikabubak.

  2. Waingapu Airport in Sumba Timur - Waingapu.


To enter Sumba - Indonesia, if you’re not an Indonesian then you will need a visa and it’s not hard to get it. Indonesia now provides special short visa free facilities for 169 countries. You can check the list here

This Tourist Visa Free Facilities are only valid for 30 days and it’s not extendable. However if somehow think the free visa is not enough, you can apply for visa on arrival (30 days) for US$35 and it’s extendable for another 30 days.

How convenient is that?


That’s covered basic info of what you need to know and how to get to Sumba, but once you there, the adventure is just begun.

Don’t get this wrong but you need to make sure where do you want to start and finish. And Which destinations you want to visit. Let us enlighten you.

We told you about the airport right? it’s located in Sumba Timur and Sumba Barat Daya, so it’s basically will start there, you have to choose your arrival between Sumba Timur and Sumba Barat Daya, because you don’t want to ask your driver to pick you up at Sumba Barat Daya from Sumba Timur, it’s 8 hour one-way trip using car.

So it’s better for you to decide which airport that you will be landed and from there you can start to arrange your itinerary and book place to stay.

OK! now you arrived at the sumba’s airport, then what else? let’s breakdown things like accommodation, transport, safety, best time, and destinations, so you know what to expect.


Well as a tourist you should rent a car with driver. There are some selections of cars in different prices that you can choose from. However, it is not quite professionally organised, so you need to get a contact of a driver or contact a travel agency to rent one. You can rent a motorbike in Sumba Timur. But it is not recommended in other regions. Let me explain in the next point.


Ok, so in general Sumba is a safe island. So many tourists been there, so it’s OK. However you should take care just like in any other places. But in Sumba it is especially true in Sumba Barat Daya. The people are in general really nice, but there have been reports of criminals. So it is not advisable to travel without local guide in Sumba Barat Daya. 

Sumba Timur is safe to travel alone. Some tourists and also ourselves have been renting motorbikes in Sumba Timur and driving all over the place before. So it is no problem. But if you can, Local guide is a very good option.

So what’s the conclusion? is it better to just visit Sumba Timur instead? NOPE! both Sumba Timur and Barat Daya offer different places and experiences and we fully recommend you to explore both. However, you need to stay safe and very careful before explore new places.


There aren’t too many of them on the island. But surely, it will change in the coming years. At the moment though, you either go with some local budget hotels or go to the very high end hotels. There’s nothing quite in the middle.

Here’s the summary of our hotels recommendation :

Sumba Barat Daya

  1. Sinar Tambolaka Hotel

  2. Ella Hotel

  3. Nihiwatu Beach Hotel

Sumba Timur

  1. Padadita Beach Hotel

  2. Tanto Hotel

  3. Sacca Residence & Resto

These recommendation is based on our experience from previous trip, although there are some hotels that also offer good decent amenities and facilities.


On to the main event! We always think that Sumba really offers lot of great destination and each destination offers different kind of experience and view. Although there are lot of destination that still need to discover, here are some the best and must visit from us :


Waikuri Lagoon

Waikuri Lagoon

Ratenggaro Village

Ratenggaro Village

Praijing Village

Praijing Village

Tanjung Mahera

Tanjung Mahera

Lapopu Waterfall

Lapopu Waterfall

Waikelo Sawah

Waikelo Sawah

Bwanna Beach

Bwanna Beach

Bukit Wairinding

Bukit Wairinding

Puru Kambera

Puru Kambera

Walakiri Beach

Walakiri Beach


Well that’s all the things that you need to know before you to Sumba, there’s a lot to take in but it’s all worth it once you get there! if you still have any question or you want to maximize your trip to Sumba with more service and great experience, Click the yellow button below.