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4 Days Retreat in Pristine Sumba Island

4 Days Retreat in Pristine Sumba Island

It’s time to put the Bali vs. Lombok debate to rest.

Sumba combines the best of both worlds: the rich culture and self-pampering appeal of Bali, but with the quietness and unspoiled beauty of Lombok. Rarely visited and sparsely populated with just 685,186 people, Sumba is one of the few remaining island getaways that allows you to truly escape from it all. The best news is… it is actually quite accessible from Singapore!

Day 1 in West Sumba, Indonesia

2.15pm: Arrival at Tambolaka Airport

Upon arrival at Tambolaka Airport, meet your accommodation representative to transfer and check-in. Transfer time will take around 45 minutes if you choose to live in a nearby village or around 1.5-2 hours if you’d like to reach one of the famed beach resorts on the Southern end of Sumba.

5.30pm: Sunset horse ride by the beach

A sunset horse ride is a spectacular way to unwind and witness the changing beach hues as your furry friend gently strolls through the ocean shallows. This unique experience is possible because Sumba is a key horse-breeding island in Indonesia. Kids here learn how to ride horses like the Western kids learn how to ride bikes at a young age. Both Nihiwatu and Watukaka can arrange sunset horse ride for both beginners and novices, starting from USD85 per person.

Alternatively, simply walk and dip your feet on the shores of your resort beaches until the 6.10pm sunset. If your accommodation doesn’t have a nearby beach, you can head to Pantai Kerewei with its beautiful stretch of sandy coast, palm trees and a huge rock formation at the centre of the sea.

Pro tip: There’s a small route for soft-trekking at the far right end of the Kerewei Beach, where you can discover the other side of the beach hidden by a hill. The view is spectacular!

7pm: Dinner

West Sumba is not exactly known for its culinary excellence, so the best option is to return to your resort and dine at one of their open-air restaurants with the evening breeze keeping you company.

If your accommodation does not come with a restaurant, you may find street-side taverns which mostly sell typical Indonesian fare like meatballs, satays, Padang or Javanese cuisine. However, please note that these taverns usually close before 9pm.

Day 2 in West Sumba, Indonesia

Take a good breakfast at your accommodation and notify them to prepare a packed lunch for you as food establishments are hard to come by along the West Sumba coast stretch which you’ll be visiting today.

Other than driving to the destinations, some of the high-end resorts can also arrange a chartered boat for you for a minimum of 2 hours. In this way you get to see even more of the coastline while relaxing on the boat.

9.30am: Pantai Watu Maladong & Pantai Bwanna

Head to Southwest Sumba where you can find the island’s best beaches. Your first stop is Watu Maladong Beach with its panoramic cluster of 5 giant coral stones. Nearby to Watu Maladong is Bwanna Beach, surrounded by huge cliffs and a natural rock bridge. The beauty of these pristine beaches could easily rival the jagged, rocky beauty of Portugal’s Algarve or Australia’s Great Ocean Road.

12nn: Wainyapu & Ratenggaro Villages

No visit to Sumba is complete without visiting one of the Kodi tribal villages.

If you want a more relaxed pace and choose only one village to visit, Ratenggaro is the most impressive with rooftops that stretch up to 25 metres in height! In contrast, other villages usually only have 8-meter-high roofs.

If you do not mind seeing a little more in a day, then head to Wainyapu before reaching Ratenggaro. The vertical thatched huts of Wainyapu may not be as tall, but it is not any less impressive. Where the villagers at Ratenggaro are used to local tourists and may occasionally pester you into giving them money, Wainyapu has a more authentic tribal village vibe. You can wander here people-watching and observing the spiritual megalithic burials which are unique to Sumba.

Once you’re done exploring, there’s a beach just outside Ratenggaro Village where you can enjoy your picnic lunch with a view of the village roofs.

3pm: Weekuri Lake

Weekuri is a natural lagoon-lake separated from the ocean with corals where sea water flows in from. The water is so clear it’s almost like glass and you can see what’s underneath it! It is best to visit Weekuri in the late afternoon as the tide gets higher.

5.30pm: Mandorak Beach

Sandwiched between two cliffs, the remote virgin beach of Mandorak is an excellent place to unwind as you wait for the sun to set. Return to your accommodation afterwards for your dinner.

Day 3 in West Sumba, Indonesia

Full Day Nihi Oka Spa Safari

Beyond sightseeing, Sumba offers an excellent wellness retreat.
The Nihi Oka Spa Safari is an experience in itself and shouldn’t be skipped while you are in Sumba. You can choose to begin the journey either with a 90-minute trek across Sumba’s dramatic coast, rolling hills and traditional villages into Nihi Oka valley; or take an open-air land safari vehicle for a shorter duration. Upon arrival, you will be served with healthy breakfast in a treehouse.
After the rejuvenating meal, pamper yourself with a selection of spa treatments or yoga sessions while enjoying the views of the surrounding green forest canopies, rice fields and turquoise ocean. In between treatments, you can spend the day swimming in the infinity pool or at the crystal clear Indian Ocean.
A maximum of 3 couples are allowed into the program per day, which makes this a truly secluded and soul-cleansing experience. Prices start from USD395 per couple.

Day 4 in West Sumba, Indonesia

11.25am: Return to Singapore

Indulge in your final breakfast at West Sumba from your hotel before departing to Tambolaka Airport to catch your flight back home. Make sure you arrive at the airport 2 hours before the flight.

Places to stay in West Sumba, Indonesia

Prices listed are based on average daily rates for a Standard Room.


Monalisa Cottages is located within an easy 45-minute reach from the airport but is not within close to the beaches. However, rooms are some of the best among the budget options. Amenities and services are more basic but they can help you arrange tours and cars with drivers.

Price range: $11-18

Address: Jl. Adhiyaksa No.30, Pada Eweta, Kota Waikabubak, Kabupaten Sumba Barat, Nusa Tenggara Tim., Indonesia


Watukaka Resort‘s eco-luxury tents mean you get to do glamping in style! Watukaka offers a range of personalized massage, spa and wellness programs. They can also help you to arrange everything from airport pick-up to organizing your trips!

Price range: $235-265

Address: Malibu Beach, Sumba, Indonesia


Nihiwatu Resort Sumba, is a best in-class resort and it was recognized as the #1 Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Among its idyllic features are tree villas atop a cliff overlooking the Indian ocean, day-long spa safari and an equestrian centre that can help you arrange sunset beach rides and mountain excursions.

Price range: $808-2,278

Address: Nihiwatu, Hoba Wawi, Wanokaka, Sumba, Nusa Tenggara Tim., Indonesia

Getting to West Sumba, Indonesia

Your entry flight point to Sumba is Tambolaka Airport, which serves the West Sumba attractions mentioned in this itinerary.

Garuda Indonesia runs daily flights between Singapore to Sumba via Bali, departing on 8.30am-2.15pm. From Sumba to Singapore, the return flight time is 11.25am-6.25pm (via Bali).

Sumba has another airport called Umbu Mehang Kunda Airport, which serves the East Sumba region and it’s located further away, but is not the ideal entry point.

Getting around West Sumba, Indonesia

Road quality in Sumba varies. Main roads are paved and well-maintained, but smaller road sections leading to some beaches and villages are not as good, and in some cases only possible by foot or a two-wheeled vehicle. Hence, the easiest way to get around is to have your resort arrange point-to-point transfer for you.

However, if you’d like to DIY, you can hire a motor bike or a car with a driver, which should cost you around IDR 500,000 per day including fuel. Many accommodations (including Monalisa Cottages) offer such rental services.

You can also use ojek (motorcycle taxis) which can be found along the streets in Sumba’s main cities and they charge different prices depending on how far you’d like to go, however, language barrier may prove difficult so it’s better to stick to pre-arranged transfer.

Other important notes

Time difference

Sumba is GMT+8, hence there is no time difference with Singapore. However, if you are combining this visit to other places in Indonesia, please note that Sumba is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta.

Best time to visit

Dry season for Sumba is from May to September. July is especially good for surfing and water sports. Avoid November to February as the rainy weather can ruin your vacation.

Money matters

There are no money-changing facilities on Sumba. While major resorts can accept credit cards, you are advised to change sufficient cash before your departure.


There is electricity supplied to the island. However, it is limited and there may be occasions when power failure occur if you stay at the budget accommodation. This is not a problem if you stay in one of the high-end resorts as they usually have their own electricity generators.


West Sumba has its fair share of petty crime. Avoid travelling out of your resort after night fall.

Things to pack

  • Beach essentials: swimwear, goggles, towels, flip flops
  • Hot day essentials: sunglass, suncream, hat
  • Sturdy and comfortable shoes if you’d like to do some trekking
  • Mosquito repellent and anti-malaria pills such as “Malarone” (although malaria cases are rarer now than it was years ago, it’s better to be safe than sorry)
  • First-aid kit
  • Camera! The beauty of Sumba is divine!


  • Ambulance: 118
  • Police: 110
  • Search and rescue team: 115
  • Fire department: 113

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