An hour flight from Bali is a little known paradise.
Located in eastern Indonesia, Sumba is a quiet, undeveloped island teaming with natural and unspoiled beauty. Often compared to Bali in the 60’s, the island has managed to live just under the radar and is void of many Western influences often found on touristic islands. Sumba’s lack of infrastructure and it’s potholed roads aren’t for everyone, but those that make it are rewarded with deserted beaches, empty swimming lagoons, and waves. Lots of waves, in fact, which is why Sumba has a loyal following within the surf community. And if the surf isn’t what drew you to the island, nor the pristine beaches, than perhaps it was the textiles. Sumba is well known for their world-class weaving; their “tenun” in Indonesian. Deeply rooted in their culture as a form of communication and storytelling, weaving is also a cornerstone of ceremonial practices within the clan. A visit to one of the many ancestral villages that dot the island will take you back in time and offer a view into the Sumbanese way of life where both the people and their thatched roof homes are adorned with these textiles. The “ikat” fabric is the island’s specialty and is created by resist dyeing the threads prior to being woven on the loom. A meticulous process that can take weeks, sometimes months, to finish one piece. It’s hard to imagine that Sumba will stay like this forever, but I guess that is the hope.
Oh, and did I mention the island is home to wild herds of Sandalwood ponies?