Sumba island or know as the sandalwood island is located in the most southern part of Indonesia on the Nusa Tenggara region famous for its horses and ikat textile. The Sumbanese practises trading with the Chinese traders untuk the 16th century, after which the Arabians trader became most important trading partner untuk the early 20th century. This island of Sumba is most famous for its arts and handicrafts, particularly textile "ikat" weaving.
Sumba is one of the 13,677 island of Indonesia archipelagoes, and become part of East Nusa Tenggara province with over 600.000 people live in Sumba from East to West part.
Sumba island has a great and unique position respect to the Sunda Banda archipelagoes, it is one of the biggest island on the East Nusa Tenggara region beside Flores and Timor. It represents an isolated sliver of probable continental crust to the south of active volcanic islands (Sumbawa, Flores ) within the forearc basin (Fig.1). It is situated to the north of passage from the Java Trench (subduction front) to the Timor Through (collision front). It does not show still the effects of strong compression in contrast to islands of the outer arc system (Savu, Roti, Timor), while the magmatic units make up a substantial part of the Late Cretaceous to Paleogene stratigraphy
East Sumba has a different climate, it is more dry and mountainous, and the people here belong to one single ethnical group with one common language. Waingapu, the capital, is located here and is a hub for transport to and from the island. There are some facilities here, but the main attractions are located west and southeast on the island. Some traditional villages are located southeast of Waingapu and can be visited on a daytrip from there
This region is better known for its "ikat" weaving. Traditionally only members of the highest clans and their personal attendants only used for special ceremonies and ikat. During important funerals the corpse was dressed in the finest textiles to make a good appearance in the afterlife, and piles of extra textiles was often sent with the dead as well. Later the Dutch started to export ikat to Europe and Java, where it quickly became very popular. Other products from here are horses and cattle. Horses are still used for transport on Sumba and are a symbol of high status; the large grass fields in the interior of the island are well suited for horse rising.
The island is famous for its megalithic tombs and war rituals. A well-known ritual is 'pasola' were hundreds of men on horses throw spears at each other. The tips of the spears are cut off, but serious accidents, even deaths, occur frequently. The season to experience this festival is in February to March, it will take place in four different districts to satisfy the gods and bring a good harvest. The exact date and time is depending on the arrival of the small 'Nyale' fish to the coast. The priests will study the fish and from it's behavior predict the outcome of the harvest. When this is done the Pasola festival can begin, the fights will usually start at the beach and then move further inland. Although perhaps 40% of the population of East Sumba follows the 'Merapu' religion as their brothers in the out ward manifestations are not nearly as spectacular of frequent.
Near Waingapu, Kuta Beach is a good place to relax, and further down coast, near Baing (125 km from Waingapu), there is great surfing at Kalala Beach. The waves are best from December to May. Traditional hand-woven cloth, one of the most outstanding traditional handicrafts, besides handicrafts of "lontar" leaves and sandalwood carvings, the sasando - the traditional musical instruments - both in miniature or actual size.