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
The western part of Sumba is green and fertile in the wet season. It has a mixed population with two different languages; many still live in their traditional thatched huts. While East Sumba attracts tourists due to it's lovely ikat-textiles, West Sumba can offer more exotic traditions with unique houses, ceremonies and tombs. A traditional village typically consists of two rows of tall houses, with a square between. In the middle of the square there is a flat stone with another flat stone at the top of it. Here offerings are made to the spiritual forces that protect the city (marapu). Similar stones can be found in the fields where offerings are made in relation to planting and harvesting. On the open square there is often stone slab tombs of important ancestors. In former days the heads of killed enemies would be hung in a dead tree in the village square, called 'andung'. It is common today for tourists to visit some of these villages, preferably with a local guide to avoid any offending behavior. We will often be asked to donate a small amount of money; another custom is to offer betel nuts. It is a big offence to say no if we are offered a betel nut, in former days this was a declaration of war. Just accept it and put it away if we don't like to chew it like the locals.
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.