This Breathtaking Indonesian Island Filled With Horses Is Only An Hour's Flight From Bali
An hour's flight east of Bali lies an Indonesian island where wild horses run free and white sandy beaches resemble paradise...
Sumba has been left as one of the world's "secret" gems, while other popular holiday destinations like Lombok and Bali take the forefront for tourism
1. Horses have been a part of Sumba's cultural identity since the mid-18th century. They are often used in horse racing and at events.
Sumba horses, generally known as Sandalwood Ponies, derive its name from the island's main export – sandalwood.
Historically, Sumba was also known as Sandalwood Island or Sandal Island for its fragrant wood sought by Chinese noblemen.
Unfortunately, most of the island has been deforested leaving patches of thin soil on limestone savannahs.
2. Unlike many Southeast Asian islands, Sumba isn't lush or green – instead it's dry and arid
Rather than having steep volcanoes like most Indonesian islands, Sumba's landscape is low and filled with limestone hills.
Most of the land has been cleared for planting crops, such as maize and cassava, a root that looks similar to a sweet potato.
3. Many Sumbanese still live in traditional villages with thatched huts
Scattered throughout the countryside are thatched traditional houses clustered around unique megalithic tombs, where villagers pay homage to their ancestors.
Although Sumba is twice the size of Bali, it has only one-sixth of its population.
Sumbanese are predominantly Catholics. However, there are also a number who practise animism.
4. Sumbanese celebrate the Pasola Jousting Festival, where they ride on horses and charge against each other with spears
Pasola Jousting Festival is an annual tradition to welcome the new harvest.
At the event, two groups of men charge at each other on horseback and try to hit their rivals with 'pasol' javelins or spears.
The key is to also avoid getting hit themselves.
5. There are a few luxurious resorts on the island which cater to travellers looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life
6. Sumba has several gorgeous spots to visit, such as Weekuri Lagoon, Bawana beach, Waimarang emerald pool, and Lapopu waterfall
Many of Sumba's attractions have been preserved as a result of being less touristy compared to other islands.
So, if you're looking for an adventure, you will definitely enjoy its beautiful treks and waterfalls. Two that should be checked out are Kanabu Wai and Tanggedu waterfalls.