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A lot of things are similar as it once had been in Bali.
But Sumba is different: the landscape is rather hilly, sometimes extremely dry and a bit brittle. For me the people seem more tangible, perhaps due to their predominantly Christian religion.
Conventional guidebooks for individuals, backpackers and travellers don’t have more than a few pages for Sumba.
Banks and Money
In the main towns, Waingapu and Waikabubak, there are now ATM machines. With credit cards or debit cards you can get cash 24 hours a day. Most you get at BNI, BRI-Banks spit out less and the bank of NTT did not like these ATM cards by mid-2011.
Before leaving one of the two cities, it is important to change the spat-out bills in smaller denominations …
Electricity and Sunday Rest
In Sumba, the day begins with sunrise after 05 o’clock, this is due to the time zones that are more aligned with the central region of Indonesia. With sunset after 17 o’clock one can only hope that there is enough fuel for the generators and people use only a little light. In the evening, you should always carry a flashlight. Either way, after 22 o’clock of the day is over.
On Sunday, there is certainly more than a quarter of the population of Sumba in church, the shops are closed, and you get nothing.
Phone and Mobile Phone
In addition to the Indonesian calling code +62 applies throughout the island of Sumba the code for landlines 0387. Together makes it: +62387.
There are now many villages with satellite phone stations, especially in areas where no mobile phone reception is. The blue signs point the way: Telkom … Km. Such a sign does not mean that the technology is actually already in place and functioning.
The Simpati Kartu As card is the only mobile phone network that has a relatively good coverage in Sumba. All the other networks do not work. In remote areas, in the mountains and especially in the south also the As card fails. Tip: try to ring up during clouds or high fog at night, the mobile phone reception improves.
Internet and Post
In many sub-districts of Sumba, there are now local Internet centers (Pusat layanan internet kecamatan). You recognize them by the blue signs with a globe and magnifying glass. Such a sign does not mean that the technology is actually already in place and functioning. In Waingapu and Waikabubak you find internet stations near the telephone pylons.
Letters have sent from Sumba to Germany always arrived – vice versa never. A registered letter raises the chance to arrive. If you want to write people in the country, you should ask for an address in the city, there is no reliable postal delivery available in the country. When you see many people waiting in the Kantor Pos, it is probably due to salary and pension payday, then you should just come back next day.
Insects and Illnesses
You get Malaria every few years – that is what have heard often in Sumba. CRM and DTG recommend permanent malaria medication.
The common medicine Malarone is reimbursed by some health insurance companies in Germany. On the Internet and in Asia Malarone is offered but it is often false. If you take Malarone over the extended period, it reduces the number of red blood cells, other side effects are described in the instructions … In no way you should take Malarone for more than 4 weeks.
The cheaper alternative is Doxycyclin. This drug has the unfortunate side effect that you become sensitive against sunlight.
The PUSKESMAS health centre in Sumba treat malaria with Chloroquin, about which is said, that malaria parasites are resistant.
My recommendation: take Doxycyclin permanently and keep Malarone for emergency cases.
There is no medicine against Dengue Fever. You can recognize the mosquitoes, which can transmit the disease, through the black and white striped legs. Dengue fever is found only in the Southwest part of Sumba. It usually occurs as an epidemic, is not very common and the course is often not critically. While the malaria mosquitoes bite only at night, the dengue mosquitoes bite around the clock.
In any case, you should not rely on the effectiveness of drugs. Be equipped with an insect repellent spray. Antibrumm Forte was the best in the test.
In open accommodation you must sleep with a mosquito net. You must not only bring the net, but also enough rope to tighten it to somewhere.
Head lice are everywhere in the country. You can buy effective remedies everywhere, Sumba has the better stuff. At night a silk sleeping bag with an envelope around the pillow provides protection.
Sand fleas are annoying especially in brackish water and river mouths.
Those who travel in such a remote area, must be aware that there may be little help in emergencies. You have to make yourself care.
For medical preparedness a well-stocked first aid kit is needed, which contains everything that you can not get in Sumba. These include: antibiotics for acute cases, antibiotic cream in case of injuries, healing ointment, gastrointestinal agents, anti malaria pills, anti eye irritations, mosquito repellent, painkillers (! No Aspirin), tape for tying, waterproof plaster, …
For personal safety and if you track through the country alone, you should note the following:
There are many stray dogs that might have rabies and may bite. It is therefore quite common to arm yourself with a stick.
In the wetlands and rivers live some alligators. Each year there are several fatal accidents. So do not bathe and walk with a guide through appropriate areas.
In the mountains and forests in the south, there are wild boars. Therefore, make often stops and look for droppings and crumpled ground.
Snakes are rare. By the way: they live not only on the ground. They usually flee if they sense steps in their environment.
Have heard nothing about crime against tourists. Tourists are rare and sometimes behave different to what the people of Sumba are used to. This is often a cause of misunderstanding. As a guest it is important to develop a sense of what you may do and may do not – especially in terms of Marapu faith.
Things which we bring with us and which are known from the television advertising, surely arouse certain desires. Perhaps we should leave things with famous brand names at home.
People in East Sumba say that there is much more crime in West Sumba. But there are no concrete evidences for this statement. However, in West Sumba, the tone between the people and to stranger’s sounds less friendly, sometimes perhaps too direct, which could be interpreted as aggressive.
Among themselves, however, it is sometimes still quite crude:
There are rural and / or ethnic conflicts. It happens, that people burn houses from the neighbouring district and steal their cattle.
Some steal gold and valuables from grave goods in the megalithic tombs. Supposedly there are Balinese in Sumba who open the graves with car jacks and winches.
Rich Balinese instigate people from Sumba to steal to order, they will steal specifically Megalith statues.
Diving, Snorkelling, Surfing, Cycling
This site sorts the world is not for sports, but here are some tips:
The only dive center in Sumba is in the noble NihiWatu establishment.
For laymen snorkelers should be said: In the north of Sumba the underwater world is not really interesting. In the south the waves are usually too high. However, if the sea is relatively quiet from November to April, the south coast is quite attractive. The marine population is not nearly as varied as in Alor and Flores, but also different and very colourful. You have to be aware of the dangers of waves and currents – on the south coast there is no speedboat that one can come to your aid.
Surfers should be directed to their websites. Smirking as observer of the scene I want to give some comments here:
Kalala : not really extraordinary, the waves are discontinuous
Manggudu : seems to be ideal, closed at the moment
Tarimbang : super-high waves, only for very advanced and far outside
NihiWatu : Sponsored by Quicksilver … whatever that means
Pero : It saw there always a lot of frustrated surfers
Have never seen a bicycle tourist travelling in Sumba
Tour Provider and Nice People
My personal experience is that it does not depend on the name of an organization, with which you do a tour, but on the experience of your guide. Sumba is small, everyone knows someone who has special information, where just something is going on. To accompany tourists is a job that brings a lot of money but also many opportunities for both sides.
(grab from: www.sumba-information.com)
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