Spectacular coastal scenery at Watu Maladong, southwestern Sumba

Getting Around Sumba

Public buses service most of the island and generally depart from the town market area, including from Waingapu which also has southern and western bus terminals. Buses connecting Waingapu, Waikabubak and Tambolaka run almost every hour during daylight hours. Small express buses also service these main centres and will pick-up from your hotel, provided you’ve booked ahead of course.

Bemo’s (minibuses) cover intra-town and short routes to nearby villages – just check the sign in the front window for the destination. Trucks (biskaju) cover the routes where the roads are bad. Seating is in the form of wooden benches installed in the back of the tray. They’re open, often crowded and rough but also a bit of a novelty.

If you prefer private transport, you can rent a car with a driver or engage an ojek but be aware prices are noticeably hire than Bali due to the poor condition of the roads and slow going. Alternatively, scooters can be hired just about everywhere; through your hotel, a tour agency or privately. Try to get a manual scooter if you can; little automatics struggle with the steep gravel roads and river crossings so you could end up pushing it as much as riding.