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Sumba celebrates island's cultural, natural beauty with Sandalwood Festival

Hengky Ola Sura

The Jakarta Post

Maumere, East Nusa Tenggara   /  Thu, July 11, 2019  /  04:33 pm
Sumba celebrates island's cultural, natural beauty with Sandalwood Festival

Sumbanese riders sit atop their hardy horses as the sun sets over Purrukambera Beach in East Sumba regency, Sumba Island. The ongoing Sandalwood Festival, which runs through July 13, 2019, features a 6-kilometer horse parade that finishes at the beach. (Shutterstock/Anges van der Logt )

Sandalwood, a popular annual festival that attracts visitors with hundreds of the best horses from across Sumba is currently underway on this island in East Nusa Tenggara province.

The Sandalwood Festival runs from July 10 to 13, with a traditional horse parade scheduled for July 12 in East Sumba regency. The parade sets off from Purrukambera savanna in Hamparingu and travels 6 kilometers to end at Purrukambera Beach.

Read also: Jakpost explores Sumba

The Tourism Ministry's media and communications special staff, Don Kardono, said in a statement quoted in kompas.com that Sumba was home to diverse destinations that were both appealing and exotic.

"The choices are varied and very Instagrammable," he added.

Apart from the festival, the island is holding an expo of Sumbanese tenun ikat (handwoven textiles).

East Sumba Regent Gidion Mbiliyora said the Sandalwood festival and textile expo presented the beauty of the island's natural and cultural assets. "The beauty of Sumba is globally known," he added.

Visitors Bety Gudipin, Gorby Gudypun and Bryan Antonio, who traveled from Maumere, Sikka regency, spoke to The Jakarta Post last Thursday, when the trio were visiting Waimarang waterfall in Umalulu, East Sumba. The waterfall, along with the Sandalwood Festival, were on the itinerary they had been developing since last year for their planned trip to Sumba.

"We chose to vacation in Sumba because of the many positive reports on its beauty. Although we live on [nearby] Flores, this is our first time visiting Sumba. It is really exotic," said Bryan.

Sumba and Flores are connected by both air and sea transportation, with ferries and the Awu vessel traveling to and from Ende, Flores.

Southwest Sumba's Tambolaka Airport and East Sumba's Waingapu Airport both operate flights to Sumba. From Sumba, travelers can head to Larantuka, East Flores regency, and then explore southwesterly down the island to Ende. (nic/kes)