Known as the forgotten island, it’s more than likely you’ve never heard of Sumba until now. Closer to Australia than Bali and also bigger in size, Sumba is a Globetrotting destination that has our hearts racing with excitement! It’s got an ancient, wild and colourful culture in which horses play a vital role – whether it’s the friendly locals, the spirited horses or the spectacular landscapes, we have NO doubt that this island will weave its magic around your heart.
Mounted on native Sumba and Sandalwood horses, globetrotters will have the unique privilege of traversing the varied landscapes of West Sumba the way the local horsemen do. You’ll become spellbound by their mystical horse culture, ancient beliefs and timeless traditions.
Throughout the four day ride, you’ll feel as if you’re stepping into a forgotten world where you’ll creep through palm tree groves, experience wild and free canters along pristine coastlines, sit cross-legged with locals in their homes chewing betel nut while learning about their daily existence, swim bareback in shimmering turquoise oceans, interrupt herds of water buffalo as they wallow in the rice fields, and trot through lush, fragrant rainforest.
And the fun doesn’t stop there! When you’re out of the saddle you’ll fall head over heels in love with the luxury, tropical surrounds of your five star resort, Nihi Sumba. This is where you can soak in your own private pool, have cocktails at the bar, and opt for a massage, an early morning yoga session or a stand-up paddle boarding adventure down the Wanakaka river. It’s certainly worth considering spending some extra days at Nihi Sumba after your riding itinerary since you’ve travelled this far.
As globetrotters, we’re constantly searching for new destinations where the horse culture is rich, varied, wild and completely removed from our everyday existence. With the horse being spiritually connected to Sumba’s culture and history, we can’t wait to share this special island with you, our globetrotters!
- Horse Breed:The horses are Sumbawa and Sandalwood ponies and Sandalwood Australian Thoroughbred cross.
- Pace:Variable depending on the terrain, with opportunities to trot and canter.
- Weight Limit:Maximum of 85kg / 187lbs.
- Type of tack:English all purpose and Australian stock saddles. Rope bridles with snaffle bits.
- Seasons:GREEN season is November 1 to December 15 & January 7 to March 31; SHOULDER season is April 1 to 13; April 29 to May 31 & September 16 to October 31; HIGH season is June 1 to September 15; April 14 to 28 & December 16 to January 6.
- Group size:Maximum of 4 guests *this ride is perfect for couples or small groups.
- Time in Saddle:On average, 1 to 2.5 hours each day.
- Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. There are plenty of activities for non-riding partners to keep them occupied while you ride!
- Accommodation:Luxury 5 star, air-conditioned villa accommodation with your own private pool. Your villa includes butler service, private in-villa dining, and a daily laundry service.
- Ride Length:5 days, 4 nights.
- Inclusions:The price includes a tax and service charge of 21%, 3 daily meals, non-alcoholic beverages, minibar, and laundry.
- Exclusions:The price excludes alcoholic beverages, airfares, airport transfers, travel insurance (compulsory) and additional activities outside the itinerary (contact us for a list of included activities for non-riders).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
*PLEASE NOTE: These ride prices are to be used as a guide only and subject to change due to resort availability. Non-rider rates are also available, please contact us for further information.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes a tax and service charge of 21%, 3 daily meals, non-alcoholic beverages, minibar, and laundry.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price excludes alcoholic beverages, airfares, airport transfers, travel insurance (compulsory) and additional activities outside the itinerary (contact us for a list of included activities for non-riders).
Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments.
Why is the price quoted in USD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.
We ask globetrotters to fly into Denpasar City, Bali the day before the ride begins, so that you’re ready to take your flight to Sumba on day one at around 1pm. Globetrotting can book your accommodation in Bali on request.
After touching down in Sumba, you’ll be met at the Tambolaka airport by a grinning Nihi Sumba staff member, then you’ll be driven for approximately 1.5 hours in air-conditioned comfort across the island to Nihi Sumba. You’ll get a real sense of island life on this drive as you watch scooters whizzing past carrying entire families (including the odd chook or goat), pass villages with their unusual peaked bamboo and thatched houses, and spot plenty of Sumbawa and Sandalwood ponies tethered to trees and water buffaloes being taken for a drink. After coming from Bali, you’ll appreciate that Sumba is far less populated, with only 350,000 residents. It’s at the edge of the wilderness that your five star resort appears like an oasis crouching sensitively on the pristine coastline. You’ll be welcomed by the staff and shown to your gobsmackingly bespoke villa, where you’ll be met by your own personal butler who will take care of your every need throughout your stay.
You’ll have a chance to take a swim in your own private pool and unpack before getting ready to meet at 5pm for a sunset welcome drink or a sunset beach ride at the Sandalwood Stables. *The sunset beach ride will depend on how late you arrive into the resort. Rest assured if you can’t fit it in on day one, you’ll be able to do this on another day of your itinerary.
You’ll be met by the happy-go-lucky Sumba grooms, including Carlos, the stable manager. If you have time for a sunset ride you’ll be paired with a Sumbawa or Sandalwood pony, and once comfortable in the saddle you’ll head out to the beach. There is something truly magical about riding a native horse on this vast, magnetic coastline as the colours of the sunset dance across the sky. It’s also a brilliant way to blow out the jet lag blues and reinvigorate the mind and body. These ponies love to splash in the water, so some salty canters along the shoreline are a MUST.
Dinner at the resort’s wonderful Ombak Restaurant.
Today you’ll experience a very special ride out from the resort of Nihi Sumba, where you’ll get a sense of traditional village life and glimpse the stunning beaches surrounding the island. After breakfast at Ombak restaurant, you’ll leave the stables and ride from the beach overland through palm groves, rice fields and rainforest alleyways. You’ll no doubt pass herds of placid water buffalo wallowing in the muddy rice fields, wave to excitable village children, and dodge yapping dogs and tooting scooters. There is never a dull moment when riding in Sumba, that’s for sure!
You’ll be riding to a traditional village on the island. Then, leaving your horse to rest under the shade of a tree, you’ll be welcomed by the villagers to view first-hand their everyday life, which has been unchanged for generations. The Sumba people mostly live by farming, cattle breeding, rice field farming and trading. It’s quite common to see an entire family in the paddocks planting corn by hand. You’ll be welcomed on the porch of a local home with a freshly cut coconut, offered betel nut to chew (make sure you have a bottle of water nearby!) and invited into their thatched home, where you’ll see how their one-room house operates. It’s a far cry from our cluttered and complicated life in the western world and certainly gives perspective, that’s for sure.
After visiting the village, you’ll ride back down the mountain to the beach, finishing with a windswept beach canter. This will be a two hour ride today plus a one-hour break at the village, leaving plenty of time to enjoy all the off-the-horse activities Nihi Sumba has to offer.
Today is one of our all-time favourite days of the ENTIRE itinerary. You’ll be riding to Coconut Cove, which already conjures up images of some magical tropical oasis. I promise you one thing: it won’t disappoint.
After breakfast at your regular haunt, Ombak Restaurant (or you can choose to have room service by your own private pool – tough decision!), you’ll meet down at the stables, mount up and set off for Coconut Cove, which sits at Rua Beach. En route, you’ll cruise through the local village of Gallowatu. Going from our personal experiences, you’ll never get tired of peering into the world of the Sumbanese, and no doubt you’ll have a trail of excitable village children waving as you walk on by. You’ll ride over grassy hills and through paddocks of alang alang grasslands, which are used to construct the traditional huts in Sumba, before reaching the coast. Arriving at Nihi Sumba’s Coconut Cove Boat House on Rua Beach, you have the enviable choice of cantering along the vast, unoccupied stretch of beach or swinging your saddle off and riding bareback in the ocean (we recommend!) before a nutritious lunch.
After some relaxing beach time, you can remain on in this pocket of paradise and sign up for a surf lesson depending on the tides (this is the best spot to book a beginner’s surf lesson, at an additional cost) or take the lazy route back to Nihi in a car.
Today’s ride lasts approximately 2.5 hours.
Wake up to another day in tropical, pinch-yourself- paradise! You’ll be itching to get back into the saddle after yesterday’s exhilarating encounter, and you’ll definitely have a thirst to learn more about the wonderful people of Sumba. Today you’ll ride to Nihioka, which is an award- winning spa destination that is completely unimaginable until you see it in the flesh. Perched on a dramatic, rocky escarpment overlooking the sea, you’ll leave your horse in the capable hands of your guides, who will take them back to the stables while you make your way to the Nihioka tree house which is suspended above gigantic boulders.
After a well-earned cooked breakfast, you can relax in the pool (pictured above) or wander through the manicured gardens that surround the spa. Now if you’re up for an extra cost, you’ll have the opportunity to add the option of a spa safari, which gives you unlimited spa treatments for the remainder of the day. It’s a little unbelievable, right? You’ll have your own private bale suspended over the clifftops, where your own personal therapist will pamper you with a choice of facials, massage, reflexology – the list goes on! Should you not wish to add the spa safari onto your stay, you’ll be transported back to Nihi paradise, where you’ll have the afternoon to ponder, relax and explore.
Final farewell dinner at Ombak Restaurant.
After your final breakfast, and in a dream-like state, you’ll say goodbye to all the wonderful people of Nihi Sumba. Once you’ve settled your account, you’ll take the two-hour drive back to Tambolaka airport in time for your flight off the island.
You’ll soon come to realise it’s nearly impossible to describe this awe-inspiring, out-of-your-skin experience to family and friends, no matter how many photos you show them. Nihi Sumba is a place that certainly touches your soul, embedding memories that last a lifetime!
Sumba is 400 kilometres east of Bali and 50 minutes by air from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. There are regular daily flights with two domestic airlines between Bali and Sumba. The flights will arrive at Tambolaka, the closer airport in West Sumba.
Flight schedules (subject to change without notice):
Arrival: Denpasar, Bali (DPS) to Tambolaka, Sumba (TMC)
Wings Air IW1832: ETD Bali 10.20 hrs ETA Tambolaka 11.45 hrs (ATR propeller plane)
Nam Air IN640: ETD Bali 14.15 hrs ETA Tambolaka 15.15 hrs (Boeing 737-500)
Departure: Tambolaka, Sumba (TMC) to Denpasar, Bali (DPS)
Wings Air IW1833: Wings Air ETD Tambolaka 1200 hrs ETA Bali 1335 hrs (ATR propeller plane)
Nam Air IN641 : ETD Tambolaka 08:30 hrs ETA Bali 09:20 hrs (Boeing 737-500) *Please note, should you choose to catch this departing flight, the airport transfer will need to leave the resort at 6am.
**If booking connecting flights home from Bali, we recommend a minimum 3-hour transit time to avoid missing your connection.
Private airport transfer:
Round-trip transfer from Tambolaka airport to Nihi Sumba is $275* USD per couple or $150* USD per person in a shared open safari car.
*Transfer price is subject to a 21% tax and service charge.
For the people of Sumba, their life is inseparable from their horses. After spending time on the island you’ll soon realise that the Sumbanese soul is spiritually linked to the horse and that’s why this island excites us here at Globetrotting to no end. The horse culture is wild and exciting, and the backbone to this ride. It’s believed that horses have been part of Sumbanese life since the mid 18th century.
The Sumbawa pony breed is named after the island on which they’re bred. These horses are quick, agile, athletic and fast, with great endurance and a willing temperament. Sumbawa ponies have a heavy head, a short, muscular neck and low withers. In village life, these ponies are used for packing, riding, light draft work and of course for Pasola.
The other local breed of horse is the Sandalwood pony, which is named after the sandalwood trees, which were one of Sumba’s major exports. The Sandalwood pony is one of the finest in the country, partly due to the Arabian blood running through their veins. They are exported to Southeast Asia for racing and also used for amateur bareback racing on the island.
Let’s talk about this over-achieving resort. It sits quietly within the landscape on the West Sumba coastline, with its own 2.5 kilometre private beach fringed by 567 acres of unspoilt, natural reserve (perfect for riding on!). A five star resort, the facilities are of superior standard. Trust me, your jaw will drop the moment you arrive and you’ll keep pinching yourself throughout the entire itinerary. The villas blend seamlessly into the natural surrounds, lush with tropical palms, fragrant frangipanis and bright pink bougainvilleas.
What makes this resort something truly special and connects you to the place more than the infinity pools, king-sized beds and gourmet cuisine are the 300 local Sumbanese staff who you get to know throughout your stay. They radiate pure happiness and are as excited as you are to be sharing their island home with you. It gives every guest at Nihi Sumba a warm, fuzzy feeling when you see first-hand the positive partnership between the resort and the surrounding community. You feel as if your stay is helping on a grander scale.
Non-Riders & Off The Horse Activities
To be honest, your biggest problem will be fitting in the time to enjoy all of the other exceptional activities offered at the resort besides riding. And that’s why this ride is perfect for partners or family members who are non-riders. There is a plethora of activities available including fishing, jet-skiing, surfing (the beach is world-famous for its surf break and suitable for both beginners and experienced wave chasers), snorkelling, spa treatments, yoga and meditation, at an additional cost. It’s certainly worth considering spending some extra time at Nihi Sumba after your riding itinerary since you’ve travelled this far.
(Contact us for a list of included activities for non-riders.)
”Sumba is the perfect balance of wild and luxury. No words can describe how beautiful this place is – the vibe is amazing.’
“We thoroughly enjoyed our spur of the moment adventure and I’m still dreaming of this magical place.”