Three-Night Island Adventure at Nihiwatu

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  • Overview Details

    Years ago, if you’d have asked your friends where Sumba island was, you may have received clueless responses or at best, smart guesses. And for good reason too. Compared to Bali, Jakarta or Komodo, Sumba wasn’t exactly a top-of-mind-recall destination when it came to visiting Jakarta, seeing how you’ll not only need to catch a domestic flight, but also navigate your way around the island filled with more than half a million locals who still practiced their tribal rituals. Apart from the obvious language (and dialect) barriers, five-star luxury resorts weren’t too either.

    That is, until the birth of Nihiwatu five years ago. A former surf lodge, hotelier James McBride and billionaire Chris Burch worked hand-in-hand to create a luxurious local retreat for those who wanted to experience a personal journey into the unknown.

    Now, however it seems, the world can’t stop raving about it. Voted by Travel+Leisure magazine as the World’s Best Hotel last year, Sumba has been propelled to fandom like no other, much to the dismay of avid surfers (the island is known for it’s ‘God’s Left’ waves and four-metre swells).

    But all’s well with one of Indonesia’s exposed secrets. With just 28 pool villas, you can put your fears of visiting an over-hyped tourist destination to rest. All meals, and many land and non-motorised sea activities are included in the hotel’s package, which means you just need to turn up for activities and meals as and when you’d like. The resort is also home to its own chocolate factory, where those with a sweet tooth can take part in daily workshops.

    Three-, five- and seven-night packages are available, with the latter two offering additional activities such as rice island trekking and reflexology, deep sea fishing, waterfall trekking, and stand-up paddle boarding in the river. You’ll be thankful for your villa when your adventures for the day end: the bedrooms open to a platform among the trees, and you can enjoy an outdoor jungle shower.

    While you can decide on the activities, I’d recommend spending at least one of the days with the Sumba Foundation. You’ll visit a local school, mingle with the students, and best of all, learn about the locals, tribes and heritage.

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"Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you."

Annie Dillard