Nicole Schick, PhD
La Jolla, California Travel Agent
Nihi Sumba: On the Edge of the Wilderness in Bali
When you arrive on Sumba from the hustle and bustle of Bali you realize you’ve stepped back in time to a nature lover’s paradise, an untouched island with a sense of remoteness that is hard to find. Sumba has one traffic light, several stunning waterfalls, blue lagoons, empty beaches, and lush valleys. The biggest surprise is its intact castes society and ancient animist religion that uses megalithic burial sites for funerals with expensive animal sacrifices. If you ever wondered about the tall conical thatched roofs you encounter while visiting the local villages; they’re meant to provide a space for ancestral spirits to reside. Nihi Sumba is a wonderful home to explore Sumba from. Bring good insect repellent and a sense of adventure and even back home you will still feel the pull from Sumba in your heart.
Nihi Sumba formerly known as Nihiwatu resort is on the 1.6-mile-long pristine tropical Nihiwatu beach with a world-famous surfing break. The resort sits on 567 acres of tropical forest, rice paddies and grassland of which only 65 acres are (and can ever be) developed, you can’t get closer to unspoiled nature.
Nihi Sumba has only 30 unique rustic-lux villas spread out on a hillside, all with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and ocean breezes. Each villa has the characteristic Sumbanese conical thatched roof, minibar, Nihi Sumba natural toiletries, tea and coffee making facilities, canopy beds, private gardens, outside dining area and private pool. There are 1 and 2 bedroom villas and 3 to 5 bedroom estates all with individual charm. You may decide to stay in a Marangga villa right at the beach, with your own outdoor bale or you can choose a treehouse villa with an upstairs bedroom built in the style of a Subamnese house. There is the right villa for every family.
Nihi Sumba’s gastronomical heart is the Ombak (meaning wave front) restaurant with sweeping ocean views and a sand-between-your-toes laid-back atmosphere.Ombak serves breakfast, and dinner and there are special dining experiences created at Ombak during the week such as an elaborate Indonesian buffet night or a spectacular BBQ. Good to know for families; the kids menu is varied and also serves breakfast for dinner! The Ombak Bar provides a meeting point after dinner for guests and staff to share the day’s adventures.Kaboku (Sumbanese for “Fish”) is the beachfront sushi bar limited to 6 people per seating for a seven-course menu of fresh seafood prepared Omakase style. Lunch is served at Nio Beach House or the pool and everybody meets at the Boat House to watch the sunsets with a drink. Additionally, private bespoke dining experiences in remote and exotic spots can be arranged and room service is available from 6am to 10pm.
Nihu Sumba has everything to make everyone in the family happy- water sports facilities, beach cinema, over the edge pool, spa, horse stables, yoga pavilion, gym room, pool and ping pong tables and a chocolate factory.
I was truly impressed by the variety of experiences offered and especially the thought that went into creating kids activities.You can easily spend the whole day at the pool or on your outdoor bale, but there is so much to explore and see and the decision of what to do is not easy. Nihi Sumba classifies its plethora of experiences as water, wellness, trekking, equestrian, cultural and kids experiences– you’ll find many options to choose from in each category. One of the experiences that stands out is Stand-Up Paddle boarding on the river and getting splashed by the local kids that jump into the water when they see you. Another great experience is horseback riding at sunrise or sunset, galloping along an empty beach. My favorite was the Nihioka Spa Safari - a 90 minute hike to the Spa Pavilions through a local village and past splendid lookouts before your breakfast and spa services.Three kids experiences are included per day and the items to choose from are fishing, kids pony club, kids yoga, visiting a local village-bringing along a soccer ball, weaving and basket making, Sumba bracelet making, releasing turtles, chocolate making, scavenger hunt, rock painting, cookie making and cup cake decorating and coconut beach games to name a few!
Our adventure started at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar (DPS) with a 60 minute flight to Sumba Island’s Tambolaka Airport (TMC). Luckily, our trip included the VIP service with an airport concierge who accompanied us to our gate. Upon arrival at Sumba airport we enjoyed a meet and greet at the gate followed by a transfer to the resort with an open-top Land Rover- an Africa meets Asia experience. The 90 minute drive to the resort went by quickly, as you relish the fresh coconut milk in the car with freshly baked brownies. We really enjoyed the drive through the Sumba villages waving back to smiling children.Alternatively, you can fly to Sumba island from Java connecting through Kupang.