People traveling to remote lands will naturally have a myriad of questions. If this sounds like you then keep on reading, this is the page that answers the most frequently asked questions received by our reservations staff.
TRAVEL TO INDONESIA, IS IT SAFE?
The long standing Travel Advisory issued by US Department of State for US citizens visiting Indonesia was lifted on May 23, 2010. The United States Ambassador said that the lifting of the travel advisory to Indonesia was because Indonesia had succeeded to intensify the current security and safety measures. He said that the Indonesian government has relentlessly pursued, raided, apprehended and sentenced every terrorism element in Indonesia.
CAN I CHANGE MONEY IN SUMBA?
There are no money changing facilities on the island. If you plan to buy handicrafts at villages then please change your money in Bali before leaving for Nihiwatu. You can use your credit card for bar bills, shop purchases and activities at Nihiwatu but we cannot provide cash advances on your card.
ANY PARTICULAR CLOTHING YOU SUGGEST?
Casual beach wear for day, T-shirts, loose lightweight long or short sleeve shirts and lightweight shorts or pants for evening, lightweight sweatshirt, sarong, hat, sandals, comfortable walking or hiking shoes.
IF YOU HAVE BUGS, DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY PARTICULAR REPELLANT?
We provide repellant in your room. If you want to bring some with you then any repellant with "DEET" will be good enough, a spray on or roll on type is recommended. There are mosquito nets in your room and we fog our property several times each week to keep bugs at a minimum.
IS LAUNDRY SERVICE AVAILABLE?
WHAT ABOUT ELECTRICITY?
We operate generators 24 hours daily using bio-fuel produced by The Sumba Foundation at Nihiwatu. Our power is 220v. The standard plug sockets in your room are for two round pins, for your convenience each room has a universal plug available. If you bring your audio and video equipment please check to ensure you have the right plugs and cords ... and please don’t forget your battery chargers.
CAN I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY FAMILY AND BUSINESS?
Yes. Wi-Fi internet is available in your room. We recommend downloading SKYPE to your laptop as an easy way to keep in contact with home and work. There are also a few places on our property where you can receive a cell phone connection.
WHAT IS THE TIPPING POLICY?
A 10% service charge is added to you bill. Additional tipping is not required but of course certainly appreciated by our Sumbanese staff. All tips are noted on a display board by the kitchen for all staff to see who they came from and the amount. The tips are then divided equally among all staff.
IS THERE ANYTHING TO BUY AT THE RESORT OR NEARBY?
Yes, we have our small “Mamole” boutique that offers jewelry, surf wear, beachwear, Sumba Foundation products and basic toiletries. There also is our staff market stocked with Sumba blankets brought in from the local villages by our staff. You will also be able to find handicrafts of varying quality in some of the villages.
ARE THE COTTAGES FANNED OR AIR CONDITIONED?
All guest accommodations are air-conditioned.
IS THERE ANYTHING FOR CHILDREN TO DO?
We do host many family groups with children and we have become adept at taking care of them while the parents are relaxing or taking part in activities. The activities suitable for children, depending on age and ability, would be soccer, volleyball, snorkeling, boating, fishing, visiting villages, hiking to the waterfall, mountain biking, exploring the reefs on low tides and collecting fossils and shells which are numerous in places. For the younger children we have a nice child-friendly swimming pool and board games. We also have painting and drawing supplies and beach toys.
DO YOU HAVE BABYSITTERS AVAILABLE?
Yes we do have babysitters available. We would need several days advance notice to make the arrangements.
I PLAN ON BRINGING MY MAID, IS THERE ANYWHERE SHE CAN STAY?
We can set up the daybed on the balcony with a mosquito net for her to sleep on or she can sleep at our staff housing facility if there is space available.
WHAT IS THE LOCAL CULTURE LIKE?
Very interesting! This is a primitive culture that only recently stopped headhunting. It is also one of the last practicing animistic cultures in the world. Sumba is famous for its culture and many documentaries have been filmed here.
ARE THERE SPECIAL CEREMONIES NEARBY THE RESORT AND WHEN DO THEY TAKE PLACE?
During the months of February and March the "Pasola" ceremonies take place nearby Nihiwatu. Traditional boxing ceremonies take place starting in August through to January. In July there is a one-week horseracing event that draws horses and riders from all over Indonesia. Throughout the year there are funeral and wedding ceremonies taking place that our guests are sometimes invited to attend.
I AM INTERESTED IN THE CULTURE AND HAVE BEEN READING BOOKS ABOUT THE ISLAND. THERE ARE SOME VILLAGES THAT ARE RATHER FAR AWAY FORM THE RESORT THAT I WISH TO VISIT? CAN YOU CUSTOMIZE A TRIP TO MY INTERESTS?
Yes, we can arrange for everything you need to do anything you want.
SHOULD I BRING GIFTS FOR THE VILLAGERS?
Please do not bring anything except goodwill to the villages. If you really want to help the local people you can buy some handicrafts when visiting the villages, or make a contribution to the many Sumba Foundation projects that benefit the villages. It would be greatly appreciated by all.
CAN I BRING BIBLES TO HAND OUT TO THE VILLAGERS?
No. The religious beliefs and traditions of the Sumbanese are very important to the order of their society. We do not condone any import of outside religious beliefs by our guests; please keep your faith in your heart where it should be. There are already too many Missions on the island who are competing for souls, and unfortunately, we do not see any real benefits being provided by them to the people.
WHAT CAN I BUY IN THE VILLAGES FROM THE LOCAL PEOPLE?
There are exceptional baskets, Sumba ikat weavings, sarongs and traditional knives that can be bargained for and purchased directly from the villagers.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO THE VILLAGES?
Appropriate attire would be a shirt or t-shirt that covers the shoulders with shorts or a sarong.
ANY MEDICINES THAT WE SHOULD BRING?
Yes. We suggest you bring antacid pills, a course of antibiotics, special antibiotics for skin infections, hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic cream or powder, waterproof bandages, and a personal first aid kit if you have one.
SHOULD I HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH MEDICAL EVACUATION COVERAGE?
Yes, this is highly recommended. Please ensure that you have medical evacuation coverage, evacuation from Sumba to a Singapore hospital will cost upwards of $40,000.00
CAN I BE EVACUATED IN A MEDICAL EMERGENCY AND WHERE TO?
If you have medical evacuation coverage a medivac plane can take you from Sumba to Singapore, which has the best medical care in the region. We cannot be held responsible for any medical emergency evacuation costs. If you do not have an evacuation policy expect to pay US$40,000.00 just for the evacuation flight, that's not including hospital or other costs incurred.
IS THERE A HOSPITAL NEARBY?
There is a local hospital in Waikabubak, which is a 40 minute drive away from the resort. The facility is limited and not capable of providing the medical care you would be accustomed to.
DO YOU HAVE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SUPPLIES AT THE RESORT?
Yes we do have comprehensive first aid supplies. The Sumba Foundation medical staff are capable of assisting with minor ailments and sutures, there will be a charge for this service with all proceeds going to support the Foundation. Occasionally we do have volunteer medical doctors staying with us who are able to help guest in emergencies.
WHAT ABOUT MALARIA?
Malaria is common in most of Indonesia, and Sumba is no exception. We take malaria seriously at Nihiwatu by regularly fogging the resort and the surrounding area. The rooms have mosquito nets and are sprayed daily by our housekeeping staff. If you are concerned we recommend that you wear a light and loose long sleeved shirt at night with similar long pants, use insect repellant, and you should not have a problem.
SHOULD I TAKE A MALARIA PROPHYLACTIC?
We are not concerned about you contracting malaria at Nihiwatu but there are opportunities for contact in the villages. Remember that, depending on the medicine, you must start a course before arrival and continue after you leave. We recommend "Malarone" because it appears to have no side effects. "Larium" is the most readily available malarial medicine, however many people do experience uncomfortable side effects.
DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN FISHING EQUIPMENT?
We do have the right gear, Shimano rods, Okuma and Penn International reels, but if you are coming to do some serious fishing you should bring your favorite rod and reel. Many guests also bring their own lures but often they are not suitable for the conditions at Nihiwatu. We do not have fly-fishing equipment, so if that is your passion please bring your own with you.
SHOULD I BRING MY OWN DIVING EQUIPMENT?
Occasionally guests do bring their own equipment but it is not necessary since we do have everything available. However if you prefer to use your own BCD, regulator, wetsuit, fins and mask please bring them with you, especially if you need extra large or small sizes. We do need you to bring your dive log and proof of certification. Without it you will be required to take a check out dive with our instructors before venturing out to the deep.
I LIKE TO RIDE HORSES. WHAT ARE THE HORSES LIKE AND WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
All you need is a pair of long pants, preferably jeans, and a pair of sport shoes. The Sumba horses are smaller than the western horses you would be accustomed to but they are strong and powerful enough to take you anywhere and at any speed you are comfortable with. Be advised ... Sumba horses are more wild than tame.
DO YOU HAVE BOOGIE BOARDS AND OTHER BEACH EQUIPMENT?
We have boogie boards and snorkeling equipment you can use free of charge.
WE WILL BRING OUR SURF BOARDS. ANYTHING ELSE NEEDED FOR SURFING?
The usual. Wax, extra heavy-duty leashes, booties, rash shirts, surf cap, serious sunscreen, first aid kit, extra fins, travel sized ding repair kit.
PLEASE TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT THE NEARBY SURF BREAKS.
Nihiwatu is the best break but and there are others not so far away. You may want to consider a boat charter to cruise the coast and explore for waves that are out there to be found. The best months for surf explorations are March to end of April and September through November when the trade winds are low.
ANY OTHER TIPS OR SUGGESTIONS?
Bring your cameras, laptop with extra flash drives for photos, do your push ups and get ready for a great time.