PARADISE FOUND: NIHIWATU, SUMBA
Posted on January 31 2017
As you know, we’re always on the lookout for amazing trips around the beautiful archipelago of Indonesia. Exploring new islands, waves, cultures (and coconut tree fields to dance under:). A while ago we heard about this magical surfresort on the remote island Sumba, and we noted it down on our travel bucketlist. Last december, it became reality: we traveled to Nihiwatu! As we now prefer to call… paradise on earth. For a few days of surf, island exploring and soaking up the sun.
No words can ever capture the beauty, energy and magical experience we've had at Nihiwatu.It’s such a different world and we find it so spectacular that it’s still so untouched and not discovered by the mass. We are literally, deeply in LOVE with this oase of beauty, the island and the people and can't wait to show you all our photos and video that we made during our trip! This dream beach holiday must be on your Bucket list. Someday somehow. We’re already dreaming of our next visit. Enjoy our post, we hope this way you can experience a bit of it too and find all information if you're planning a trip here!
// Magical Nihiwatu
Nihiwatu has a 2,5 kilometer private, unspoiled beach, covered with wild coconut trees and a private world class wave in front called Occy's Left. There are 33 villas, each with its own name and unique construction and design. We stayed at Kasambi in two luxurious suites, tucked away in lush gardens and palm trees, a private pool and above all: overlooking the surf break on Nihi beach. Not for nothing the resort recently won the award for #1 Hotel in the World by Travel+Leisure Magazine!
For guests, everything is included. Nihiwatu takes literally all your cares away and has a top notch service level. From airport pickups, to all food and drinks, butler services, activities and even giving you a ride into the wave. All adding up of the ultimate experience of being pampered, destress and fully live in the moment and soak up the intensity of the beautiful nature the island offers.
We met all kind of guests at Nihiwatu. From newly weds on their romantic honeymoon to young families (there are plenty facilities for kids and babysitting options!) to expats from Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia. What made it so special is that everyone is so nice and social with each other. It's not a resort where everyone stays in solitude, people tend to be very open towards each other and that makes it feel like your part of a big family.
// How to get there
Sumba is less than 1 hour away from Bali. So close! And since recent Garuda Airlines and Wings air have daily flights, which is incredible and makes it possible for many people to travel here - even if it's only for a long weekend escape like us! We flew with Garuda Airlines (which we mostly do for Indo trips) from Denpasar and had a perfect flight. Tip: definitely go for the window seat: the view on the Indian ocean is SO spectacular. We landed in the capital Tambolaka, located in West Sumba. Welcomed by a pleasant wall of dry, hot air.
Awaited by a dark green safari Jeep, arranged by Nihiwatu, we started our journey towards Nihiwatu through the mountains towards the East side of the island. From the moment we stepped into the car and drove passed small villages on scenic roads, Sumba stole our hearts. All the kids on the streets and tiny houses waving to us, running towards us, screaming, high-fiving and throwing us the biggest smiles we’ve ever seen.
After 1,5 hour the car slowed down and the big wooden sign ‘Nihiwatu’ appeared. Overlooking a breathtaking exotic valley stretching miles away with nothing but coconut trees, white sand and waves rolling in. Now we understood the slogan ‘The Edge of Wilderness’… We we’re entering paradise.
Once on site we met our personal host during our stay at Nihiwatu: Tinus. A Sumbanese young man, with a genuine smile and glistening eyes, dressed in a cotton warrior attire, sharp word and ikat headband. Getting to know Tinus in the next days, we learn about the traditional way of life, history of headhunters and tribal unity. We had long talks about his local religion Marapu, the peaceful relationship with their ancestors. He works at Nihiwatu for 15 years now. He is beyond proud, thankful and sincere excited to be our host. We found it so beautiful how we connected deeply in such short time.
While we we’re exploring Nihiwatu’s on site infinity pool, exotic gardens, tropical beach hut restaurants and private beach, we’re small talking our quite-okay Behasa Indonesia to all the Sumbanese people. We soon noticed we could’ve easily spoke Chinese. Because Sumba’s dialect and language is completely different. Tinus teaches us there are 6 different regional languages. We wanted to learn a few words. Waru Nuu – Coconut Tree, Bonnu – Ocean, Mata Lodo – Sun. Falling deeper and deeper in love.
// The restaurants
Ok, so as you know us we're huge foodies. Well, Nihiwatu made us so so so happy. The food was... beyond amazing. It exceeded all our expectations. We met chef Patty The main restaurant Ombak has sand on the floor and a big wooden patio with panoramic view on the ocean. At Nio Beach Club and Pool we had the best lunch ever (also super happy with all the health food options!) and the Boathouse has a cute bar where we sipped juices and coconuts after surf. And we had a special private dining one night for Eve's birthday at the 'Mamole' Tree House.
We had absolutely the most fun wave we’ve surfed all year. We we’re in the water with the four us us and just a handful of other people. At the ‘Boathouse’ we stalled our boards (which we all brought, Eve didn’t – but we got her a board for her birthday at Nihiwatu!) and hang out at the bar after surf with a fresh coconut. We could easily hang out here all day! If you’re not a surfer, you can be: there are amazing private surf instructors like Kyle to help you on the wave. Boards are available to use for every guest. If you’re not into surfing; snorkeling and fishing trips out front are amazing.
We woke up every day at 5am for a wave check – and watch the sun rise over kilometers of white stretched sand and the infinity of coconut trees. Birds singing sounds of paradise. It was too surreal to take it all in.
Check out more Nihiwatu surf photos here!
// Island exploration
The next days we spend with early morning beach walks, breakfasts with an incredible view on the Indian Ocean at restaurant Ombak (we saw dolphins twice during our stay!) and exploring the island. We also had beach horse-riding, hidden waterfalls and trekking through the rice paddies on our wish list, but as it was rainy season we had some spectacular thunder shows instead. Guess it was a sign we just have to come back another time :)
Luckily that gave us extra time to indulge on our main hobby: eating. As if the experience and beauty of Nihi wasn’t ‘wow’ enough, the food peaked every expectation we could’ve possibly have. We would recommend to eat as much as you can and take the time to enjoy.
// Nihi Oka - Spa Safari
One of the highlights was an incredible day trip called the ‘NihiOka Spa Safari’. Another experience on its own. Normally a 90-minutes trek will bring us to the venue, but as we totally lost track of time enjoying our morning surf session, we brought with the Jeep. After a short stroll through the coconut tree forest (for us that equals: heaven on earth) we we’re welcomed with a cold coconut and we’re led to our private bale on the cliff, overlooking the ocean. After an amazing barbecue and being in awe with the wild, untouched beach, clear blue waters with turtles around us – we we’re pampered with massages and treatments. Tiny detail: the massage huts are on the cliff. Through the whole where you put your head, a mirror is placed so you overlook the ocean even though you’re looking down. WOW.
// Local Villages
Visiting a local village is an absolute must do when in Sumba. But we do recommend to go with an experienced, local Guide. We found it an incredible, but also overwhelming to witness such poverty up close. Even though the people all seem so content and it’s a fun gathering when tourists like us enter the village. The kids are so adorable!
Check out more photo's of visiting the village here!
Next to the mentioned above activities, there are many more things to do. Here are a few!
- SEA: surfing, snorkeling, ocean and river SUP, free diving, fishing, river kayaking, etc. etc.
- ON LAND: hiking, mountain biking horse riding on the beach, landrover safari exploring the island or visiting the local villages. There is plenty to discover on land. There are excursions, for instance to the Wanukaka waterfall and Rua trekking through the palm tree forrests which are a must!
- SPA & WELLNESS: A massage at the boathouse or on a private joglo on the beach, meni pedi with view on the ocean or in-room treatments... it's all here and we want it all.
- NIHI OKA: unlimited spa treatments in paradise and private beaches. Need we say more? See all our photos here!
- YOGA: the yoga studio is located on top of the Nihiwatu hill and overlooks the Indian Ocean. It's breathtaking and the classes are incredible.
- Chocolate Factory: yes, indeed! For the little ones (and the grown up chocolate lovers, like us) there is a fun chocolate factory and playfield to explore.
// Sumba foundation
We spoke to Rainy and Kenny from the Sumba Foundation. Who are doing amazing work on the island together with Nihiwatu and the support of its guests. Each day they provide school lunch for the kids, as they’re usually send to school without breakfast or lunch and at home only eat a small amount of cassava –the main food on Sumba. The foundation also helps people in remote villages to access to clean water, prevent and treat Malaria and many more incredible projects. We’re so impressed with the love, dedication and hard work.
// Special PROMO
We're so excited to share, that Nihiwatu created a special offer for Indonesians and Indonesian residents and Kitas holders. Perfect for a holiday or long weekend escape! A must-go if you live in Indonesia, it will blow you away. Check it out right here > Nihiwatu Indo Promo For all other information and rates please check Nihiwatu.com/booking.
Thank you Nihiwatu, all the people at the resort and the beautiful island Sumba, we literally can't say enough good things about you. We wanted to extend our stay waaaay longer (a few guests did actually, guess nobody wants to leave!) You stole our hearts and we can't wait to be back!
Wearing our favorite travel styles from Faithfull the Brand