Today is going to be a long day as we have full agenda to visit as many places as possible, we started early. We leave after breakfast and stopped at a nearby Padang Restaurant to buy lunch. The first two places we are going to visit are pretty remote and there is no restaurant along the way. Unlike Bali, Sumba is still wild and raw. Tourism is not yet developed and Sumba was only started to gain popularity after Mira Lesmana movie was filmed here. There won’t be any good Cafe/Restaurant at natural sites such as lake and beach and none along the road. So everyday you would need to plan carefully where you are going to eat. Always buy food for lunch before starting your day trip.
Since we’re traveling with a 2.5 years old kid, I brought Zojirushi food container and split her food for lunch and dinner. When traveling with a toddler, you always have to make sure she eats proper food on time so she doesn’t get cranky or sugar rush. I also prepare some energy snack and drinks for us.
We are asked to pay contribution fee when we entered Mandorak Beach area. This is not an official contribution, just local initiative because there was no receipt given.
Close to the famous Wekuri Lagoon, Mandorak Beach is located in Kalena Rongo Village and belongs to North Kodi Sub-District. Mandorak Beach is super pretty and took my breath away. It doesn’t have a long shore but the crystal clear blue water, the soft cream sand and how it was surrounded by big coral reefs made the beach so inviting. Its fairly weak waves making the beach suitable for swimming and snorkeling. Thanks to the coral reefs that withhold the incoming waves. I really wanted to swim but we were planning to swim the in the Wekuri Lake so we were just taking pictures while the kids played on the sands. The beach was empty when we were there.
Weekuri Lagoon (sometimes referred to as Waikuri Lake) is an incredible salted water lake located near Mandorak, south-west Sumba. Weekuri Lagoon size is not too large, about almost the size of a soccer field. The water is very clear, so the bottom of the lake appears from the surface, while the sand at the bottom of the lake has white color similar to sand on Sumba beaches. Water is constantly flowing in and out of the lake with waves coming from the ocean through holes underneath the rocks that separate the lake from the ocean. Because of that, there is no stagnating water in the lake.
Sea water enters through the gap of the cliff and mixes with fresh water from the spring. So don’t be surprised if you feel different temperatures when you throw yourself at this magnificent lake. The combination of warm and cold water will be felt in some parts of the lake.
If you want to swim in the lake, made sure you come during high tide. Because at low tide the water will only be knee-deep.
There is a paid bathroom that you can used to wash up after swimming. They would give you fresh bucket of water to rinse yourself.
After cleaning up we walked up to the cliffs that surround the lake. The view from top of the cliff is amazing. We could see the vast ocean and green meadows. Lake Weekuri also looks more turqoise-blue from the top. After all the swimming and walking we found a spot in one of the gazebo and had a picnic lunch.
RATENGGARO TRADITIONAL VILLAGE
Sumba is known for its culture that is still well preserved. Other than natural attractions such as beaches, lakes, waterfalls and stunning savanna hills, Sumba also has traditional villages. One of the many traditional villages is Ratenggaro Traditional Village, the most popular village in Sumba Land.
Ratenggaro Traditional Village is located in Umbu Ngedo Village, Kodi Bangedo District, Southwest Sumba Regency.
Ratenggaro has a very long history, which began in the megalithic era thousands of years ago. From various references, the history of this place can be traced from its name. “Rate” means the grave and “Garo” are the initial inhabitants who occupied this place. During the war among tribes, this village was captured from the Garo tribe and the victims who lost the war were buried in the tomb. The grave stone itself has square shape like a table. These many graves inside the village area made Ratenggaro seem hideous. In total there are around 304 stone tombs located here. The size and sculpture of each stone making this place even more spooky.
Interestingly, the Ratenggaro Traditional Village has other unique things in its traditional house called Uma Kelada. The Uma Kelada has the characteristics of towering towers reaching 15 to 20 meters. The roof is made from rice straw and the height of each house is based on the resident social status. The building is shaped like a stilt house consists of four levels with different functions.
The lowest level is used as a pet area. The second level is the main area for the owner. And above it is a place to store crops. Then on top of the cooking place is a box that is used as a place to store sacred objects. While the top level is a place to put buffalo horn as a symbol of glory. At first glance the houses are similar to the houses of Torajan people and Flores, which there is a pig jaw and buffalo horn hanging as a symbol that the owner of the house had carried out traditional ceremonies.
Ratenggaro is also a traditional village that still holds firmly the preservation of the customs and traditions of their ancestors. This can be seen from the local community belief which are still adheres the Marapu tradition, just like the villages in Southwest Sumba Regency in general. Marapu belief is the root of the social, political and cultural system of Sumba.
Ratenggaro is 20km or 45 minutes drive from Wekuri Lagoon. As we entered the village we were surrounded by little children asking us for money. We have prepared for this so we brought candies to give to them. Do not ever give them money as it can turn into bad habit.
TANJUNG MAREHA AND BHAWANA BEACH
Bhawana Beach is located in Kodi Balagar sub-district, Southwest Sumba Regency. The beach has a high cliff with a hole in the center and becomes the most photographed spot on the beach. Access to Bhawana beach is difficult and because we came in December during rainy season, we couldn’t go down to the beach. So we went to Tanjung or Cape Marehe instead so we could see the iconic hole from the top.
Pero beach is our last destination for the day. Pero Beach is closer to Ratenggaro but because Pero Beach is a favorite spot to watch sunset, we went to Tanjung Mareha first. Pero is also a fantastic spot to watch the blowholes and to take in the amazing view of the western coast.
We ended the day with dinner at Warungku, 20 minutes away from our Hotel.
Here’s our video recap for the day