Take in the unique architecture found on the small island of Sumba. Take the Lazy River Boat Trip and explore Islands from a different point of view.

I knew I’d arrived in Sumba when I reached the unusual-looking buildings. I did some research around this island before my expedition and had heard that this place is one of the least understood and most unexplained islands of Indonesia! It’s a place where ancient rituals and cultures are still a strong part of everyday life.

And I saw some evidence of this during my visit; the tall hat like roof on top of the buildings is a unique design to this part of the world – and is thousands of years old! Read more about the spiritual villages of Sumba here.

Sumba school roof

I’d been looking forward to visiting Sumba, as I knew this was where I would have the chance to hop onto a boat for a trip down the Lazy River. The river flows around all the islands I visited on my expedition; so I was excited to be able to take my exploring skills to the next level and observe the islands from a completely different viewpoint.  I was also looking forward to sitting down and relaxing for a short break.

Sumba is home to only a small number of mammals but is especially rich with birdlife – there’s nearly 200 species of bird living within the forests on this small island which are threatened with habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade.

On my way towards the Lazy River I came across a bird market selling handmade bird cages which also contained some of the world’s most endangered species.

Songbird market theming on Islands at Chester Zoo

The illegal caged bird trade is a big problem, not just in Sumba, but across most of South East Asia as I’d already discovered in Bali. It’s a trade threatening many species of bird with extinction. 

Katie – budding conservationist


  • Look out for the usual hat-like structured buildings; a design unique to this island
  • You can officially class yourself as an island hopper now you've reached Sumba
  • Make your way past the Sumba school and the market stalls to the jetty and hop onto one of the boats for a trip down the Lazy River
  • Keep your eyes peeled for any bird markets - a problem that is threatening many species of bird with extinction
Read more