Waingapu is the largest town on Sumba and the capital town of the East Sumba Regency. Waingapu City is the name of the city sub-district which is also the capital of East Sumba Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. The area of this sub-district is around 191 km2 with a population in 2020 of 39,690 people and a density of 538 people/km2. The capital of the sub-district is located in the sub-district of Hambala.
The original inhabitants of East Sumba are Sumba tribes, as well as those in the city of Waingapu. In addition, there are also other immigrant tribes from around the province of East Nusa Tenggara, such as the Alor tribe, Flores tribe, and also immigrants such as Javanese, Bugis, Balinese, and others. Meanwhile, the language used in the region besides Indonesian, local residents use Sumbanese with Ligar Kambera accent, an accent commonly used in the East Sumba district.
Waingapu is the gateway town to Sumba and many visitors arrive here. Tourists coming from Jakarta to Waingapu must transit in Kupang (El Tari Airport) with a total travel time of up to 11 hours. The airfare is about 3 million. Bali – Waingapu direct flight has a travel time of 1 hour 40 minutes with ticket costs starting at 2.3 million Rupiah. The cost for the Waingapu destination is more expensive than Tambolaka because it is located in the easternmost of Sumba Island.
- 1 Umbu Mehang Kunda Airport (WGP IATA formerly known as Mau Hau Airport). A small single runway regional airport served by a few regional airlines. The main airlines are Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) and Nam Air (a subsidiary of Sriwijaya), with both offering flights from Denpasar (Bali) and the provincial capital Kupang. Susi Air operates routes to smaller airports on nearby islands, including various airports on Flores.
The Pelni passenger ship Awu calls in at Waingapu twice on its 14-day round trip of Nusa Tenggara. This allows access from Kupang and several other cities in the region. The Awu is by far the safest and best way to reach Sumba by sea.
The ferry experience is very enjoyable. When boarding expect a tussle as the usually friendly and courteous Indonesians will push and shove their way past anyone to get on. If travelling economy class do not expect to get a bunk in one of the many dorm style rooms. The spaces go quickly, so it might be worth taking along a mat to sleep on and a heavier weight sarong for if the weather changes. Quite frankly, it's better on the deck as the rooms are very hot and do have a very strong odour. On the subject of odours, be prepared for the bathrooms. Not well maintained or cleaned very often, just be aware. Wet wipes for washing hands are recommended.
Food is served 3 times a day, just listen out for the words "economy" on the loudspeaker. Just follow the crowds. You'll need to take your ticket with you. It's not much, so you might want to bring along your own food; dry biscuits and so on. Bearing in mind the state of the toilets a lightweight diet may be in your favour. Hot water is available for a few thousand Rupiah from the little kiosk.
From Lembar to Waingapu is about 26 hours.
- Prailiu Village, 3 km from the city centre on the road to the airport has impressive megalithic tombstones and really good examples of hand woven Sumba ikat cloth, coloured with natural dyes in traditional designs.
- Rende Village (sometimes spelt Rindi) has large traditional houses with imposing megalithic tombstones, about 70 km east of Waingapu, or 7 km east of Melolo.
- El Cafe Sumba
- Mr. Cafe
- Warung Makan Babi Guling "Muncul Jaya Indah": a simple yet nice Balinese eatery at an unsuspecting place. a portion of nasi campur (mied rice) is Rp 25,000 (as of Dec 2018).
- Hotel Elvin, Jl Jend. A. Yani 73, ☏ . 2 stars hotel in Waingapu.
- Hotel Merlyn, Jln D.I. Panjaitan.
- Hotel Jemmy, Jln. Umbu Marahongu. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Big accommodation with many rooms. Offer two types of rooms: a cheap room with fan, and room with aircon at double the price. Most cheap rooms don't even have toilet seat. They also sell food and beverages if you are lazy to go out. Rp 165,000-330,000.