Prailiu, Traditional And Exotic Village in Sumba

Prailiu is one of the many traditional and exotic villages in Sumba. It is located in a suburb area of Waingapu, the capital city of East Sumba District about two kilometers away from the city center. Despite rapid development, traditional tall houses with sharp leaf roofs are still apparent here. However, you can now see many zinc roof houses with different designs. The local government, assisted by the World Bank, is currently reconstructing local traditional houses in this village.

The Prailiu village, Sumba
The Prailiu village, Sumba (Source : duniart.com)

Although most of the local inhabitants are Christian, they still follow local traditions based on their original religion of Marapu. Tall houses and burial processes, for instance, are closely related with their traditional beliefs. Their traditional houses have three parts, representing local cosmology i.e., underground as the home of the dead, the middle part as the home for the living, and the roof as the home of the Gods.

In addition to traditional houses, Prailiu also has a number of original cemeteries.  You can also find the famous traditional woven fabric and its weaving process here.

ACTIVITIES

Hotels usually have their own restaurants such as Merlin, Sandlewood, and Evlin restaurants. At night, there are many food stalls selling grilled fish in Pelabuhan Lama.
Buying various types of woven products is certainly something you should not miss when visiting Prailiu. Each village in Sumba actually has its own special product. Some villages are famous for their woven fabrics, and some others are known for their scarf products. In Prailiu, you can find them all because woven fabrics from various villages in hinterlands are also available here.
Waingapu has many hotels and home stays. Some commonly visited by vacationers are the Hotel Merlin, Hotel Sandlewood, and Hotel Elvin.
You can do many things in Prailiu. Local inhabitants are familiar with tourists and researchers. You can see mothers weaving fabrics who can show you how to weave, spin, and make natural colored dies for yarn. Buying fabrics and various types of woven products are certianly what they expect from tourists. You can walk around the village while observing traditional houses and cemeteries full of carved materials and corpse preserving process.

GET AROUND

You can find rented cars at Waingapu airport. If you are a hotel guest, you can ask for a pick up service. Hotels generally provide rented cars. In the city, there are motor taxis that can take you around. You can just stand by the street, and they will come to offer their services.

GET THERE

Lion airlines has a regular flight to Waingapu airport. It provides flights from Kupang via Maumere and from Denpasar four times a week. Trans nusa also provides this route from Kupang but its schedule is tentative. Batik Air flies with the same frequency to Tambolaka in West Sumba, but from there, you have to take a four-hour drive to Waingapu. Although winding, the condition of the roads from Tambolaka to Waingapu are good. Meadows and savannas in East Sumba provide amazing scenery along the way.

Prailiu village, Sumba
Prailiu village, Sumba (Source : kompasiana.com)

For sea transportation, motor boats from Ende and Aimere in Flores and from Kupang in Timor are available. Pelni ships arrive in Waingapu twice a week.

Tips

Betel is a compulsory dish for visitors. You don’t have to eat it but you have to be polite when rejecting it so as to respect local customs.

Tourists are considered potential buyers by mothers selling fabrics. It is best not to have a quick transaction, but you should have a small talk first. Hospitality will bring many advantages. You will probably be given information about which products are made of manufactured yarns and which are of home woven yarns.

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