THE TRADITIONAL VILLAGE ON FLORES ISLAND

Image by Mahmur marganti - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wae Rebo is a very small village located at the height of 1,200 meters above sea level. It has an immense historical value and won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards of Excellence for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2012. The scenery is amazingly wonderful and it looks like a hamlet in the clouds.

Tourists should spend at least four hours to drive on a seven kilometer mountain road. It’s fun to travel on a curvy and sloppy road. While the travelers are on their way, they’re so happy to enjoy seeing beautiful things in the awesome rural area. However, the best way to explore countryside is on foot.

You need to go to Labuan Bajo before going to Wae Rebo village. Usually, it takes a three-hour flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo. You can fly with Garuda Indonesia Airways or Batik Air.

Tourists can stay in a hotel for a rest. There’re a lot of options to choose, from the cheapest to the Five Star hotels. After refreshing yourself with delicious food and coffee, it’s time to go to Ruteng.

You can go by tour bus or hire a car and driver. Visitors should spend 500,000 – 700,000 rupiah for car service. It’s nice to sit comfortably along the way rather than driving the car yourself.

It’s cheaper to rent a motorbike and you need only spend 80,000 – 125,000 rupiah per day. Riding on bald tires is unsafe in the city, but it is still okay at Labuan Bajo. It is recommended that you should test the brake to see whether it works well before you rent the bike.

It takes 3 – 4 hours to arrive at Ruteng and it is traffic jam free. There’s no worry that you’ll be stuck in heavy traffic. A green carpet of paddy fields that spreads miles away looks as if it is endless. You may wave to the kids you meet on the way while you’re riding your iron horse. The kids are very friendly and perhaps they’ll say long live my super hero.

If you reach Ruteng by tour bus, you can hire motorcycle taxi or Ojek to arrive at Denge. You have to spend at least 200,000 rupiah for one way only.

Later, you should take a four-hour walk on the journey. You pass the river and arrive in Wae Rebo on the valley floor. This is a good physical exercise and it’s very good for health.

You’ll see that there’re only seven traditional houses, which has existed for nineteen generations. The tourists come to see the Mbaru Niang and most of them are much impressed with these traditional houses that they’ve never seen before.

An Mbaru Niang traditional house is made of wood and thatched roof. It has cone shape and the architectural style is very unique.

It is said that a sailor from Minangkabau found the village and became the ancestor in Wae Rebo. He already lived in west Flores for years. As he didn’t have enough weapons, he handed power to his brother.

Empo Maro (the sailor) and his family went everywhere to find a new land for a new life. A fox accompanied them and they reached the mountainous area and settled in the valley.

Empo Rebo then named the place Wae Rebo based on the inspiration he got in his dream. The villagers believe that fox is a holy creature from God and shouldn’t be killed. Eating fox meat should be avoided because it is sinful and unlucky.

Nowadays, the Wae Rebo village is still far away from the bustle of modern life. The rainforest is still in its original shape. All the villagers living there are so happy to preserve their tradition and culture.

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