visitkhatulistiwa.co – Wae Rebo is a traditional village located in a remote hamlet at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. Precisely located in the southwest city of Ruteng, West Satarmese District, Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. Known as the village on the clouds because of its height, Wae Rebo is surrounded by very beautiful hills. The majestic mountains that surround it make this village isolated. To fulfill their daily needs, the people have to walk through the forest for 9 kilometers to get to Denge, the village closest to Wae Rebo.
UNESCO stated that Wae Rebo was a World Cultural Heritage in August 2012, setting aside 42 other countries. The Wae Rebo village in terms of tourism is very well managed, because the village was accompanied and provided guidance on tourism by the Indonesia Ecotourism Network. The aim of advancing villages that had been less attention was to become a tourist village that attracted many people to come to visit.
Wae Rebo is very famous especially by foreign tourists in European countries because of its high architectural design. One of the interesting things from Wae Rebo Village is its traditional house “Mbaru Niang” which is cone shaped and the roof is made of palm leaves. Here we can find a traditional house which only consists of 7 pieces which have survived for 19 generations. Seven Mbaru Niang gathered on a vast green land with beautiful hills around it, the weather was still very cool because it was surrounded by forests.
The Wae Rebo community is very friendly, they farm and the women make weaving. There is also a coffee garden, usually visitors will be served delicious Flores special coffee. The blend of local cultural wisdom with 7 traditional houses located on the top of a green hill makes this place like heaven on the clouds. Citizens’ handicrafts, coffee, vanilla and cinnamon skin sell well as souvenir items that are brought home by tourists at satisfactory prices.
Route to Wae Rebo
Wae Rebo is not only beautiful but also teaches a new view of life, culture, and fighting values, because of its very high and remote location. Visitors who want to go to Wae Rebo Village in Flores must start from Ruteng. If from Denpasar (Bali), you can go directly to Ruteng by air. If there are no flights to Ruteng, you can use a bus or travel from Labuan Bajo, the capital of West Manggarai Regency which takes around 6 hours. After arriving in Ruteng, the trip continues towards Denge or Dintor Village for approximately 2 hours which is the last village that can be accessed by vehicle.
To get to Denge, you can use a motorcycle taxi or a wooden truck, usually found at Mena Terminal which operates from 09.00 to 10.00. Next the trip is taken by foot to Wae Rebo Village for 4-5 hours. If you want to rest first at Denge or Dintor, there are home stay facilities that can be used to stay overnight. Not far from the home stay there is an information center and library.
The journey to Wae Rebo in the valley between the mountains can only be reached by foot. For approximately 4 hours the terrain varies from rocky roads, uphill dirt roads to past rivers with bamboo bridges. It’s not easy, but it will be rewarded with an incredible view. It is a good idea to hire a Manggarai local guide as a guide and be asked to help as a porter.
After arriving in the village of Wae Rebo, there is indeed no homestay like in the village of Denge, but visitors can stay on one of Mbaru Niang’s residents. No need to worry because electricity is available in this village, even though it is only a generator. But in the future a power plant will be built utilizing abundant water sources around the village to replace solar generators. Even though electricity has come here, to maintain the authenticity of the house and their culture, television is still banned.
Wae Rebo continues to improve in receiving guests. To organize the tourism administration they formed the Wae Rebo Tourism Institute (LPW). From this institution, the rate for overnight stays in Wae Rebo includes 3 meals. If not staying, visitors pay different fees. This step is taken considering the maintenance of the village and food items that must be taken from the village below which is about 9 km more. They have to carry rice and other basic necessities to climb the mountain to get back to Wae Rebo. Although tourism is progressing, local residents do not stand idly by. They still try to fulfill their own needs.
Some things that need to be considered
1. Backpack that is strong enough for trekking to Wae Rebo
For the sake of practicality and convenience of travel because you have to walk for 4 hours with a field that is not easy.
2. Hiking shoes that “bite”
The right footwear is important in this trip considering the terrain that will be taken. It is not recommended to use mountain sandals, because if in the rainy season the road becomes muddy and it makes it uncomfortable if the water enters the slippers. In addition, the threat of leeches is also haunting during the trip. Shoes should also be chosen that have soles that “bite” the soil well because in some parts there are sandy terrain that is quite slippery.
3. Jackets and socks to sleep
The temperature at Wae Rebo at night is quite cold because of the geographical location of Wae Rebo in the highlands. Even if you spend the night at Mbaru Niang Wae Rebo bedding and thick blankets, clean jackets and socks will be your god of help at night. Just bring a warm jacket for the night, while the jacket for trekking is not necessary because all the way to Wae Rebo we are protected from the sun by the thick trees.
4. Take cash in Labuan Bajo
After leaving Labuan Bajo no automatic teller machine was found, so it was recommended to take enough cash in Labuan Bajo to pay for lodging, petrol cars, rental guides and porters, and more money to buy Wae Rebo souvenirs sold by the people up there.
5. Backup battery
Anticipating limited access to electricity, it never hurts to carry a spare battery. Actually, cellphone batteries are not needed because since there is no cellphone signal from Denge village. Besides that, it would be better to interact directly with the local community rather than constantly staring at the cellphone screen right?
6. Physical preparation!
Impressive trivial, but this is very important! Long trekking to Wae Rebo requires good physicality, try before starting the journey the body is fit and healthy. The road uphill drains a lot of energy and makes the entire thigh and calf muscles feel burning so tired. Throughout 8-9 kilometers of travel there are 3 stops to take a break. Do not forget to bring supplies of drinking water and snacks during the trip.
It’s not difficult at all to fall in love with this village. Visitors can feel the uniqueness of the culture, customs, friendliness of its citizens and local wisdom that still feels thick in this village. In almost every corner of Indonesia there are places that promise beauty. And Wae Rebo, ready to welcome you. Source: various.
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