Flores Overland Part II: Wae Rebo “Village Above the Clouds”

East Nusa Tenggara , Local Experience , Travel Guide / October 4, 2015

The Flores overland road-trip continued for around 12 hours from Kelimutu to Manggarai, as we are about to visit one of the most iconic local treasuries in the country, Wae Rebo Village — known as “The Village Above the Clouds”.

Staying at Wae Rebo Lodge in Dintor

We arrived near the foot of Wae Rebo mountain at night in Dintor. Dintor is located 4 KM from the last stop before Wae Rebo mountain, Denge Village. After a long drive from Ende and have our itinerary scheduled to experience Wae Rebo tomorrow, we knew we had to rest well to prepare for tomorrow’s hike. So we stayed overnight at the Wae Rebo Lodge in Dintor before we make the climb tomorrow.

The next in the morning, I just realized awesome the lodge is located as it is located in the middle of the rice paddy fields with nice views on the sea and mountains. The rooms were basic though, but the most important part is that it’s clean.

Pro trip, if you decide to spend your stay here, talk a lot to the locals. The owner was really friendly as he tells us stories about the history around the area.

Price: Rp 200,000/night (Per my visit in September 2015, price includes breakfast)

Contact: 0852 39344046 (Pak Martinus), martin_anggo@yahoo.com

The view of sea and mountains

Wae Rebo Lodge

The paddy fields gives this nature vibes

Hiking to Wae Rebo Village 

There are some things we experience when hiking to Wae Rebo:
1.In order go get to Wae Rebo village, you will need to hike for around 2.5-3.5 hours, depending on your pace and how many stops you take along the way. When trekking, you don’t need special mountaineering equipment because the trail is for beginners. But still, prepare yourself to be fit. Bring basic needs like water bottle, towel, comfortable shoes, and maybe change of clothes if you want to.
2 It’s better for you to depart really early in the morning, preferably before 7am before the fog covers a lot of your view OR the day heats up too much. If it’s foggy, it will ruin the visibility of the view when hiking and even the visibility of seeing Wae Rebo village in panoramic view from above as you get there.
3. Along the way, you will see some mini waterfalls that are really fresh, you can actually take your drinks from there!
4. It will not be rare for you to meet a local along carrying huge sack or other belongings. You know what? The villagers of Wae Rebo usually spend 5 hours going back and forth the mountain everyday daily. Talk about stamina!

I really remembered how the water was so cold, and I re-filled my water bottle here!

The trek already has some decent path

How the fog surrounds our view when trekking to Wae Rebo mountain

When trekking, take your time to enjoy the various Fauna along the way

Almost arrived at Wae Rebo village

Activities in Wae Rebo Village 

It all started in 2007, when a local NGO called Indonesian Ecotourism Network (Indecon) initiated the refrubishment for Mbaru Niang house, along with other donors and most importantly the Wae Rebo community. The role of Wae Rebo community is crucial to maintain the authenticity of the traditional construction. So the Mbaru Niang was actually furbished to a modern one from the traditional. As the tourism potential kept growing, the Wae Rebo people become more aware of the potential of Wae Rebo as an eco-tourism destination.

The story that inspired me is how this village is developed from a traditional in an isolated mountain, to a UNESCO’s Award of Excellence – the highest award for cultural heritage conservation.

Here is our experience in the village:

1. When you arrived, a bell will be pronounced as a sign that a visitor is coming. You will see that Wae Rebo is situated in pleasant, isolated mountain scenery.

2. By the time we arrived on Wae Rebo, our local guide takes us to a spot to see overview of the village from above. We did see it clearly just minutes before the misty cloud covers the view again. Again, it’s better for you to go here early in the morning to avoid the fog going out of the way.

Panoramic view of Wae Rebo, taken from a spot in the top (Ask your local guide to take you there to see this)

3. You will see that Wae Rebo basically only has 7 main houses. The traditional cone shaped houses is called Mbaru Niang. At that time, it was very hot outside, but then we entered Mbaru Niang house, suddenly it felt really cool and mild. Our local guide said that’s because the circular architecture design whom are not only beautiful on the outside, but also usable. The lodge comprises of stage house supported with base topped with wooden materials for the walls. These houses are said to be environmentally friendly.

Authentic Mbaru Niang Houses

4. You will be given the opportunity to see the everyday life of the local community. The villagers does their daily life activities, and is famous for their coffee farming called Robusta, Arabica and so on. Every Sunday, locals often went to weekly market in Dinthor to sell these coffee beans they plant themselves. Even when they’re used to having tourist, we can need to take pictures while respecting ‘em!

5. The mothers also crafted handmade Tenun Fabrics (Kain Tenun) with Flores patterns (each tenun fabric in East Nusa Tenggara area are usually made to be different!). It usually costs starting from Rp 300,000, depending on the difficulty of the creation process.

With a kid from Wae Rebo

Price: 200,000 (Entrance fee + local guide in Wae Rebo) + 50,000 (Tip, depending on how much you want to give)

How to get There

– From Labuan Bajo, you can go to Ruteng all the way to Dintor by land for 7 hours. You can either rent a a car or take a public bus from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng

– From Kelimutu National Park, you can go to Dintor as well and it will take you around 12 hours.


Sabrina Anggraini