The traditional Wae Rebo village is located on the island of Flores in Indonesia. It is a popular destination for travelers who are interested in learning about the culture and way of life of the Manggarai people, an indigenous group that has lived on the island for centuries. We visited the village during our Flores Island trip and really enjoyed spending the night in a traditional house.
Why Visit Wae Rebo Village
One of the most unique features of Wae Rebo is its traditional circular houses, called “mbaru niang,” which are built using a combination of natural materials such as wood, stone, and thatch. These houses are supported by tall wooden pillars and cone-shaped roofs, designed to withstand the strong winds and heavy rains of the Flores Island climate.
During a visit to Wae Rebo, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Manggarai people, who are known for their strong sense of community and their traditional way of life. You can visit the local market, attend a traditional dance performance, and stay with a local family in a traditional house.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Wae Rebo is also home to a number of natural wonders. Beautiful forests and mountains surround the village, and you can take a hike through the surrounding landscape and explore the region’s natural beauty.
What to See in the Wae Rebo Village
In the afternoon, we explored the village and the surrounding forest. In the village, we saw women traditionally crush spices and beans a wooden pot.
The women were drying and roasting coffee beans in one of the houses. They worked in dark, small rooms, sitting around open fire pits. We saw the actual coffee beans as they matured in the fields.
In drying rooms, cinnamon sticks lay on racks. These rolls were most likely coming from the cinnamon tree barks we saw on our hike up.
One of the benefits of spending the night in the village is to enjoy a beautiful stargazing!
Wae Rebo Village History
The history says the village would have been founded about 100 years ago, with some inhabitants retracing their ancestors to 18 generations.
Today, the village is home to about 1,200 inhabitants living in seven houses. The villagers live on cassava and maize; they produce coffee and cinnamon to sell at the nearby market.
The traditions are still strong in the village. After our dinner, local villagers and drum players performed traditional songs in the evening while local kids danced around.
How to Get to Wae Rebo Village
Getting to Denge
Denge is the nearest village to Wae Rebo and can be reached by a 3-hour drive from Labuan Bajo. There is almost no public transport in Flores so that you can get there by car or by motorbike.
Wae Rebo Hike
From Denge, the hike takes about 3-4 hours by foot to reach the village at a 330-foot (1,100-meter) elevation.
You don’t need to guide to reach the village, but make sure to arrive early to secure a spot, as the overnight stay is popular. A night at the homestay costs Rp 200,000 per person, including three meals.
Overall, a visit to Wae Rebo is a great way to experience the authentic culture and way of life of the Manggarai people. Whether you’re interested in learning about traditional customs and beliefs, exploring the natural beauty of the region, or simply soaking up the peaceful atmosphere of this charming village, you’ll find plenty to see and do during your stay.
Have you been to Wae Rebo? What was your experience or preferred thing to do on Flores Island? Share with us your adventures!
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