Wae Rebo – A Unique Village in Flores Island

Wae Rebo village is a unique cultural site located on Flores island in the East of Nusa Tenggara. The village is isolated but surrounded by panoramic hills and dense forest.

Morning view at Wae Rebo

The location of the village is on top of 1,200 meters above the sea level hill, which makes this village is challenging to visit because you have to hike the hill to reach it.

Another thing that make Wae Rebo unique is its traditional houses. The houses are originating from Manggarai, and it calls Mbaru Niang.

Mbaru Niang House

The houses are tall with conical shape and covered by Lontar thatch from its rooftop down to the ground.

There are 7 traditional houses in the village, and every house has 7 to 9 families. Another interesting of the house is, there are 5 levels in every house, and each level has its own purposes.

The first level is Lutur, is the living quarters of the family. 

The second level is Lobo. It is set to store food and goods. 

The third level is Lentar. it is to store seeds. 

The fourth level is Lempa Rae. It is a food stock-reserve place. 

And the fifth and top level is Hekang Kode, it is a sacred part to place offerings for the ancestors.

Although the villagers of Wae Rebo welcome to visitors, there are rules that need follow and respect if you are visiting the village.  

History of Wae Rebo

The story of the village begin as a man named Empu Maro who expelled from a village and tried to find his own place.

Guided by spirit, he climbed to a hill through Todo Forest, and found a suitable open field and used it as the location of the village today. 

People that live in the village today are his 18th descendants.

Mbaru Niang House - Wae Rebo

How To Reach Wae Rebo

Wae Rebo’s location is in Southwestern part of Flores, and the easiest access is from Ruteng-the capital of West Manggarai Regency.

To reach Ruteng by private transportation, you need to travel on land approximately 3 hours from Labuan Bajo, but by public transportation it takes around 4-5 hours. 

If you use airplane then drop out in Ende, you need to travel around 9 hours to Ruteng.

Now to reach Wae Rebo from Ruteng, you need to go to Denge Village, then travel on land approximately for 4 hours.

How to reach Denge Village by public transportation from Ruteng you can start it from the bus terminal, then find “Oto Kolt” or wooden truck that converted into a bus.

The bus usually departs at 08:00 AM, and takes time to arrive at Denge village.

If you ask me “doesn’t it comfortable with the bus, I will say “not really,” because the truck is full with people plus their stuff and high vol of music.

When you reach Denge village, you need to hike to Wae Rebo and it will take you 2-3 hours, but it depends on how fast you are hiking.

Things That You Need To Know Before You Go

  • Guide. You need a guide to get there, for safety reasons and your guide is the bridge between you and the people of Wae Rebo.
  • Rules at the village. There are rules to follow such as don’t take pictures as soon as you arrive, you need to attend the ceremony, and pay a tribute which is only 50.000.- rupiah.
  • Proper clothes. You will hiking to get there, so make sure you carry only thing that you need. Warm clothes is a must, because it is cold at night in the village.
Wae Rebo

Several Facts About Wae Rebo

  • The ancestor. The Ancestors of the people of Wae Rebo are from Sumatra, from the Minang Kabau tribe.
  • Above the clouds or on top of a mountain. Heard people said that the village is on top of the clouds or on top of a mountain, but the village is on top of high hill around 1,200 m asl and not above the clouds and there is no mountain around except hills.
  • Top Award. Received the Top Award of Excellence from UNESCO in the 2012 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards, announced in Bangkok on 27 August 2012.
People of Wae Rebo

Map To Wae Rebo Village

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