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Wae Rebo Village, Visiting a Custom Village in Flores

Wae Rebo Village is a custom village in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. Precisely, it located  at Satar Lenda, Satamese Barat Sub-district, Manggarai Barat Regency. The resident in Wae Rebo comes from Modo Tribe. Then, what makes the village becomes so special? The reason is because its village ever got a reward from UNESCO for the conservation of culture heritage. The local residents still defend the tradition and culture from generation to generation.

Wae Rebo itself has meaning as a spring and physically Wae Rebo consist of 7 custom house named as Mbaru Niang. It has cone shape with diameter around 12 – 15 meters and 8 – 10 meters height. Path of the roof is dangle and almost covering all of the house. The house itself is made from certain grasses and coated by ijuk or palm fiber from the sugar palm in order to have strong condition as the wind and water attack the house. 
Some people consider Wae Rebo Village as ‘international village’ because among local village, you will find foreigns who stay together with local village. The popularity of Wae Rebo has been spreading since UNESCO nominated the village as unique village in the world. It can be said that Wae Rebo is a new magnet to attract tourist from all around the world to come. 

Wae Rebo Village is built on Pocoroko Mountain with 1,100 meters above sea surface and facing to Hindia Ocean. Besides having unique architecture and location, the pattern of the custom house of Wae Rebo also special because it has circle pattern and in the middle there is a rock with square shape. On this square spot, there is kind of altar made from bamboo named as Compang for custom ceremony to put the offering to the anscestor. 

At the moment, Wae Rebo Village becomes one of tourist destination in Flores, particulary from foreign countries. It can be seen from the guest book and the wave of tourist to Wae Rebo Village has been increasing. Now, if you interested to visit one of unique village in the world, you can concern to some conditions there.

When is the right time to visit Wae Rebo Village?
The first thing you need to consider before visiting Wae Rebo Village is about timing. As you know, the topography of Florest is hilly with windy access. Plus, to reach the village takes a long hour, especially if you are taking public transportation. 

Then, what about the route to Wae Rebo Village? Actually, the village can be reached from many directions. You can start it from Ruteng or Labuan Bajo. If you come from Labuan Bajo, you can follow the route : Labuan Bajo – Lembor – Pela – Todo – Narang – Dintor – Denge – Wae Rebo. It takes around 6 hours from Labuan Baju to Denge by driving a car. 

The Denge Village itself is the last village before reaching Wae Rebo Village. And from Denge to Wae Rebo, you have to go on foot and normally it needed 3.5 hours. So, the total time from Labuan Bajo to Wae Rebo is around 8 – 10 hours. Means, you have to start in the early morning. 

The calculation above is by driving a car. Now you can immagine how long it will be taken if you take public transportation. Off course it will take longer time and one thing you have to remember is that the access of transportation is not adequate. 

Transportation to Wae Rebo Village
As you know from the explanation above, the public transportation in Flores to Wae Rebo Village is not adequate. Even, the transportation from Labuan Bajo to Denge is not available. So if you want to go there, you have to go through Ruteng at first. 

And that means you have to go around. So, the only one solution is by renting a car. Although it will be more expensive, but if you go to Wae Rebo Village with a group (4 – 6 passengers), it will be cheaper, isnt it?.

Where to stay during traveling to Wae Rebo Village
Looking for a hotel or homestay along the trip from Labuan Bajo to Denge is not easy. So, the schedule of your depart toward Wae Rebo Village will influence where you will stay. Actually, you still able to find a homestay in Dintor Village and Denge Village. Just try to arrive to both village before dusk. 

If you plan to stay at Denge Village, you can go to Mr Blasius Monta house. There are 11 rooms and you need to pay IDR150k per person. However, if you prefer to stay in Dintor, you still have to go to Denge, then hire ojek (motorcycle transportation) which is taken around 20 – 30 minutes.

If you think you able to arrive at Denge in the day, you may continue directly by treking to Wae Rebo without staying in Denge. Just note that you have very good stamina because you will have to go on foot for about 3.5 hours, climbing to the hill and pass the forest. For this point, it will be depend on your arrival. However, you are suggested to stay in Denge so that you can take a rest for a while before treking. But, Wae Rebo Village also have homestay and you need to pay IDR250k. 

Route from Denge to Wae Rebo
The route of treking from Denge to Wae Rebo is dominated by sandy and rocky access. Sometime you have to go through the edge of hill and forest with ascend and descend route. In other time, you will pass the river and simple bridge. You have to be very carefull because there are some landslide spots from Denge to Wae Rebo. 

Therefore, you have to prepare your stamina and proper equipments. If you go there in the rainy season, your journey will be harder because the access to Wae Rebo Village will be muddy.

Ceremony to welcome guest in Wae Rebo Village
Each guests who visit Wae Rebo Village have to be welcomed by Waelu Ceremony. The point of the ceremony is kind of welcoming the visitor and this will be done by the leader of tribe. He will welcome and pray for your goodness and safety during your visit to Wae Rebo Village. Perhaps, it sounds strange for foreign but this is kind of tradition and there is nothing wrong to accept it.

To respect the custom and tradition in Wae Rebo Village, you are also suggested to wear proper dress. If you against this, the local residents may address you. Besides that, if you want to take the picture, you need to ask permission because sometime, they mind and will up set to you. One thing you need to remember is by bringing sweater or jacket because the atmosphere in Wae Rebo Village is hilly and it will be cool.

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