HOW TO REACH THE TRADITIONAL VILLAGE OF WAE REBO?

The traditional village of Wae Rebo is worth a visit for its stunning panoramas dan cultural heritage. But the village is situated in a remote valley. How do we reach the village? Here are some info and tips

Wae Rebo is located in western Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province in Indonesia. It is situated on a plateau, high in the Manggarai Highlands, surrounded by ruged mountains. To reach the village, we can start from Labuan Bajo, a gateway for those who want to explore Komodo National Park and Flores Island. To get to Labuan Bajo, as of November 2021, we can fly directly from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, or from Bali. The flights take about 2.5 hours and 1 hour respectively

From Labuan Bajo, we will travel to Denge, a coastal town, for about 300 km or about 5 hours. Cars are available for rent in Labuan Bajo, ranging from about IDR 900,000/day to 2,500,000/2-day. We will mostly pass through a mountain range – going up and down on winding roads. The travel probably will make some of us sick – as occurred to me when I went there – so be prepared to take some pills to treat sickness. However, the panoramas along the way were gorgeous – we will see lush hills and mountains, stretches of green rice fields, and breathtaking beaches and seas. After the 5-hour drive, we will arrive in Denge, where we can stay overnight at local homestays, or go directly to Kombo, a point where we begin our trek to the village. To get to Kombo, which is about 5 km away from Denge, we can ride a local motorbike taxi for about IDR 50,000/way.

The trek is quite challenging if I say so for myself. It’s a 5-km zigzag track going uphill passing by dense forests. Some of us may find a walking stick useful, which can be rented from a local at Kombo for IDR 10,000. Some of us also can hire a porter’s assistant to carry our belongings (about IDR 250,000/porter/2 days). I would suggest that we bring as little as possible, wear solid trekking shoes, bring a honcho or rain jacket, and bring some energy bars, and necessary medicines. It’s a cardio experience so prepare yourself before trekking (I went to the gym for a one week of workout before the trekking). But the track also offers stunning panoramas. If we go with a guide, he will share with you some knowledge about local flora and fauna. Here is an awesome opportunity to enjoy nature – to take a deep breath of fresh mountainous air and see and hear nothing but nature.

The 5-km track is worth the effort because, at the end of the it, we will be offered a stunning panorama of the Wae Rebo village.

The trek back to Kombo should be easier because we mostly go down the hills. It’s just we would still be affected by the fatigue from the trek on the day before. Besides, we still need to be careful because most of the track surfaces were still rocky and can be slippery after rains. After we get back to Kombo, we will ride on a motorbike taxi that will take us back to Denge.

The accesses to Wae Rebo – either from Jakarta, Bali, or Labuan Bajo and vice versa – are one element that make up a tourism system. To get to a tourist destination, access is a requisite – from roads to railroads to water and air travel. The transportation modes we use also are part of the access element, such as cars, trains, boats, ships, airplanes, and others. For the time being, with an increase in tourist number to Wae Rebo, the government is improving the track from Kombo to Wae Rebo. Currently, blocks are paved to harden the surface of the initial part of the track. The track has been used by local villagers to get to Kombo and vice versa. The improvement of the local access is one consequence of local tourism development as tourism requires physical development to facilitate visitors. I personally think it is a positive impact as long as the physical development also benefit local communities and does not damage local natural environment. You can also share what you think about this on the comments below.

 

Teguh Amor Patria, PhD