Wae Rebo Village, an Isolated Heritage in the Forest

In 2012, Wae Rebo Village received an award from UNESCO as one of the Asia Pacific heritage sites. This small village is isolated on a highland, more or less 1100 meters above sea level. With its isolated location, the villagers succeed in rebuilding Mbaru Niang, their traditional house.

Located in Manggarai District, Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara, the villagers are Minang descendants. This is due to the fact that the village’s ancestor was a Minang, the ethnic from West Sumatra around a century ago. The villagers are the 18th descendant of Empu Maro, the village founder. 

The Unique Side of Wae Rebo

In the past years, Wae Rebo Village caught much attention from people from across the globe. Their unique way of living captivates many people. Here is the unique side of the village:

1. Located in the Heart of a Forest

Aside from the high location, Wae Rebo is also surrounded by Todo Forest. Therefore, it has beautiful panoramic scenery that is hard to find in any other place. When reaching the village, you may notice the number of orchid varieties along the way. 

2. There are Only 7 Houses

Although it is a village, you will only find 7 houses in the area. The houses are called Mbaru Niang, which stand tall covered with lontar thatch from top to bottom with conical shapes. Each house has 5 levels with different purposes, such as:

  • The first level is lutur or tent as the living quarters.
  • The second level is the lobo or attic for storing goods and food.
  • The third level is lentar for storing seeds for their next farming season.
  • The fourth level is lempa rae to stock food.
  • The fifth level is hekang kode as the place for ancestor offerings. 

3. Coffee as the Main Commodity

Since it is located in the highland, the villagers live by farming. They have various products such as vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee. But among the three, Robusta coffee is their main commodity and it’s famous for coffee enthusiasts from around the world.

How to Get There and How Much It Cost

By topography, Wae Rebo is the highest village on the island. The location is hard to reach due to its altitude and isolated place. To get there, you have to walk from the nearest accessible village, Denge. It will take you on a 3 to 4 hours trek by foot through the forest before reaching Wae Rebo.

But most tourists who get curious and decide to visit the village state the long hour of walking will pass by. This is because along the way, the vegetation and ferns and also songbirds chirp. Hence, it would feel like being in a panoramic ambiance that you can only get in Disney movies.

To get to the place, you have to pay 200 thousand rupiahs for a one-day trip without staying there. Meanwhile, if you wish to experience living and spending the night there, you have to pay 350 rupiahs. The price is excluded from the local guide that you need to pay separately for 200 to 250 thousand rupiahs. 

But before coming to Wae Rebo Village, you have to know that there is no mobile coverage. Thus, you have to go MIA the whole time you are there. Also, if you are there, do not panic with the limited electricity. Because the electricity will only be available from 6 to 10 pm.

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