LABUAN BAJO

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West Mang­garai

Labuan Bajo is lo­cated here in West Mang­garai. It is the gate­way to the Ko­modo Na­tional Park as well as sev­eral other smaller is­lands around it. In re­cent years, thanks to ac­tive pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, the area has seen a con­sid­er­able in­crease in tourism. What used to be a quiet fish­ing town is now a bustling tourists’ hub, es­pe­cially for trips to the home of the Ko­modo Drag­ons; Ko­modo Is­land and Rinca Is­land as well as Kanawa, Gili Laba, Bi­dadari and Ser­aya Is­lands which are all points of in­ter­ests and fa­mous snorke­l­ing and dive sites. The Labuan Bajo Ko­modo Air­port is only 2 km away from the cen­tre of Labuan Bajo.

The cap­i­tal city of West Mang­garai is Ruteng, a small town with a pop­u­la­tion of about 35,000 peo­ple. The fa­mous arche­o­log­i­cal site, Liang Bua is lo­cated here and vis­i­tors can also head to Ruteng to view the mag­nif­i­cent tra­di­tional Caci Dance. Ruteng has its own air­port, called the Frans Sales Lega Air­port, also known as Ruteng Air­port.

Vil­lages of Todo and Wae Rebo

Vil­lages of Todo and Wae Rebo in Mang­garai are the places to be to ex­pe­ri­ence unique Mang­gara­ian cul­ture and his­tory. Here is where you’ll find the dis­tinc­tive round cer­e­mo­nial houses and have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­day life of the local com­mu­nity.

The best way to reach Wae Rebo is by hik­ing from the low­lands. De­pend­ing on your phys­i­cal con­di­tion, the hike may take 3 hours through some of the most bi­o­log­i­cally di­verse rain forests in In­done­sia fea­tur­ing in­ter­est­ing veg­e­ta­tion in­clud­ing or­chids, palms and ferns as well as an im­pres­sive pop­u­la­tion of birds.

Once at the vil­lage, vis­i­tors can view the au­then­tic Mang­garai hous­ing called Mbaru Niang or “Drum House” and ex­pe­ri­ence the ev­ery­day life of the local com­mu­nity. You can see how the lo­cals live their day-to-day in­clud­ing cof­fee grow­ing, rice plant­ing and the weav­ing of tra­di­tional Songket cloth.

When the night comes, vis­i­tors are in­vited to spend the night in the cer­e­mo­nial Mbaru Niang, a unique, one-ofa-kind op­por­tu­nity to so­cial­ize and dine with the Wae Rebo com­mu­nity. Sleep on wo­ven mats and ex­pe­ri­ence life when ex­tended fam­i­lies lived to­gether un­der one roof.

Todo is also a great place to view tra­di­tional cer­e­mo­nial houses. The vil­lage used to be the cen­tre of the Mang­gara­ian king­dom and the home of the royal clan. Vis­i­tors can en­joy the Mbaru Niang houses here in their full and re­con­structed glory.

Liang Bua

Liang Bua is not only a lime­stone cave in the Mang­garai district, it is the place for spec­tac­u­lar ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­ery made by a team of In­done­sian and Aus­tralian ar­chae­ol­o­gists, ge­ol­o­gists and pa­le­oan­thro­pol­o­gists. This is the spot where they found the “Homo Floren­sis”, a new kind of hu­man species with a skele­ton of very small stature, the size of a 3-year old child, 106 cm in height, and brain vol­ume less than a third of mod­ern per­son’s size. The tiny adult fe­male skele­ton which re­sem­bled fos­sils dat­ing more than 3 mil­lion years ago turned lived only 18,000 years ago in a time when mod­ern hu­mans al­ready ex­isted.

Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tion is still go­ing on, with fur­ther dis­cov­er­ies of the bony re­mains of Ste­godons, varans, rats, birds, and stone arte­facts.

Lingko (Spi­der Web Rice Fields)

Th­ese are unique eye-catch­ers, rice fields in the shape of spi­der webs. Al­though nowa­days th­ese fields are used for wet-rice cul­ti­va­tion, in the past they were used by the Mang­gara­ians for grow­ing dry rice, corn, and tu­bers, while cer­e­monies are held at the cen­tre of the lingko. The di­vi­sion of the land is guided by a Tu’a Teno, a tra­di­tional leader of the land with knowl­edge and author­ity over rit­u­als and cer­e­monies re­lated to the agri­cul­tural cy­cle. Ev­ery fam­ily within a com­mu­nity will be ap­pointed the right to work on a cer­tain piece of land. The best place to view a breath­tak­ing Lingko field is in the vil­lage of Cara, sit­u­ated on a small hill 17 km west from Ruteng in Can­car.

Liang Bua

Liang Bua is not only a lime­stone cave in the Mang­garai district, it is the place for spec­tac­u­lar ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­ery made by a team of In­done­sian and Aus­tralian ar­chae­ol­o­gists, ge­ol­o­gists and pa­le­oan­thro­pol­o­gists. This is the spot where they found the “Homo Floren­sis”, a new kind of hu­man species with a skele­ton of very small stature, the size of a 3-year old child, 106 cm in height, and brain vol­ume less than a third of mod­ern per­son’s size. The tiny adult fe­male skele­ton which re­sem­bled fos­sils dat­ing more than 3 mil­lion years ago turned lived only 18,000 years ago in a time when mod­ern hu­mans al­ready ex­isted.

Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tion is still go­ing on, with fur­ther dis­cov­er­ies of the bony re­mains of Ste­godons, varans, rats, birds, and stone arte­facts.

Lingko (Spi­der Web Rice Fields)

Th­ese are unique eye-catch­ers, rice fields in the shape of spi­der webs. Al­though nowa­days th­ese fields are used for wet-rice cul­ti­va­tion, in the past they were used by the Mang­gara­ians for grow­ing dry rice, corn, and tu­bers, while cer­e­monies are held at the cen­tre of the lingko. The di­vi­sion of the land is guided by a Tu’a Teno, a tra­di­tional leader of the land with knowl­edge and author­ity over rit­u­als and cer­e­monies re­lated to the agri­cul­tural cy­cle. Ev­ery fam­ily within a com­mu­nity will be ap­pointed the right to work on a cer­tain piece of land. The best place to view a breath­tak­ing Lingko field is in the vil­lage of Cara, sit­u­ated on a small hill 17 km west from Ruteng in Can­car.

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