Solo Trip to Wae Rebo – the Village above the clouds

  • Using motorbike from Labuan Bajo to Wae Rebo in 4 hours one way, total cost of transport 350,000 IDR (150cc scooter).
  • Hiking to Wae Rebo only took 2 hours, better done in the afternoon before it gets dark.
  • Hiking without local guide is totally safe, the path is clearly seen.
  • Two different routes available: Ruteng (slower by 1-2 hours) and Nanga lili (faster), I explored both routes during the trip.

    Early September this year, me and some friends went sailing to Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara. It was indeed one of most memorable trips for me as Labuan Bajo and Flores were tantalizingly beautiful. Story on my Komodo National Park will follow later, because I am very excited to tell you the story on how I explored the western Flores using motorbike to reach Wae Rebo. A little bit of background, Wae Rebo was not in my itinerary in the first place but a talk with @berlinawantah changed my mind. She successfully persuaded me to go to Wae Rebo and even further to the east to reach Kelimutu (which unfortunately not possible due to the time restriction).

If you are reading and wondering how complicated it is to reach Wae Rebo, or how to go there by going solo, or even wondering on the cost to visit the Village above the clouds, I hope this pretty much explains.

Day 0

14:00 Arriving in Labuan Bajo from the sailing trip

15:00 Found motorbike rental

15:00 – 16:00 Batu Cermin

16:00 – 17:00 Check in Siola Hotel

18:00 – 19:00 Dinner at Port and pack supplies (food and water)

Day 1

06:00 – 08:07 Labuan Bajo to Lembor [Breakfast at Warung Banyuwangi]

08:30 – 10:58 Lembor to Dintor Intersection via Ruteng Route

09:53 Kole checkpoint

11:39 Mules island view checkpoint

12:20 Checkpoint 1 (SDN 1 – Pangkalan Ojek)

12:35 Parking my bike and start hiking

12:35 – 14:30 Hiking to Wae Rebo

14:40 Introduction and arrival ceremony at the main house

15:00 – 21:00 Free time and mingle time with fellow travelers

Day 2

08:03 – 09:35 Descending from Wae Rebo

09:35 – 10:00 Way down to intersection (Left: Ruteng, Right: Labuan Bajo)

10:00 – 10:58 Wae Wanga Bridge checkpoint

10:58 – 12:10 Nangaulik – Lembor [Lunch]

13:40 Arriving Labuan Bajo

Motorbike trip Labuan Bajo – Wae Rebo

You might read some of blogpost about Labuan Bajo to Wae Rebo motorbike route and most will recommend the Nanga lili route instead of Ruteng. I tried the both routes for outbound (Ruteng route) and inbound (Nangaulik). Breakdown on the timing and checkpoint, will be listed on the next paragraph. In order to give you better understanding on my route, please see the map below showing my itinerary:

The Bridge is OPEN already

*Google maps will not show the LABUAN BAJO – DENGE via NANGA LILI because the bridge is not in the map yet, but the actual bridge is there so you choose my DAY 2 route as an alternative to go to Wae Rebo to cut some time

 

 

DAY 1 LABUAN BAJO – DENGE 6 HOURS 35 MINUTES

DAY 2 DENGE – LABUAN BAJO 4 HOURS 5 MINUTES

The reasons why I chose the motorbike as a mode for solo travel were its cost effectiveness, its convenience, its speed, and the easiness and convenience to stop on some beautiful spots to enjoy the moment or taking pictures. You surely will enjoy the 100 loops of up and down on the way to Lembor from Labuan Bajo and vice versa on a motorbike! That was one of my memorable routes on Flores! You can also enjoy riding in a big road with rice field views and hills under a warm sun, running 80 km/hours in a smooth road without worrying of a hole disrupting you. Another memorable moment when you ride in the morning, you got to meet elementary students going to the school or even going back from the school if you ride quite late in the afternoon. They will greet you while waving their hands, saying “Good morning mister!” upon their wide smile of innocence. Oh, I am so in love with Flores People’s warmth. Such a miss that I did not allocate more time for a trip to the eastern part of Flores, Kelimutu and Ruteng.

View on the journey back from Denge – view fo Mules island

Hiking route

Solo hiking is definitely fine! I read some people worrying about solo hiking in Wae Rebo, but you should not worry at all. The path is well defined and you will meet some people on the way up whether they are Wae Rebo’s residence or just a fellow traveler. The hike is not difficult and would be done in 2 hours normal speed, however on some parts there might be steep hiking points that will raise your heart rate up.

Beautiful view halfway on the hike

The temperature is warm there, you just need a light windbreaker or fleece jacket. The coldest timing is on the dusk at Wae Rebo but that would be no problem since the house was pretty warm due to its heat insulating capability.

Recommended gear to hike is shorts, light jacket, t-shirt or workout shirt, hiking hats or headband, daypack, hiking shoes / trail running shoes for good grip.

Cost breakdown

Day 0:

Dinner Labuan Bajo         50,000

Water + snacks                 30,000

Gasoline                             75,000

Motorbike rental              300,000

Siola Hotel                         300,000

Batu Cermin fee               20,000

Day 1 & 2:

Breakfast Lembor day 1 40,000

Lunch Lembor day 2        50,000

Lodging Wae Rebo          325,000

*lodging in Wae Rebo includes lunch, dinner, and breakfast with very humble local food

Total cost: 1,190,000 IDR (10 September 2019)

You can save 150,000 (50%) by renting a smaller scooter bike (110cc) instead of 150cc. And staying in guesthouse with shared dorm room with cost around 100,00 IDR. Then you can afford the trip by spending less than 1,000,000 IDR (840,000 IDR to be exact).

Tips and Tricks

1.      Best time to visit Wae Rebo: dry season to avoid raining (May to September). You would not get the best view if it rains.

2.      What products to try there: authentic coffee and honey.

3.      Where to rent a bike? Pretty much available anywhere in Bajo near guest house area or port. Price all the same – 75k per day for small scooter, 150k per day for 150cc scooter, 300k per day for bigger bike. However, 90% of the motorbike rent are automatic scooter so if you are looking for big bike with manual transmission that would be another challenge.

4.      Is it safe to ride motorbike there? Totally safe, just wear the proper safety equipment and you will be fine.

5.      Motorbike parking during the hike: just before the hiking point, you can park the motorbike on the nearby road. It is safe.

6.      Batu Cermin, is it worth visit? If you have spare 1 hour, you can go pay a visit. It is just okay in my opinion.

7.     How much cash to bring? 1 million IDR for everything including motorbike rental and hotel.

8.      Try having shower on the river nearby the village, instead on the normal shower room.

9.      Bring snacks on your own since there will be no one selling snacks on the way hike and on Wae Rebo itself.

10.   Go to the house on the second left, and meet the head of family there. You can talk and maybe buy some coffee from him.

Personal reflections

Being 2 days without internet or mobile signal, it surely refreshes my mind. Actually, being away from mobile for 2 days were nice!

Wae Rebo Children playing in the afternoon

I met some new friends from a different background and places. Once again, Wae Rebo taught me the old way of communication once again. I met some interesting people as well! Some younger guys travelling from Lombok who just climbed Mount Rinjani (envy!) and how they sold Rinjani on how I would be regretful not going there while I have the chance. Met a Malaysian guy who worked as a natural gas trader, Sumatera couple who went to Bajo and saw lots of Manta (envy again!), a Singaporean who was born in Pontianak before, and a group from one of the housing contractors in Indonesia. What a trip it was!

Wae Rebo has gaining its popularity since early 2000s when the visitor counter only reached 10 in a year to thousands in 2018. If you are going to Labuan Bajo, I strongly recommend you add 2 days extra to go there as well!

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