Ngada District is located in the centre of Flores. Like other place in the island, Ngada offers authentic local experience that make your trip worthwhile. You can find nice places such as traditional villages, natural hot-spring, beach, waterfall and crater that far less-touristy than some popular places, say Bali. You can live the local life and experience local culture without getting bored. You may spend weeks if you wish to explore thoroughly. Well, don’t worry, I have been there for just a day and I found the trip was so much rewarding. Here are some cool things to do when you’re in Ngada area :
1. Visit Bena Traditional Village
Kampung Bena is a-must-visit destination in Bajawa, capital city of Ngada. The village is believed has been exist for 1200 years. Although there are some other traditional villages, Bena is the most popular one. The village is settled at foothills of Mount Inerie, about 18 km south of Bajawa. Bena is famous for its remaining megalith structure and authentic culture of the people. Everything in the village has its own meaning.
The Bena complex is small; there are 45 houses, a church, and a gazebo that is located at the top of the village. As it is situated in quite a steep ravine, the landscape is majestic that you can only feel by experience it. No single picture can describe how stunning it was. Nice, huh? People in the villages are kind and friendly. They are eager to explain you every thing they has.
2. Buy ‘kain Ikat’ and Witness How It is Made
Beside do some gardening, Bena people spend weeks in terrace of their house knitting ‘kain ikat’ or Sarong. If you wish to buy some souvenirs, then buy kain ikat here is way better than in the airport. The price is ranging from Rp 150.000 to Rp 700.000 depends on its complexity, size, pattern, and dye type. Try to bargain if you wish to get it cheaper, yet I guarantee you won’t have the heart to bargain less after knowing that they have put so much effort for a piece of it. I bought it for Rp 200.000 (16 USD) and I was very happy with that.
If you want something more natural, a scarf with natural dye (from certain root, etc) may be a good idea. Although its appearance is not really colourful compared to a textile one, the price, on the other hand, was almost two fold.
3. Experience Malanage Hotspring
From kampung Bena, pay a visit to a hot spring nearby named Malanage Hotspring. The unique things is that there are two streams; a very hot one from Mt. Inerie, and cold one from hills nearby. The sensation you’ll experience is when two streams are mixed. It was warm in upper body, but was colder in lower part. So uniquely relaxing.
It’s not surprising that the place is not like a commercial pool found in Java Island. It is just an ordinary river. There are also many children playing around. Since there was no clear sign available, you must ask local people to find the place. The road was also not really good unfortunately. In addition, you don’t need to pay any ticket, but there were donation box for those who want to donate some money for development of the area.
Despite lack of supporting facilities, I found some foreigners get the place and swim, even with ‘the bikini’s on’ wow I think this is pretty unusual as it was not like in Kuta. Seemed they really had a good time.
4. Taste Bajawa Coffee
Beside megalitic site, Bajawa is popular with its legendary coffee. The main production of Flores Arabica Coffee comes from this region. My friend who are coffee lover said it had unique taste and aroma. If you want a cozy place to have some, “Credo Cafe” is the best in town. You can also buy some boxes for souvenir. Since I don’t really like coffee, I think all kind of coffee in the world is similar 🙄 .
5. Selfie with Mount Inerie
Mt. Inerie (2245 m) is one of the highest mountain in Flores and is sacred for local people. The view of Inerie is quite identical to Mahameru’s from Kalimati, yet it is more conical. Beautiful. If your friend questioning whether your pics are taken somewhere from the internet, then do some selfies to proof you are literally there And here is mine :
In afternoon, the Inerie view was even more magical. Most people who passed through the road near the mountain will almost stop by and get some pictures. Seriously. Local people said, it only takes two hours to conquer the summit from Kampung Bena, tempting, eh? 🙂 . I want to go there someday.
6. Spend Time at Moke Distillery Plant
Moke is traditional alcoholic drink from Flores. It is widely produced in coastal area of Aimere City. In my way to Labuan Bajo, the driver ask our team to come over to a distillery plant of friend of him. The plant is literally a simple distillation of papyrus sap. The long bamboo is a condenser. The distillate is named moke. If you want to buy, a-600 ml of moke cost Rp. 50.000. If you want a more concentrated one, It needs further distillation, then the price is Rp 150.000 per bottle. You’ll get drunk easily if tasted the second one. I’m not drinking alcohol, so I did not taste any single drop of it. Some of my friend bought couple bottles for souvenir. 🙂 . It tastes good they said.
7. Try Tomato-Sauce-food of Flores
When we’re in Flores, there is one thing that almost found in every food we ate; Tomato Sauce. Once, I ordered fried rice in a restaurant, it looked pinky and is tasted a bit sour. Turns out, almost every restaurant from Bajawa to Manggarai served the same type of food. 😆 , are these a coincidence? I have no idea. But, every time I eat something with tomato sauce, it remains me of Flores. So, Do not miss it, so your experience while in Flores will remain forever 🙂 .
How was that sounds? for those who desperately seeking an original local culture with quite limited time, I think these cool things will make the most of your trip.
Have a good day!