Ruteng Travel Guide: Explore A Small Paradise in Flores

Ruteng Travel Guide

Besides the heavenly paradise of Labuan Bajo, there is another paradise on Flores Island that you can savor and admire its magnificence. That paradise is called Ruteng, a small town in the highlands located to the east of Labuan Bajo. If you are curious about this city, this Ruteng travel guide will help you.

Without further ado, let’s start by first knowing about the city of Ruteng and the reasons why this city is a must-go when visiting Flores Island.

A Glimpse of Paradise Called Ruteng

Ruteng is a city located in the highlands or more precisely under the foothills of Mount Anak Ranaka. Situated in the western part of Flores, this city is also the capital of Manggarai Regency with an area of about 72.64 km² and a population of about 40,000 people.

Due to its location at the foot of the mountain, this city has earned the title of a chilly city. Here, you can savor and feel the cool refreshing air with many beautiful verdant landscapes.

In addition to the cold city, Ruteng also earned another nickname, the city of a thousand churches. It is not surprising that this city got this nickname as the majority of the population are Catholic Christians. In this region, there are tons of churches that you can easily find while exploring every single inch of the city.

What To Do in Ruteng

As one of the city tourist destinations in Flores, Ruteng offers a variety of tourist destinations that have remarkable views to enjoy. You can check the tourist destinations that this Ruteng travel guide has collected below. Let’s check them out.

Ruteng Old Cathedral

Ruteng Old Cathedral
Ruteng Old Cathedral (source: indonesia.travel)

The first tourist destination you can visit is Ruteng Old Cathedral Church. As its nickname is a city with a thousand churches, it is not complete if you do not visit the Cathedral church which is more than a century old.

To find this old Cathedral Chruch is pretty easy as its shape and design are striking in the city center and shopping area. Plus, the church also has a distinctive color scheme that is dominated by white and red. With these aspects, you can easily find this old church.

In addition, the height of this old church building is about 24 meters, making it quite striking in the middle of the city. There is also a bell tower located at the front of the church. When visiting this church, you will be amazed by the colorful rows of classic glass windows.

Wae Rebo Village

Wae Rebo Village
Wae Rebo Village

If you are visiting Ruteng, this Ruteng travel guide recommends you go to Wae Rebo village. Wae Rebo is one of the traditional villages that is familiar with the past life of the Manggarai people, located at an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level and surrounded by incredibly beautiful hills.

Driving from Ruteng, you have to take a 3-hour trip through the mountainous route which ends in Denge Village. The journey from Denge to Wae Rebo takes approximately 3 hours of climbing through secluded areas. Indeed, the journey is difficult and full of patience, but the sensation and beauty obtained are comparable.

When arriving at this place, tourists will feel the life of the Manggarai people in the past, the friendliness of its citizens, and witness relics from the past that are still preserved today.

To go into this Wae Rebo village, you can spend a budget of IDR 50,000 as a donation for this village. With that budget, you can have access to enjoy a warm welcome along with tea or coffee.

Compang Ruteng Ceremonial Center

Compang Ruteng Ceremonial Center
Compang Ruteng Ceremonial Center (source: Google Maps)

Another what to do in Ruteng is by visiting Compang Ruteng Ceremonial Center. Compang means stone altar, serving as a traditional ceremonial center. It is located in a slightly rounded field on an elevated site surrounded by a low fortress built of rocks.

Formerly, there was a banyan tree standing in the center, but now people replaced it with a smaller dadap tree.

Liang Bua Cave

Liang Bua Cave
Liang Bua Cave (source: astacala.org)

Liang Bua is one of the many limestone caves on Flores Island, slightly north of Ruteng town. It is a prehistoric karst cave known as the place where the fossils of Homo floresiensis, a hominin were discovered in 2001. Indeed, there is much to be gained from visiting this prehistoric cave.

Liang Bua means cool hole or cave in the Manggarai language. There are many unique things that you can relish its magnificent even the road to the cave, gives you beautiful and memorable sceneries.

Cancar Spider Web Rice Fields

Cancar Spider Web Rice Fields
Cancar Spider Web Rice Fields

The next what to do in Ruteng is Lodok Cancar Rice Fields. As the name suggests, the location of this tourist destination is in Cancar Village, about 20 to 45 minutes from Ruteng. Lodok itself is the local language for cobwebs.

Here, you can view a wonderful expanse of rice fields in the shape of a spider web, which is generally a customary tradition of the Manggarai people regarding the distribution of land called Lingko. If you’re interested in visiting this place, you can expect to pay IDR 20,000 for the entrance ticket per person.

Ranamese Lake

Ranamese Lake
Ranamese Lake

If you are up for more of a nature adventure, then go to Ranamese Lake. It is a mountainous nature reserve surrounded by lush green forests. While visiting this place, you can also discover a 21-meter depth crater lake at an approximate altitude of 1220m.

The place is serene with crystal clear water and pleasantly cool air, perfect for walking, trekking, or bird watching. You can also take a tour of the nearby waterfalls with the help of a guide. If you’re interested in visiting this Ranamese Lake, you can expect to pay IDR 5,000 for the entrance ticket.

Cunca Rami Waterfall

Cunca Rami Waterfall
Cunca Rami Waterfall

The words Cunca and Rami denote the concepts of “waterfall” and “forest,” in that order.

To reach this waterfall via the Labuan Bajo route, you’ll need to take a one-hour car ride to Ruteng, then travel approximately 10 kilometers to reach the vehicle stop at Werang. From there, you’ll need to walk for an hour through the surrounding woodlands and farmlands belonging to the locals to reach the waterfall.

Cunca Wulang Waterfall

Cunca Wulang Waterfall
Cunca Wulang Waterfall

Cunca Wulang Waterfall is located in Wersawe Village, Mbeliling, West Manggarai Regency, NTT, approximately 30 km away from Labuan Bajo, situated between Labuan Bajo and Ruteng.

You can get there by car or motorbike, but keep in mind that the road can be challenging due to its winding nature and the presence of large vehicles.

We suggest you to hire a local guide. The path goes in and out of the forest and follows a footpath. Even though the route is relatively easy, it’s a good opportunity for sports enthusiasts to get some exercise!

Ruteng Travel Guide: How to Get to Ruteng

There are three transportation options that you can use to travel to Ruteng. Here is the transportation.

By Bus

Labuan Bajo can be considered the main entrance gate to Flores from the west. Therefore, most travelers who want to go to Ruteng generally use buses from the Labuan Bajo route. The distance between Labuan Bajo and Ruteng is about 140 kilometers which will probably take about 4 to 5 hours to get to Ruteng.

If you want a more comfortable road trip, this Ruteng travel guide suggests you book a seat from a travel or minibus that is air-conditioned.

By Car

The second option is the most expensive but the most comfortable, which is to rent a car or taxi. You can book a car or taxi from the hotel where you are staying.

Later, this car rental will pick you up directly at the location where you booked it.

By Plane

In Ruteng, there is an airport called Frans Sales Lega Airport. Although flight routes change frequently and unpredictably, there are several flight options which generally available. These are the possibilities of the route you may consider:

  • Trans Nusa with flights from Kupang, Denpasar, and Ende
  • Aviastar Mandiri with flights from Selayar
  • NAM Air with flights from Kupang
  • Susi Air with flights from Waingapu

Ruteng Travel Guide: When To Visit

What is the ideal time to visit Ruteng? You should probably know the climate of the city before determining the most ideal time to visit this destination. Ruteng itself has a cool tropical rainforest climate with the lowest temperature of 11 degrees Celsius in July and the highest temperature of 26.3 degrees Celsius in October.

Ruteng Travel Guide: Where To Stay

If you’ve already decided when you’re going to visit Ruteng, it’s time to find out where you can stay temporarily in this city. Below are some of the recommended places that you can book for your temporary stay.

Rima Hotel

Rima Hotel
Rima Hotel (source: Google Maps)

First up is Rima Hotel, an old famous hotel located on Jl. Ahmad Yani No. 14, Ruteng, Flores. This is a hotel where you can enjoy a night in an antique building with a beautiful dark wood structure.

Staying at this hotel means you get two room options from business and economy. The business room provides facilities, such as clean sheets, hot water, hot showers, and western-style toilets. As for the economy room, you can expect clean sheets with a shared cold-water bathroom.

The price you have to spend to rent a room from Rima Hotel ranges from IDR 300,000 to 500,000.

We recommend you to book the hotel directly (walk-in guest) as in their tiket.com listing, the review said that they won’t take any order from an online travel agent (OTA) or online booking because the hotel said they don’t list on any platform.

Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita

Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita
Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita (source: tripadvisor)

Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita is the second alternative. Located on Jl. Ahmad Yani No. 45, this lodging is perfect for individuals seeking a peaceful and clean atmosphere.

With a room price start from IDR 200,000 per night, you can have a delicious breakfast plus a warm hot shower.

Let’s Decide What to Do in Ruteng during Your Next Vacation!

As a small city on the island of Flores, Ruteng offers a wide selection of tourist destinations that are no less beautiful than other cities on Flores Island. This Ruteng travel guide recommends you consider this city as a stopover before you go on an adventure around the island of Flores. So, let’s plan a journey now!

Read More Flores Island Travel Guide: Exploration from The West to The east Part

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