Bajawa

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Flores Bajawa

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Introduction

Bajawa is the capital of Ngada Regency. The town lies at 1,100 metres above sea level, surrounded by mountains that are higher still. Bring warm clothes if you intend to stay here in the evening. The main attractions of Ngada Regency are its traditional villages. In between visiting these one can climb Mount Inerie (2,227 metres), hike to a crater nicknamed ‘Mini-Kelimutu’ or soak in the hot pool at Mengeruda village.

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Sights and Activities

Bhaga and Ngadha of Mari

Bhaga and Ngadha of Mari

© theo1006

  • Traditonal Villages - You won’t have time to visit all traditional villages around Bajawa. To mention the most popular: Mari (closest to town), Bela (about 10 kilometres south of town), Bena, Luba, Gurusina (the last three close together about 20 kilometres south of town). You should come with a knowledgeable guide who can explain the meaning of the wood carvings and ornaments. In all villages the houses are situated around a central field and in the middle of the field are the bhaga and ngadhu. A bhaga is a pole with a conical thatched roof representing a male founding ancestor. Similarly, a ngadhu is a miniature thatched-roof house representing a female ancestor.
  • New and Old Wogo - Wogo is another traditional Ngada village, one of the largest, with nine ngadhu and bhaga, which is to say that there live nine family groups in the compound. At some time in history the Old Wogo site became too small for the growing population, when it was decided to collectively move over to the present location. What remains of Old Wogo are the megalithic ancestor tombs. They lie on a long, narrow strip of land, where houses once stood on both sides. The site, at one kilometre from present Wogo, still serves for ceremonial purposes. Wogo lies in Golewa district, 20 kilometres east of Bajawa.
  • Mount Inerie - With its almost perfect conical shape, Mount Inerie is a landmark visible from Bajawa and around. The trail to the top is rough, but can be negotiated in three to four hours. One starts at an elevation of 1,100 metres, the summit is at 2,227 metres above sea level.
  • Mengeruda Hot Spring - The hot spring at Mengeruda village near Soa Airport is usually referred to as Air Panas Soa. The flow is enormous, filling a vast pool and still most water drains away though a rivulet. The temperature is such that one can’t stay longer than a quarter of an hour in the pool. The resort around the springs is in disrepair.
Wawo Muda Crater

Wawo Muda Crater

© theo1006

  • Wawo Muda Crater Lakes - A minor eruption in 2001 put Wawo Muda volcano on the tourist map. In the rainy season the scarred crater landscape features five small lakes of an orange to deep red colour, earning Wawo Muda the nickname 'mini-Kelimutu'. The colours are supposedly caused by iron compounds. However, during the dry season the lakes gradually dry out. The crater is a ten kilometre drive north of Bajawa plus a full hour hike from the parking. One has to walk clockwise around the crater, until a point from where a precarious path leads down into it. It is advisable to have a guide pointing out the right way down.
  • Malanage Hot and Cold Rivers - After a day visiting traditional villages, or coming down from Mount Inerie, you may welcome a bath at the confluence Wae Bana and Wae Robakaba rivers. Just take care to find a spot where the mix of hot and cold water has just the right temperature. Location: Dariwali village, Jerebuu district, 15 kilometres south of Bajawa and about 10 kilometres by road from Bena and Gurusina traditional villages.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bajawa is served by the small Turelelo Soa Airport. NAM Air and TransNusa operate flights to and from the provincial capital Kupang, while Wings Air operates flights to and from Labuan Bajo. Susi Air flies with small planes between Bajawa and Waingapu on the island of Sumba.

By Car

It will take seven hours by road from Labuan Bajo, 260 kilometres to the west.

By Bus

All buses from Labuan Bajo stop here for the night before leaving the next morning, but you might as well stay an extra day and make a tour of it. The cheapest option from Labuan Bajo appears to be the Gemini bus, which leaves at around 05:30 from the ferry jetty - free hotel pick-up can be arranged. Expect a long (12 hours) and bumpy ride with little comfort. However, the incredible scenery and friendly passengers and passers-by compensate a lot. Gunnung Mas offers the ride from LBJ for Rp 200,000.

Public buses stop at the junction from where bemos wait to take you the 2 kilometres into town. Expect to be asked to pay Rp5,000 although less should suffice.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 24. Last edited at 8:40 on Apr 1, 20 by theo1006. 5 articles link to this page.

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