Riung

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Flores Riung

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Introduction

Riung is a small village on the north coast of Flores island, part of Ngada Regency. It is on the tourist map because of the Seventeen Islands Marine Park which can easily be visited on a day-trip by chartered boat from Riung. The “sea gardens” (corals) of the islands are said to be better than those of Maumere. The number 17 is debatable, but adhered to because it is equal to the sacred date of Indonesia’s independence, August 17th. Near Riung is found the only region on Flores mainland where komodo dragons live. They are hard to find in the wild, but a few individuals of another species, varanus riungensis as opposed to varanus komodoensis, is held in captivity in Wai Tompong village.

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Neighbourhoods

Kampung Bugis

Kampung Bugis

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  • Kampung Bugis - Kampung Bugis lies next to the tourist jetty, a 15 minutes walk from Riung market. Here you find the typical Buginese houses on stilts, some very ramshackle. The Buginese are originally from Makassar and renowned as Indonesia ́s best sailors. Some distance to the west is the trade harbour, where almost all supplies for Riung - from cement to rice - are brought from Makassar by Buginese. Some Buginese used to live on the small island Pata and even swam to visit the mainland. But the government has ordered them to come and live on the mainland.

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Sights and Activities

  • Hiring a local boat - It is not necessary to pre-book a boat tour among the 17 islands. One can just walk to the tourist jetty and make a deal with one of the Buginese boatmen waiting there. The standard day trip takes you to the three islands Onteloe (Bat Island). Rutong and Tiga. Bring your own food, water and snorkeling gear. Leave at 8:00am and return at 2:00pm or later. Apart from the boat hire there is a small charge to be paid at a ticket booth, but early and late in the day it is deserted and one pays nothing.
Flying Foxes

Flying Foxes

© theo1006

  • Bat Island - A half hour's boat trip takes you to Pulau Onteloe, better known as Bat Island, and by far the largest island of the seventeen. Your boat will approach the shore where hundreds of flying foxes roost in the mangroves during day-time. A small boat has the advantage that it can come in closer. The water is waist-deep at most, so you can walk to the mangroves and see the foxes much closer than during a Komodo tour from Labuan Bajo. If you disturb the sleeping foxes by clapping and shouting the sight of them taking to the sky is quite impressive.
  • Snorkeling
Varanus Riungensis

Varanus Riungensis

© theo1006

  • Varanus Riungensis - The Varanus Riungensis - locally named Mbou - is said to roam free on the Toropadang Peninsula, at some distance west of Riung. But at Wai Tompong the villagers have been instructed by the government to keep a few of these animals in captivity, as an additional tourist attraction. They have to feed them chickens and eggs, which are a luxury for the villagers, so be prepared to pay a handsome donation. But then you can see this varanus species which in size is intermediate between the komodo dragons and the common monitor lizard. They are not as dangerous as the komodos; the juveniles even can be handled as pets. It is a two hour's boat journey from Riung to Wai Tompong (Tompong river). But it will be possible to visit overland when they have improved the road.
  • Wai Waru Waterfall

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Getting There

By Car

Riung can be reached by road from either Bajawa or Ende. The distance from Bajawa is 75 kilometres, one passes by the Mengeruda hot springs. From Ende via Mbay the distance is 130 kilometres.

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Eat

The favourite restaurant in Riung is Murah Meriah, behind the market a few paces from Pondok SVD and Hotel Bintang Wisata. The place comes to life when the electricity is turned on and everyone gathers here for dinner. Also the place to order your lunch packet for your day trip, it will be ready right on time in the morning.

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Sleep

One has to make do with what modest accommodation is available in Riung. The choice is between Pondok SVD (run by the congregation Society of the Divine Word), Hotel Bintang Wisata (a sister of the hotel with the same name in Bajawa), Nirwana Bungalows and a few others. Note that there is electricity from a local generator only from sundown to sunrise. So airconditioning, if it is provided at all, only works at night,

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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 27. Last edited at 9:45 on Apr 12, 20 by theo1006. 2 articles link to this page.

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