Ruteng

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Flores Ruteng

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Introduction

Ruteng (about 40,000 inhabitants) used to be the capital of Manggarai kingdom, which was actually established by the Dutch colonial rulers. It is now the capital of Manggarai regency. Although the Manggarai people adhere to the Roman Catholic faith, they preserve much of their local customs. That is the main reason to make here a stopover on the Trans Flores Highway.

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Sights and Activities

"Flores Hobbit" at Liang Bua

© theo1006

  • Liang Bua cave - The prehistorical cave where the fossils of Homo floresiensis were found. The small museum next to the cave has a replica of a skeleton; the original is in Jakarta. The caves themselves are not particularly special, but the surroundings and the road there are very pretty. Google maps will actually find the way here. Head north from Ruteng and follow the signs. Ask the helpful locals if unsure. Eventually, you end up at a small museum on the right painted in yellow. The exhibit is in Bahasa Indonesia, but the staff will try to translate for you and then accompany you to the cave (50 metres away) and show you its small secrets. The popular nickname of the Flores hominid is Flores hobbit, and it was rumoured that some of these hobbits are still living in a village in the nearby hills. One of them will come for photo opportunity if you are willing to spend some more money. The truth seems to be that this modern little man and his co-villagers suffer from a congenital deformation of the legs.
Compang Ruteng

Compang Ruteng

© theo1006

  • Compang Ruteng ceremonial centre - The meaning of compang is a stone altar that functions as traditional ceremonial centre. The Compang Ruteng is located in a roughly circular field on an elevated site surrounded by a low parapet built of rock. In the centre used to stand a banyan tree, but after its demise it was replaced by a much smaller dadap tree. In the local language a banyan tree is called ruteng, pronounced with a voiceless “e” as contrasted to the name of the town Rutèng. Outside the perimeter there are two traditional Manggarai houses, of octagonal shape with a conical roof. One of them is a Mbaru Wunut or residential house, the other a Mbaru Gendrang or meeting house. The inhabitants of the former run a small shop. The latter functions as a store for artefacts used in ceremonies, including whips and shields for the caci, stylized whip fighting. An important ceremony is the hang woja, essentially a thanksgiving day for the harvest. A buffalo or cow will be sacrificed at the altar.
  • The King's House - There are few landmark buildings in Ruteng. Apart from the old and the new cathedrals there is the former residence of king Baroeng of Manggarai. This house is an example of Mbaru Wunut, the local term for a traditional Manggarai house. The octagonal design with conical roof is iconic for Manggarai. The royal residence was built as a double octagon with an outhouse attached for kitchen. The house has been neglected for years, but there are plans to make it a centre for youth activities.
  • Spiderweb rice-fields. About a 20-minute drive west from town along the Flores highway. Look out for an intersection where the highway turns left. Just continue straight through the intersection (leaving the highway) and follow the road for 500 metres. After a short hike up a hill, you have the view of the valley and the spiderweb rice-fields. Definitely worth a visit. 20 000Rp.
Anglers at Rana Mese

Anglers at Rana Mese

© theo1006

  • Ranamese Lake. (Danau Rana Mese) 30 kilometres from town, on the main road towards Bajawa. Beautiful lake, with a small waterfall which can be visited (with a guide) around there. It is possible to walk around the lake on a small path (around 45 minutes). The area is very calm with a few fishermen plying their trade. It is also possible to visit a 75m waterfall near one of the surrounding villages, ask the ticket officer of Ranamese Lake for more information. 5,000 Rp.

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Events and Festivals

  • Caci, a traditional war dance of Flores accompanied by gongs, drums and singing, is performed at the Rice Harvest Thanksgiving Festival (hang woja) and the New Year Festival (penti).

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Getting There

From Labuan Bajo airport, lots of drivers will negotiate a trip to Ruteng for you. Prices range from 250,000 to 600,000Rp. For around 120,000 you can go by local buses or 'Travel' (which are cars) on the Labuan Bajo - Ruteng route (as of Nov 2018). Some of them continue to Bajawa - Ende - Maumere. An ojek can bring you for 10,000 to the starting point of the 'Travel' (from the airport or town).

In the dry season (May-October), Trans Nusa flies 3-4 times a week to/from the provincial capital of Kupang in West Timor.

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Getting Around

A motorbike is ideal to discover the surrounding area. The town itself is small and manageable on foot, but has few sights to offer.

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Eat

As the evenings can be chilly, the local soup (Baksoto and Soto ayam) places are popular with the locals. As with every other Indonesian town, there are many Padang Restaurant.

The fried bananas (Pisang Goreng) here are delicious, especially when still hot (ask if they are 'hangat').

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Sleep

  • Rima Hotel, Jalan Ahmed Yani. Swiss style hotel made of dark wood, it even has a Swiss cuckoo clock at reception. It's a bit gloomy and reportedly noisy, but it has internet cafe facilities and a small shop selling toiletries, snacks and drinks. The owner is friendly and speaks good English. They have a "Business" room with hot water with clean sheets, hot water shower, and western style toilet. You can get an "Economy" room for up to three people: shared cold water bathrooms, not a single plug in the rooms. The included breakfast is an egg toast and local Ruteng coffee. IDR 400,000.
  • Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita, Jl. A Yani 45. Staying at this convent is a fun experience. Peaceful and clean place - great value. The nuns will give you a simple breakfast in the morning with coffee, eggs and bread. Showers have hot water. The gate closes at 9pm and there is no Wi-Fi. Located on the same street as Rima Hotel.
  • Ranaka Hotel, JL. Kom L Yos Sudarso, No. 2. Very basic hotel. Breakfast is a single piece of sweet bread and tea/coffee. 60 000 for one person. 100,000 for two person room.
  • Hotel Sinda. "Best hotel in Ruteng" according to locals. 350,000 for standard room. More expensive rooms are available.
  • Maryos Guesthouse, Jalan Poco Komba, gang Baru. Recieving guests since 2011 and owned by the Bupati (Regent) of Manggarai Timur regency at the time. He made a point of using a local workforce, which may explain stairs with steps of unequal height. And why the name Maryos? It is an acronym for Maria and Yosef, so don’t write Maryo’s or Mario’s! There are 12 guest rooms with private bathroom (western toilet and hot water). No AC, but you don't need it in Ruteng. A drawback is the distance from town, but Maryos is close to Compang Ruteng.

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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 16. Last edited at 17:56 on Mar 24, 19 by theo1006. 2 articles link to this page.

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