Backpacking and biking in Bajawa – Flores Island, Indonesia
Traditional Village of Beno
There is one main reason to visit this town and strangely it is not the smoking volcano that dominates the skyline behind the city, or the new volcano that is being formed on the outskirts or even the relaxing hot springs located close by. And it certainly isn’t the functional, bleak, dusty town that one steps down from the bus into that draws tourists in. It is something much more unique. In the area surrounding Bajawa are green valleys, forests and towering volcanoes and within this dramatic scenery can be found the traditional villages of the Nago and Wogo people who continue to practise animistic beliefs (mingled with Christianity).
We were lucky enough to meet Marco – a staff member in the hostel where we stayed. Being Naga he was well-known in the villages and as we didn’t have enough time to take him up on his offer to visit his family (a 5 day return trek), he offered to take us around some of the villages and act as our guide. Friends of ours, having decided to hire a motorbike and do it themselves, were less lucky. They arrived while we were out and about and negotiated a deal with a man who had already tried to scam us out of money. Apart from the fact that he was dishevelled, dirty, and well on his way to inebriation when he approached us, Marco had forewarned us. Apparently he cheated tourists on a regular basis by agreeing to hire out his bike to them, taking a down payment (or the whole lot depending upon how naive the mark was), then went out and got rip-roaring drunk and was, of course, a no-show the next day. He would disappear off the scene and resurface when his victims had left and a new batch of ripe for the picking tourists arrived.
Wolaroo traditional village
We visited 3 villages, met some wonderful people, played football with the kids, drove through some amazing scenery, saw the smoking volcano up close and had a dip in the hot springs.
Wolaroo family who showed us around their home.
Lalu Traditional Village
Beno Traditional Village
Marco was a great guide and taught us many things about his culture. It was an amazing day.