Indonesia is famous for many beautiful destinations such as Bali, Nusa Penida and Raja Ampat – but perhaps one of the most magical little spots is Wae Rebo Village, a mystical oasis nestled in the mountains and forest. The village is known for its tall conical shaped houses called “Mbaru Niang” and its community of friendly villagers who call this place home.
In this blog post, I will cover everything you need to know about visiting Wae Rebo Village and also share with you my experiences there – including my overnight stay in one of the traditional Mbaru Niang houses. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Polina and I’m from Belarus.
I grew up in Minsk, Belarus and never traveled when I was a kid, but I always dreamt of exploring the world. I only first started traveling approximately five years ago. These trips inspired me to learn new languages because I wasn’t able to communicate with local people – so I started with English and then a few years later I picked up a bit of Italian!
Traveling in Indonesia for a Year and a Half
While I enjoyed traveling in Europe, there were other regions of the world that captured my interest too. My boyfriend and I had this dream of spending a winter in Asia. So we conjured up a plan to visit a few different countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore. In 2020 we started our trip in Indonesia but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
We ended up getting stuck in Indonesia for a year and a half! Once we realized that we couldn’t travel internationally, we decided to spend our time exploring Indonesia as much as possible. During this time we traveled to Lombok, Surabaya, Jakarta, Mount Bromo, Ijen, Banyuwangi, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida, Sumba, Flores and Komodo.
Since we were living in Indonesia for such a long time, we made friends with some locals. One guy ended up inviting us to share a trip to Wae Rebo Village. It wasn’t exactly an organized tour but we did get to share the experience with a local which was pretty cool! I remember feeling this incredible calmness once we arrived at the village. It was a special place!
My Experience at Wae Rebo Village
We arrived at Wae Rebo Village in the evening. First of all, we had to go through this amazing ceremony where we were blessed to be “Waerebo People”. This event took place inside one of the traditional houses. The man who ran and performed the ceremony was the head of the village.
After a few hours in Wae Rebo, we were invited to have dinner with other travelers. We had this delicious omelet, rice and vegetable dish for dinner, and enjoyed sitting on the floor and conversing with other travelers. Once dinner was complete, we set off to explore more of the village.
It was a really peaceful space – a little bit foggy and cool. There were some animals roaming around the village like dogs and cats. We brought some treats for the kids there but based on the rules we couldn’t give them our sweets without letting their parents know or asking for permission.
When the adults approved, we gave the sweets to the kids and they were all so happy! So this is my first recommendation: take some gifts for the kids. They will love you for it! We stayed overnight at the village and slept in one of the traditional houses. It wasn’t possible to stay in the houses with locals, so we stayed in a house that was still traditional but only for tourists.
Every day at 10pm all of the lights in the village are turned off and the magic begins. I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful night sky as I did in Wae Rebo. There were so many stars and I couldn’t stop watching and taking photos! It was a precious moment, one that I will never forget.
The village gets quite cold at night, so my second recommendation is to take some warm clothes. I slept wearing sporting pants, a t-shirt, a hoodie and some warm socks. You can also take earplugs and a sleeping mask because it can be a little noisy with the other tourists sleeping nearby.
The next morning was awesome! I thought this would be the best time to take photos, and so we spent around an hour choosing different angles and scoping out different spots to shoot some photography. The breakfast was the same as our dinner but we also got to enjoy a cup of coffee.
By the way, the coffee at Wae Rebo Village is grown nearby and we got the opportunity to see how people process and roast it. You can also buy some traditionally roasted coffee here. The souvenir shop is located inside one of the tourist houses and they sell a few souvenir gifts for those interested.
Tips for Visiting Wae Rebo Village
- Bring a decent pair of hiking/walking shoes: it’s quite a long and difficult hike to get to the village. It tooks us two hours to arrive and I remember that the terrain was fairly difficult, so just be prepared!
- There are no proper showers or toilets: the shower is just a bucket with some really cold water, again just be mentally prepared for that.
- Take mosquito spray: I recommend putting it on before you sleep.
- Enjoy every moment: visiting the Wae Rebo Village is a super unique experience. You will fall in love with the charming village life.