Ruteng: the perfect stop during your journey through Flores
After a breathtaking drive of about 4 hours from Labuan Bajo, you will be rewarded with the charming village of Ruteng. Does four hours of driving sound like a lot? Believe me, time flies by. Flores ‘ rugged, green landscape and mountainous routes make this ride incredibly beautiful. Exciting? Absolutely, especially with those huge chasms on the sidelines. But rest assured, the beauty of the surroundings will soon make you forget that little heartbreak.
Ruteng is a cozy, small town, which you find in the cool highlands of West Flores. It is just an absolute must, but a fine stop to interrupt your route to Bajawa. You’ll find breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and, hold on…. rice fields shaped like spider webs! Yup! Spider web rice fields indeed! Officially called “Lingko” fields. Don’t panic, there are no spiders but these fields get the name because they look like a big spider web from above. These fields, formed by the Manggarai people, are a vivid symbol of community life and equality. Each family gets a piece of the cake – or in this case, a piece of the spider web!
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
What to do in Ruteng
First of all: grab the scooter and go with that banana! This really is the perfect way to fill your day in Ruteng. In fact, the town itself is not very special, but the nature is truly magnificent. Along the way you will discover the most beautiful viewpoints, cozy villages and breathtaking nature.
Spiderweb fields and beautiful viewpoints
These are the famous “spider web” rice fields I mentioned earlier. A unique sight you won’t find anywhere else in the world, and definitely an Instagram-worthy place!
We decided to take the scooter and drive ourselves to the spiderwebfields. The mountainous roads, beautiful views and cute villages made this a top ride. After half an hour we arrived at the Spiderweb fields. And yep, it lives up to its name. This giant rice field looks exactly like a spider web.
In the layout of this area, a pattern of points was chosen, resulting in this unique shape. Why? That remains a mystery! But what we do know is that this choice has made Spiderweb rice fields a worldwide sensation. Definitely worth a visit, and even better if you take the time to explore the rest of the enchanting surroundings. Pack that camera and put on those hiking boots, because there is so much more to explore!
A half-hour walk from Ruteng (though up a mountain) is Mount Golo Guru with a fantastic view of Ruteng. We decided to end Ruteng with this fine hike. From the mountain you have a beautiful view of the green area. But the walk itself is also so special. Thus, by chance, we passed a school that had just ended. The children of the school followed us all the way. A hilarious sight. Two of those tourists through Ruteng with a whole gang of kids following them. The locals really loved it. I can’t say it often enough, but the people here are so incredibly friendly and sweet.
Liang Bua Cave
This is no ordinary cave, oh no! It was here that the “Hobbit of Flores,” a type of early man, was discovered. With a rich history and fascinating archaeological finds, this place is a must for any adventurer.
Ruteng Pu’u Village
Want an authentic experience of local life? Then visit Ruteng Pu’u, a traditional Manggarai village. The unique circular houses and friendly locals ensure that this visit will be a highlight of your trip.
This lake is about a 45-minute drive from Ruteng and is surrounded by lush forests. A wonderful place to unwind for a while.
Hotspots & food in Ruteng
The island of Flores is absolutely unlike Bali. You won’t find trendy burger joints or smoothie bowls in Ruteng. Not bad at all! This area still feels wonderfully authentic. And you can eat really delicious food there.
What you should definitely do is have a cup of coffee at Kopi Mane. Here you can get really great coffee! And the owner is fantastic. He has worked and lived in the Netherlands for a time and therefore still speaks a little of the language. We also had a simple lunch here. The prices are really ridiculously cheap and the people so friendly.
We decided to have dinner at Chacha restaurant in the evening. We chose an Indonesian Curry and it was really horribly delicious. Great breakfast tip!
Best time to travel to Ruteng
The best travel time to visit Ruteng is from May to September. During these months you have the least chance of rain and can enjoy very nice temperatures. During the rainy season, of course, you can still visit Flores, but the roads may be less accessible due to the rain.
Which budget do i need in Ruteng?
Ruteng is a real budget destination. It’s a place still visited by few tourists, so prices are a lot lower than, say, Labuan Bajo.
Cost overview for Ruteng
Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in Ruteng can vary, but generally are fairly inexpensive. The choice consists mainly of homestays for which you pay about 15 – 25 euros per night.
Sightseeing: Most natural attractions in and around Ruteng are free or require a small fee. The entrance fee to the Liang Bua cave is about 5 euros. Scooter rental costs about 5 -10 euros.
Food: In Ruteng, you eat for local. For a simple meal at a local restaurant or warung, you can expect about €1-€3. If you want something more luxurious, you can count on about €5-€10 per meal.
Transportation: If you plan to rent a scooter, count on about €5-€7 per day. For the Bemo, you pay about 1 euro. If you want to book a cab then you will spend a little more….
Practical information about Ruteng
Practical information about Bajawa:
- Bring plenty of cash: ATMs are rare on Flores. So make sure you have plenty of cash with you when you visit Ruteng.
- Vaccinations: Check that you have had all required vaccinations.
- Travel insurance: Make sure you are properly insured. It’s like an umbrella – you hope you won’t need it, but when it rains you’re glad you have it.
- Sunscreen is your lifesaver The sun in Indonesia is bright, so don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses!
- Travel sickness pills: The roads in Flores can upset your stomach. Keep travel sickness pills handy.
- Appropriate clothing: Bring modest clothing, especially for visiting religious sites. Comfortable shoes are a must – no one likes blisters, right?
- Communication: Although English is widely spoken, a little Bahasa Indonesian can work wonders. Start with “Terima kasih” (Thank you) and see how far you get!
What are nice places to stay in Ruteng?
You don’t really have very many choices in accommodations. Most accommodations consist of small homestays, which we actually always like best. We slept at MJR Ticketing House. An incredibly friendly family. The house is quite large and we were given a spacious, clean bedroom. There were also several bathrooms. Highly recommended!
How to get to Ruteng?
Transportation in Flores is really a breeze! After all, there is only 1 way. Therefore, you just stand by the road and wait for a van or bemo to pass by. We arranged a van in Labuan Bajo through the hotel to Ruteng and from Ruteng we caught the Bemo to Bajawa. That went really super easy. If you want a little more security, you can also always reserve a private car. We found the bemo really fine. In fact, the vans go pretty fast which can create scary situations. With the bemo, you may take a little longer and be a little less comfortable, but without compressed buttocks and throbbing armpits.