Written by Yulianus Irwan
Most of the activities that the travelers do in Flores Island categorized as adventure tourism. It is reasonable due to the place is very mountainous, vary culture, and it needs more physical activities to reach the tourism destinations.
According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure tourism is a tourist activity that includes a physical activity, a cultural exchange, or activities in nature.
Adventure tourism is about connecting with a new culture or a new landscape and being physically active at the same time. It is not about being risky or pushing your boundaries. In fact, it is especially important to know and respect your limits while you are in an unfamiliar area.
During 10 days stay on Flores, Roel and Maaike (Dutch) chose to explore Flores for 4 days. The idea was simply to experience the real life of Indonesia. The tour was started from Labuan Bajo where they have ended up snorkeling and trekking to Komodo Island.
One of the places we visited was Tengku Lese waterfall located in Nanu Village, Manggarai-Flores which can be reached from Ruteng with travel time of an hour or from Labuan Bajo for 4 hours drive.
The first 3 hours, we were driving along the Trans Flores which the road is so well. During our drive, we were accompanied by great view of green mountains and a gorgeous landscape of large rice field in Lembor combined with a worth stop to spider web rice field in Cancar.
The last hour of the drive, we were driving on some skinny and bumpy roads. We also had to stop in some points as we were attracted by the view of rice terraces that have been planted 2 months before, green and perfectly nice for the picture.
Roel said that “this is exactly what they expect to see, rare, so quiet, and less tourists”. He also added this will be a great tourist attraction in the future but agreed it should last as it is.
As we also saw some cows and buffaloes on the paddy fields, Maaike and Roel were reminded to the story how unique the culture of Flores which they had heard from a ranger in Komodo. Besides for helping to plow on the rice field, buffalo is taken care for a dowry to woman who is ready to be a wife. Like in Manggarai, a man who marries a woman has to present amounts of money, chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and buffalo as dowry. They function to express how much man loves the woman and makes her one for a lifetime.
By listening to the story of this marriage system in Manggarai, Maaike found it as an advantage and was hoping that Roel would do the same if he marries her. They both just laughed and felt very funny about it. This made our tour full of humors and did not feel if we had made a long drive.
Roel and Maaike could not hide the fact that they have made great decision to go on 4WD car that can tackle this bumpy road easily and timely efficient. It would take much time if we took minivan and way very hard for it to drive on this type of road, no wonder not many tourist coming this area, Roel said to convince Maaike.
The feeling of reaching Nanu village was an exception. The rain that poured heavily in the village and surroundings did not make us feel annoying as the spectacular view of the waterfall welcomed us incredibly warmed.
By far sight, the waterfall with 2 levels are seen pouring strongly between huge rocks. Mountains and rice terraces surround it with some small shelters made it become extraordinarily wonderful. Even though it was still rainy, we still dropped off the car to make some pictures. Roel made sure he did not miss any details by making videos through his Go Pro.
The tiring, excitement, and starving paid off once we arrived in Nanu village. We were welcomed by Bapa and Mama Jeni who served us their traditional foods and cups of coffee added with cooked cassava. Rice, chicken soup mixed with squash, bean, and was our lunch dish.
While enjoying lunch, we shared a lot of story about European and Manggaraian culture. Bapa Jeni who hosted us said: “for us guest is a king or queen that needs to be welcomed”. It is a tradition to host a guest the best we have like firstly with coffee and cooked cassava or taro. Meanwhile Roel said if he is feeling so welcomed and proud to have such a wonderful village. Imagine when waking up in the morning and open the door and find such amazing view of waterfall on the backyard. Bapa Jeni was also surprised when Roel added one more cup of coffee as he loved it so much and said if he drinks coffee at home 9 to 10 cups per day. He also knew it before that Manggaraian coffee is one of the best in the world that is why he loved trying as much as he can.
As the lunch finished, we began walking on the new path built by locals accompanied by local kids aged 13 to 14 years old. With the new energy added with some entertainment of kids singing, the walk seemed to be easy until we reached the rocky spot. We had to climb the bamboo ladder in some points and the tiny walks with some drop-offs made it even more adventurous.
Once you reached the spot, it is definitely worth the hike. “We are going wild”, Maaike and Roel shouted when they finally reached the huge rock where the water drops seen closely. Enyone of us including Ino our driver who for the first time came to see the waterfall, shouted to show the happiness. Ino who has been working years for tourist driver promised himself to take his clients to this place as he found out it is the best waterfall he has ever been. He cannot stop making pictures and videos.
Knowing that it was not possible to swim directly in the water drops because of too strong current after heavy rain, we decided to come back after 30 minutes we were there otherwise people can also swim 20 meters from the water drops to some pools down the river.
It was so complete when back to Bapa Jeni’s house, he has prepared young coconut for us to enjoy. It was just perfect day. So sweet to remember the family of Bapa Jeni and the way they treated us like his family members.
For people who would love to visit Tengkulese waterfall, make sure to see our suggestions below:
- The road to Nanu is considered as good but very skinny and windy. Drive max 30 km per hour as so many local transports drive on this road.
- It is recommendable to go on 4WD as the 10 minutes before Nanu, the road is bad and hard for minivan. Except for the motorbikes, it is easy to pass.
- When walking to the waterfall, be sure to go with local as your guide.
- It is recommendable to take your trekking shoes as the path is not perfectly done. You will need it when climbing the rock.
- It is not recommended to swim directly in the water drops when it is too strong. You are allowed to swim down the river where some pools are available.
- There is no warung or restaurant near the waterfall, it is only in Ruteng. Make sure to take lunch with you or call Bapa Jeni (+6281239775714) the prior day. He and his wife are so friendly.