Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice terraces in cobwebs

  Indonesia: Flores + Komodo + Bali - July 2011

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


On the island of Flores, in Indonesia, some rice fields take unusual shapes. In the region of Ruteng, in the west of the island, the rice is grown in spider web!

Like pie pieces

We are in the Manggarai Country, about twenty kilometers from the city of Ruteng. Here, tradition dictates that the cultivable valleys are divided more or less equally among the family clans in relation to the irrigation of the land.

The land is therefore "cut up" as one would cut up a pie, starting from a center that corresponds roughly to the most irrigated point. Each slice is then divided into several parcels.

The result is these incredible landscapes, where the rice fields seem to weave spider webs. We give them the name of lingko.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Panorama on the rice fields

I don't remember the name of the village where Missir, my driver, stopped. All the visitors who cross Flores as I did stop here. The place offers a spectacular panorama on the rice fields in spider's web.

One is invited to sign a book that serves as a register and it is well seen to make a small "donation", as is the practice in the traditional villages around Bajawa, which live mainly from tourism.

Afterwards, the village kids take you to the best viewpoints, for another small fee. Count 1 000 rupees (not even 10 cents) per head... As I am nice, I accepted to take five kids for me alone.

It is the children of the villages who guide you to the rice fields. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.
It is the children of the villages who guide you to the rice fields. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

And you have to follow them, little guys! "Mister! Mister!" do they launch - whether you're a man or a woman - if you're lambing too much.

They climb at full speed in flip-flops on the small path surrounded by wild grass, indifferent to the heat. I am dragging myself with slow steps behind, in the middle of the heat, dripping. Fortunately, the viewpoint is very close.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

We see the small silhouettes of the farmers working in the rice fields, below. Hard work.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

My little guides are impatient. They are waiting for their rupees. I take my time.

I admire the view endlessly, I take lots and lots of pictures, watching the clouds that change the light and the reflections on the water of the rice fields.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

"Hello, mister! »

My driver stayed cool, in the car. I get back inside, enthusiastically, after ceremoniously depositing a few crumpled bills in messy handcuffs.

We leave by saying hello to children and continue our way among the rice fields, towards Labuan Bajo. We will stop often, for other panoramas, other photos.

In the fields, the women often have their faces coated with a yellow or white powder, to protect themselves from the sun. People who see me standing on the side of the road, taking pictures of the rice fields, greet me with their hands and call me with the inevitable "Hello, Mister! ». Everywhere in Indonesia, it is customary to greet exotic Westerners of both sexes with this formula, inherited from the Dutch colonization.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

Rice fields in the Ruteng region. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.

In the villages that have not become tourist stops, the welcome remains simple, cheerful and spontaneous. We continue to swallow the kilometers at slow speed, along this serpentine road which crosses the mountains and rice fields of Flores.

We approach little by little Labuan Bajo, all in the west, and the Komodo Maritime Park. I can not wait to get back to the sea ...

  Indonesia: Flores + Komodo + Bali - July 2011

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  1. I love your reports, especially this one, which takes us to the mainland a bit... and reminds me of Sulawesi... even if the rice paddies there aren't sliced into "tarts".
    Nudibranchs are pretty... but, it's good to see green too!!!!
    😉

  2. @ Helen: Bah, you're exaggerating. I make a point of alternating "land" and "underwater" articles so as not to bore either non-aquatic travellers or divers eager for underwater encounters. There was Kelimutu, and the blue pebble beach, and now the rice paddies of Flores... And don't worry, I'm preparing more, where there won't be any mention of bubbles or fish!!!
    😉

    @Obeo @Fabrice: I've never seen rice fields like these before either... And yet, I've seen a lot of them!
    😀

    @Bruno: Patience, patience... I promise you won't be disappointed. Komodo, it's grandiose!!!
    😮

    @Melissa: Well, yes. I like the road, the cities, the walks, the people, the mountains, the volcanoes, the rice paddies, all that, all that, but I think I like the coastline even better, the coasts, the seas and oceans, and going to see what's going on beneath the surface...
    😉

  3. Flores... I've been to Indonesia 4 times, but not once to Flores. I saw you mention Kelimutu in another article, it's really a volcano I'd like to do...

    And the "Hello, Mister", it's really funny that it's like that all over Indonesia! In any case, I was surprised to see that my girlfriend was also entitled to her "hello mister" 🙂

    I discover your blog, looking forward to reading you!

  4. @Tommy: Yes, I think people have absolutely no idea what "Hello, mister!" means, they just know that it's a greeting used to greet strangers passing by...
    😆

    @Laurence: Yes, those rice paddies are gorgeous, but they're on the island of Flores, not Bali. That said, there are also some superb rice paddy landscapes in Bali... So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you next year!
    8)

  5. Top, you took a driver to cross the island, I think to stay 1 month on Florès I think to mix public transport with the hiring of mobilette to turn around the cities, I think that that must be done rather easily not?

    1. @Loïc: public transport, it will be "folklo" and your back will remember it... 😉 For the rest, we are in Indonesia, everything is possible...

  6. Your photos are so beautiful, they really make you want to go there.
    Is it easy to talk to people in places like this?

    1. @Agathe: yes, it's very easy to talk to people, but it's not necessarily easy to understand them or to make yourself understood because of the language barrier... 😉 Everywhere in Indonesia, in Flores as elsewhere in the archipelago, contacts and encounters are very easy, Indonesians are always curious and welcoming towards visitors...

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