Bena Village was our favorite stop on our Flores tour in Indonesia. It’s a weaving village and the people are actually working. More importantly, there’s a good vibe here. It’s representative of the Ngada culture.
At the entrance to the village, there’s a long stairway with really tall steps that made us question the wisdom of the ancients. We say this because Indonesians are not of tall stature, so we wonder at so many of their monuments and temples that have very high steps.
Of course, this was also a challenge for Tim and his limited eyesight as the steps were uneven. Fortunately our guide and driver were awesome and they got him down the stairs safely.
The village is made up of two rows of traditional houses. In the center of the village, are the ngadhu and bhaga shrines – one pair of umbrella-like structures for each clan of the village. I loved the guardian figures up on the roofs of the houses.
Not only were the stairs down into Bena Village very tall and irregular, so were the ones within the village itself. Tim ended up at times with an entourage helping him navigate the terrain. The thing is, the whole village became interested in this big stranger who came to visit.
At one point, Tim slipped down a couple of steps and everyone gasped. When he stood up and let everyone know he was okay, they cheered. The woman with the beetle-nut stained teeth that is the cover for this video was the most enthusiastic about cheering him on.
A little later, this woman, Maria, and I exchanged some sign language where she let me know that she thought he, and I, were both strong and brave for traveling like we were – and that I should look out for Tim. Sometimes a lot can be exchanged in a few gestures.
Near the back of the village, a blind man played the flute, the one thing he had to offer us as visitors to the village. It’s his music that plays throughout the video.
While everyone here had fabrics to sell, three was no pressure. The friendly people and laid-back vibe make this an excellent stop on any Flores tour and well worth your time and energy. The place and the people are interesting. Just look at those faces.
While we were on Flores, we also visited Todo Village and Liang Bua, the Hobbit Cave, and we have videos covering those portions of the trip (click on the links to watch). But there’s a lot that didn’t happen at these particular places. This video covers the coolest stuff that happened in-between. As with any road trip, the journey is at least as important as the destination.