These are just some of the ways one can approach a trip to Ngada:
Learn - get to know local culture
Adventure - connect with your environment
There are a variety of trekking opportunities around Ngada, both short and long, light to more strenuous. These include overnight possibilities where you can spend the night in traditional villages. One of the common short trekking routes in Ngada takes you to a hilltop near the village of Bela which has a commanding view of Mount Inerie all the way down to the coastline of Aimere. In the morning and afternoon you can often find yourself amongst light fog here, where the quiet movements of the fog can bring both peace and mystery.
The local culture of Ngada remains strong, and a number of villages continue to live in their traditional community layouts with thatched-roof style homes. These traditional communities, often referred to as ‘desa adat’ in Indonesian, also feature megalith formations either centrally integrated into the community layout or situated nearby the village (often where the homes of previous generations were). Visiting a traditional village provides an opportunity to view these sites which remain an important part of Ngada philosophy, along with the unique artifacts and architectural elements that identify the different types of homes and structures within a community. Depending on the village you will also have an opportunity to see along with practices such as ikat weaving for making tenun sarongs and blankets, lontar palm and coconut weaving for making bracelets and baskets, and bamboo cultivation to make musical instruments, toys, and containers. If you’re lucky or plan in advance, you might also catch cultural rituals which include traditional clothing, music and dance.
Immerse - experience, interact, share
The people of Ngada have a strong oral tradition and cultural practices which emphasize the importance of community and their past. One of the best ways to better understand, explore, and gain insights into the unique character of different villages is to spend a night in a community, not in the least since the people of Ngada are known for their warmth and hospitality. The extended time in a community, which importantly includes time in the mornings and evenings, allows us to get a feel for everyday life and the little things that make up the character of a village like pace, connection, sounds, and routine. It’s also an opportunity for sharing and exchange - where we might learn more about things like the community’s rituals but also share about each other’s backgrounds and experiences, building new connections, understanding and friendships in the process.
Of course, immersion needs to be a positive experience for both guests and community members. Learn more about MENA’s approach to immersion/overnight trips.
Ngada is also a great place to just relax. Find harmony and balance amongst the peaceful nature and colorful culture. With foggy hills and volcanoes, old bamboo forests, cool coffee plantations, quiet beaches, lively cultural dances, mysterious megaliths, and warming natural hot springs, you can use your time to relax, go slow, get in touch with the nature and people around you, and reconnect.