Ruteng: The Capital of Manggarai Regency - Meru Indonesia

Ruteng: The Capital of Manggarai Regency

Ruteng is an Indonesian town, and it is also the capital of Manggarai regency. The Manggarai district is the biggest in Flores, NTT, Indonesia. It occupies a bigger part of the island. As such, Ruteng is an important town for the Manggarai people, both as a social and commercial center. Ruteng is also a popular tourist destination. This is so because there are several tourist attractions within the town and its surroundings. The residents of the town are predominantly Catholic, and religion plays an important role in their lives. Most businesses in the town are however run by Chinese families. The place has a cool climate, and it comes as no surprise that some of Indonesia’s coffee comes from the region.

Ruteng Manggarai

Golo Curu

Golo Curu
by: @finnahardjono
When you visit Ruteng, capital of Manggarai regency, a visit to the Golo Curu is simply a must. In fact, the hill is so important to the town that translated, its name means “Welcome Hill”. The renowned hill is situated north of the town. If you manage to climb the hill early in the morning, you will get a spectacular, unobstructed view of the town below. An early morning climb is also the best because you will be able to better catch the beautiful sunrise. The view is truly transfixing, and the feeling is certainly an out- of- this- world feeling. It is also possible to see the graveyards of the Manggarai people when you climb the top of the hill. The graveyards are basically divided into three- those of the Catholics on one side, graves of the Chinese on the other, and graves of fallen Manggardi heroes in the middle.

Higher up the hill is an entrance with the words Ave Maria inscribed on it. Behind the entrance is an altar built in honor of Maria. There is an interesting story behind the building of the altar. It is said that one evening, a farmer from Ruteng saw a dazzling light shining on top of the hill. He also heard a voice telling him about the altar that needed to be built there in honor of the Blessed Virgin. The church obeyed the farmer’s call, although no miracle has been performed at the shrine yet. The story only goes to illustrate just how strong and cherished the Catholic faith is by the Manggarai people in Ruteng.

How to Get to the Hill

To get to the hill, use the road that connects to Reo for approximately one kilometer.  After the bridge, proceed straight and take the main road that bends left. This should take you to Saint Francis Assisi church, where you will find an unpaved road that will take you to the hill. The climb is a 20-minute affair, although you get to decide how high you will climb. But ultimately, the higher you go, the better the view. In addition to other beautiful sights discussed above, and the cool breeze up the hill is the rare Lingko Rondang, which are traditional fields with gardens that are located at a central point.

Spider Web Rice and Settlement

Spider Web Rice Fields
Another aspect of Ruteng town, Flores, NTT, that makes it stand out is the way the rice paddies are arranged. An aerial view of how the rice fields are subdivided shows a startlingly close resemblance to a spider’s web. The best place to view the fields is of course on top of the Golo Curu hill. The natives of the town will tell you that the fields are subdivided to different clans so that everyone gets a portion to do their farming on.

The houses are also arranged in a beautiful way and one that is fairly orderly considering the rough landscape of the place. They are arranged concentrically, and they make a rather lovely sight. The houses are themselves conical. 

Ruteng, capital of Manggarai regency is also a meeting point for many of the Manggarai people, seeing that it is the capital of the Manggarai regency. The people here speak their native language, and they also have a unique culture that is especially dominant in the southern coastal villages.

Traditions and Culture

Caci Dance
Although the inhabitants of Ruteng think of themselves as modern Indonesians, they still treasure some of the practices passed on to them by their forefathers. One adored tradition is known as caci, which is a prevalent practice in many festivals and celebrations. The long- preserved tradition entails whipping, whereby partakers strike and whip each other. It is really entertaining, and one of the biggest tourist attractions to the town. The tradition forms a major part of the entertainment at weddings, and it truly is worth watching.

The season when the practice is in full swing is usually between the month of June to late August, which is also the wedding season in the town. If you got invited to any of those weddings, take care to dress up for the occasion. The best-dressed attendees are treated as guests of honor, which is no little honor to in the eyes of the natives.


Ruteng is a relatively large town in Indonesia, which means that many important facilities are available here. There are banks, good transport facilities, post offices, and even internet cafes. If you so wish, you can use public transport to commute to the town. Buses will drop you at any hotel on request. In any case, the bus terminal of the town is in a rather central place, so finding your way to your hotel shouldn’t be difficult. Additionally, buses to and fro the town are available from early morning till afternoon. What is more, there is an airport 2 kilometers out of town, which eases your transport woes a great deal. When touring the town, you could also decide to rent one of the many motorcycles that are up for hire, and you will better enjoy your visit to the town.


Ruteng, capital of Manggarai regency, Flores, NTT, Indonesia, is a beautiful town worth a visit. It is a town that is teeming with life, with a cool climate and one that has a booming economy. Additionally, the scenery of the place is nothing if not breathtaking, and you also get a chance to learn about and experience the Indonesian culture. A tour through the town truly merits your time.

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