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This beautiful hillside village is reached by a pleasant motorbike ride through steep and electric green canyons 12 kilometres east of Ende following the coast, a scenic journey that takes about 25 minutes.
Wolotopo is known for its traditional and lovingly maintained adat (traditional) houses, which visitors are eagerly ushered into for a token 20,000 rupiah donation.
We toured the sao ata laki, a house that's currently home to six boisterous families, many of whose members are proud descendants of the earliest residents of Wolotopo. You'll notice wooden carvings of youthful and distinctly elderly pairs of breasts on the sides of the entry door -- this house is meant to symbolise a female body, all the way down to the curious pusu ate, a wooden carving that hangs from the centre of the home and symbolises the heart and liver. The family pours milk on this object to "feed" the ancestors during special occasions.
You can also check out the dramatically positioned keda kanga, a stilted wooden structure that holds the bones of Wolotopo ancestors. The horse on the central boat symbolises the Lio people's fondness for these animals -- the blue fruits hanging from all four corners of the wooden box are known as seko, and symbolise abundance.
There's more to Wolotopo than local culture: views of the exuberantly colourful village tumbling into the sea over green hills make for impressive photo ops.
Check out the immense banyan tree in the centre of town, which is flanked by ancient stone graves. There's also a creepy wooden suspension bridge, a banana plantation, a lovely rust-red and cream church with stained glass windows and a koi pond. You'll likely be invited inside somebody's home for a cup of tea or coffee with a breathtaking view over the water.
This visit is best enjoyed with a guide, who can take you here by means of a motorbike or a car. If you'd rather go it alone, head to the Wolowona market east out of town and turn right at the roundabout. You'll eventually find yourself on the coastal road to Wolotopo. Locals will help steer you if you get confused. You can park your bike in a designated spot at the bottom of the Wolotopo hill.
By Faine Greenwood
Last updated on 27th May, 2014.