Liang Bua (Hobbit cave)

Well worth a visit

Photo of Liang Bua (Hobbit cave), , Ruteng

What we say: 4 stars

This large, open-mouthed cave was the site of a stunning archeological discovery in 2003, when the skeletal remains of a small humanoid were unearthed.

At only 106 centimetres in height, the adult female skeleton was dated back to only 18,000 years ago while being similar in stature and development to fossils dating back more than three million years. This discovery challenged long-held theories surrounding the history of human development and the jury is still out on exactly how Homo Floresiensis came to be. One theory is that this humanoid was related to Home erectus -- ancient African exports that fell to the bigger brains of Homo sapiens -- but that the isolation of Flores allowed them to survive far longer.

What isn't up for discussion though is what ended their existence -- a giant volcanic eruption. Though do note our guide offered to take us to another village to meet one of the "Hobbit's" direct descendants!

There is a small museum on site and while the displays are only in Indonesian, they're easy to make sense of. The cave itself, hobbits aside, is impressive and the scenery along the way is just beautiful.

For more information, see this Hobbits on Flores webpage.

More details
How to get there: The easiest way to reach the cave is by ojek -- the road is all-weather and in good condition. The trip takes about 30 minutes each way and allow for 30 minutes to an hour at the cave.
Last updated: 27th May, 2014

Last reviewed by:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.

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