Sights in the Maumere area
With around 90,000 inhabitants (after Ende), Maumere is the second largest city on Flores and the capital of the administrative district (Kabupaten) of Sikka in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara. Maumere has an airport and port and is a major supply center in the region.
Most travelers only use Maumere as an arrival or departure point. As a transit traveller, you will not find the city itself particularly appealing. However, it is worth taking a closer look in the company of a local guide who gives an insight into the local way of life. The area around Maumere, unlike the town itself, also has scenic spots.
Picturesque places around Maumere
Palm-fringed beaches and small family resorts that are idyllically located directly on the beach. Maumere Bay with its offshore Islands is an insider tip for anyone looking for peace and quiet off the beaten tourist track. Due to its location on the north coast of the Flores Sea, the sea in Maumere Bay is perfect for swimming and snorkeling on many beach sections.
It is worth planning a stop at the beach in Maumere Bay before or at the end of a Flores tour.
Exotic markets, mountain villages & picturesque fishing villages
There are beautiful mountain villages around Maumere and picturesque fishing villages along the coast. You can still often see the production of the elaborate Ikats on the roadside in the surrounding villages, traditional dances and music (especially in the churches) of East Flores are reminiscent of the sounds of the South Seas and traditional markets are authentically exotic. In addition to the daily market (Pasar Alok) in Maumere, there are also weekly markets in the surrounding villages.
Flores is also a spice island. In the area around Maumere there are many clove trees, cashew nut trees, mango trees and cocoa plantations. The markets sell large sticks of cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and local seasonal vegetables and fruits. Anything that doesn't grow seasonally in Flores is very rare to find on the markets.
The surroundings of Maumere offer many possibilities for interesting half and full day trips.
Boat excursion to the islands in Maumere Bay
- Snorkeling, white beaches, picturesque fishing villages -
Another insider tip and an eventful day trip is a boat trip to the islands in Maumere Bay to the islands of Pulau Pangahbatang, Pulau Babi and Pulau Parmahan. Let yourself be surprised by beautiful snorkeling areas, picnic and shell collecting on white coral beaches and encounters with friendly people in picturesque fishing villages. It is not uncommon to encounter schools of dolphins on the crossing.
Ikat - Weaving demonstration in the hillside village Watublapi & Doka
Watublapi is a traditional village in the mountains and can be reached after a half-hour drive from Maumere . On the way to Watublapi we are passing small rural settlements and overlooking mountain slopes and valleys and terraces with agricultural land with mit cacao, peper, peperoni, vanila, cashew & manga trees and planty of coconut palms.
In Watublapi we will take part on a traditional welcome ceremony and a stunning demonstration of some of the traditional dances accompanied by music "gong waning".
Then the elaborate process of Ikat manufacturing (weaving) will be demonstrated.
The Ikat or thread coloring is an old Indonesian technique. Young and old women weaving the Ikat can be seen in many villages on Flores. The Ikat weaving on Flores comes originally from the Sikka region on the South coast of Flores and it is par excellence the only arts and crafts on Flores. The Ikat patterns are determined by traditions and are handed over from generation to generation and the weaving process is still accompanied by mythical performances and ceremonies.
The Ikat technique is that the cotton is stretched on a frame made of bamboo and according to the desired pattern bamboo raffia is tied or wrapped around the cotton and cut off just behind the node. Then start the dyeing and the bound places get no coloring. For multiple colors the process of wrapping and dyeing must be repeated several times. This means a huge amount of work which takes weeks, months and sometimes even years. How often an Ikat sarong hast undergone the process on binding off and dyeing make the Ikat more valuable.
Traditionally, the colors are different shade of blue and brown color. The Indigo blue is obtained from the leaves of the Indigo plant and the brown colors from the roots of Kebuka tree.
Beside to the traditional Ikat, where the cotton still is spun by hand and only natural dyes are used, today often chemical dyes and synthetic fibers' are used.
After the design work of tying and dying is finished the threads will be put on the loom for weaving. Weaving itself takes at least another 4 weeks depending on the size of the cloth.
The Ikat sarong belongs in the villages still to the everyday clothing of the women. In the cities and among young people the Ikat is more and more supplanted by European clothing. But still the Ikat cloths are a valuable feature for festive occasions and for the Sunday church attendance.