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Riung is a wonderful little town, lush and isolated, stitched with rice fields, stilted with fisherman shacks, framed with coconut palms and buzzing with only 13 hours of daily electricity. Coming from Ende you’ll drive along a parched and arid coastline that skirts a spectacularly blasted volcano before a sudden burst of foliage swallows the road as it winds into town. The effect makes Riung feel like an island unto itself, part of some whole other time and place. Locals are even more warm and ever smiling than elsewhere in Indonesia (and that’s saying something). The guesthouses are homey, the quiet streets are made for walking, and the waterfront a gateway to a marine park. Only its relative inaccessibility (read: horrifying roads) keep it from profound development.


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