I like volcanic lake. The majestic view is kind of telling me something that is happened in the past. When seeing the caldera, my thought flew back to the time when it exploded imagining how horrible it was. One of my favourite volcano lake that recently I visited is Kelimutu. These may be the only lakes that have a bizarre color-changing phenomenon that inevitably remain a must see site in the land of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara.
How does It Start
My trip to Kelimutu was part of the TK’05 Trans-Flores Tour. This year trip was scheduled to explore the eastern part of Indonesia. We were so excited that finally we witnessed some of the most happening places of Flores Island and sailed the famous Komodo National Park. Since years ago, We’ve been travelling together, sort of annual college reunion. So fun, huh? 🙂 . Karimun Jawa, Derawan, East Java, Padang-Bukittinggi, and Krakatau are some places we visited.
Anyway,this is the route we have passed through:
It was a week-long journey. I know, going overland Flores and sailing along Komodo National Park in one week is not enough indeed. It was full of fun despite of time limitation. One thing that’s surprising was NO local visitor found in a whole trip. All were foreigners except Us. Somehow, It felt like I was a stranger in my own country 😆 . Exploring eastern part of Indonesia is costly, but thanks God, We have prepared the trip for a year, so it did not hurt my wallet that much. .
How to get There
We departed from Jakarta. After landing at H. Hasan Aroeboesman Airport of Ende, We went to the nearest town called Moni. You can start from Maumere as well, but it takes 4 hours to get the town and the flight ticket is also worth a king’s ransom. You can also go straight to Kelimutu from Ende or Maumere but it would be tiring. In Moni, there are some lodges (backpacker standard) with price around 40-60 USD. Quite pricey for lodges standard. Make early reservation is a good idea as the facility is very limited. It is advised to grab jacket, glove, scarf and head cover as the weather is cold. Also, since there are no cellular services, do not ever wish to post any photos on instagram on realtime basis .
One of the best thing you can do is enjoying sunrise. You need to get ready at 04:30 AM in Moni. It takes an hour journey to parking area of Kelimutu National Park. The gate itself is opened at 05:00 AM. You would have a little trekking to reach the peak, but don’t worry, it is way friendlier than all summit I have ever conquered. By just 30 minutes trekking, the peak of Kelimutu at 1640 m above sea level could be reached without any considerable effort. Get ready to witness one of the best sunrise you’ll ever see 🙂 .
The unique facts are the water’s colour changes without any prior natural clues. Very unpredictable. Experts believe that it depends on the activity of the volcano. Based on national park news, within 25 years, at least 12 times color-changing have taken place. Currently it colours Blue, Turquoise and Reddish respectively.
Apart from the beautiful landscape, the mystical part is also interesting. The place is sacred for local people. They believe that spirits come to Kelimutu Lake when people pass away and it will remain forever. Which lake the spirit would enter depends on its age and character when alive. Tiwu Nuwa Muri Ko’o Fai (Currently torquise) is belived as a resting place for souls of young people, while Tiwu Ata Mbupu (separated 1.5 km from the other two and currently coloured blue) is a lake of old people. The reddish lake (Tiwu Ata Polo) is considered as a place of evil spirits.
The name of the lake came from the myth that has been believed in local people. Long time ago, there were two powerful man, Ata Mbupu and Ata Polo. One was a good witch and the other was the wicked one who likes to prey humans. The two men was best friend at first but ended up fighting due to Ata Polo wanted to kill kids. When in battle, Ata Mbupu pulled out all his power until the earthquake occurred and he sank into the earth. Ata Polo was willing to follow him but the earth has buried him away. So were the Kids. In the place they were buried, the three-coloured lake eventually arose.
The place remains mystical. Some of the guide told me that people need to follow the rule. Years ago, there was foreigner who wished to get some picture ignoring the rule and safety . He ended up falling down to crater and the body has not even discovered until now. There are also some suicide cases of local people due to desperation. Their body were difficult to find unless their family pay so much money for the army to help them out with very special rope they need to provide.
I was the one who is also temped to capture the moment. I went to the crater rim of Tiwu Ata Polo and Tiwu Nuwa Muri Ko’ofai on its edge of the cliff. It is almost vertical. Trust me, the view was very amazing that I convinced myself to do selfie. Man, It was very thrilling yet awesome. Suddenly I realised, What the hell have I done? 😥 I have risked my own safety for something stupid like this. Well, I am happy that I could be back home safely .