Chasing Sunrise in Kelimutu



After our sweet adventure in Wae Rebo, now we’re heading to the next superb destination : Kelimutu National Park. The time is 12:40 PM and we need to be there before tomorrow’s sunrise.

It’s 340 km to Kelimutu, through the hill and cliffs road, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a gallon of water supply, it’s bright and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Hit it!

This afternoon, God bless us with super perfect weather. The sun shine make all the ricefield we passed shows their golden color. When we through the hill road, there’s only fresh air (no-more-so-called city pollution), with all these magnificent ricefields and forest scenery that really made our day. This is what I called ‘the living life journey’..

Mount Kelimutu is located in Kelimutu National Park near a small town called Moni, which is about 50km east of Ende. With Mr. Graham ‘the Dirty Harry’ Williamson behind the wheel, we arrive in Kelimutu gate at 3:00 AM. Still to early though. So, we decide to take a nap before the gate open at 4:30 AM.

Just like other national park in Indonesia, the entrance fee for foreign tourist is different from domestic tourist. Kelimutu Park charge Rp 5000,- (weekday) and Rp 7500,- (weekend+holiday) for domestic tourist. But for the foreigner, they charge Rp 150.000,- (weekdays) and Rp 225.000,- (weekend+holiday). Sorry Graham, you’re gonna need to pay more..

The sky still dark when we park our car. After bring some snack, water, and wearing our warm clothes, we start to hike. I think the track is friendly enough for newbie climber. Even the stair is made for making it easier to reach the summit. Maybe just around 15 minutes we already reach there.

Oh yes, we stand in the summit right before the sunrise. From here we can see all of these three magnificent crater. The color of water from three crater’s lakes are different from each other and constantly changing from time to time. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), which is the westernmost of the three lakes, have black color this time. The other two lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are located in the eastern side, shows its blue and brown color. But before learning the story behind these lakes, let’s enjoy the sunrise first…

Kelimutu National Park is spread around 50 km² and from the summit we can see many tremendous layers of hill, especially in the northern side. Arrived here during sunrise is absolutely the best time because for its most dramatic atmosphere along the horizon. Man….we’re truly in heaven!!

Okay, now it’s time to take a look at these three amazing lakes. Considered to be the resting place for departed souls, the lakes are locally referred to as “the lake of old people,” “the lake of young men and maidens,” and “the lake of evil spirits.” Bizarrely, all three lakes change color dramatically and unpredictably, from blue or green to black or red. Kelimutu itself means ‘the boiling lakes.’ (source : BlazingTrailsTogether)

Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People)

With its 4,5 Ha area and 67 meters depth, this lake has been change its color for 16 times since 1915. When we visit this place in September 2014, the lake’s color is pure black. Located in the western side and apart from the other two crater, this is where it’s said the spirits of the old who have led righteous lives go to rest.

Tiwu Ata Mbupu is an “acid-sulfate” volcanic crater lake whose gaseous input is presently very small relative to those for the other Kelimutu lakes. In the 1970s it appears that this lake was much more active than it presently is.

Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens)

This lake has been change its color for 25 times since 1951, and now it shows her blue-turquoise color. Tiwu Nua Mori is the larger lake with its 5,5 Ha area and 127 meters depth. It is categorized as a “cool acid-brine” volcanic crater lake that contains exotic sulfur compounds and probably a host of copper-rich minerals in the sediments. This lake is located side by side with Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) and separated by a shared crater wall. It is believed that Tiwu Nua Mori is the one where the bad people go (young, old, male or female).

Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake)

Tiwu Ata Polo is an intermediate “acid-saline” volcanic crater lake whose frequent color changes are probably the direct result of changes in the oxidation state of the lake’s water. This lake can often be blood red but now it appears an olive color. Located in the eastern side, it has 4 ha area and 64 meters depth.Tiwu Ata Polo is said to be the place for the spirits of soothsayers.

Kelimutu National Park also have 78 various types of floras. Two of them are endemic species of Uta Onga Flores (Begonia kelimutuensis) and Turuwara (Rhondodenron renschianum) and three types of mammals, namely rats lawo (Rattushainaldi), Deke (Papagomys armandvillei), Wawi ndua (Susheureni).

There is also a type of bird species endemic to Kelimutu, Gerugiwa (Monarcha sp), endemic bird whose voice is very melodious and often called bird of the soul, because it seldom appeared and difficult to find. With the noisy chirping birds Meandering is what always welcomes your arrival in Flores each daybreak, a chirp with 11 different voices. (source : JavaBackpacker)

Once again, thanksss for my super travelmates whose sharing this living life journey! But the journey doesn’t end here, now we’re heading back to west to explore Ruteng and Labuan Bajo yeaaa


  • gemdra - 5 years ago
    as always ! breathtakingly amazing good job mas (Y)