East Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara Timur) is not only popular for its Komodo dragons in Komodo Island. Deep in the Island of Flores, lies Kelimutu National Park. Located in three districts (Detsuko, Wolowaru, and Ndona) in Ende Regency. The park is famous for its three colored lakes.
Yes, they are not just ordinary lakes with typical blue-ish water. These lakes exist as a result of volcanic eruptions series on Mount Kelimutu. The last eruption in 1886 caused the lakes’ water to start changing color. Scientists assume that the volcanic activities in the base of the lake.
Enhance with the bias of sunlight and some chemical gasses reactions are the causes of this phenomenon. So far there is no scientific answer yet. And the answer to it might still have to wait for the ongoing research.
Kelimutu National Park Activities
Kelimutu National Park itself is considered the smallest. Of all parks in Bali-Nusa Tenggara Region at only 5.365 ha. But of course, it is not the least in its importance.
Besides Kelimutu Lake, the park is also home to at least 19 species of endangered birds and 4 endemic mammals. The park also serves as conservation for a wide range of flora. Mainly from the genus Vaccinium dan Rhododendron.
Trekking To Mount Kelimutu before sunrise
To get to Kelimutu Lake, visitors will have to hike early. Prepare at 4 in the morning, as the journey will takes 30-45 minutes from Moni. Make sure to be at the entrance gate at 04:30 and begin to hike. The trek to get to the top of Kelimutu considered an easy hike.
In the first part of the hike, trees hug this side of the mountain, not much to see for hikers since it’s still dark. The air is cold, and the eyes are still sleepy. Luckily the path is clear enough with gentle inclines. The hike overall is not quite challenging for the first 20 minutes.
The second part is where hikers will start to feel the mountainous terrain. The forest gradually disappears, volcanic rocks and open sky replace the trees, and the track gets only a bit tougher. Though it only takes 30 to an hour to get to the top of Kelimutu.
Once reaching the viewpoint, clouds and mists welcome, and even colder air greet the skin. But be patient and wait for the sunrise. As what waiting ahead will guarantee all the hiking and waking up early totally worth it.
Kelimutu Tri-Colored Lakes
As the sun starts rising and the mists start to disappear, nature will gradually begin to unravel the lakes on the deep craters below. The first lake is Tiwu Ata Nuwa Muri Koofai or The Lake of The Young People. Local believes that this is where the spirits of young people go when they die, hence its name.
This lake has 127 m depth and reportedly had a sky blue color which then turned into white. The second lake is Tiwu Ata Mbupu. This lake is known to have the color changed from originally dark brown to milky chocolate. For the locals, Mbupu is a resting place for old people’s spirit.
The last lake, Tiwu Ata Polo, originally had a red color which then turned into a sky blue. This is might be hell, at least for the locals. The people believe it’s where the bad people going in the afterlife. There’s no certain pattern of when and into what color the lake will change.
The alteration part can occur within hours, months, or even years. It might be a nice surprise for visitors. Discovering the colors will feel like opening a hidden gift – no one know what they get. Spend some time being amazed by the magnificent view.
Rows of green hills and mountains behind with a nice backdrop will complement the hiking experience. Some people swear, going to these lakes is among one thing people must do. At least once in a lifetime experience. Kelimutu lakes were listed among the 7 wonders, so they are probably right!
Meet Kelimutu Park’s Local Performer
As the sun is up, lucky tourists will spot some Garugiwa birds chirping cheerfully on the pine trees below. Garugiwa, or bare-throated whistler is an endemic species inhabiting this national park.
The bird definitely has quite a talent: it can produce 16 kinds of sound. The composition of these sounds showcases a performance so beautiful bewitching anyone to just stop and listen.
National Park Arboretum
The arboretum, Kelimutu’s mini jungle, can be an alternative exit route from the mountain peak. Climbing back down, anyone with a keen interest in Botany should go to this route.
The conservation preserves some endemic trees. Among them a begonia tree called Uta onga (Begonia kelimutunesis) and a tree called Turuwara (Rhondodenron renschianum). There are also other 79 types of plant to learn, spend at least two hours exploring them all.
Local Costume And Traditions
Residents surrounding the national park is a tribal society. Traditional houses made from wood still dominating the village. The traditional lifestyle mainly centered around farming and raising livestock. Unfortunately, some parts of the village still lack electricity and plumbing.
Visiting the village can be a humbling yet incredible experience. As simple as it may seem, these people live harmoniously with the surrounding nature- and they’re a bunch of friendly and happy folks!
Learn some ikat weaving craft during the visit here. Ikat is a traditional technique to produce a textile by dyeing the yarns before weaving them. The women of the village will happily teach anyone who’s curious to learn. And don’t forget to bring home this beautiful piece of textile.
Kelimutu National Park Opening Hours
The national park opens from 5 AM to 6 PM. Yet actually, everyone can go at any time of the day. This is why tourists hike at midnight for sunrise hunting.
|Kelimutu National Park Opening Hours|
|Every day||05:00 – 18:00 WITA|
Kelimutu National Park Entrance Fee
The best month to visit is between July and September. It’s the peak of the dry season and mostly the sky will also clear. As for the ticket, it is Rp150.000 for foreign visitors.
|Kelimutu National Park Entrance Fee|
Villages below the mountain offer lodges for visitors to stay. They are certainly not five-star hotels. But they provide basic facilities and experience of living like local regular hotels can never offer.
Enjoy some local delicacies on warung, or small restaurants, which are also plenty nearby. There are even some ladies selling food near the lake viewpoint, so visitors hungry after hiking will find their existence a blessing.
How To Get To Kelimutu National Park
Basically, travelers who depart from any city in Indonesia will arrive in Labuan Bajo. From here, tourists will have to go to Moni village, located at the foot of Mount Kelimutu. To point out, there are two options to get to the village. Either rent a vehicle or ride a motorcycle taxi (ojek). Although there is public transportation to Moni village, the schedule is unreliable.
From the village to the entrance gate of the national park, is a 30 minutes walk. Taxi bike is also available to save energy for the hiking part. Car and jeep rentals are also ready for rent. These cars are able to go past the entrance and far into the national park. So tourists will only need to hike a short path to reach the peak.
Address & Location
Kelimutu National Park situated in Jl. Moni – Kelimutu, Ende, East Nusa Tenggara 86372.