East Nusa Tenggara is not only popular for Komodo dragons on 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 blueish 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 along with the 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 ongoing research.
Of all the national parks in the east, Kelimutu is considered the smallest, with only 5,365 ha. Besides Kelimutu Lake, the national park is home to at least 19 species of endangered birds and 4 endemic mammals. The park also serves as a conservation for a wide range of flora. Mainly from the genus Vaccinium dan Rhododendron.
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. For the entrance fee, international tourists will have to pay Rp150.000 on weekdays and Rp225.000 on weekends.
|Kelimutu National Park Entrance Fee|
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|
Mount Kelimutu Sunrise Trekking
To get to Kelimutu lake, tourists 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 is 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, 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 are welcome, and even colder air greets the skin. But be patient and wait for the sunrise. What’s waiting ahead will guarantee all the hiking and waking up early is 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 called 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 meters deep and reportedly had a sky-blue color which then turned white. The second lake is called 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 sky blue. This is might be hell, at least for the locals. They believe it’s where the bad people go 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, a nice backdrop will complement the hiking experience. Some people swear, going to these lakes is 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 is other 79 plants type to learn, spend at least two hours exploring them all.
Local Costume And Traditions
Residents living near the national park are a tribal society. Traditional houses made from wood still dominate the village. The traditional lifestyle mainly centers 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 crafts 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.
Villages below the mountain offer lodges for visitors to spend a night. 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 hungry visitors 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 have to reach Labuan Bajo first. 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. The first option is to 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. The motorcycle taxi is 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 Kelimutu 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.