Not many know that there is a wonderful tri-colored lake at Mount Kelimutu, Flores. As one of the many volcanoes of Indonesia, Mount Kelibara has the highest peak of 1731m tall, here. The tri-colored Kelimutu lake within the summit of the craters at 1690m becomes one of the most famous attractions for travellers here. Referring to its name, this lake consists of three lakes together of different colors from each other and also at different times, making them bizarre and exciting to discover.
One of these lakes is Tiwu ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) that is usually blue and on the westernmost point of the three lakes. Meanwhile, the other two lakes are Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake). Both of them are usually green or red respectively and are only separated by a crater wall.
Location of Tri-colored Lake
Mount Kelimutu is located in Kelimutu National Park on Flores Island, Indonesia. It is exactly near a small town called Moni, that is about 50 km east of Ende of Central Flores Island and 4 hours ride from Maumere, the city of Flores.
Reasons for a visit
The tri-colored lakes of Mount Kelimutu are truly exceptional as natural occurring phenomenon. Due to the ever-changing colors and the numerous colors among themselves, it is wonderfully evocative. The native people even consider it as a resting place for the departed souls. They believe that Mae was a God of the afterlife world and those who died will sit by the lakes based on their virtues in life. Therefore, it is associated with the names of the lake, when translated they are meant one for the souls of the people, another for the spirits of young people, and lastly for the spirits of fortune-tellers.
Dramatically and unpredictably, these lakes change color from blue or green to red or black, making it one of the most amazing natural phenomena to witness. Moreover, the unstable steep road to get there makes it so much more mysterious and enigmatic.
Best time to go
The best time to visit the Kelimutu Lakes is during the dry season of Indonesia tropical weather, which is May to September. The best of best time is July or August, making it also the most peak time where you should make advance booking of place to stay and such.
To visit the lake, the best time is when during sunrise for its most dramatic atmosphere, which you have to wake as early as 3.30am to be able to make it.
Main attractions at Tri-colored Lakes
- The Tri-colored Lakes of Kelimutu, of course.
- The first and second lakes are located side by side while the third one is located 1.5 km west of the two. The border between the lakes is a narrow stone wall of a crater that is very steep and of 50-150 m height. Scientifically, the colors of the lakes change due to the sunlight discoloration influencing the water microorganisms and the dissolution of chemicals. It also includes the reflection from the colors of the walls and bottom of the lake itself.
Possible activities to do
- You can catch the sunrise at Mount Kelimutu overlooking the lakes. You can start your journey by taking a truck up the 8 km path to Kelimutu lakes and then another 45 minutes upward drive just in time to catch the sunrise.
- Or, hike and trek around Mount Kelimutu. Exploring the crater and then walking all the way back down to Moni if you like, or riding back the way you came.
Food and drinks
At the nearest town of Moni, there are only few restaurants and some local market stalls to choose. Thus, you should remember to pack plenty food for energy on your journey to the tri-colored lakes as it would take some time, especially if you decide to do your own trekking. Yet, you can find some drink sellers at the crater.
If you want to get more adventures, you can decide to stay in Moni that has some choices of guesthouses with minimal facilities. Yet, if you wish for more comfortable options, you can choose to stay in Maumere which is 4 hours away. Another more choice to stay is in Ende which is sort on in between range for these two.
- By Flights
The closest airport is in Maumere and Ende, Flores where you can take regular flights between Bali and Maumere.
From Maumere, you can take about 4 hours drive to Moni. From Moni, it will only take 45 minutes to reach the lip of Lake Kelimutu.
At Ende, the flight will arrive at Kupang airport. Then, you have to ride 40 minutes to Ende and then a further ride of another 3 hours to the village near Kelimutu lake. Here, you should take a walk of 2.5 hours from there to get to.
- By Ferry boat
Alternately, you can take a ferry boat from Bali to Flores, which would take around 3-4 days depending on your cruise package that would mostly include stops at places like Komodo National Park, other villages and also here at Kelimutu lakes.
- How to get around
You can actually rent a vehicle to get around from town to villages and the Kelimutu lakes, but you can also catch the public bus if you like. Instead, the rest can be completed on foot of some light trekking as well as tough hiking.
The nearest destination is Komodo National Park, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia. It is the home to the famous Komodo Dragon in Indonesia, the only one of its kind left in this world.
- Always pack enough food to go in your backpack and water since the on land journey is long while the trekking is hard and far from where you can get them.
- Most of all, if you often have troubles with long bumpy overland journeys, then you should take your medication to ease the ride. The roads here are mostly winding, bumpy and often long.
So, find the true beauty of the wonderful tri-colored lakes at Mount Kelimutu, Flores on your adventurous holiday. You will be amazed on how nature can take your breath away. Share your experience if you have been there.