- Elevation: 1,647 m (5,404 ft)
- Prominence: 48 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none
- Eruptions: 1865, 1938, 1968
Famous for its three exotic coloured lakes, Kelimutu is the most famous natural tourist attraction on the island of Flores, apart from the staggering beauty of the whole island itself. The Spesial place on Kelimutu is the so called “Inspiration Point”, which is the viewpoint from where you can see all three of the crater coloured lakes. The lakes are Ata Bupu (brown, “Lake of Old People”), Ata Polo (red, “Enchanted Lake”) and Nuwa Muri (turquoise, “Lake of Young Men and Maidens”) although the colour of the lakes changes.
If like most people travelling through Flores you have a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook, you will be expecting something very special from Kelimutu. Unfortunately the Lonely Planet description of Kelimutu is wildly over-the-top and in our opinion Kelimutu is a worthwhile diversion on the Flores itinerary, but don’t set your expectations too high. As a Spesial, Kelimutu does not come close as a natural attraction to Bromo or Papandayan in Java.
You should aim to visit Inspiration Point for sunrise, which means staying overnight in the pleasant village of Moni. Leave Moni at 4:30 am with your driver or a motorbike taxi (ojek) and you’ll be at the National Park gates when they open at 5 am; from there it’s a short drive to the carpark. From the carpark it is 20 minutes walk along a paved track following the signs to the “puncak” – as you walk the light should be building for sunrise. There are steps to the fenced area that is the puncak, or Inspiration Point. This is not actually the highest point on Kelimutu, but it is the only hiking destination on the mountain – you should not attempt to leave the paths or fenced areas because the steep slopes are dangerous.
From Inspiration Point you can also see the actual Ribu in the area, which is 12 km to the north of Kelimutu and easily spotted because it has a Telkom mobile phone tower on the top. This Ribu is called Keli Lepembusu and it’s our recommended destination after Kelimutu because you can bag it by motorbike, you can be there and back in less than 2 hours from Moni.
As soon as you’ve had your fill of coloured lakes, return the same way. Whatever you do, don’t follow the Lonely Planet advice of walking down from the carpark. This strikes us of desperation to make Kelimutu more interesting or fill up more of the day than required. If you do decide to do this, get your driver to drop you off at the forestry office (Dephut) which is 1 km down the road from the National Park office. The descent to Moni from Dephut is worthwhile if you haven’t been through many kampung (villages) in Indonesia. However, we recommend having breakfast in Moni and then heading off to bag the Ribu of Keli Lepembusu, where you are bound to meet some locals and get off the usual tourist trail.
Bagging information by Andy Dean
- Getting there: You will most likely be travelling across Flores – the turning to Kelimutu National Park is about 5 minutes outside the village of Moni on the way to Ende. It’s about 30 minutes drive up the road to the car park.
- Accommodation: There are several hotels in the village of Moni.
- Permits: Foreigners even if resident in Indonesia pay Rp. 150/225,000 (weekday/weekend) entry at the National Park gates, locals pay a fraction of that.
- Water sources: There are several food stalls at the carpark, and you can buy muddy coffee, tea and ginger tea from some charming old men who do great business at Inspiration Point.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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