The ever-changing colours of Kelimutu really are a sight to behold in Flores. This volcano, which last erupted in 1968, is so famous that it even appears on Indonesian banknotes!
To the people of Flores, Mount Kelimutu holds particular relevance to their beliefs, and across Indonesia as a whole, the volcano is known as a natural wonder. At 5,377ft, it is not among the highest in Indonesia, but is certainly one of the most popular for tourists who cannot get enough of its amazing landscapes. Located a good 1 hour’s drive from the town of Ende (4 hours from Bajawa, and 11 hours from Labuan Bajo), Kelimutu has an admission fee of 20,000 Rupiah, and an extra 50,000 Rupiah fee for photography, and I consider these prices to very reasonable.
The highlight of Flores was my morning trip to Mount Kelimutu, which is one of the most iconic active volcanoes in Indonesia. I did not manage to visit for sunrise, as I am not much of an early morning person (though I am told the experience is amazing), but I still got to see Kelimutu in all its glory for a good couple of hours.
Kelimutu is known to have 3 crater lakes, all of which are different colours, and all of which change their colour on a regular basis. On the time of my visit, the lakes were bright blue, almost turquoise, and a dark blood kind of colour. It provided a good variation in colour and gave me something to admire to take my mind off the searing morning heat and tropical humidity. Regarding these 3 crater lakes, they are named as follows:
Tiwu Ata Bupa (The Lake of the Old People) – the westernmost crater and usually blue in colour
Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri (The Lake of Young Men and Maidens) – typically green in colour
Tiwu Ata Polo (The Bewitched Lake) – typically red in colour
One thing I have noticed about my trips to Nusa Tenggara is that it is almost always hazy here, not in a dangerous Singapore haze-kind-of-way which is caused by burning forest in Sumatra, but almost in a mythical kind of way, as if you really are at the end of the Earth around here; I doubt it is caused by Kelimutu’s sulphur. That said, Mount Kelimutu is not difficult to climb, not in the slightest, and once you are at the viewing platforms at the summit, there are ample areas around which to sit and have a picnic – there are even litter bins provided, which I am sure the monkeys ravage from time to time!
One of my dreams in life is to climb some of my favourite volcanoes in Indonesia, including Kerinci, Sinabung, Merapi, Semeru, Agung, Rinjani, and Klabat. I have already climbed Bromo, scaled Sibayak, and now Kelimutu, so I am ticking them off pretty quickly!