Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara Province is one of a great alternative destination when we want to get an escaping in the embrace of nature. Flores is also one of the best beach destination combined with unspoiled culture.
One upon a day, out of our plan, After finished a job in Larantuka, East Nusa Tenggara, me and some friends go to the another side of Flores Island that we haven’t reach before, explore Sikka and Ngada that lies in the center of Flores Island. Even I stayed about 2 month in Larantuka, East Flores to finish a research from our college.
After preparing some meal to be eat in the trip and leave our 1300 kilograms baggage in a house in Maumere, finally we left Maumere and arrive in place which was more desolate than Maumere.
Maumere is one of the biggest city in the Central Flores Island. We boarded the Merpati Airways plane from Denpasar, Bali to Maumere for about 3 hours with small propeller plane.
We ride about 3-4 hours from the nearest airport, Wai Oti Airport, Maumere. At first, the road is still flat until about 1 hours your vehicle will drive uphill. I saw so many beautiful rice field there, actually since we pass Nita Sub District in Sikka Regency. Organized as a staircase and has an end in a hill, it was so amazing!
A micro bus bring us to that beautiful mountain through narrow road with hills in the left side and peak in the right side. It was a difficult road, even you use small car, you need to set back your vehicle if you meet other vehicle from the narrow opposite side. We have to rent a seven seat car or take small public bus to go to Kelimutu Mountain.
Then after one and half hours, one…and two, and three and almost all of the passenger got the car sick. Yes, we start to puke caused by the driver drove our bus so fast and always brake the vehicle incidentally when we pass or meet other vehicle. Hahaha. it was very funny because not only got car sick, we also got hallucination because we brought 4 liters of ‘moke’, a local alcohol from Flores. It made strong odor of alcohol in all part of the bus.
Moke or some people in other part called ‘Sofi’ is a very strong beer from East Nusa Tenggara. It made by fermented coconut and has disgusting smell. It contains 50-80% or alcohol depend on how long we keep it fermented.
After pass the endless windy road, finally we reach Moni. Moni is the only small town that has facilities in nearest of Kelimutu crater. We stayed in a nice hotel that worth for the price. At ten in the night there’s nothing to see except dark panorama surround us. So we chose to sleep rather buy grilled corn in the small stall not far from the hotel.
At three in the morning, we were woken up by the hotel receptionist. The road is still far from the crater or you have choice to walk about 15 kilometers to the crater. The road is so hilly and twisty. With still half-closed eyes we ride bus to the crater waiting for sunrise.
The road end up in a point not to far from the top. But we still have to walk through the endless stairs to reach the top. Some guard show the way for us with their flashlight. Yes, the view is pitch dark even we can’t see how the stairs turn left or right.
About one hours we climb, we reach the crater. Oh…it’s so beautiful! all dark! No, we have to wait until the sun shine break the dark for a while
About 30 minutes waiting, finally we can see some trees surround us. The weather was still so cold there. We attached each other to warm the body and sat in a flat area. And here it is, the sunrise!
The panorama gradually appear surround us. And i amazed to stare two giant lake deep in front of us. Cliffs that surround the lake looks like a wall with a depth of about 80 meters. The Mutu Mountain itself stand about 1690 meters.
I heard the guide explaining about this beautiful montain, he explained that he first lake is named Tiwu Ata Mbupu or lake of the ancestors’ souls. the second lake named Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai or lake of young people’s souls. The first and second lakes are situated close together, and the third is called Tiwu Ata Polo (lake of evil spirits). The third lake is about 1.5km to the west.
Scientific explanations aside, there are many myths about the origin of Kelimutu. This is one of the reasons why Mount Kelimutu was, and still is a sacred place for the local people. Over the years, the three crater lakes have often changed color. At present, one of the lakes is black-brown, one is green, and one is currently changing from green to a reddish color. A reason may be the varying mineral contents of the water. Another explanation suggests that the changing colors are caused by the neglected ancestral souls.
It’s difficult to take all three lake in one frame. The third floor is quite far from the other even the Kelimutu crater lakes are only a small part of the Kelimutu National Park. This fascinating area belongs to the worldwide protected areas and is internationally recognized by the United Nations Environment Program.
Before the sun shine too bright, we decided to dropped back to Moni Village and get our late breakfast.
Moni is not only the village where we can stay before take trekking to the lake. Detusoko is another part you can stay there.If you choose Detusoko Village as your starting point, you can spend the night in the guesthouse called Wisma Santu Fransiskus (+62 81314350522 ), which is managed by the Sisters of the Saint Francis Order. The nuns use the income of the guesthouse for their social work to help orphaned children in Detusoko.
After breakfast and check out the hotel, we drive back to Maumere to chase our plane at the evening. Good bye Flores!