Hiking to Kelimutu Crater Lakes

Thursday four weeks ago after got some breakfast I started my hike to the Kelimutu Crater lakes. I opted for the small paths on my map, which started directly after a waterfall near the village of Moni. The most difficult part to find the path was right in the first 15 minutes, where a sharp turn left was needed. I saw the path, but somehow I needed to cross a field, as I couldn’t find the starting point. After that it was easy to follow that well used path. I came along several fields of cassava and even passed some cows and horses before I ended up again on a larger road, which let me to the mountain village of Pemo. Some people were asking me, where I’m heading to. When I told them Kelimutu, some said OK that’s the right way but also some told me, no way to go there (I guess because, they didn’t want that I enter the national park from this side). Quite a few people came opposite to me, even an elderly couple from Israel, which sound French and they also told me, they still have their French passport, because without that, they wouldn’t be allowed to get into Indonesia. That information was new to me. So all the people were for sunrise on the top of the mountain, but I skipped that early morning activity and just sticked to hiking during daylight. I was even invited by a local woman to come to your house, at least she heavily waived her hands. But in the end I wanted to get on top of the mountain before noon, as I expected to be clouds in the afternoon. So I declined that offer. After the village the main road became gradually smaller, until I was again just following a small path uphill. The way wasn’t really steep nor difficult and faster as expected I reached the car park of the national park. From here, wide maintained footpaths are available to the different lookouts.

The colours of the lake in combination with the yellow like stone creates a bit unreal feeling. It’s definitely an amazing view of the two major lakes. The third lake it’s a bit shaded and much darker than the other two. Each of the lake has a different depth but also a different water level. Additionally, the colours of the lake are changing continuously, and one can spot each year different colours of the lake. You can buy expensive drinks, food and souvenir on top of the mountain. I guess it’s not only for me expensive. A group of women from Sumba Island wanted to make photos with me, and I asked them about the price here, and they said they never bought anything, because it’s much too expensive.

I opted to walk back along the street, as I thought I will have something interesting there on my map, but unfortunately this was a misinterpretation. Hence, the walk down was a bit boring. Except for the last village Koanara, where people were harvesting rice paddies. It was interesting how much manual work this still is and with which very basic tools this work is performed. The people were wondering, why I’m walking along the road and not driving down in a car. In the afternoon I was back Moni. The hiking was pretty easy, but long as I wasn’t hitchhiking down, which I essentially could have done.

The destination is already insight during breakfast
These two siblings enjoyed the warming morning (the mother sat next to them, and allowed me to take the photo)
The waterfall near Moni village
On the way up, along some fields but also old unused roads. One farmer frightened me, while just saying “Hello”, because it was so calm and peaceful, that I didn’t expect anybody else in the vicinity
View to the originally mountain village of Pemo, which is not yet spoiled by tourist money, with the sea in the background. That was an amazing view.
The dark crater lake is a bit shaded…
…while these two a nicely exposed to the sun.
Me on top of Kelimutu mountain

I made a short panoramic video:

Men at work: Maintenance of road construction obviously. Any further questions, why the ticket price of foreigners is 20 times higher than for locals?
Villagers getting firewood out of the forest. And the boy gets trouble soon (no, not because he’s driving without licence…funny one 🤣), but because he packs definitely too much wood at once onto the scooter.
I saw these boards occasionally throughout NTT, and I guess it’s somehow a game for the men…to get the nail into the wood.
One of the nicely smelling flowers, I told before.
Threshing is done directly on the rice paddies and the straw is typically burnt on the fields, which causes lots of smoke, instead energetically utilised.
It seemed that the whole village of Koanara was harvesting the rice
I had no clue what this building is meant for, I already saw it in the morning during my ascent. I even went up the stairs, as the door on top was open. There was some kind of leafs, or straw hanging on the ceiling. Not sure if this was for drying or for insulation.
That reminded me to something…
I found that entrance ticket on my way down along the street. Obviously, I couldn’t buy a foreigner ticket for 150k rupiah on my own, as I only passed the ranger station on my way down. And there are no other ticket selling points on the way I took uphill.
GPX track

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