I was sat in Labuan Bajo deciding where to go next as I didn’t want to go back to Bali like the majority. If you google what to do on Flores Island the first thing to pop up will be to see Kelimutu Volcano. I looked where it was and it was located 2 hours from Ende.
Ende is around 10 hours by bus or one hour by plane. In between Labuan Bajo there is also a popular city called Bajawa which is meant to be really beautiful with traditional villages. I heard off some people positive things but then others said it was basically for tourists unless you climbed the mountain for a while. That’s if you want to find people who truthfully live in these types of Indonesian thatched roof houses. So as the bus was not leaving until a few days, a few days which I didn’t have to waste I decided to get the plane straight to Ende.
The one thing you’ll realise while travelling in Indonesia is just how much there is to see. It’s so huge that the visa system they have at the moment is not practical at all. You get a one month visa but if you want to extend you have to apply for an extension. It’s doable and not too hard but it just wastes time especially when the likes of Malaysia which is a fraction of the size of Indonesia offer a 3 month visa on arrival.
So I headed to Ende and from there I had to get to Moni which is the nearest village next to Kelimutu. It’s about 2 hours from Ende through the mountains it’s such a lovely drive, I remember even now just the overwhelming feeling of content.
Depending on the time you arrive in Ende there may not be buses so you’ll have to get a shared taxi. The going rate is actually around 25,000 – 30,000 but going to Ende they will try and charge you 50,000 from the airport. I don’t know if it’s possible to bargain on the way there, as they charge you 20,000 from the airport to the bus station which is only 6 minutes away yet 30,000 from the station to Moni which is nearly 2 hours! So I assume it’s the same people working together. (A mini scam for the tourist as usual in Indonesia.) But on the way back it’s a lot easier to find one of the buses which charge 25,000 and that’s it.
In Moni there is currently (Nov 2016) zero wifi unless you have a sim card and are higher up on the mountain so make sure you book anything necessary before going there unlike myself who had to rock up at the airport two days later and ask what the cheapest flight leaving that day was.
When visiting Kelimutu, the best thing to do is to wake up at 4am and be there to see the sunrise. If travelling in a group you can get a taxi to take you and bring you back. Your looking at paying around 70,000 each or you could just rent a motorbike which costs around 90,000 and drive up yourself and then have the motorbike to use for the rest of the day. I was going to do that but then got warned not to as the road is bad and it will be dark at 4 in the morning so I ended up going with this group of people who happened to have a spare seat in the car. Although after seeing the road I think it’s definitely do able and the road is not bad at all. I don’t think the girls that told me are use to driving in Asia because the only thing that would have been slightly worrying would be the darkness. But other than that the road is fine just a bit windy.
Once you get there and pay ect. (more expensive on Sundays) You then walk for about 30 minutes to the top it’s a really easy walk and honestly it’s so beautiful. Yet what shocked me was that there were hardly any tourists. I’d say at 5am once we’d reached the top just as the sun was rising there were no more than 20 people and by 7 it was just myself and the others in the car I had shared. I do not understand in the slightest why people bother to go all the way to Moni to see the lakes and after less than 2 hours they leave before they even have chance to see the lakes change colour.
We stayed until about 9am and simply enjoyed the nature of this world. Don’t rush your time there. Enjoy it and take in the beauty. Stay in Moni for 2 nights, don’t just rush back to Ende. There is so much beauty to be seen in the mountains from waterfalls, traditional villages and there interesting style of eating. With food markets every Tuesday. Take in the culture and try the different foods the locals are offering.
If you want some where to stay on a low budget I recommend Bintang Bungalow, the owner is just lovely and she’ll make you feel right at home.
This is a short film of when I was there. Enjoy.