Flores Overland Part I: Kelimutu Tri-Colored Lake – Exile House of Soekarno

East Nusa Tenggara , Travel Guide / October 3, 2015

One of the most magical sunrise in my life! And I wasn’t expecting this! Taken in front of Kelimutu Lake (Danau Tiga Warna Kelimutu) Kelimutu National Park

After my community service for 2 months in Alor, Nusa Tenggara Timur, we bid a sad farewell from Alor to welcome our next adventure to explore the other side of Nusa Tenggara Timur (East Nusa Tenggara). This time as a tourist.

A view of Ende from the plane, spotted a lake


Rumah Pengasingan Bung Karnoe (Exile House of Bung Karnoe, the 1st President of Indonesia) in Ende, Flores

We arrived at H Hasan Aroeboesman Airport in Ende, Flores. Before heading to Kelimutu National Park, we stopped by at Rumah Pengasingan Soekarno (Exile House of Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia). This place is very near from the airport, it took only about 15 minutes to get there.
During Indonesia’s pre-Independence era, the Founder and first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, was once exiled by the Dutch colony to several cities in Indonesia. One of it is Ende.
This exact house who became a witness of his journey are open for tourists to enter in Rumah Pengasingan Soekarno (Exile House of Soekarno). The house showcases the exact interior in which the Former President lives; from the bedroom, backyard, kitchen until the bathroom.

Bedroom of Soekarno’s In-Law mother

Stories said that while he was exiled, He spends his time thinking deeply by reading a lot, and his exiled times here recharged his spirit to gain Indonesia’s independence. The thoughts he developed here have became the foundation where Pancasila (the values of Indonesia as a country) was born. It inspired me how one of is lowest time or his life and mental breakdown can be transformed into a spirit that can shape a reformation. It sure is nothing compared from my daily life ups and downs.
Outside of this house, his habits includes visiting villages in Ende, including visiting the Kelimutu National Park — which we’re about to visit next.

The house from in front


Kelimutu Tri-Colored Lake (Danau Tiga Warna Kelimutu) in Kelimutu National Park

We continued our roadtrip from Rumah Pengasingan Soekarno to Kelimutu for a 2 hour drive. Along the way, we stopped in Desa Moni / Moni Village and stay at a homestay we spontaneously found. It was relatively cheap, costing us 300,000 IDR/room (I didn’t get to take note of the address though, my bad!). 
For our visit in Kelimutu National Park, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:

What to prepare

  • Bring your jacket, since the wind makes it very cold. You don’t wanna get distracted with the cold and just focus on enjoying the moment.
  • Bring your own mineral water too, since we have to climb the stairs to get to the lake
  • A flashlight for walking up the train

How to get there from Moni

  • If you’re in a larger group, you can use a rented car (just like me)
  • You can ride an Ojek (local motorcycle bike) by asking your homestay host, the standard usually cost 150,000 – 200.000/person for depart and return.
  • You can take one way ojek ride to Kelimutu and walk back to Moni down by taking a steep shortcut down the mountain. The trail begins near the entrance gate to Kelimutu. They said that the walk can pass a waterfall and favorite swimming spot for locals.

Getting there

  1. We plan to see the sunrise there, so we departed from our homestay in Desa Moni around 4.00 AM using our rent car. You can also ask for homestay services to find you a service that can take to Kelimutu National Park. It needs around 45 minutes to arrive at Kelimutu basement.
  2. After arriving at Kelimutu National Park, we pay for entry fee cost. Rp 3,000 on the weekdays and Rp 5,000 on the weekends (Price per August 2015)
  3. To get to the top, we’ll have to hike for around 1 hour. It’s not a difficult walk though, as the trail already has decent stairs.
  4. When we made it to the top, I just couldn’t BELIEVE what my eyes had seen! I really recommend you to go see sunrise in Kelimutu lake by hiking from this early as it is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen! The view of sunrise came from behind the lake.

    It also depends on when you’re coming whether it’s cloudy or not. If it’s cloudy, the sunrise view can be covered by the clouds, so it’s best for you to not come during rainy season. During the afternoon, a heavy fog often surround the lakes too. And NO, I didn’t edit my photos that much for this!!

    Here are my shots on a lot of process of the sunrise; (P.S go immediately take some photos before it gets crowded! :p)

    Dawn in Kelimutu, this is the view when we’re walking up the stairs

    There is a fence that restrict the edge of lake. You can go behind the fence so your photos won’t be included inside the frame. But just go further a little! Because the steps can be slippery and the lake itself is dangerous since it’s very hot.

The rays of sun peaking through

5. Enjoy some hot tea, coffee or instant noodles (Pop Mie) that are sold by the locals in the peak of Kelimutu Lake sightseeing spot. A pleasure to enjoy it in the midst of cold!

The story of Kelimutu Lake

Did you know that the colour of Kelimutu Lake can change for up to 44 colours? It periodically and unpredictably change due to a chemical reaction happening inside the volcano. Scientist are usually left baffled because of this. Locals believed that the lake is the home of dead ancestors. The name of three lakes:

  • Tiwu Ata Mbupu – Lake of Old People or Ancestors
  • Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai – Lake of Young Men and Maidens
  • Tiwu Ata Polo – The cursed home of evil spirits



Spotted: A monkey in front of Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People or Ancestors)