Enroute to Kelimutu, our trip continued, as we flew with “Nam airlines” from Den Pasar Bali to Maumere Flores at 10 am in the morning. Before long we touched down at Maumere airport. It took 1.5 hours of flying time and we had a free snack and drinks on board. Surprisingly the flight was on time and it was quite decent for a budget airline.
Our taxi from the hotel already waiting for us in the airport. But alas, it took ages for our luggage to arrive from the plane. Finally, we were off to our beach- hut hotel outside Maumere City, a drive of around 45 minutes. The vegetation around the areas going toward the hotel was quite dense and it was not very populated. We also passed the Mt. Egon volcano on the way to the hotel.
My partner chose this hotel because he loves diving and this place offered the best diving experience in Maumere. The hotel is managed by a Swiss and Indonesian couple. But beware, it does not reflect a European hotel. It was more like a dump hotel to me…. Well, I was a bit prejudiced here but the hut was very old, small, and not that clean according to my standards. It did have a very good view facing the ocean as it was a beachfront hut. I was quite happy with the view as I was to be lazing around for 4 days, while my travel partner went scuba diving at the other islands with the hotel owner.
According to the hotel owner, the scuba diving was fabulous, he said there were many types of fishes, sharks, manta rays, big turtles, etc, etc, and the diving conditions were pristine clear. There were some coral mishaps after the tsunami in 1992, but some of the coral has now grown back.
We could do some snorkelling and diving off the beach where the hotel was located. The site was handy but not good for swimming as there were no sandy beaches, only black stones from the volcano eruptions.
I had booked a private car and driver to explore Flores and to see the many sights offered in the nearby areas. Surprisingly, it was quite costly for a rental car in Flores, and with limited public transport, we had no choice other than to book a car, if we wanted to explore the sights.
Our driver was friendly but he spoke limited English and sometimes he was a bit difficult to understand.
We left the hotel in the morning, to visit the old, wooden, Portuguese, catholic church which was built in 1860 on the way to Moni city. The interior of the Church was simple in design with high ceilings and arches, and it was quiet and peaceful. The church actually was locked and we had to find the caretaker to open the doors. There were several shops selling “ikat” traditional sarongs before the church building.
After a couple of hours drive, we stopped for the barbeque, seafood lunch at the beach in Paga village. I was happy as the food was pretty and the view was fantastic. Finishing lunch, we had a walk at the beautiful and pristine beach. It was a shame I do not have my bikini on, otherwise I would jumped into the water… it was so beautiful and peaceful at this place.
We sat at one of the “warung” (traditional Indonesian rustic café or restaurant), and had a coconut drink to admire the view. Satisfied, we headed back to Moni for the night.
After dinner at the hotel restaurant, we enquired about the local dance and we were lucky to have a personal and private dance by local villagers, with a fee. The singing was impressive and so lovely to hear and the dance was interesting to watch. We both loved this special performance and it was interesting to see the whole village children come out and watch the dance with us, where we sat like a King and a Queen. What a memory to hold dear….
Oh goodness, alarm bells were ringing at 3.45 am in the morning, as we had to get up and then drive to the Mount Kelimutu at 4 am in the morning to see the sunrise from the top. We can see the 3 mineral lakes which changed colour with the changing of the volcanoes activities from the top of the Kelimutu mountain.
After 30-45 minutes’ drive up the mountain, we had to pay an entrance fee. After that we had to climb the dark mountain with torches to beat the sunrise. Oh boy… I was surprised to see a woman, a coffee seller, walk so fast passing us, with many supplies on her head and in her hands. I was embarrassed because I had almost run out of breath at that stage.
It was not that bad a climb, actually, it was quite exciting and we looked forward to the top, so we walked faster, catching up to that woman seller… oh boy… my legs were working so hard that morning…..
Finally, we arrived at the top of the mountain. It was busy but not that touristy, like other places in Bali. Unfortunately the sun was too shy to show it is face, and people was waiting with cameras .
By 7 am in the morning, we had enough and it was a bit cold since the wind was quite strong and it had started raining. When we walked down, we see that the monkeys were waking up and we took many photos.
The 3 colour lake was okay, but I do not see it as a wow factor.
After breakfast at the hotel, we got ready and headed out to Bajawa. We stopped over at the Murundao waterfall to check it out on the way. Unfortunately, the waterfall was quite small and nothing spectacular. It was a strange part of our journey.