Flores is one of my favourite places in Indonesia. There are a lot of amazing things to do on the island. If you’re doing an overland trip across Flores I’d recommend spending a night at the traditional village of Wae Rebo and watching sunrise over Kelimutu. I’ve been to Kelimutu twice and I have to say watching sunrise over the lakes was one of the greatest things I have experienced in Indonesia.

I am a big fan of sunrises rather than sunsets. To be really honest there really is no particular reason for this, I just think a beautiful sunrise can improve your mood and instantly brighten up your day. Even though I totally agree that sunset is more romantic. I like the transition from dark to bright rather than the opposite. I’m digressing, so back to the trip.

Sunrise Over Kelimutu

My two friends and I left from the village of Moni before the sun was up. We were off to see the sunrise at Mount Kelimutu with its tri-colored crater lakes. After we parked the car, we just needed to walk along a very easy track to reach the perfect spot to watch sunrise. Unsurprisingly there were quite a lot people who wanted to do exactly the same like us and most of them were foreigner tourists.

There are three lakes on Kelimutu Mountain of varying colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake). When I was there Tiwu Ata Mbupu and Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai were almost in the same colour, turquoise blue. Meanwhile the Tiwu Ata Polo was a very dark red, almost black.

The moment that the sun started to rise everyone stopped talking and it seemed like there was absolute silence (maybe people even held their breath). They wanted to enjoy the spectacular view. It was a breathtaking moment for me. I had planned to video everything, but I totally forgot about it and just spoiled my eyes with the sunrise; the lakes, the rays of the sun, the clouds, the scenery, everything was just perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Five minutes after the sun had rose people started to talk again. Chit chatting with soft sounds, taking more and more pictures, enjoying hot cups of tea or coffee (there are several sellers up there) or they just stood around silently like me. Sunrise in Kelimutu is my favorite memory of my trip to Flores and it was a great start to the day. Afterwards we visited a traditional village, Wologai, which was also mystical like Kelimutu. It was the perfect way to end my short trip in Ende before heading to Labuhan Bajo.

Final Thoughts

Watching sunrise over the three coloured lakes of Kelimutu is one of the highlights of an overland Flores tour. On a good day the view is mesmerising. The colours, the landscape and the fresh air make visiting Kelimutu an amazing experience. Keep in mind the best time to visit is from May to September during the dry season. In the wet season there’s a high chance of mist, which means you won’t get to see anything.

Have you ever been to Kelimutu? Do you have any favorite sunrise moment? Share your thoughts with other readers in the comments below.