At last it was time to visit the final destination on my epic solo Bali to Flores and back scooter trip. Flores was so amazing I wanted to keep going.

But every mile I drove would be a mile I’d have to backtrack. There was only one road that was passable on my little scooter, so I’d have to drive back the same way I came.

When planning my trip, Kelimutu seemed like a good goal. It’s about halfway across Flores, so I’d get to see a bit of the island en route. And it would be a spectacular destination.

Kelimutu is three lakes inside of a volcano’s crater. The lakes are multicolored, and the colors change over time. Pictures taken in different years look different.

The sun comes up.
The sun comes up.

Driving In The Dark

The time to see Kelimutu is as the sun rises. This isn’t just because sunrises are beautiful. It’s also because the clouds come in before noon. There’s nothing to see if you are late!

So I got up at 4 am, and got on my scooter by 4:30. I wish I could say I hiked up the volcano through the jungle in order to go where nobody else goes. But the reality is you can just drive most of the way.

It’s actually quite a long drive in the dark up the mountain. I had long ago conquered my fear of driving a scooter in the dark, so I went fairly fast. But it took me an hour to get to the parking lot.

As it got lighter, the blue lake got brighter.
As it got lighter, the blue lake got brighter.

It was still pitch black, so I had a coffee. This proved to be a bit of a mistake. There’s about a twenty minute hike up to the viewpoint, and the colors were already starting. I had to practically run to get the the top!

When shooting sunsets, you have to get there before the sun comes up. About 30 minutes before sunrise time is a good estimate.

I made it just in time, and set up my tripod. I took many photos.

There are three lakes, but from Inspiration Point, only one is clearly visible at a time. The second one is behind this one, and you can see a bit of it while looking at the first one.

There's more to see than the lakes.
There’s more to see than the lakes.

I had to ask where the third lake is. To see it you have to go to the other side of the platform. So it’s impossible to see all three lakes at once.

The main lake was a spectacular blue. The other two lakes were reddish-brown. Sometimes all the lakes are a different color, but not while I was there.

While processing the photos, I noticed a ton of noise. My old digital camera’s sensor apparently does not do a good job with low light situations like sunrises. Could it be time to upgrade to a new camera?

Me at inspiration Point.
Me at inspiration Point.
Two of the lakes. The third one is behind me.
Two of the lakes. The third one is behind me.
Once the sun was up, the clouds came out, and the lake turned green!
Once the sun was up, the clouds came out, and the lake turned green!
The third lake, by itself on the other side of the viewpoint.
The third lake, by itself on the other side of the viewpoint.
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

Like what you read? Have a question?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge