When saw pictures of Wawomudha crater lake near Bajawa, I knew I had to see it. Located at the top of a new volcano, the lakes glowed an eerie red. I figured I’d drive to it on my trusty little scooter.

I plugged the hotel that served as a landmark into Google Maps, and drove to where it told me to go. Once again, Google was totally wrong! I should have realized this when it was showing an ATM in the middle of the forest.

I drove back to town, and stumbled on the free information shack. These guys were genuinely helpful, and didn’t try to sell me anything. They had a hand-drawn map showing all the local sites, and they answered all my questions. They had scooters for rent, and I’m sure you could hire them as guides. But I’d be going it alone.

Kids in Wawomudha village.
Kids in Wawomudha village.

Navigating with a paper map was tricky, and I had to ask directions a lot to get out of town. But once I was on the right road, it led me right to Wawomudha village.

But how to get up the mountain? At some point I’d have to park and hike for an hour and a half. I kept asking folks, and they kept pointing me down the road.

Eventually I left the village and there was nobody around. I came to a dirt path going up. Could this be the trail?

On the trail.
On the trail.

A Crazy Off-Road Adventure!

I waited for a bit until a guy drove by on a motorbike. I asked him, and and motioned me to follow. He was going up!

The locals all drive Honda Supra bikes. These semi-automatic bikes have four gears you shift with your feet and no clutch. I drove a bike similar to this in the Philippines, and I really wanted one here, for situations like this. I indicated my little scooter and asked “ada?” “is it possible?” He wasn’t worried and started up the trail.

It was crazy! We drove up the narrow dirt trail, full of puddles of mud. He went fast because you have to power through the obstacles, and I struggled to keep up. Even he struggled and had to use his feet a lot to keep from falling over.

I came across these hunters in the forest.
I came across these hunters in the forest.

He took me practically all the way to the top! Instead of hiking for an hour and a half, I only had to walk a couple minutes. In Asia you don’t hike, you just ride a motorbike.

The lakes were brown, not the strange red in the pictures. But that was OK. The adventure getting there made it worthwhile!

The lakes weren't that great.
The lakes weren’t that great.
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.

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