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Kelimutu Lake
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Green Lake Brown Lake

The lakes of Kelimutu

Start early in the hope to avoid the clouds due to altitude. Ascend the winding road from Moni before dawn, then climb for half an hour on a rocky path. As the first rays lighten the horizon, an unearthly sight materializes through the gloom: in three volcanic craters below are lakes of brilliant turquoise, olive green, and inky black. The rising sun makes them shimmer and glow like pots of dazzling paint. No one knows what causes the vibrant colours. The vertical sides of the craters make it impossible to reach the lakes but add to the dramatic scenery. Weirder still, the color scheme changes over time. Postcards in dusty shops show the lakes ruby red, black, and milky white which they were previously. By mid-morning, the clouds have closed in, and it's time to head back down the mountain. Kelimutu national park is 1690 meters above sea level.

water crossing

Liasembe Hot Springs and Morondao Waterfall, near Kelimutu

On the way back from Kelimutu you can relax in the steaming ponds only a 2 minute walk down from the road. The hot springs are busy on a Friday afternoon which is the locals wash day - from majestic grandmothers bathing in their sarongs to blue-jeaned kids having raucous water fights. Men have the top bath, women bathe in the lower spring. Other times you are unlikely to see anyone except a wild pig or farmer. There is also a waterfall with easy access nearby which is worth the walk over the decaying swing bridges. A great place for some peace and meditation.

Sikka Village Weaving

Ikat Weaving, Sikka Village

Visit the village of Sikka to see Ikat weavings about 40 minutes by road and see more incredible hillside scenery on route. The whole island is famed for its gorgeous textiles, with sinuous patterns tie-dyed into the threads before they're woven. Along every roadside, you'll see women working away at their backstrap looms under a shady tree. But the highest-quality weavings (and the most charming salesladies) are in Sikka, just 1 hour from Moni. Villagers will surround you with a wall of weavings, smiling and murmuring their sales pitches. A magnificent sarong, two months in the making, was US$20 (Rp.195,000).

Rinca Nat Park

Komodo Dragons, Diving, Snorkelling, Caves, Beaches

The Bali Sea, Flores Sea, Banda Sea and Sulawesi Sea (Celebes Sea) offer some of the best diving opportunities in this expansive underwater wonderland. There are Padi dive operators in Labuanbajo for day trips or livaboards. Visit Gua Batu Cermin (Mirror Cave) to see beautiful crystal formations, stalactites, fossils and bats.

Komodo Dragon

Rinca Island is only 2-3 hours by boat from Labuanbajo where you will see an amazing variety of wildlife in this less touristed National Park including Komodo Dragon which grow to 2 meters in length and are unique to the area. Ruing is also a protected National Park which offers snorkelling, a bat island spectacular and some excellent coral reef diving further abroad.

Penggajawa Beach is lined with pastel blue, green, and pink stones. You'll see people sitting solitary along the shore, intently piling up stones. This cottage industry of enterprising locals sort the stones for export as far away as Japan.

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