Flores Travels: The Top Best Things To Do In Ende

The Enchanting Tri-Coloured Kelimutu Lake

Mount Kelimutu at the Kelimutu National Park is a pacif volcano in the Ende Regency close to the small town of Moni. Its name describes what you will find when visiting this mountain namely, Keli means “mount” and Mutu means “boiling”, literally “mount always active”. The mountain is famous for its tri-coloured crater lakes that sometimes differ in colour due a chemical reaction, which is dependent on the volcanos activity. A curious event took place between January and November of 2016 when the crater lakes changed colour six times!

All three lakes have different names; lake one was named Tiwu Ata Bupu which means lake of old people. This crater lake is usually blue and located west of all three lakes. The second lake was named; Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri which translates to lake of young men and maidens. The third lake was named Tiwu Ata Polo which means bewitched lake. The last two lakes are being separated by a crater wall and are usually red or green.

If you’re planning to visit Mount Kelimutu at the Kelimutu National Park, then you’re probably going to be staying at the nearby village of Moni. Here in this quiet little hamlet, you’ll find a dozen choices of accommodation available as well as some restaurants and warungs in the centre of town, which are great options for when hunger strikes. Those who are planning to climb Kelimutu’s peak should leave Moni at 4:00am the latest to be able to fully enjoy the sunrise from the peak. If you can’t make it that early, try to reach the peak by 9:00am to enjoy the morning light.

*Photo courtesy of Oyi Kresnamurti

Bung Karno Museum & Monument

One of Indonesia’s most momentous occasions in history can be traced back to the house of itsfirst President, Soekarno, in Ende, Flores in which he lived in while he was in exile back in 1934. President Soekarno lived here in a wood-shuttered house until 1938 during his exile by the Dutch colonial government due to his anti-colonial and nationalist activism. According to history, Soekarno was inspired to create the Indonesian national philosophy known as the Pancasila during his exile years in Ende. Some people say that he composed it under a tall breadfruit tree in a place that has now become Bung Karno Contemplation Park.

In 1954 when Soekarno became Indonesia’s first President, he turned his previous home into a museum called “Rumah Soekarno” or Soekarno House. Visitors can have a look at both the interior and exterior of the home which did not change much from the original condition. The house is simply decorated, with minimal original furnishings and historical photographs and paintings on the walls, some produced by Soekarno himself. You could even take a look at the well that still produces water, which is located in the backyard of the house. To enter, there is no entrance fee but a small donation would be appreciated. The museum is located on Jalan Perwira in Ende, 10 minutes away by foot from Dwi Putra Hotel and is open every day from 8am to 5pm.

*Photo courtesy of harindabama.com

Blue Stone Beach

On your travels to Flores, Blue Stone Beach in Ende should definitely be on your list. The beach is almost entirely composed out of turquoise, blue and reddish stones, and is an absolute treat for the eyes and for the photo camera. Underneath the stones are gorgeous black volcanic sands. You could swim in the beautiful crystal-clear water while surrounded by the green and sometimes misty Bajawa Mountains. Interesting fact: these blue stones are a source of income for the local people. They will gather the stones and sort them by shape, colour and size and then sell them to buyers and travellers. The story goes that these stones were actually swept off the ocean’s floor by the waves until they land on the shore.

You can reach the Blue Stone Beach overland from Bajawa, which would only take you 40 minutes maximum. The drive would take you along for 25-kilometres along a scenic route. You will come across some green canyons, black sandy beaches and traditional villages along your journey to the Blue Stone Beach.

*Photo courtesy of Top Indonesia Holidays

Tenun Ikat Market & Tenun Ikat Museum

Weaving the Ikat, the traditional hand-woven cloth of Flores is a very important part of the local communities and even more so for the Lio Ende community. Weaving is usually done by the womenfolk and is a tradition handed down from generation to generation. In fact, weaving is almost as important as cooking and gardening.

If you’re looking to purchase an Ikat or two, you can visit the Ikat Market at Jalan Pasar in Ende and find different variations of this beautiful and valuable keepsake.They are made in many different forms, colours and styles, which reflect their district of origin with different colours and patterns used. It’s good to know that the Florenese Ikat is usually made of all natural ingredients including the dye and takes up to three years to make.

When purchasing a piece, feel free to bargain, but be tactful to not make the other party feel cheated or humiliated. It might help if you were to bring a local along with you to help with the bargaining process. You could also take a tour around the newly renovated Tenun Ikat Museum on Jalan Soekarno and discover the varied patterns of Ende’s traditional weaved fabrics.

*Photo by Tommy Schultz

Saga Traditional Village

You can’t visit Flores without visiting a traditional village! Most of these ancient villages date back to the megalithic times, with age-old structures, stones and sacred items still housed within, not to mention the mesmerizing cultures and traditions, dances and rituals that you can readily witness. One of the most popular traditional village is the village of Saga, home to the Lio tribe. The great thing about Saga is that it isn’t as touristy as the other traditional villages, unlike Wae Rebo or Bena.

The best time to visit is September, when the villagers celebrate Nggua Saga, an annual ceremony, a form of thanksgiving to show gratitude to the Gods and their ancestors for a season of good harvest. It is a tradition handed down from generation to generation. This fascinating ritual will last for two weeks. In addition to culture, Saga Village is also surrounded by stunning nature. While there, you can explore the tribe’s iconic homes and artifacts and join in some of their daily activities. It is customary to give a small donation when you visit – a small sum can make a huge difference to the preservation of these ancient homes and culture, while allowing the local people to continue living their ancestral way of life.

*Photo by @me_mince

Pantai Batu Cincin

Ende is famous for its breathtaking coastline and Pantai Batu Cincin or Stone Ring Beach is another such location that is a must-visit on your holiday. Locally, the beach is known as Watu Pere and is famous due to a soaring archway that stretches along the surrounding cliffs, over the beach and out into the water. It’s a great Instagram spot for those looking to fire up their feed. The beach’s soft powdery white sand is perfect for relaxing and strolling. You could also swim about and perch along the archway like the locals do.

*Photo by Tri Darno Orange Flores

Gunung Meja

If you’re ever in Ende, you’ll notice a flat-top mountain, famously known amongst the locals as “Table Mountain” or Gunung Meja, which stands next to Gunung Iya, an active volcano, and in close proximity to Pulau Ende and Pulau Koa. There is a fascinating legend behind these mountains and islands, and it has something to do with unrequited love. The modern and logical version, which is also less romantic, explains that the tip of Gunung Meja was cut by the local government for the purpose of aviation. Personally we feel that the legend has a more interesting twist to it, don’t you?

Aside to charming legends and folklore, Gunung Meja and Gunung Iya are open to the public for hiking and camping. Standing at 2,156 ft, Iya is a favourite with hardcore hikers who have said that while the trail leading up could be dangerous and filled with gullies and ravines, the view at the top will be sure to mesmerize. Always go with an experienced guide. The local government have also expressed plans to improve hiking infrastructures on Gunung Meja.

*Photo by @chwistie

Ende’s Local Traditional Markets

Get to know the locals and gain more insights into Ende’s local traditions by visiting its traditional market. Here, you can find many local farmers and fishermen selling their fresh produces at very reasonable prices. Go early in the morning when the freshest produce arrive.

*Photo courtesy of flores-borneo.blogspot.com.

Murondao Waterfall

This gorgeous waterfall is hidden amidst lush, verdant jungle vegetation and is sure to enthral any traveller. Located in the village of Moni, near the Kelimutu National Park, access to the waterfall is still quite limited as it is still relatively unknown. To be safe, get a local guide to take you there, and once you have arrived at the waterfall, you can take a dip in its clear stream and cool down from the afternoon heat of Ende, Flores.

*Photo courtesy of @ttt_thetraveltales

Bukit Cinta

If you love hiking, walking, nature and amazing views then be sure to spend an afternoon here at Bukit Cinta, also known as “Love Hill”. In the local dialect its called Tengu Manu and is easily accessible on well-paved roads by car or motorbike. From the top of Love Hill, you can view the western side of Ende and all of its glory along with the sparkling vista of the ocean below. Pantai Batu Cincin is also visible from up here along with Pulau Ende, the small island near Gunung Meja. It’s a great destination for a leisurely afternoon of fun in Ende’s fresh air and cool breeze.

*Photo courtesy of @sisivr43

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