As one of the main highlights to visit in Flores, the famous Kelimutu is surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and offering opportunities for sports and recreations in a sustainable and active way: cycling!
Cycling tour in Moni and Kelimutu area is suitable for intermediate to advance cyclists. If you start the Kelimutu visit from the district town of Ende, I suggest to cycle all the way up to Moni on the Transflores Highway, because the ascends are moderate, not too steep, and manageable on the 53km trip from sea level up to Moni on about 800m above sea. It is highly recommended to start the trip with good and rich breakfast, and equipped yourself with some snacks and water since the cycling estimation time is 4 hours up to 6 hours. On the way up admire the slightly changes of flora and pass by areas with steep views down to the river bed or find yourself riding through nice forest while constantly riding slightly uphill. Pass by nice and small villages and greet all the curious children with warm smile.
After passing by the junction to the traditional village of Wologai, refresh yourself and take a short break with local fruits at Nduaria Market before continuing your journey and descend to Moni begins. Moni is a quiet place to stay overnight in one of the guesthouses before continuing day trip to Kelimutu and other attractions around Moni.
The next day, start around 4am, equip yourself with a good bike lamp and go all the way up to see the magnificent sunrise of three colored-lake Kelimutu at an altitude of 1650m. You can go up by car and going back to Moni downhill with your bike.
The nice and speedy downhill on the way back to Moni is surely a high-adrenaline trip with gorgeous view! Take the chance to see the wonderful plants around and see the terraces of rice fields around Manukako and Waturaka or relax in Kolorongo hot spring nearby Waturaka before cycling back to Moni.
If you like adventure, mountain biking in combination with hiking, you may try one of the other suggested tours, described in the free cycling map provided by the Flores Tourist Information Center in Moni. Please note that these are adventure cycling trip.
Otherwise, you can opt for a relax 12km downhill ride on the highway in direction of Wolowaru with stunning views as far as the Sawu Sea in the south. Wolowaru is an interesting, small market spot (market days are every Friday and Saturday). If you are in the mood, ride the same way back uphill to Moni or try to flag down a small bus or truck to transport you and the bike.
There are many more cycling routes around to discover, but you can probably find some of them in near future in a booklet soon to be published on bike tours all over Flores. In my next report the focus will be cycling around Sikka with many interesting spots to explore on two wheels.
Article and photos by Oskar Ruch