Friday, April 23, 2010

Destination of the Week...

The small village of Moni is on the island of Flores, Indonesia, also known as “Cabo Da Flora”. This settlement itself may not encompass too much excitement, but the natural wonders surrounding the area make it well worth stopping here for a few days. Indonesia is one of the world’s most geologically active countries, and here in Moni, you can experience this first-hand. Most people find themselves in this small town, using it as a stopping point for visiting the famous Kelimutu Crater Lakes, which are considered by the people of Indonesia to be the national treasure of the country, and are even featured on the 5,000 rupiah bill. These three lakes are set deep in craters near the summit of Kelimutu Volcano, and the best part is that the lakes change colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue, while the other two, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens), and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake), are typically green or red in color. From bright turquoise to pink, to deep black, local beliefs and stories explain why the waters change, but scientists liken the cause to minerals and gases. The best time to visit the lakes is in the early morning, so that you can watch the sun rise higher and higher in the sky, reflecting off the bodies of water. Most people hire a car or collective truck to reach the summit, which takes one hour, plus a 30 minute walk from the road to the rims of craters, and then take the three hour scenic walk back to town. It is a long walk back, but after such spectacular views of the lakes, you probably won’t mind soaking up some more natural beauty and strolling through the gorgeous villages. While the Crater Lakes would be reason enough to stop in Moni, there is more to do. Moni also has beautiful hiking trails, hot springs, and great local culture, all amidst the natural beauty of Cabo Da Flora. Plus, you can head to some of the surrounding cities to snorkel in the underwater gardens, see artifacts from an ancient hominid civilization, and a variety of other unique activities to keep any traveler busy.

There are a few different ways to get to the island of Flores, including ferries and flights from Bali. Once on Flores, you can take a minibus to Moni, from Ende, Labuanbajo, or Maumere, which will take longer, but will be less expensive than renting a jeep. Most of the accommodation options in Moni are guesthouses, where you will also be treated to, cheap, home cooked meals. Since Indonesia is still a great place for the budget travelers’ wallet, you might as well spend a day or two in this town and simply relax.

Use our link list to help you plan your trip to Indonesia!

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