Danau Biru (Blue Lake), A Breeze of Alluring Nature

The gurgling sound of the stream running over rocks, accompanied by the chirping sounds of birds and the breeze of fresh air, all lend that special sense of serenity that awaits the visitor to Danau Biru; “The Blue Lake”. Located by the Walasiho Village, Wawo District, North Kolaka Regency, Southeast Sulawesi, the lake lies on the border between the regencies of North Kolaka and Kolaka.The bright blue color of the lake will definitely tempt anyone to just dive in and submerge oneself in its refreshing water.

Danau Biru is surrounded by high rocky hills, along with the rows of trees, that together provide shelter from the scorching sun. About 80 meters from the lake is a white sand beach that stretches for 2 km. The water from the lake runs over rocks and over the beach before it reaches the open sea. There are a number of shower rooms to clean up and a gazebo facing the sea provided for tourists.

The lake is also home to various fish such as groupers and rabbitfish. According to local myth, if anyone catches fish from the lake and consumes it, then he or she will meet with misfortune. Although it may just be superstition, yet the essence of this myth is that preserving the natural ecosystem of the area is most important.

Get There

The distance form Kendari, capital of Southeast Sulawesi to Danau Biru in North Kolaka Regency is approximately 320 km. If you want to take the overland route, you must first reach Kolaka Regency by the Kendari-Makassar route which is normally served  by public buses. The buses trip will take about 3-4 hours.

From Kolaka you can go straight to Danau Biru in Wawo district in  about 3 hours' drive. One of the transportation services available in Kolaka is the Mitra Utama Taxi. From Makassar, you can take the flights from the Hasanudin International Airport to the Sangia Nibandera Airport in Kolaka. The route is served by Wings Air. If you wish to take the sea route, there are also ships from the port of Makassar to Bajo Port in Bone Regency. The trip will take about 3 hours. From Bajo Port you can continue to Kolaka Port with a ferry which will take approximately 8 hours.

Tolire Lake, the Beautiful Panoramic Lake Surrounded with Legends

A brilliantly blue volcanic lake, Tolire Lake is set in a crater at the foot of Mt Gamalama, on the island of Ternate, North Maluku Province. The Lake is comprised of two lakes, roughly 200 meters apart: Tolire Lamo, The Greater Tolire Lake, and TolireIci, the Small Tolire. The Great Lake is almost perfectly round, somewhat resembling a giant pan. Its mystical waters change colors with the seasons, from a bright blue during the summer, to a dark green or brown throughout the rainy season.

About 50 meters below the lip of the crater where in it lies, Tolire Lake spans about 5 hectares, yet its depth remains unknown. Some believe that it leads directly to the Ternate Sea. The lakes are freshwater, and home to many species of birds and fish. Due to the belief in invisible crocodile inhabitants, however, it is used for neither hunting nor fishing. Nevertheless, a relaxing stroll from atop the crater to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view is a lovely way to spend your time in Tolire.

As with many a volcanic lake, Tolire is surrounded by many legends. One such legend tells of a man who impregnated his own daughter. In their fury for such a deed, the gods cursed them, transforming the father into the Great Tolire Lake, and his daughter into the lesser one. Local folklore tells that the bottom of the lake is covered in treasure belonging to the bygone Ternate Kingdom.

Others believe that the lake is inhabited and guarded by invisible crocodiles, measuring a dozen meters in length, as well as an even larger, white crocodile, which only occasionally makes an appearance. According to local belief, you can try to throw a stone into the lake, but no matter how hard your try: it will never touch the surface of the water. Stones are sold around the area, at about 5 stones for Rp 1,000. That way, visitors to the area can try their luck at throwing stones into the river and see if any can reach the surface before being devoured by the lake’s invisible guardians.

Get There

The Babullah Airport on Ternate has available flights from Jakarta, Manado and Makassar. From Ternate, simply rent a car or motorcycle, or venture out with public transport, as Tolire Lake is just 10 km from the city.

Lake Kelimutu, A Perfect Place for Exploring the Extraordinary

Mt Kelimutu National Park is the smallest among six national parks in the stretch between Bali and the Nusa Tenggara islands. Its size obviously does not matter much when it offers one of the most spectacular wonders that nature has to offer. There are three lakes on the mountain sharing the same name, Kelimutu, meaning ‘the boiling lake’. Each has its own colors and a local name. But all are believed to be the resting place of departed souls.

Kelimutu lakes are unpredictable as to when and what color they will change into. Sometimes, the colors are blue, green, and black, and some other times they turn to white, red, and blue. The last time a traveler saw them, one was dark brown, just like a pond of chocolate. Previously, the east lake was red and the middle lake was blue.

Lake Kelimutu is part of the Kelimutu National Park, presenting a highly aesthetic value and surreal experience. The national park’s highest point is 5,679 feet at Mt Kelibara (1,731 meters), and 5,544 feet high (1,690 meters) at Mt Kelimutu. It is a national park that protects 19 endemic and endangered animals, among which, the Floresian punai (Treron floris), Wallacea owl (Otus silvicola), Floresian kancilan (Pachycephala nudigula), Floresian eagle (Spizeatus floris), and Timorese tesia (Tesia everetti).

Get Around

Kelimutu area is surrounded with forest containing floras that are scarcely found in Flores area. Other than pines, there are also casuarinas, red wood and edelweiss. Pine forest grows well in this side of Kelimutu Mountain. The other side of the mountain is dried land with highly unstable sand and soil. Local community believes that Kelimutu Mountain is sacred and donates fertility to the nature nearby.

Visitors can only walk around Lake Kelimutu but not all areas can be explored because some are dangerous and therefore restricted.  From Moni to Kelimutu, if you like to go trekking, there is a path which is shorter than the car access route.

Distance from Moni to the top is about 12 km. The distance to the parking lot by motor vehicle is 11 km, and then visitors will climb on foot through the pathway for 30 minutes.

Get There

Koanara village, in the Wolowaru sub-district is closest to Mt Kelimutu, and is about 66 km from the town of Ende, or 83 km from Maumere. Moni is the closest small town, lying at the foot of Mt Kelimutu. It is the gate to Lake Kelimutu. The distance between Moni and Kelimutu is 15 km.

You can take an ojek, a motorbike taxi, car or public transportation to take you to a parking lot before Kelimutu’s peak. Buses to Ende from Maumere will pass Moni. They call it BIS KAYU or oto kol, the wooden pick-up truck. From there, you must walk 30 minutes along the mountain side. There are daily flights from Denpasar and Kupang to Maumere. Please refer to information on how to get there when in Labuan Bajo.

The Stunning Samosir Island

The island of Samosir is situated in the huge crater lake of Toba. It is the heart of the Toba Batak culture. A visit to Lake Toba is not complete without a stay on Samosir with its many traditional villages along its shoreline. On the east side of the island, the land rises steeply from a narrow strip of flat land along the lake’s water edge climbing to a central plateau that towers some 780 meters above the waters. From this height one can have a wonderful panoramic view on this magnificent blue lake.

As you step down the ferry at Tomok you will be greeted by a row of souvenir stalls selling an array of Batak handicraft, from the traditional hand-woven ulos cloths to Batak bamboo calendars and all kinds of knick-knacks. Further north of Tomok is a small peninsula, known as Tuktuk Siadong, or simply Tuktuk, best loved for its sandy beaches and beautiful lush scenery. Here the soft lapping blue waters of lake Toba blend with the green pastures. Although offering beaches and opportunities for watersports, yet the air here is cool as it is located high in the mountains. Therefore, Tuktuk become a favorite with tourists, so here you will find a plethora of small hotels and homestays, restaurants and handicrafts galore.

Get There

The town of Parapat is around four to five hours from Medan by private car or rented vehicles. You can also take the train that serves Medan-Pematang Siantar, then board a bus from here to Parapat, which takes around 2 hours.

Tourist buses also take passengers from Medan to Parapit via Lubuk Pakam, Tebing Tinggi, to Pematang Siantar. Along the route enjoy the panorama of palm oil and rubber tree plantations. From Parapat, ferries take passengers to Tuktuk to the pier located near major hotels.

Lake Sentani, A Peaceful Paradise

Travel into inner Papua can be relaxing when commenced with a visit to Lake Sentani, a scenic beauty over glittering water located near Jayapura, capital city of Papua. To best experience the excitement of boating on the lake, rent a motorized canoe available at one of the villages. The guide who has taken you on the overnight tour from Jayapura will show you where to get one of the dugout canoes. Experience the thrill of being caressed by the warm breeze while speeding on the lake, photograph the stilt houses, know the local, and make friends with your guide, and eventually boldly brag about it in the travel blogs.

In the village of Taturi, stone paintings are a wonder worth visiting. Located on a small hill at the bank of the lake, it is a sight to record while canoeing. Another village offering a beautiful day trip is the Doyo Lama, a place for rock painting art. It is a fantastic start to understand the culture of Papua.

On one of the hills, on Mt Ifar, a monument has been built to commemorate American General McArthur’s military command in the Pacific and his victory. Many visitors consider it a must see tourist attraction as it also offers a spectacular view of the lake with as its background the Cyclops Mountains.

Get There

To get here, you can take airplanes with several major domestic airlines are fly to Jayapura from Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Makassar. Outside the airport, minibuses wait for passengers to drive to Jayapura. The price can change variably.  Make sure you agree on the price before boarding. Lake Sentani is about 30 minute driving westward from the city of Jayapura. All flights land and take off from Sentani Airport, located around 40 km (25 miles) from Jayapura. As a capital city of a vast province, Jayapura is well connected to many large cities in Indonesia by air and by sea. Large airline offices are in this city. It is advisable to always check and double-check your flight as there is a tendency to overbook seats  at times.

White Crater, The Magical Splendor and Hypnotizing Ambience of a Crater

Kawah Putih is located near the charming little market town of Ciwidey, approximately 50 Kilometers south of Bandung. The Crater Lake is one of two craters of Mount Patuha, with the dry Kawah Patuha or the Patuha Crater located 600 meters to its northwest, being the other. Stepping into Kawah Putih is like entering a different realm.

As the name suggests, the Crater Lake and its surroundings are dominated by a pale white color which radiates a rather hypnotizing ambience. The vast dormant volcanic crater is filled with surreal turquoise-colored water. The tree-clad cliffs surrounding the crater reach around 2,500 meters above sea level and make for a stunning backdrop, especially when the clouds start to roll in. The altitude here brings with it chilly temperatures, which in a way, will add to the magical splendor of Kawah Putih.

In World War II the plant was taken over by the Japanese military and was operated under the name Kawah Putih Kenzanka Yokoya Ciwidey. Today the plant no longer exists , however, entry points to its tunnels, remnants of these mining activities can still be seen at several points around the current site. First opened for visitors in 1987, nowadays Kawah Putih is a favorite destination for tourists and day trippers who are simply stunned by its mesmerizing ambience. On weekends and on holidays, quite large numbers of visitors frequently visit the area just to immerse themselves in the mystical beauty of nature.

Get There

Kawah Putih is located approximately 44 KM south from the center of Bandung City. Depending on the traffic in and around Bandung, the trip will take a little over 2 hours. The main road is the busy road south from Bandung through the town of Soreang, capital of the Bandung Regency, continuing down to the town of Ciwidey.

The turn from the main road to Kawah Putih is hard to miss: there is a large signboard to the left of the main road and a prominent entry gate. If you wish to use public transportation you must first find your way to the Leuwipanjang Bus Station and then take the bus in the direction of Ciwidey. From Ciwidey, you can take the angkot mini bus to the entrance of Kawah Putih.

Once at the Kawah Putih entrance, it is a long trek uphill to the crater but  you won’t see many attempting to walk this. The usual arrangement is for visitors to leave their vehicles in the main carpark at the entrygate  to the site and catch one of the regular mini shuttle buses (leaving every five minutes or so) for the 5 KM up to the crater.

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