If you have the time and the inclination, a lovely way to round out your Kelimutu experience is to hike back to Moni town via Pemo and Woloara, traditional Lionese villages which are nestled against the side of the mountain. The trek is approximately 11km downhill and takes around 2.5 hours depending how long you linger along the way. And it’s very easy to linger. The panoramas are beautiful, the villages welcoming and interesting and there’s a hot spring and waterfall in which to indulge.
Pemo village, the first along the trek, provides an interesting glimpse into the local Lionese culture. Apart from the thatched bamboo huts in which most villagers live, the village contains male and female ceremonial houses and an erected stone alter where important rituals and ceremonies are carried out. Of particular interest is Pemo’s keda kanga (temple house) which is perched on stone pillars. The most important building in the village, the keda kanga is used to store ritual gongs and drums and bhaku, encased ancestral bones. Feel free to look but please refrain from entering unless invited to do so by the village headman. In addition to the fascinating architecture, you’ll likely see some one or two village women hard at work weaving the villages uniquely patterned ikat fabric.
Once you’ve had your fill of Pemo, head on down the hill another 5km to Woloara village. Although similar to Pemo, every village has its own character and Woloara is just as interesting. Take note of the decorative carvings adorning the keda kanga which symbolises the Lionese relationship with the land, plants, animals and ancestors.
Just below Woloaro there’s a hot spring that can be accessed via a short loop trail from the village. One of the villagers will be happy to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, there’s a second hot spring located another half hour or so along the trail to Moni and just beyond that you reach Murundao waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip. From there it’s only a few hundred metres over the bamboo bridge to the main street of Moni.
The entire trek follows a well worn trail used by tourists and locals alike so it’s almost impossible to get lost. The starting point is about 1km down the road from the Kelimutu car park where there’s a sign pointing the way to Pemo village. Don’t forget to pack your bathers and a towel and take plenty of drinking water.