Natural Wonders of West Timor

Exploring the Natural Wonders of West Timor – Mount Fatuleu/Gunung Fatuleu

It wasn’t long before I realised that West Timor had a lot of natural beauty. I then made it my mission to explore the natural wonders of West Timor. As the public transport timetable was quite restrictive, my friend Jeff was kind enough to let me borrow his bike to get myself up to Gunung Fatuleu, or Mount Fatuleu. It is situated in Oelbiteno, about 50km northeast of Kupang. The roads were good most of the way up, except for a 100m stretch. There it looked like the road had been attacked with jackhammers, leaving it in a very rocky and uneven state.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Road to Mount Fatuleu

What Road Rules?

Even with the mostly decent state of the roads, riding up there was indeed an adventure. It took every ounce of concentration I had to keep out of the way of cars, trucks, mopeds and dirt bikes driving on the wrong side of the road while overtaking. It seems that even solid lane markings are only suggestions that are to be ignored when you want to pass someone.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Deserted Mountain Road

The constant cat and mouse game was very tiring, which made it all the more lovely when I found myself on a deserted mountain road. Thankfully, that would be the road I’d be on for what was left of the journey to Mount Fatuleu. Even though I was following a map, the entrance to the mountain trail was not easy to find. I initially rode straight past it!

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Mount Fateleu Map

Finding Mount Fatuleu

Luckily I realised quickly that I’d overshot the target and eventually found the entry. I should mention at this point that it had been misty for the entire trip up. I had been hoping that it would clear by the time I got to my destination. It was not my lucky day. I had stopped a few times enroute, when the mist had moved enough to see the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, the mist managed to return to its perch on the mountain top before I could get a picture of it. You’ll just have to imagine that it was there!

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Misty Mount Fatuleu

Getting My Bearings

After a quick stop at the park map, I found my way to the start of the trail up the hill. My map was telling me that it was only 400m to the peak. I must admit, I was a little disappointed, as I was dressed for a proper hike, not a stroll! At the beginning, the trail seemed to consist of your average run-of-the-mill stairs, but that escalated quickly into a chunky uneven concrete nightmare, that had me wondering what the workers who constructed it were drinking when they did it. At least I was getting a workout!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Mount Fatuleu Easy Stairs K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Mount Fatuleu Hard Stairs

It seems the workers gave up when they hit a rock outcrop a little further up the trail and figured that if people made it that far, they were on their own for the last 200m. That left me literally in the middle of the mist with no trail to follow. You’d think I’d turn back at that point, right? Not a chance! I found my own way through the rocky forest! By the time I made it to what my map told me was the top, I was completely engulfed by the mist. I was quite glad when I’d made it back to the crosses at the rock outcrop, which indicated that the stairs were nearby and I’d be out of the mist momentarily.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Rock Crosses

Natural Wonders of West Timor – Goa Kristal/Crystal Cave

So onto another day and another adventure! My friend had generously allowed me to use his bike again. This time to head to Goa Kristal, or Crystal Cave in Bolok, 20km west of Kupang. On the way there, I ended up on a 4 lane highway that had a strip of land running through the middle of it, separating it into two 2 lane roads. I had figured that this was done to give both directions of traffic their own road. I found out I was wrong when the occasional truck going in the opposite direction ended up on the same road as me. So it’s really just another Indonesian ‘drive where you want’ deal.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Highway and Coast

Turn Left at the Coast

At the end of the highway, I found myself on a road that followed the coast for a while, before making its way into the town of Bolok. I had to ride through the town for a bit to reach the dirt road that led to the cave. I was lucky enough to see some local cows just hanging out, eating grass. The town also seemed very proud to be Christian. There were crosses on the side of the road throughout the town.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Cows K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Purple Crosses
Cows and crosses

After a short drive down the dirt road, my map was indicating that I was right near the cave, but I couldn’t see any signs to indicate exactly where it was. I did see a small trail that seemed to be going in the general direction I needed, so I followed it for a few minutes to a fence with a small gate that was locked from the other side. I was hoping that I hadn’t gone all that way to be stopped by a fence! While I was there, contemplating my next move, a young man appeared from nowhere inside the fenced area and began running toward the gate. My welcome wagon had arrived!

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Goa Kristal Welcome Sign

Getting to the Cave

The young man, who introduced himself as Bo, enthusiastically welcomed me and beckoned for me to come in. Upon walking through the gate, I could see a cute handmade wooden sign, but still no cave. Thankfully Bo knew exactly where it was and had me at the cave entrance almost instantly. The opening was so small that it would definitely be difficult to find unless you knew exactly where it was.

K in motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Goa Kristal Cave Entrance From the Inside
The cave entrance from both the outside and the inside

Bo then asked myself and a family, that had gotten there just before I did, if we wanted to go inside. You can imagine what my response was, but only one of the people from the family was eager to have a look. I almost had a bat fly into my face on the way in, then heard some squeals behind me as the younger members of the family caught a glimpse of the bat.

Where’s the Lake?

After giving my eyes a second to adjust to the darkness, I realised that the lake was still a considerable distance below me and the ‘path’ down was full of slippery rocks. It was totally worth it to see the lake close up and dip my hand in though!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Goa Kristal Lake

Not long after I’d made it to the lake at the bottom of the cave and was letting the serenity of the place wash over me. Then I heard a huge splash. Bo had jumped in for a swim! As I hadn’t realised that swimming was allowed, I’d not brought a change of clothes. So sadly, I had to decline Bo’s invitation for a swim. At least he looked like he was enjoying himself though!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Goa Kristal Lake With Swimmer

Natural Wonders of West Timor – Air Terjun Oenesu/Oenesu Waterfalls

Anyone that knows me is aware of the fact that I’m in love with waterfalls. I try to find them in each new place that I go to. It was rather convenient that there was a small set of falls in Oenesu, about 20km southeast of Goa Kristal. Again, the road was good for most of the journey. Until I had to turn onto a bumpy dirt road about 5km before the falls.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Welcome to Oenesu

My map was trying to guide me to an area that didn’t look very accessible. I decided to just keep following the road and eventually found myself in an empty parking area. I swear there was no one around when I entered the area. As I got off the bike, there was all of a sudden a young man behind me asking for money to see the waterfall. I was a bit taken aback as all sources had told me that there was no entry fee. It was at that moment that another young local appeared from nowhere and told the first guy not to charge me.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Path to Oenesu Falls

Rocky Road to the Falls

My new friend, Raymond, decided that he would guide me to the falls and show me the secret viewing places. This involved a bit of rock climbing, but I’m always up for a bit of an adventure!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Oenesu Falls and Guide K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Oenesu Falls

The real fun started after seeing the falls. I saw a trail to the side of the falls and asked where it went. Raymond advised that it went around the back of the falls and indicated that we should take it.

A Slight Detour to more Natural Wonders of West Timor

While we were on that trail, I noticed some fallen coconuts and may have professed my love for them. That caused him to say, “I can get you coconut. Would you like?”. So he took me to his house, which was nestled in the middle of a forest, where he proudly introduced me to his family. It was only a short stop so he could pick up his coconut carving knife.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Searching For the Right Coconut

From there we took a short walk through the forest. As we walked along Raymond would point out things and tell me the Indonesian words for them. After just a few minutes, he had spotted the tree he was looking for. He wasted no time in climbing to the top to ‘shake down’ a coconut for me.

Shaking the Coconut Down

I had noticed that most of the coconut trees in the area had foot and hand holds carved into them at intervals. That’s what the locals used to climb up and down the trees and make it look like it’s the easiest thing in the world. Once back on the ground, Raymond used his knife to open the humongous coconut for me.

As he handed me the freshly opened coconut, Raymond said, “Kelapu Oenesu”, which means Oenesu Coconut. After drinking the water from it, the coconut was chopped in half so that I could enjoy the delicious flesh inside.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Kelapu Oenesu

Sunset Over Sea

How do you end a wonderful day? With dinner and sunset at a highly recommended cafe down the road from the falls! I’d actually planned to go to Cafe Tebing for lunch. I was disappointed to find it closed at 1pm. It didn’t open until 4pm, just in time for dinner. Indonesians are so easy going that they don’t even open their businesses at normal hours!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Cafe Tebing Sunset

As with many places in Timor, this cafe is open-air, with a super relaxed atmosphere. Perhaps a little bit too relaxed when it comes to bringing out food in a timely fashion, but who’s going to complain when you get this view while waiting?

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Cafe Tebing Sunset With  Purple Sky

To say the sunset was stunning would be an understatement. I’d dare say this is possibly the best view in town. From almost anywhere in the cafe you have a panoramic view from port to coast.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Cafe Tebing Sunset to Night

All Good Things..

Unfortunately, my time in Timor had to end. On the day I left, Jeff cooked up a local delicacy, Pisang Goreng, or fried banana for breakfast. And it was AMAZING!

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Pisang Goreng

I wasn’t the only one delighted with the meal! Apparently Matt also loves this dish. But Jeff only cooks it when people are visiting from overseas. I’d say it’s worth a trip to Kupang just to try it.

K in Motion Travel Blog. Natural Wonders of West Timor. Goodbye Picture

After an obligatory picture, to remind us just how happy Jeff’s food had made us, I headed off to the airport.

Next stop – Jakarta.

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41 Replies to “Natural Wonders of West Timor”

  1. Those stairs at the beginning are crazy! And it was so exciting to see your cave pictures, because my sons and I are about to start caving for a new hobby. Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures!

  2. I always love looking through your blog posts. You do such a great job of setting the scene for us and taking us along with you for the journey.
    Thank you so much for sharing and I hope you’re staying safe and well. x

    1. Aww thanks! I appreciate the positive feedback and it made my day :o)
      Hiking is my new travel at the moment, but I’m hoping to get back to travel sooner rather than later!

  3. Beautiful pics! I would be terrified to go inside a cave with such a small opening, that too with bats inside it! Lake looks like emeralds and tempting to swim in! What an adventurous day for you!

    1. Luckily, I’m not afraid of anything so I just charge into whatever adventure presents itself. It was so worth going inside the cave! :o)

  4. Reading your blog posts reminds me of adventures in the Caribbean. I was salivating at the sight of coconut water and jelly (yummy and refreshing). Even the fried bananas are popular in the Caribbean.

  5. It looks absolutely beautiful there. Once all of this is over, I would love to go and visit there someday. Thanks for sharing these photos!

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