A bit of a haul for some steam
Published/Last edited or updated: 20th April, 2017
Tuti Hot Springs is a collection of thermal springs roughly an hour from Kalabahi, a little past the village of Bukapiling. To be frank, we’re not convinced they’re worth the effort it takes to get to them.
Apparently three geysers are found here, though we only spotted two. They’re reached via a variable road that runs back from the turn off and then a five- to 10-minute wander through the undergrowth. There’s a bridge built for easier access and a very rundown shelter that in theory could be a drinks area, but when we visited was hosting an international emporium for every mosquito south of the equator.
The main spring is a bit like a high-pressure hose spraying from just beneath the surface, with a second a little upriver, steaming out between two rocky outcrops that have been topped with many cairns. The water in the immediacy of the springs is warm to hot, but it wasn’t as hot as we expected. We’d be being harsh if we said this was a singularly underwhelming sight, but we wouldn’t be too far off the money.
Tourist brochures feature pictures of the springs with towering outcrops formed from the residue; we’re not sure if these collapse/fall over or get smashed regularly, but there was nothing like them when we visited, though you could see the very early makings of a tower. The surrounding setting is very Australasia, with eucalyptus trees dotting the rise behind the river and low scrub filling much of the valley—you’re a long way past the Wallace Line here!
The turnoff is well signposted from the main road and after that the trail is fairly self-explanatory. But is it worth visiting? If you’re planning on doing this by bus or bemo, unless you’re a budding vulcanologist, we’d say no. If you’ve got your own wheels and are visiting Takpala anyway, then why not? Adding here will add about an hour round-trip to a visit to Takpala.
If you want to reach here by public transport, you want to get a morning east Alor-bound bus (25,000 rupiah) and ask them to drop you at Air Panas Tuti. From where you get dropped off, you’ll need to organise an ojek to the springs and back. Make sure they wait and that the price you agree to is for the return trip, not one way. That said, as mentioned above, we don’t think this is really worth visiting if you’re doing it by public transport.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.