Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Backpacking & Diving @Manado, Sulawesi Indonesia

30th Jan 2009 –
Reached LCCT pretty early at 3:30am to catch the 6:20am flight to Manado. I am little nervous on the budget that I had research and really don’t know how true is all the figure extract from Internet research. Anyway adventure backpack is always full of challenges and surprises. So reached Manado at 10:20am and the journey start off with the bargaining cabby to town. I had budgeted RP50.000 but it was RP80.000 and now you know what I worry. I guess we have to keep bargain all the way. Once we reach Manado town then we walk straight to a shopping center call ‘Mega Mall’ for a simple lunch and then walk directly to the jetty to cross over to Pulau Bunaken. I had plan to stay 2 night at Bunaken island for diving.

Once we reach the jetty then there is bargaining time again for boat to Bunaken. Anyway I have checked that there is public boat to Bunaken cost around RP25.000 per person but I got a private charter boat for only RP35.000 instead better than the public boat I guess. It took us 45 min to reach Pangalisang beach from Manado.

I had prepare to stay at Bunaken village for EURO 25 per pax but I insist to search for chalet once we reach the island. I have few option and the boatman also recommend Daniel Homestay that I wanted to search too which cost only RP175.000 per person. This is lots more cheaper than Bunaken village but of course Bunaken village are more high end and comfy with that price and service. I am satisfy with Daniel with that price range. Cheers.

31st Jan 2009 –
Second day at Manado and Bunaken Island was a full day wall diving trip. Am excited with the wall dive over here and my 1st dive site at Bunaken was Lekuan 3. It wasn’t great about my 1st dive.

Excitement come with 2nd dive site which is Lekuan 1 wall dive where there are full of butterfly fish all over the place. Something specials that I experience for a little leisure dive.

After lunch, we head off to the 3rd dive to Timur wall dive and the last dive is really a deep dive but I couldn’t meet any BIG creature like manta or whale shark. Anyway it was a good dive and diving at Manado is slightly expensive where it cost EURO 25 per dive.

1st Feb 2009 –
Checkout 10am and took the boat back to Manado at 10:30am as today is Sunday and everyone at Manado has to go to church and it cost slightly higher to get a charter boat. So we took back the same boatman and it cost us RP175.000 charter boat back to Manado town. Reach Manado at noon and then take a light lunch. The second parts of the adventure to highland Tomohon continue thereafter. We took a cab for about RP90.000 to reach Tomohon and it took us about 1 hour to reach and the city is on top of a hill and little chilling with the view of 2 volcano mountain, Gunung Lokon and Gunung Mahawu. We stay at Lokon Boutique Resort and it is a beautiful resort looking directly Lokon Mountain. Fantastic!!!

After check in, we hire a kijang to visit Linow Lake, sulphur lake that changes color depend on the sun and Lake Tondanau which is the largest lake at Manado for a superb hot & spicy dinner. Trips end with a light shopping at Tomohon city of flowers.

2nd Feb 2009 –
The next morning was a great day at Lokon with a great view of Lokon Mountain. We start off we a hike to the swimming pool which is not so nice afterall. Then we took the blue Microlet to the Tomohon morning tradisional market with only RP2.000 one way and is cool. Guess what? I saw bat, dog hanging in the market. WOW!! Amazing!

Then check out at 10am and we hire the kijang again to visit Bukit Kasih, something special but not very fascinating. Bukit Kasih is a hill near volcanic area with hot sulphur lake and also statue of many religion displays. The most important is a little hiking and relaxing at the hill and scenery but there wasn’t any maintenance but of cause they need many donation for that.

After Bukit Kasih, we move straight back to Manado town to stay at Manado Central budget hotel for the last night. So it will be a city life with public bus microlet and also walk along Boulevard road at Manado.

3rd Feb 2009 –
Before we leave, we had a very tradisional manado food near wakeke road where all the local food are located. We try bubur manado which is vegetable porridge serve at wakeke. Something special but is weird having lots of pumpkin and mint at the porridge. But it was a good adventure trying lots of weird experience. We took the flight 11:05am from Manado back to LCCT.