Traveling in North Sulawesi

A trip report by Astrid from The Netherlands

After a long journey I finally arrived in Manado. The homestay was close to the airport, within 10 minutes I was there. The owner took me to the room. Actually it was more like an apartment. There was even a roof terrace. From here you have a nice view.

Rice field in North Sulawesi
Ricefield in North Sulawesi

blue-tailed bee-eater, green-backed kingfisher, collared kingfisher, brahminy kite, sulawesi hanging parrot
Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Green-backed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot.

It's been a long day for me. To start the journey through North Sulawesi the next day my guide (Charles) explained to me detailed descriptions about the tour. After having dinner, I went to sleep that night.

The morning started well with room service. The owner brought a delicious breakfast. With enough energy in my body the day could start. Today I went to visit a waterfall. The path to the waterfall was beautiful. Along the way I was able to take a lot of pictures. There was much to see. It was a careful walk because the path was slippery.

After a while we reached the waterfall, very impressive. From a height of approximately 40m the water came down. After taking some pictures we went back. Along the way we were attacked by a tropical rain shower. We spent more than half an hour hiding under the trees with a poncho like a tent on top of us. Afterwards we saw that a few meters further there was a house where we could have taken shelter. But that was not nearly as adventurous.

Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon in Minahasa Highland

After the shower we continued our walk. We saw birds such as Green Imperial Pigeon, Cattle Egret, Hair-crested (White-eyed) Drongo, Cattle Egret, Black-naped Fruit Dove and Ruddy-breasted Crake. The road to the village was still long. The chance of a new shower was very high, so we hoped that we would meet a car or motorcyclist who would like to give us a lift. We didn't have to wait long. A car arrived and the friendly gentleman brought us to the village. From there we took public transport back to the hotel. What I found striking was how helpful the people here were. Very nice to experience.

Fiery-browed Myna
Fiery-browed Myna

After our visit to the waterfall we move to the other side of the road. There was our new base. The homestay and the hotel were outside the city. Yet there was still a lot to see here. There were plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal. There were also souvenir shops. It was nice to see them.

Black-faced Munia
Black-faced Munia

What was also worth a visit is the traditional market. This market was just off the main road to Manado. It was located in a quiet neighborhood. They sold fruit and vegetables. We also visited the center area of Manado city. I visited the museum and found out more about North Sulawesi.

After these days Bunaken was on the program. With the taxi boat I made the crossing. The homestay where I stayed was close to the "harbour". It is not really a port, but you dock on the beach. Not far from this beach is the homestay where I will stay for a few nights. Vano the boat driver took me there. I was kindly received by his family. The lady who ran the homestay made you feel at home. The meals she cooked were very tasty.
The view from the homestay is great. When the weather is clear you can see Manado lying there. Furthermore, there were many birds and crabs to see.
The next morning Vano took me on a motorcycle trip across the island. Our final destination was the beach on the other side of the island. A beautiful beach. From here boats leave for the drop off place where you can dive and snorkel.
Because it was still rainy season, there was a lot of rain from time to time. Luckily I was back at the homestay.

collared kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher

Unfortunately it rained the next day. I was going to snorkel this day, but due to the weather conditions I didn't do this. Because it didn't look like it would clear up, we went back to the mainland. From there we drove to the terminal to take the bus to Doluduo, a 6 hour ride. The road to Doluduo is very varied. The ride was not comfortable, but I thought it was an experience and wouldn't have missed it.
At the beginning of the evening we arrived at the homestay. Also here we were warmly welcomed. Aunt Mien, the owner had made us a nice meal. After that I went to take a rest. It had been a long bus trip from Manado city.

The next day we would go into the woods. With the bike we drove to the national park. To get into the woods you need a local guide. Unfortunately there was no one present. After half an hour we decided to walk back. We then walked back to the village. A varied walk. We saw several birds, farmland, villages with rice fields and beautiful views. Enough photo material. In the afternoon we explored the surrounding area.
The next day we would go into the rainforest in search of the bird Maleo. Unfortunately the rain threw a spanner in the works. We decided it was better to leave. At the end of the day we arrived back in Manado.

White-bellied Imperial Pigeon
White-bellied Imperial Pigeon

After a nice night's sleep we went to our next destination, Tangkoko. Here you can find tarsiers and I really wanted to see them.
By bus we travelled to Tangkoko. We arrived at the end of the morning. The room was simple. I was still shocked by a 2 large cockroaches that walked over the ground. I called Charles to come to catch them, but they flee into an inaccessible corner.
In the afternoon we went with a local guide into the national park. We were able to spot different kinds of birds. And we also found the tarsiers. Very small cute looking animals.
After the walk we had some tea in the restaurant. Suddenly I was called because a snake had fallen from the tree.

The next morning I woke up early. We are going to make a morning walk. It is very nice to see how the rainforest awakens. There are many different sounds to be heard. We have been able to see several birds and have also been able to take good pictures. It was a nice experience.
After lunch we left for Tomohon. This place is situated in the mountains. The temperature is pleasant. We were in a hotel just outside the city. You can walk well here and spot birds. We went by bus. On the way we got a blowout. It did happen that a few meters further the tire repair shop was. Luckily the tire was quickly changed and we continued our trip.

The hotel where we stayed was in a quiet neighborhood. The room was clean. Only breakfast was not included. In the evening we had dinner in the neighborhood.
The next morning we got up early. We are going to visit a crater. On the other side of the hotel we bought some biscuits and water. With a grab car we went to the foot of the mountain. There we walked up. Because it is so early the clouds are still low. In the beginning there was nothing to see, but over time nature drew the curtain further and further. Little by little the crater came into view. Eventually the sun broke through and I was able to enjoy the view to the fullest.

We were supposed to walk all the way back, but we were able to charter a motorbike "taxi". It was still a long walk. The three of us got on the bike and drove to Tomohon.
There we visited the traditional market. Besides the standard vegetables, fruit and trinkets they also sell dogs, meat mice, mice and snakes. It is very special to see.

We had lunch at the KFC. Then we went to a crater lake. Also with a grab car. We agreed with the driver that he would pick us up 2 hours later.
The lake is beautiful to see. Every now and then the smell of sulfur meets you. At several places you can see the steam coming out of the earth. We have also been able to spot several birds. I enjoyed the view.

After resting for a while we walked to the city in the evening to eat somewhere. After dinner we explored the city further. At a sandwich shop we bought some sandwiches for breakfast. The next morning we would get up early to spot birds.
That morning we saw different kinds of birds. It was a nice relaxing walk. After the walk we took a grab car back to Manado.

On the way Charles bought me dodol. This was a local delicacy consisting of rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk. It was a coffee-like cake. It was quite sweet. It was packed in palm leaf. It was very laborious to make this.

Paal Beach in North Minahasa

The last few days of my trip I stay in Manado. I have been to Airmadidi for 1 day. I have family there. Unfortunately they were not at home. I did meet the neighbors. A very hospitable family.
The last day we went to the most beautiful beach of Manado. It was a long drive, but it was more than worth it. A beautiful white beach and an azure blue sea.

Spectral Tarsier in North Sulawesi

After 14 days my adventure in North Sulawesi came to an end. The program that Charles had set up was very varied. He showed me a lot, so I got an impression of the area. Everything was well taken care of and I am very happy that Charles accompanied me during my trip. Full of great memories I got on the plane to start a long trip back to the Netherlands.

This is the email: and whatsapp number of Charles: +6281332245180 if you want him as your tour guide for traveling in North Sulawesi or Raja Ampat of Indonesia. Please, contact him.