NORTH SULAWESI & RAJA AMPAT
Day 1 ~ Arrival - Manado – Tomohon
Arrive this afternoon at Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado (MDC). As you have made your way through immigration, baggage claim and customs you will be greeted by your local guide. The airport you are leaving is named after the Minahasan politician, journalist, teacher and Indonesian independence hero Sam Ratulangi, who is well known in the county for his saying “man lives to help others live”. Later today, you’ll check-in at the Gardenia Country Inn, which is until today the private residence of the Ratulangi family, and known for the beauty of the surrounding gardens overlooking the majestic and active Lokon volcano.
Before heading to the Minahasa Highlands however, go for a short exploration to Manado city. A short walk will bring you around the city center, where you walk from the Arabian Quarter through China Town, where in the “brokerage street” Jalan Roda everyone from small criminals to high-profile business people and politicians meet for coffee, and continue to the city center where your walk ends by the Sentrum church and the WW II memorial, built in remembrance of the Pacific war from 1940 to 1945 and its victims. It has to be understood in connection with the strategic location of Manado, North Sulawesi and East Indonesia at the border between the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
The favorite dessert of the Manado people is Klappertart, which is kind of a “fusion dish” consisting of western style butter tart filled with coconut custard. Taste and enjoy the sweet dessert with a cup of coffee or tea at one of the town’s best known places for the specialty (the order of visits may be changed according to traffic or your preferences. At some times, it can be advantageous to visit the Klappertart bakery first). Continue to the small town of Tomohon in the Minahasa Highlands for your check-in at the hotel.
Overnight in Tomohon. Gardenia Country Inn - Bungalow (4 stars)
Day 2 ~ Minahasa Highlands
After breakfast visit Tomohon market. On the lively markets plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable are on display, and it is a colorful bustling markets. This is the place to get some ingredients for your cooking class. The market is also known as the market of extremes, since there is a section with bush meat, displaying everything from bats to rats and many more – certainly not everyone’s taste. We do not recommend a visit to this section of the market.
Then, embark today on a discovery of the Minahasa Highlands. Continue for a short stop at Woloan, one of the last villages where the wooden typical Sulawesian-style houses that can be seen everywhere along the roadside are still made (not every day activities can be observed). Arrive at Pinaras Waterfall for a short trek down the 180 stairs (path can be slippery towards the waterfall), to experience the fresh spray of the 40 meter high waterfall.
Visit the shores of Tondano Lake, the largest lake of North Sulawesi. Tondao Lake is nesteld among the rolling hills of the Minahasa Highlands and there’s always a fresh breeze across its large silverish surface, which makes cycling through the lush landscapes a relaxed venture. Its shores are lined with aqua culture farms and seafood restaurants, at one of which you’ll be served lunch.
Pulutan is a pottery village, where nearly every household is involved in pottery. Pieces such as pots, vases or also sets of small pottery tables and chairs have traditionally been produced for the local market and nowadays are mostly commissioning works for customers outside of Sulawesi and Indonesia. Apart from the local families involved in the production of pottery, a training center provides the community with the respective skills and ideas for new shapes and means of production.
Continue this afternoon to Museum Pinawetengan, giving an overview of Minahasan culture and traditions. It also hosts the world’s largest trumpet according to the Guinness Book of Records. There are several other music instrucments such as the “hybrid” bamboo clarinet, which is a mix out of traditional bamboo flutes and the Dutch-imported clarintes. Apart from traditional dress, crafts, instruments and some historic relics and displays, the museum has also a section on drug abuse in relation with an engaged politician stemming from the region, which may not necessarily what you would like to see during your holidays, but which is certainly educational.
Visit Linow Lake, where the smell of Sulphur fills the air and the fascinating turquoise surface of the lake indicates its volcanic origin. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a local specialty which is typical for Indonesia: fried banana. However, here in North Sulawesi, fried banana is not enjoyed with honey or sweet dips, but comes with spicy chili sauce.
Return to your hotel. Gardenia Country Inn - Bungalow (B, L, snack).
Day 3 ~ Tomohon – Airmadidi – Lembeh Strait
This morning visit the neighboring Ekayana Pagoda. While North Sulawesi is mainly Christian, of course there are also other religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism present in this part of the diverse and multi-religious archipelago nation. On the path to the main building 18 gold-colored so called Lohan statues are lining the way, and depict sinners who returned to the right path. From the 9thstory of the towering pagoda you have a panoramic 360 degree view into the highland surroundings, Tomohon town, Tondano Lake, Manado and the majestic Mahawu and Lokon volcanos. At the turtle lake try to hit a rotating bell with a coin, which may help you to fulfil one chosen wish symbolized by the position you chose at the pond’s side: there is wealth, luck, fame, longevity, and happiness.
The Ratulangi family is not only known for being fantastic hosts and garden architects but is also well known beyond the town’s borders for their excellent fresh food sourced from the local surroundings. Enjoy a cooking class with some insights into the local Minahasa cuisine, one among the best among Indonesia’s different palates. Learn how to prepare different dishes that are typical for the region in the beautiful surroundings. Enjoy a self-prepared lunch among the flower gardens.
After lunch continue your trip on the road through the Minahasa Highlands towards Lembeh Stait. On the way stop at the majestic Mount Mahawun, one of the three active volcanoes around Tomohon. A short walk up the hills brings you to an observation platform at the crater rim, from which you have a view into the caldera and the surroundings. You have opportunity to walk around the crater rim and secent on the slope of the volcano to a small local Warung, where coffee is served.
In Airmadidi stop to visit an ancient graveyards with sarcophagi that stand out through their particular shape. The cube shaped base of the severla hundreds and up to more than throusand years old burial stones keeps the deceased bodies in a ftal curl position. The roof-shaped lid depicts images of the life scenes of the ooccupant.
Continue further this afternoon towards Lembeh Strait where you check in at your resort by the coast.
Overnight at Lembeh Strait. Cocotinos Lembeh - Super Deluxe Room (4 stars) (B, L)
Day 4 ~ Lembeh St. – Tasikoki Reserve – Tangkoko National Park - Lembeh St After breakfast depart for an educational experience at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre. Meet one of the researchers and activities at the visitor and education center to understand the dimensions and implications of the trade with protected species in Southeast Asia and strategies to cope with it. As you walk through the premises you will see how animals that have been kept in captivity are rehabilitated and prepared for survival in the wilderness where they belong to and fulfill important roles for the ecosystem.
There are sun bears, manifold bird species and even Orang Utan at the rescue center. It is not possible to get close to the Orang Utan, since they are almost ready for the jungle, and human contact is thus strictly to be avoided. In the gardens of the rescue center, you will also learn what it takes to grow the right food, how to train animals to find food in the wilderness, and how to manage human-animal interactions, such as for example in the case of conflicting areas such as agriculture.
At noon time move to the observation tower by the shore, from where you have a panoramic overview over the rescue center, surrounding forest and the Lembeh Strait and the vast ocean.
In the kitchen and community room of the so called lodge where the environmentalists live and work, a simple local lunch will be prepared for you.
Conntinue to Tangkoko National Park where the next highlight for today awaits you. Go for a relaxed walk in the deep, lush forest in search of the amazing wilflide endemic to the region and protected in the national park zone. There’s never a quarantee to see the animal, but the probability to come close to the jungle dwellers is very high. There is a very high biodiversity in Tangkoko National Park, and apart from the famous Celebes Crested Macaque and the cute Tarsier, there are 127 mammal, 233 bird and 104 reptile and amphibian species, among them also the Sulawesi bear and dwarf cuscus and birds such as the knobbed hornbill, Sulawesi hornbill and maleo.
A highlight is cetrtainly an enoucnter with the Celebes Crested Macaque or Black Creseted Macaque, locally known as Yaki or Wolai. With its hairless face and with the exception of some white hair in the shoulder range it is entirely jet black. Unusual for a primate, it has striking reddish-brown eyes. The long muzzle with high cheeks and the long hair tuft, or crest, at the top of the head are remarkable features. It has an "apelike" appearance and resembles a miniature verison of “KingKong”. The Celebes crested macaque is a diurnal rain forest dweller and ther is a good probability to encounter a whole flock crossing the walking path through the rain forest. The animal is primarily terrestrial, spending more than 60% of its day on the ground foraging for food and socializing, while sleeping and searching for food in the trees.
As is becomes slowly darker around 4 – 5 pm in the dense forest, usually the Tarsius spectrum would awake from its day-long sleep and look out of its tree holes with its huge and faithful eyes. Indeed, some say that the Tarsius is one of the most loyal representatriveds in the animal kingdom, living in monogamy and that when one of a pair dies, the other will follow within days. The average lifespan in the wild is thought to be 10 years. Tarsiers give birth to single offspring. Young tarsiers are born furred, and with open eyes, and are able to climb within a day of birth. Tarsiers from Sulawesi living in small family groups, and tend to be extremely shy animals.
Continue your journey towards Manado city for overnight.
Cocotinos Manado - Suite (4 stars) (B, L)
Day 5 ~ Manado – Sorong Wake up early morning and drive to the Airport to catch a flight to Sorong.
Upon arrive in Sorong our representative will pick you up and transfer to hotel for interim night while waiting for boat transfer in the next day.
Check in the hotel in Sorong
Overnight at Sorong. Swiss-Belhotel Sorong - Superior Deluxe Room (4 stars)(no meals)
Day 6 ~ Sorong – Misool Breakfast at the hotel and our representative will transfer you to the harbour. Around 09:00 speed boat will depart to the resort.
The transfer from Sorong to Misool is via private speedboat that usually takes about 4 hours, depending upon sea conditions.
Check in for 7 nights at Misool Eco Resort. Misool Eco Resort - Water Cottage/South Beach Villas (4 stars) (B, L, D)
Day 7 - 12 ~ Misool Spend the days at the Misool Eco Resort in full Board and get free local use of Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle, snorkelling on the House Reef and with baby sharks in the North Lagoon and also a series of evening educational lectures.
You are able to experience some variety of additional tours during your stay at Misool Eco Resort that able to book at their resort.
Overnight in Raja Ampat. Misool Eco Resort - Water Cottage/South Beach Villas (B, L, D)
Day 13 ~ Misool At your last in day in the resort, you are kindly asked to leave the room by 09:00 but still have access to the restaurant, dive centre showers and toilets. This is a great time to snorkel with the baby sharks in the lagoon, take a spin on the kayaks, or watch a film in the dive centre.
The speed boat departs the island just after lunch.
Upon arrive at Sorong harbour, you will be taken to their hotel partner to spend one more night in Sorong.
Swiss-Belhotel Sorong - Superior Deluxe Room (B)
Day 14 ~ Departure
Breakfast at your hotel and transfer to the airport for your departure. (B)
End of Trip
(Code: B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner)
Land cost from: $5,500 per person
Please note all rates are subject to change according to rate of exchange fluctuations.
For a more detailed or customized itinerary, optional extensions and activities, please call or email us.
Hotel accommodation in half-twin/double room with daily breakfast.
7 nights in Misool Eco Resort full board (4 meals per day plus afternoon tea and most of non-alcoholic beverages)
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner.
Transfers by car and boat as mentioned in the program
Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit (valid for one year around; please bring 3 copies of your passport!)
Donation for Misool Foundation
Snorkeling on the House Reef or at North Lagoon, free use local kayak and Stand Up Paddle
Meals other than mentioned in the program
Drinks other than the mentioned ones
International and domestic flights
The cost of photo and video cameras
Personal expenses (telephone calls, tips etc.)
Services other than those clearly mentioned in the program
The Activities proposed by your hotel (Diving etc).