24 Hours In: The Minahasa Highlands
Sunday 25 February 2007
Spend your final day on dry land and head out of town up to the lush, volcanic hills
Take a tour of the highlands
08.00: You will need to spend some time on dry land before you fly home, so make the most of being in Sulawesi and take a day tour, about $60 (£31) into the Minahassa highlands. Breakfast at your hotel The Tasik Ria Resort (00 62 431 824 445; tasikria.com). Manado town is overcrowded and polluted, so headup into the cool air of the highlands.
Get a flavour of coconut
09.00: Stop at one of the small copra farms that line the roadside and where curious visitors are always welcomed. North Sulawesi is the largest producer of copra (dried coconut) in Indonesia, and these tall, swaying, graceful trees dominate the highland slopes.
Watch master craftsmen
10.00: Next stop is the village of Woloan, famous in the region for its prefabricated houses. Master carpenters craft these unique two-storey wooden houses by the roadside in front of each workshop. You want to buy a house? Simply wander down the road, choose one, and pay. These elaborately decorated Minahassan houses can even be exported.
A market with a difference
11.00: The central highland town of Tomohon is renowned as a centre for Christian studies. However, Tomohon's main attraction for visitors is its colourful traditional "jungle" market, which is famous for its smoked meat - including smoked dog, rats and bats. Not for the squeamish.
Step right back in time
12.00: Continue on through the fertile plains at the centre of the highlands, which are dominated by the volcanic peaks of Mounts Mahawu and Lokon. You will pass numerous carts pulled by bullocks trundling slowly past the rice paddies - a scene which has changed little over the centuries.
Leisurely lunch by the lake
13.00: Lunch at Lake Tondano. Along the lake shore there are extensive fish ponds where they farm carp (ikan mas) and freshwater fish (ikan mujair). Stop at the restaurant here, which perches on stilts above a fish pond. Try the fish fillets served with a fresh chilli, spring onion and soy sauce relish.
Find yourself in hot water
14.00: From Lake Tondano your route will take you on a loop back through several villages including Pulutan where you can stop off at one its roadside potteries. A little further along is Kawangkoan a place famous for its peanuts.You then arrive at Lake Linow. This sulphurous lake has a constantly changing palette, and there are boiling fumeroles along the lakeshore. You can walk between them, but be careful of the hot steam.
Time for reflection
16.00: Your last stop of the day is the Buddhist temple outside Tomohon, which has spectacular views across to Mount Lokon.
Relax at the barbecue
17.00: Options for the rest of the evening's entertainment are limited. Your best bet is to head back to your hotel for one of its regular barbecues.
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