One month travel in Sulawesi Utara.
Bunaken is a Divers and Snorkelers paradise 45 minutes by boat from Manado. Its scores of dive-sites, vertical walls and many house-reefs are world famous. Living Colours is the Diving resort by choice.
In Lore Lindu N.P. are megalithic statues that are hundreds, if not thousand of years old, and dot the Napu, Besoa, and Bada valley and are considered to be the finest stone monuments of their type in Indonesia. The origin of these massive, well worked, yet elegantly simple, granite carvings has been lost over time as they pre-date the existing ethnic groups found around the park. Various archaeological studies date them as early as 3,000 BC or as recently as 1,300 AD. Lore Lindu is also world famous for bird-watchers. Text: C. Merung.
An archipelago of 77 islands, Sangihe & Talaud like most unspoiled areas were hard to reach but not anymore now. A speedboat makes the journey from Manado in around 5 hours to Tahuna with stops underway. There are also daily flights by Wings Air with new French ATR aircraft.
The administrative capital and largest town is Tahuna on the island of Sangihe. There are several hotels here offering basic but passable accommodation. If you have a couple of days and plenty of extra energy you could climb Gunung Awu the spectacular volcanic peak. To the south of Sangihe, the island of Siau has a glorious 1800m volcanic peak Karangetang is also known locally as Gunung Api Siau. This volcano had a major explosion in 1974, and it now is always active. It can be climbed but should be approached with caution.
The region’s other main attractions are its completely unspoilt beaches of which there are many. Sangihe Talaud is also getting more and more popular with birdlovers. The islands are home to nine endemic species, and new ones are being discovered regularly. Write me by email for local contacts.(Text by Nirwan Lapohang)
(c) Sander van Hulsenbeek