29 April 2009

Tomohon and the Minahasa Highlands

After not seeing the tarsiers we ended our stay on Sulawesi with 3 nights at Tomohon in the Minahasa Highlands. We actually stayed in the village of Kinilow, 5km outside of Tomohon, at a fantastic place called Onong's Palace. In terms of "bang for your buck" (our room cost about £13 a night) it was easily the best place we've stayed on our trip so far. The resort consisted of a handful of traditional wooden bungalows spread over a jungle covered hill. The setting was really stunning with views of the Gunung Lokon volcano across the valley.

It was the first time in over a week that we had hot water, a TV and 24 hour a day electricity. It felt like we had finally made it back into civilisation after the wilds, that first hot shower felt like absolute bliss!

I had intended to climb the 1580m peak of the Gunung Locon volcano on our first day there but Onong advised against it as it had been officially closed for the last 9 months due to ash and sulphur releases. Instead we headed into Tomohon town to re-connect with the outside world via the internet. The trip to the internet cafe provided a bit old world / new world juxtaposition, we went there on a horse and cart!

That evening we had a rather interesting time at the Pemandangan Restaurant, highly recommended by the Lonely Planet. The restaurant is situated on a cliff a few kilometers from our accommodation on the road to Manado. It had great views over Manado and Bunaken Island . . .

. . . but no food! Instead we had to a console ourselves with a couple of warm beers before catching a mikrolet (beat up Indonesian van) back for dinner at Onong's.

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