21 December 2008

The Shoe-String Express Moves On – Manado

By Muqaddis

Indeed AirAsia had finally penetrated into Eastern Indonesia which is quite unknown to most Malaysian and Indonesian as well. As a frequent flyer to this side of Indonesia, the newly introduced route will provide adequate exposure to all to discover the abundance of mysterious and exotic attractions, especially in Sulawesi.

Manado has transformed into a melange of old and modern city (capital of North Sulawesi – SULUT) as compared to a decade ago. Its image as one of the world best diving spot is undisputed as based on my observation, 90% of the travellers are divers as the Bunaken Marine Park offers splendid opportunity to discover variety of big pelagics.

As I am not to elaborate further on “attraction beneath the sea”, there are actually abundance of other attractions beyond Manado. The highlands, merely 25kilometres away will eliminate the heat and noisy atmosphere in Manado, as one will experience a cooler and “acceptable” noise level though occassionally the blasting noise from the “biskota” will take away your focus on the lushful green forest all the way from Manado to Tomohon (“Kota Bunga”) via the long and turning road.

There are plentiful of stalls on both sides of the road, selling fruits, flowers and also “Rumah Makan” (Padang and Minahasa as well; beware of the later selling exotic delicacies ranging from rats, bats, flying fox and the beloved domestic animals).

One is able to see Manado town and also the Marine Park on the left side of the road. Plentiful of coconut trees as well as cloves indicated the main comodities in these areas, previously known as the Spice Islands (till today). In fact after harvesting, it is possible to buy freshly dried cloves by the road side as the cloves here are bigger than their counterpart in Sumatera and elsewhere. To be continued……