Travelling through the tip of North Sulawesi

The big contrast of Sulawesi and Java is the lush and heavy greenery. On this visit ( worth mentioning this is not my first time here) I went to Manado, Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Tomohon and Bentenan.

Manado is pretty similar to some cities in Java, things seems to be on top of each other, built organically, cities in Indonesia where the city planning or any building regulations doesn’t  seem to exist. Considerations of what is important and what is beautiful in the city doesn’t seem to relate to my own. The big mall  Manado Town Square built inches away from the edge of the sea, obscures the beautiful view of the two visible mountains in it’s horizon. A view in almost other places in the world people would pay premium price to see, here can only be seen in the smoking area of their food court.

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That is why I chose not to linger in Manado, I only went to stay in a nearby resort, visited the North Sulawesi Museum and had lunch in the mall. From the resort I traveled by car to the other side of the island to Tangkoko National Reserve. Which was an amazing trip, I think it needs a full blog update on. But the travel there were simply brilliant too.

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The journey made me realise that this part of Indonesia is unbelievably rich of simply everything. For example in the 2 hours drive to Tangkoko from Manado I went through a village that is filled with Rambutan tree, then a village filled with Duku Tree, a village with gold mine, a village with a lot of fresh water fish farms and the list continues. Yet the people living there seems to be unaware of this wealth or maybe just to used to all of it to realise it. Everything is so beautiful and cheap. When we (driver and I) stopped to fill out the petrol tank on a side road Indonesian style warung, I bought a kilogram of Rambutan for Rp 5,000, which is 33 cent Euro, or £0.26. In China town in London 10 rambutan would cost you £3.

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The abundance of resources also seems to fuel creativity in creating products from their natural resources. In Tomohon area alone there is a village that does bamboo weaved stuff, a village that makes clay based pottery, a village that makes wooden furniture, and a village that makes amazing wooden house.

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Traditional wooden houses are more prevalent here than it is in Java and Sumatra, people have wooden houses as is or wooden houses meld into a brick building of a ground floor. Although most are in their original dark wood colour, a lot also are painted in different colours, orange, pink, green, or the combination of colours. Making the whole journey a feast to my magpie-like-eyes.

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I am really glad that I have just read Paul Theroux’s Great Railway bazaar and have this blog. It has encourage me to consider more of my surrounding whilst travelling, taking things much more slowly, talk to more people, ask more question also allowing myself not to be bothered if I don’t get to see a particular thing. Now for me the travelling also part of the wonderful adventure.

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How about you? Does having a blog wants you to visit more ‘must see places’ or does it make you appreciate the travel itself? Or both?

Also, have you been to this part of Indonesia, what do you think about it?