Most travellers head to the...
Most travellers head to the beautiful rugged hill country of Tanatoraja in central and southern Sulawesi, and the small town of Rantepao pulls in many of them. The rice-farming, pig-breeding, water-buffalo-loving Toraja who inhabit this region have become the focus of tourist attention thanks to their elaborate ceremonies, burial sites and traditional houses.
Of all the Torajan ceremonies, the most important are those concerned with sending a dead person to the afterworld. Without proper funeral rites, the spirit of the deceased will cause misfortune to its family. Funerals can be spread out over several days and involve hundreds of guests and the sacrifice of scores of buffalo. Feasting, dancing and singing may be supplemented by cock-fighting, sisemba (kick-fighting) and even buffalo fights in which the bulls, rightly agitated by the insertion of chilli up their behind, lock horns and strain against each other.
If you are invited to a ceremony, be sure to dress respectfully, bring gifts to hand around and don't sit in areas designated for guests or family members. Taking photographs is acceptable, but do it with restraint. The best time to visit Rantepao is between March and May, though most funeral ceremonies are held in the 'party season' lasting from July to September. July and August is the high season and hotel prices skyrocket.
The prosperous town of Manado, in northern Sulawesi, is renowned as the gateway to the stunning coral reefs off nearby Pulau Bunaken. There's plenty of comfortable but basic accommodation on Pulau Bunaken and a number of low-key dive operators run services, though all the high-profile dive resorts are on the Sulawesi mainland. Much of the coral that once grew in Bunaken's shallow water has tragically been decimated by careless boat traffic, but the nearest drop-offs are within swimming distance of shore and remain unscathed.
You can hire dugout canoes or small motor boats to reach more isolated reefs around the nearby islands of Manado Tua, Pulau Siladen and Pulau Mantehage. A daily ferry connects Manado with Pulau Bunaken. Thankfully all the excitement isn't offshore since Manado has a fascinating Indonesian-Philippines-Southern Californian hybrid culture, some very interesting local food (anyone for fried forest rat?) and spectacular volcanoes.
diving or snorkelling in bunaken
The sea near Bunaken and Siladen islands are probably one of the best places to go diving or snorkelling in the world... Even if you don't do both, you can still go on the glass-bottom boats. It's definitely a must do activity in Manado
further down to the sea
there are several groups of small islands nearby manado which offers one of the best sea garden in the world!
catch a public boat, renting glass bottom boat or asking to the homestays and resorts or hostels at those islands to pick you up and enjoy the underwater scenes by snorkeling or diving.
on the list are included in bunaken national marine park:
- bunaken island
- manado tua island
- nain island
- siladen island
- pulau lembeh
can be reached from bitung
A BOAT TRIP TO BUNAKEN
Bunaken is known for its sea garden, the perfect tourism site for the diver. For the one like me, still thinking to get the swimming class; diving in Bunaken will be absolutely out of the list. Nevertheless, there is another way for us to enjoy the wonderful view of Bunaken diving sites. Get a boat trip to Bunaken and surrounding islands with the boat from Pasar Jengki. Pasar Jengki will be located at the Manado Port; you may reach there from Jumbo supermarket in Pasar 45 easily. Take the boat with the table glass at the center of the boat where you can see the underwater magnificent view. The boat will bring you to the Bunaken area and you may ask them to drop you at Bunaken or Siladen or Bangka Island and pick you up later at the designated time. The boat of 10-15 passengers will cost you around 400,000IR. Sometimes it depends on the boat itself and the rental time. Do not wear the skirt, bring the sun block, camera, some snacks, water, wet tissues, and good flip flop.
Scuba Diving or non-Scuba Diving Entry Permit
All visitors to the Bunaken National Park (divers and non-divers) are required to pay an entrance fee, in accordance with North Sulawesi Provincial Government Provincial Law Number 9/2002. The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rp 50,000 per daily ticket (approximately US$6), or Rp 150,000 (approximately US$17) for a waterproof plastic entrance tag valid for the full calendar year.
Entrance tags and tickets can be purchased direct from all NSWA members or from ticket counters on Bunaken Island and on Siladen Island. They must be carried at all times that guests' are within the park boundaries, and tags can easily be affixed to guests' diving or snorkeling gear or on backpacks. Enforcement of the entrance fee system is conducted via spot checks by park rangers on land and at sea.
The entrance fee system has been adapted from the well-known Bonaire Marine Park system and the proceeds from the sales of the entrance tags are managed by the Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB), a multi-stakeholder board that NSWA is a member of. The system has been very successful in raising over $250,000 for conservation programs in the Bunaken Marine Park since its inception in 2001.
All proceeds from sales of the entrance tags and tickets are managed by the Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB), a multistakeholder board established by Governor's decree No. 233/2000 and consisting of dive operators, environmental organizations, academia, pertinent government officials and villagers from within the park. The BNPMAB will utilize these funds to finance a number of high priority conservation programs in the park, including patrols and enforcement to abolish destructive fishing practices such as blast and cyanide fishing, village improvement programs within the park, collection and disposal of plastic and other wastes entering the park's waters, marine conservation education of village children and adults, and reef and mangrove rehabilitation. Wear Your Bunaken Entrance Tag with Pride!
Mountain view from Siladen