Traveling to Minahasa
Minahasa regency is a mountainous region in the northern part of Sulawesi island. A lot of tourists visit Minahasa for a number of reasons. First they want to see the beautiful coral reef in Bunaken marine park. Second, they want to experience the beauty of the mountainous areas of North Sulawesi. Third, they want to interact with the Minahasan people whose culture is unique and special among other tribes in Indonesia. In this article, I want to describe a little about what I saw when traveling around Sonder, Tincep, Tomohon and Kawangkoan villages. These are small towns that mostly rely their economic activities on agriculture.
The villagers in Sonder grow clove in their gardens, and raise pigs at the back yards of their houses. Some families raise nila and carp fish in the ponds along a small river that flows on the east side of the small town. Between 1970s and 1980s, the clove farmers in Sonder enjoyed prosperous life. At that time the price of clove rose very high due to the increasing demand of this spice from cigarette kretek industry. The farmers bought luxurious cars, and electrical and electronic household equipment such as televisions, radios, refrigerators, washing machines, and every thing that they can find in the electronic shops. These farmers did not feel the importance of sending their children to schools. Suddenly, the price of clove fell to its lowest point due to over supply of such commodity in the market. The farmers in Sonder gradually could not enjoy the prosperous life anymore. Many had to leave their town to find jobs in big cities or in other islands such as Papua or Kalimantan. Now the clove farmers have diversified their businesses in several sectors. Some work as merchants while others grow vanilla or raise pigs.
Between Tomohon and Sonder, there is a village called Leilem. This village is famous in Minahasa and the province of North Sulawesi for its furniture industry. City dwellers who want to buy dining table, chairs, sofa, cupboards and even bookshelves can order them at one of the furniture manufacturers in Leilem. The quality of the wood products is high. In 1970s most of the tables or beds were made manually. The quantity of the tables and chairs or cow carts which the carpenters made was low. These high skilled carpenters have now been replaced by machines. This creates problems in the Leilem village. Many young men cannot find jobs in the village anymore. As a result they moved to Balikpapan city in Kalimantan, and Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura cities in Papua to open workshops for producing the furniture. Some people even moved to Denpasar to work as carpenters in a number of furniture manufacturers in Bali. In addition, the businessmen in Leilem said that wood as the main raw material is getting more and more expensive now.
There are still a lot of places that we can see while traveling in the highland of Minahasa. From climbing the volcanoes to enjoying white water rafting in Timbukar, all the tourists need to do is paying the travel package deals that are offered by a number of tour and travel companies in Manado city. The tour packages can also be seen on the internet. The price from each package might be different from one to another depending on the number of days of your visit in Minahasa and the tourist destinations that you want to see.
There are a number of ways to go to Minahasa. If you are still in your own country now, please, find an international flight to one of the cities in Indonesia. They are Jakarta, Denpasar, or Surabaya. When you have arrived in those cities, you can find domestic airlines that provide daily flights to Manado. Another alternative is flying to Singapore. From Singapore, you can buy the ticket of Silk Air that will take you to Manado city. The prices of the airplane tickets will be lower in Indonesia during low season. During high season such as Christmas or Idul Fitri or school holidays, a lot of people in this country travel by airplanes. The price of the tickets will be higher than usual.
In addition to interesting tourist destinations in the highland of Minahasa, the most popular places for those who love marine sports are Bentenan, Bunaken and Lembeh Strait. Here, you can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving over the pristine coral reef of Minahasan waters. When you have completed traveling around Minahasa, you might feel that you want to go back again the next year.
My Travel Experience in Sonder villages of Minahasa Highland
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