NORTH SULAWESI INFORMATION PAGES
Manado - Bunaken - Tangkoko - Minahasa - Sangihe/Talaud - Gorontalo - Togians
GorontaloVisitors to Gorontalo no longer have to travel overland. Regular flights now connect Gorontalo with the outside world. Daily flights are available from Jakarta via Makassar (Ujung Pandang) to Gorontalo with Lion Air and Sriwijaya Airlines. In Febraury 2011 Garuda Indonesia opened daily flights to Gorontalo from Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya and Makassar (Ujung Padang). This is good news for those who need to fly on an airline approved by the European Union. Many international flights arrive in Jakarta.
Air Asia flies several times a week to Makassar, arriving from Kuala Lumpur late in the evening. Travelers can continue to Gorontalo the next morning. Flights from Gorontalo to Makassar easily connect with Air Asia's return flight to KL.
From Manado, Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) now flies every day, leaving in the evening for Gorontalo. This allows passengers arriving on Silk Air from Singapore to connect. The return flight to Manado is early in the morning, allowing travelers to connect with Silk Air or with flights to other parts of Indonesia. Better yet, tickets for the Manado/Gorontalo flight on Wings Air can be purchased on line at www2.lionair.co.id.
If you prefer to travel overland, private transport can be arranged in Manado with a driving time of about 9 hours. Alternatively, you could go by bus; Manado to Gorontalo takes about 10 hours; Fajar Indah is a recommended company. Roads are mostly in good condition, with a few small dirt and rock sections under repair. Your schedule shouldn't be too tight. Sometimes buses are delayed because of flat tires or engine troubles. Better spend at least one night in Gorontalo before moving on by bus or boat. The city is quite pretty, clean and very friendly with beautiful old colonial buildings.
Accommodation: Rooms in various categories are available at the New Melati Hotel. Address: Jl. Wolter Monginsidi.
Hotel Yulia, Jl. Nani Wartabone (Ex Ahmad Yani) No. 26, also has air-conditioning, cable TV and hot water.
Next door is the star-rated Grand Q Hotel Gorontalo (used to be Quality Hotel), considered the most upmarket among Gorontalo hotels.
Exchanging foreign currency is difficult in Gorontalo. The notes have to be brandnew, clean and unfolded!
Going from Manado to Palu/Central Sulawesi by bus takes around 18 hours. Most travellers prefer the route through the Togian Islands.
The Togian (Togean) IslandsWhen crossing Sulawesi from South to North or North to South most travellers now choose for a stopover of at least several days at the Togian Islands. The Togians are a picturesque archipelago of 56 islands and inlets, located in the Tomini Bay. Formed by volcanic activity, the islands are covered by lush rainforest and surrounded by ancient coral reef formations. Both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems teem with exotic wildlife - much of which is extremely rare or endangered. The reefs and coastal areas provide habitat and breeding areas for hawksbill turtle, the green turtle and the dugong. Togian forests and skies are filled with exotic creatures such as the Togian Macaque, the babirusa, the Sulawesi Hornbill, and hanging parrots. Within this tropical paradise, 37 villages provide bright spots of gaiety and culture of several ethnicities, including the Bobongko, Togian, Suluan and the Bajau.
IMPORTANT: Be advised that Malaria is a problem in most parts of the Togian Islands. Protect your skin with lots of mosquito repellent; anti malaria drugs are adviced! Dengue fever is also widespread.
How to get there:
Accommodation and Diving
The Togian Islands offer the unique opportunity for both divers and snorkelers to explore all 3 types of coral reef: fringe, barrier and atoll. There is a wide selection of dive sites from gentle slope to dramatic drop offs, perfect for beginners and experienced alike with some deeper dives for the advanced diver. Highlights: Atolls (3 in all), Una-Una (active volcano), B24 World War II bomber wreck.
From simple cottage style homestays to quite modern dive resorts the Togian Islands offer a good variety of accommodation:
Black Marlin Dive Centre is a PADI Dive Centre/Resort at Wakai Cottages/Kadidiri. Rates start from around Rp. 200,000 per person with meals, plus 10% tax. €28,-/ daytime dive, €33,-/night dive. PADI dive courses. Discounts for longer stays. Black Marlin can accept traveller cheques (USD, Euro) and even credit cards (Master, VISA).
Mixed reports about the Kadidiri Paradise. A licensed dive instructor is only available for 6 months a year. It's a guy called Gonzag; if he's there it's actually recommended to dive with him. Few mosquitoes here.
Pondok Lestari in Kadidiri is a real bargain at Rp 125.000 per night full board, including free boat trips to nearby islands for snorkeling trips.
Mostly very good comments about the Fadhila Cottages in Katupat. In Malenge try the friendly Malenge Indah.
Ckeck the new Waleakodi Sifa Cottage which offers simple but nice cottages from Rp. 125,000 per person per night with meals and also has a dive center. You can find actual information about boat schedules and other things on their website. They provide you with a free transfer from Malenge harbour.
In Bomba you could try the new (December 2014) Bomba Divers. Accommodation nearby at Poya Lisa Cottages. Another option is the Togian Island Retreat. It has a dive center but instructors and divemasters seem to come and go, so better enquire before, especially if you want to do a course. Some people have reported that there are too many dogs and cats at the place. Hardly any mosquitoes, so malaria is not much of a problem here.
Some of the Togians' best dive sites are around the volcanic island of Una-Una. And there is a brand new (in 2014) option to stay and dive there, the Finnish run Sanctum Una Una Eco Resort & Dive Center.
There is no possibility to exchange money/traveller cheques at the Togians, so take enough cash with you. Some of the dive centers might be able to accept tc's and even credit cards but please check with them before.
This site was created in January 1998; the last major update was in November 2011.