On this Sulawesi and Raja Ampat holiday, you’ll swim over pristine reefs, look wildlife in the rainforest and hike in the Minahasa Highlands. Start in North Sulawesi, where you’ll explore the cultural history of Manado before heading into the Minahasa Highlands to soak up the views. Next, head down into the rainforest, looking for black crested macaques and tarsiers in the lush canopies of Tangkoko National Park. Fly to Raja Ampat in West Papua and spend a week at Misool Eco Resort, where you’ll snorkel and dive in some of the healthiest reefs on the planet. After a week of exploration and peace, you’ll finish your trip with a stop in Singapore on your way home, tasting delicious local food and admiring the bright lights of the city at the end of your Sulawesi and Raja Ampat holiday.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Manado you will be met at the airport and welcomed to Indonesia by your local guide. You’ll head out to explore the city, walking through the Arabian Quarter and into China Town, where locals meet for coffee. The favorite dessert of the Manado people is Klappertart, which is kind of a “fusion dish” consisting of western style butter tart filled with coconut custard. Taste and enjoy the sweet dessert with a cup of coffee or tea at one of the town’s best known places for the specialty. After this, you’ll be driven to the small town of Tomohon in the Minahasa Highlands, checking into your hotel for two nights.
After breakfast, you’ll head off to visit Tomohon market. It’s a colourful place, perfect for picking up ingredients for your cookings class. This is the place to get some ingredients for your cooking class tomorrow.
Next, you’ll enjoy some exploration of the Minahasa Highlands. Explore Woloan, one of the last villages where the wooden typical Sulawesian-style houses that can be seen everywhere along the roadside are still made before heading to the Pinaras Waterfall for a short trek down to experience the fresh spray of the 40 meter high waterfall. Visit the shores of Tondano Lake, the largest lake of North Sulawesi in the rolling hills of the Minahasa Highlands. You’ll do a short bike ride here - there’s always a fresh breeze across its large silverish surface, which makes cycling through the lush landscapes a relaxed venture. Its shores are lined with aqua culture farms and seafood restaurants, where you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Pulutan, a local pottery village before visiting Museum Pinawetengan, where you’ll learn about the interesting traditional fashion, crafts and musical instruments from Sulawesi.
Finish your day with a visit to Linlow lake, where the volcanic water shines bright turquoise and you can smell the sulphur in the air. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a local specialty which is typical for Indonesia: fried banana. However, here in North Sulawesi, fried banana is not enjoyed with honey or sweet dips, but comes with spicy chili sauce.
This morning you’ll visit the Ekayana Pagoda. While North Sulawesi is mainly Christian, there are also other religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism present in this part of the diverse nation. On the path to the main building, you’ll see 18 gold Lohan statues along the path, depicting sinners who returned to the right path. Climbing the pagoda, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view over the highlands, Tomohon town, Tondano Lake and the majestic Mahawu and Lokon volcanos.
After this, you’ll meet the Ratulangi family – known for being fantastic hosts and for their excellent fresh food sourced from the local surroundings. Enjoy a cooking class with some insights into the local Minahasa cuisine. Learn how to prepare different dishes that are typical for the region before tucking into a self-prepared lunch among the flower gardens.
After lunch continue your trip on the road through the Minahasa Highlands towards the Lembeh Stait. On the way stop at the majestic Mount Mahawun, one of the three active volcanoes around Tomohon. A short walk up the hills brings you to an observation platform at the crater rim, from which you have a view into the caldera and the surroundings. You have opportunity to walk around the crater rim and descend the slope of the volcano to a small local Warung, where coffee is served.
Eventually you’ll arrive at the Lembeh Strait where you’ll check in at your resort by the coast for one night.
After breakfast, you’ll head off to the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre.
You’ll meet one of the researchers about the implications of the trade with protected species in Southeast Asia and strategies used to prevent it. As you walk through the premises you will see how animals that have been kept in captivity are rehabilitated and prepared for survival in the wilderness. There are sun bears, manifold bird species and even Orang Utan at the rescue centre. It is not possible to get close to the Orang Utan, since they are almost ready to be released into the wild and human contact is avoided. After learning about this fascinating work, you’ll head to the observation tower, with panoramic views over the rescue centre and the ocean, before enjoying a simple local lunch.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Tangkoko National Park. Go for a relaxed walk in the deep, lush forest in search of the amazing wildlife endemic to the region. There is a very high biodiversity in Tangkoko National Park, from the Knobbed hornbills to the Sulawesi bear. The most famous animal found here is the Black Crested Macaque, an unusual primate that is jet black with striking reddish-brown eyes. The long muzzle with high cheeks and the long hair tuft, or crest, at the top of the head give it an ape-like appearance, like a miniature version of King Kong. There’s a good chance you’ll see them, perhaps even coming across a whole flock crossing the path through the rain forest.
As is becomes slowly darker in the dense forest, the Spectral Tarsier will begin to awaken from their day time sleep and look out of its tree holes with its huge eyes. These tiny animals mate for life and live until around 10 years old in the wild. Spotting them in the early twilight is such a special experience.
At the end of the day, you’ll head back to Manado city for the night.
After breakfast, you’ll catch your flight from Manado over to Sorong in Western Papua. Spend the day at leisure, ready for your adventure to begin tomorrow.
After breakfast, you’ll be taken to the harbour for your boat to Misool Eco Resort – it will take around four hours to arrive in this hidden paradise. Once you arrive, you’ll check into your beautiful seafront bungalow for seven nights.
This tiny island in Raja Ampat is a true tropical hideaway. Hidden in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, the resort sits on white-sand beaches and is surrounded by clear and colourful reefs that are ready to be explored. The pristine waters mean that the reefs grow right up to the surface of the water, making it perfect for snorkellers – the house reef is accessible from the small jetty or from the steps of your little waterside cottage. It’s common to see octopus, huge schools of parrotfish and curious black-tip reef sharks.
Misool Eco Resort is a wonderful place to feel really off grid – soaking up the beauty of this remote island, snorkelling and diving with incredible ocean creatures and enjoying delicious meals from the boutique resort as you watch the sun set each evening. There is a minimum 7 night stay at this spectacular place but it is well worth the time to truly relax and reset.
After breakfast, you’ll check out of your room, enjoying one final morning of snorkelling or kayaking. You’ll head off after lunch by boat back to Sorong. Spend the evening relaxing and reliving the last two weeks exploring this unique and spectacular area of Indonesia.
This morning you’ll be driven back to the airport in time for your flight to Singapore. On arrival in Singapore you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel, checking in for two nights.
Today is yours to explore Singapore; browse through the National Gallery, wander through Chinatown or go shopping along Orchard Road. In the afternoon drop into Raffles for the classic afternoon tea and a Singapore Sling before ending the night in Little India for a curry or why not experience the famous night safari at the Singapore Zoo.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven from your hotel back to the airport for your international flight home.
Indonesia is an enormous country and it won’t come as a surprise to note that the weather across the archipelagos can vary hugely. Sulawesi and Raja Ampat are both rainy year round – these are tropical islands where the rain keeps the vegetation lush and green. Raja Ampat can be visited all year although from July to September there is a higher chance of rainfall and wind, which isn’t ideal for diving. North Sulawesi is at it’s best weather wise from May to November, when conditions are more likely to be dry and sunny.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.