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Tomohon and its volcanoes

Tomohon is a small town located in the mainland of North Sulawesi.It lies at footsteps of several volcanoes and the higher ground makes it ideal for agriculture. I decided to visit Tomohon for two reasons. First I wanted to climb a volcano, hopefully an active one and second reason – Tomohon culinary specialties at local market.

To get to Tomohon from Manado I used public bus. When in Tomohon I searched for a place to stay and arranged a guide for a volcano trek the next day. Since I had whole afternoon left I decided to visit a small sulphur lake not far from the town. To get there I stopped a microlet that took me to the Linow lake. Microlets are a great way to get around in Indonesian towns. There are plenty of them, they are cheap and you can always use it as a taxi (for additional fee). Plus its always a great fun to see how decorated they are and how loud the music can be (most popular music seems to be local pop love songs).

Linow lake surprised me with its colour and beauty. Soon I forgot about terrible smell of the sulphur and walked around. There were numerous interesting formations made by steam coming from the ground and boiling water (see the first shot of the article).

On the way back to main road I stumbled upon a pineapple plantation. it was interesting to see how pineapples actually grow!

Next day started in the middle of the night. Frangky, my guide and I started to climb Mahawu volcano we needed about four hours to get to the top, just before the sunrise. I managed to get a few night shots before the sun came out. On the photo above there is a view towards East. on the left there is Manado and Manado Tua island, the mountain in the middle is Gunung Klabat volcano and on the right there is Bitung port and Lembeh island.

Night sky.

Manado Tua and Bunaken island.

Lokon volcano with a side crater which is still active. Only fumes were visible…

My guide Frangky. I can recommend him as a guide. He knows the area intimately, speaks good English, very helpful and friendly and loves mountains. Walking up the mountain we had very fast pace. Usually I am the fittest on the treks like this but this time I struggled, partially because of the humidity and my heavy photo backpack and partially because Frangky is so fit. But I kept pushing to get to the top early enough for sunrise.

Walking back to Tomohon we saw numerous fields growing carrots, cabbage, onions and other vegetables. Unexpected to see in Indonesia.

Back to Tomohon we visited local market. I heard from other travellers that it is not the place for weak stomach and I wanted to see it personally.

One of the most popular meat is dog. People actually breed dogs just for meat. After they are slain they fire them to get rid of the hair. This is why they are black.

The other delicacy is fruit bats.

And the third delicacy (and in my opinion lest tasty looking) is rats.

For Western people this might look disgusting but in Tomohon this is an every-day scene. People buy dog-meat like we do beef or chicken.


After visiting the meat market I decided for a vegetarian breakfast. Frangky recommended a place and a local delicacy called Bubur Manado – a pumpkin soup with soy tofu. Together with Sambal (chilly sauce) it makes a wonderful meal!

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  1. Ana's Gravatar Ana
    March 14, 2011    

    Yummy! ;) I know the dog market scene from China and yes, it can turn you into a vegetarian for a while.

    Excellent photos! And the night skies are beautiful. :)

  2. March 14, 2011    

    You really make people hungry with these photos. Ok, I admit, only with last one. :) And as Ana said, picture of night sky is great.

  3. Elizabeth Molineux's Gravatar Elizabeth Molineux
    April 8, 2011    

    Really interesting blog. I’ve never seen pineapples growing. And your comment – “After visiting the meat market I decided for a vegetarian breakfast” – made me laugh! Looks like an amazing trip.

  4. April 8, 2011    

    Thanks Elizabeth! It was an amazing trip indeed. Maybe you could grow a pineapple at your garden yourself ;)

  5. Gita Listya A's Gravatar Gita Listya A
    December 22, 2013    

    Wow those pictures look awesome! Thanks for writing about Indonesia. This is such a great article :) Anyway, if you need more reference about Indonesia maybe you can also visit, I also read some informative articles there. I hope it could be useful for you too.

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