The mikrolets of Manado. Sulawesi, Indonesia.
In Manado, everyone moves in "mikrolet".

The "mikrolets" of Manado

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


It is with regret that I leave today my nice bungalow with a view from Divers Lodge. At the same time, I am not angry to break with the isolation of the resort, to find "real life and real people". Back to Manado, so, for a one day stopover, the time to book my plane tickets for the Toraja country and to organize my trip to the Togian islands.

Tomorrow, I go to cool in the nearby mountains, Tomohonat the foot of the volcano Lokon.

The mikrolets of Manado. Sulawesi, Indonesia.
In Manado, everyone moves in "mikrolet".

I moved to the hotel Minahasa, on the big Sam Ratulangi Boulevard, trusting me Lonely Planet. I was wrong... The "standard" rooms, which are still worth 135 000 Rp (a little more than 10€) without counting the 10% of government tax, are dilapidated, sad and noisy.

The "deluxe" rooms, small bungalows located in a nice garden at the back, seem to be much more pleasant, but well, it's still going to cost 215 000 Rp (+ the famous 10%) and moreover, they are doing some works in their new building above. Not good.

Too bad, for one night, I keep my rupees and I opt for the "standard". They kindly invite me to enjoy the brand new swimming pool, but I don't feel like swimming under the workers' eyes. And then I have much more urgent things to do: go to the travel agency Star Expressrecommended by Christiane, for my plane tickets.

View of Manado from the Minahasa Hotel. At the bottom, the blue triangle of Manado Tua, the volcano island located just next to Bunaken.
View of Manado from the Minahasa Hotel. At the bottom, the blue triangle of Manado Tua, the volcano island located just next to Bunaken.

That's where it gets tricky. To get around Manado, as everywhere in Indonesia, there are the mikrolets (also called bemos in other corners). Light blue minibuses, which criss-cross the streets in an incessant ballet, which you stop where you want with a wave of the hand and from which you get off where you want.

The trick is to know which mikrolet to take, when you only have a very vague idea of the geography of the city...

The young lady at the hotel reception wrote down on a piece of paper the names of the directions I have to take, but I'm a bit lost. If I understood everything correctly, I have to get off at a crossroads, at the end of the boulevard, towards the north, to take another mikrolet to the terminal Paal 2... With that, you have to fend for yourself.

Fortunately, the passers-by are more than helpful and help me to stop a mikrolet going in the right direction. The driver calls out the window to one of his colleagues at a crossroads full of blue minibuses. He signals me to get off and get into the other one.

Great! A few minutes later, this one drops me off right in front of my agency. It's great, the mikrolets! And cheap: 1 700 Rp the race in Manado... not even 15 cents of euros.

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

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  1. Back from Montpellier... Great, you updated your blog!!! Looking forward to reading you again!!! I hope your earache is just an old story, take care of yourself!!! All your pictures are beautiful; I haven't really had time to follow you on a map, but I will as soon as I can!!!

    I came back from Montpellier yesterday. It was very good, especially since Mom was there! The shows went well, and I am relieved that this stage is over, it was a big piece! We left Geneva, it was raining and cold... We are back in Geneva; and it's still raining and cold... You'd think that Montpellier is in Asia, the weather difference is so big!

    Montpellier is over, but it's not the vacations yet... One more month of work...

    Good continuation! Pay attention to yourself! Say hello from me to the many critters that you will meet !! I hug you strongly!!!

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