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(If you are too short of time to read my detailed report, you can also jump directly down to a summary with recommendation)

From Bunaken to Highland Resort in Tomohon

After 4 weeks of stay on Bunaken the time had come for us to escape from the tropical heat for a few days. Our destination was, like every year the about 800 m high situated town Tomohon as a place of silence and as a starting point for a few short excursions.

Eingang zum Highland ResortThis time we wanted to stay in HIGHLAND RESORT. It was recommended us because it should supposedly offer a high degree of comfort and an excellent service for a very low price. Also on relevant Internet sites we could read enthusastic experience reports about this Resort. We were curious whether all that was true and wanted to form our own opinion.

After I had informed myself on the website, we decided on a Superior Room for 40 euros per night (incl. breakfast) and used the special offer: Pay three nights and stay the fourth night for free. If I had read more thoroughly, we would also have been picked up free of charge from Manado. Instead, we took in the harbour of Manado a taxi to the Highland Resort (70,000 IDR). The drive went over a winding street steadily uphill. After approx. 20 km we reached Kinilov, a small suburb of Tomohon. We turned left and got after approx. 300 m to the HIGLAND RESORT over a precipitous little street, past the Onong Resort.

Karte Tomohon und Nordsulawesi

At the reception we immediately got a cool welcoming drink (fruit juice) and filled the standard registration forms. Then we received the key for our bungalow, as well as a free voucher for a traditional massage. As a farther service we were pointed to the free use of the WiFi.


Our Bungalow

All bungalows are accessible by concrete roads. This makes sense particularly when it is once raining hard. Then natural ways would become muddy by the floods and there would be danger of slipping in particular on the way down to the restaurant.Unser Bungalow im Highland Resort

To our Superior bungalow we had not far to go. After approx. 20 m we stood in front of a wonderful building established in the traditional Minahasa style, surrounded by tropical bushes and flowers and situated on a small hill . By a terrace with tiled ground we got in the inside. What we saw then, excelled our expectations. In the middle of the big room stood a dapperly made double bed with mosquito net in a "four-poster look", aside 2 little beside cabinets with standard lamps. Furthermore the room was furnished with a big wardrobe, a small dining table, a desk, a television cabinet and upholstered chairs . A water dispenser with cold and hot water, in addition coffee, tea bags and coffee sets stood on a chest of drawers. All pieces of furniture were tastefully made in dark wood, suitable to the noble wooden wall. The cool climate here at 800-m height required no fan or even air condition. Floor and walls of our bungalow had no chinks as this was often the case on Bunaken. Djati sieht fernTherefore we were protected against the in highlands often very chill night air, as well as against rats and other pest which I had occasionally experienced in cheap accommodations. Finally there was a refrigerator full with different soft drinks and beer for the choice. On a drying rack there hung fresh towels and before the door to the bathroom layed a clean doormat.

Also the around tiled bathroom was cleaned spic and span and furnished with all necessary in European standard: A toilet bidet combination, separated from the shower (cold and hot water) by a wall, and a washbasin with a big mirror. Besides, there were available dental cleaning glasses, soap, face tissues and an electric blow-dry.

After a stressful day in Manado we first of all wanted to make use of the bathroom. The day already draw to an end and it had become quite cool, in the meantime. Hence, the hot shower suited us very much. While we sat afterwards still on our terrace, Charly, the Chinese owner came round to our place to a warmly welcome and to chat a little with us. Besides, we spoke about our plan of visiting the traditional market in Tomohon next day . He advised us how we could get there by one of the many public minibuses.


Compared with Bunaken one does not pay board and lodging per person but for the bungalow incl. breakfast for 2 people. This makes sense, because anyway one usually uses the Resort as a starting point for day trips and takes then at least the lunch in a restaurant at ones own choice. Also HIGHLAND RESORT has of course a restaurant (incl. reading corner and TV) where one can have breakfast and take meal á la carte. This is recommended above all for families or groups. According to the climate it is not an open-air restaurant (like generally on Bunaken). Nevertheless, we used the possibility to have served the breakfast on our terrace or the dinner in the bungalow. Frühstück auf unserer Terrasse

We could order the breakfast (American or Indonesian)already the previous evening by choice on a list. Next morning it was served then at the requested time on the terrace. I always choosed 2 fried eggs (telur mata sapi) with toast, cheese and jams. In addition fresh pressed fruit juice and coffee. Finally fresh tropical fruits. If we were not full yet or had special wishes, we could ring a bell which was right beside the front door. During the breakfast there was a heavenly silence. Only the twitter of the birds was to be heard. Besides, we never tired of looking at the tropical trees and shrubs and above all the charming flowers of the well tended garden.

Abendessen für den kleinen HungerWhile we took our lunch always out of the resort, we chose in the evening one of many offered Menus and had it brought to our bungalow. It turned out advisable to order in time because the (fresh) preparation in the kitchen took a good while. For the little appetite or as an hors-d'oeuvre there were various soups, salads or sandwiches with e.g. tuna, crabs. As a main course we had the option among more than 10 possibilities, e.g. chicken and pork (Indonesian and European recipes). In addition, there were offers for vegetarians. Not least we could order ice cream, fresh fruits or roasted banana with chilli or cheese as a dessert.

Everything was prepared delicious, tasted very well and was so plentiful that we used to be more than full. Besides, the service was perfect and kind.

Theoretically one can order something at every time of day and nighttime (24-hourly services). However, we had not tried out in practice, e.g., at 2 o'clock in the night.




First dayTraditioneller Markt in Tomohon

For the first day we had not planned a lot. After an extensive breakfast I redeemed first my voucher for the massage (see below). Then we started our way to the traditional market in Tomohon. First we went down to the main road and got on one of the mikrolets which passed after a few minutes of waiting. The market lies in the south of Tomohon immediately beside the bus terminal, the terminus for Mikrolets. After approx. 20 minutes we had reached our destination. The drive was not comfortable, but cheap. Per person 2000 IDR, so not even 20 cents. For the first day we had not planned a lot. After an extensive breakfast I redeemed first my voucher for the massage (see below). Then we started our way to the traditional market in Tomohon. First we went down to the main road and got on one of the mikrolets which passed after a few minutes of waiting. The market lies in the south of Tomohon immediately beside the bus terminal, the terminus for Mikrolets. After approx. 20 minutes we had reached our destination. The drive was not comfortable, but cheap. Per person 2000 IDR, so not even 20 cents.

The market was mainly roofed and consisted of several departments. One must find time at least 1 hour to let have an effect its charming atmosphere. At the same time one crosses every few metres hot and cold baths of the smells and emotions. Pleasant ones by the spices and fresh vegetables, but also unpleasant in the big fish hall with all kinds of fresh and dry sea creatures or in the meat department.

The difference to our culture becomes clear particularly where snakes, rats, flying foxes and even monkeys are offered for sale. Only if you have strong nerves, you should venture in this area. In particular it can happen to you there that you experience how dogs wait closely jammed together in a cage for their death and observe how one after another is nearby beaten to death "blazed" afterwards. Now, we know, that the destiny of animals ready for slaughter is not much better here in western countries sometimes. However, it was quite strange to me there that everything happens under the eyes of the market visitors without exciting their sympathy.Fisch-Restaurant in Tomohon

After our walk took a Mikrolet again and chose one of the best restaurants of Tomohon for lunch. It lies on the way back to our Highland Resort on the right side. We know the SINELAYAN already from the past years. It is specified on freshwater fishes which are grown in own pond and are freshly caught.We chose a table, from where we had a wonderful view over the water surrounding us. The menu consisted mainly of fish specialities, Indonesian prepared in different variations, but also, e.g., tasty chicken in butter baked. In addition rice and vegetables. We chose Kankung, an stewed Indonesian water spinach.

We had to wait for a while, because dinner was freshly prepared. In the meantime, we enjoyed the idyllic place with live music and an ice-cold drink. Our dinner tasted very well. When we got up satisfied, we had only the wish to return in our bungalow and to take it relax the rest of the day.

Second Day

For today we had planned climbing up the volcano Mahawu. Preferably we would have ascended the Lokon once again. However, this was not possible at the moment, because it was active. Thus we could only watch from Highland Resort, how it dismissed white steam to the sky.

After the breakfast we met Charly who offered us to call a taxi for our trip. However, we decided to organise the drive ourself, in hope, it would be cheaper then. Erdbeerplantage am Fuße des MahawuHowever how turned out, this was not the case. We should have better accepted his offer. It would have been easier, more time-saving and also would not have been more expensive. Charly accepted our decision and even took us by his private car up to the taxi stand in Tomohon. After long negotiations we could agree with a taxi driver for a more or less suitable price.

When we arrived at the starting point of our wandering, we were a little disappointed. Where we had marched off the last time, now a practicable street led a short way upwards. However, we asked the driver to drop) us and we went on afoot. Right and left of the way everything was still like before: Vegetable fields, as far as the eye reached. However, one saw already modern machines in use. Quite new was also a big strawberry plantation which must have been layed out quite recently.

Bagger bauen eine Straße zum Gipfel des MahawuThe way to the peak demands no special condition or skill of the traveller in comparison to the Lokon. On the way we could experience how the excavators just conquered the access to the mountain. What was formerly a narrow path through the jungle, will now become a wide practicable street for cars and agricultural or forest vehicles . This made us sad. However can we actually assume the right to expect from the locals, to move all the time only with the ox's cart only to fulfil our idea of virginity of unspoiled countryside?

Soon we reached again the familiar path. In the wayside we discovered a little board which pointed out to the fact that here already an environmental group is active for the protection of the forest. Many donators from all countries had already left farther little boards as a proof of a sponsorship. Unfortunately, a building of the organisation was closed on this day, so that we couldn't get any information. I would be glad if one of my readers could report to me further details for the publication about that.

Rundgang um den Mahawu KraterAfter approx. 20 minutes we reached the crater edge and had a first look down at the lake. Against the protest of my wife we started our circular walk. Within my recollection it was a narrow path which one could walk very easily. However, it had become overgrown, in the meantime, with above head height grass and other partly spiny shrubs so much that we had to squeeze through ourself with effort and the biggest care. I always had hope that the thicket would soon thin out and encouraged Djati over and over again to not give p. However, soon I had to see that the whole walk would be a laborious adventure. But when we had covered half of our route, a return was not advisable any more. Finally, after one hour we had walked round the crater and our lungs were completely full of sulphur hydrogen. In spite of all: The magnificent view into the crater, but also over the whole surroundings at the Lokon, at Bunaken, the neighbouring island Manado Tua, as well as at the bay of Manado has overwhelmed us also this time again. And thus all efforts and drudgeries were quickly forgotten. Who of you would like to go for a few metres, however, I recommend to start in the right direction and as soon as the thicket begins to turn back again.

Papa Klaus lässt sich in Tomohon die Haare schneiden

Who makes the excursion to the volcano Mahawu on his own, should always think that it is not easy to get again a vehicle for the return journey. I once had to wait a whole hour in the rain, until a bus passed. Today, however, we were spared this fate. When we just had reached the street to Tomohon, a van appeared in front of us. In it sat tourists who offered us to get on. We went with them up to the local middle of Tomohon. We had become very much hungry and visited, hence, one of many Rumah Makan (simple Chinese restaurant). In the meantime, outside a violent rain beat down. So I decided to find a barbershop to have cut my hair once again.

Afterwards we drove with a Mikrolet back to the Resort to enjoy the rest of the day.


Third Day

Entlang dem Tondano LakeFor our last day we had planned an excursion to the Tondano lake to visit there a fish restaurant and to have a bath afterwards in one of the hot springs. We chartered a Mikrolet for this day. Because we had made already some unpleasant experience in recent years, the course of our journey was exactly fixed before from beginning till the end, inclusive waiting phases. In order to this an all-in price including the driver was negotiated.

Our tour went past many small places with the traditional Minahasa houses built on stilts, past rice fields, coconut and clove plantations. After about 20 km of drive we reached the biggest lake of the region, the Tonadano Lake (Danau Tondano). Then we still drove 6 km on the west shore along to the south on a street lined by palms until we arrived at our destination, one of the numerous fish restaurants. It was also built on stilts partly in the lake and surrounded with a huge number of fish fykes out of bamboo. From our seat, directly above the water we had a magnificent view across the lake over the mountains which surrounded the eastern lakeside. We ordered the speciality of the house, Ikan Mas (a sort of Koi) with rice and Kankung (water spinach). It tasted very well and we can recommend you the excursion to the Tondano only because of this most warmly.

Fischrestaurant am Tondano Lake

During the past years blew almost always a cool and strong wind, so that we moved back in the protected rooms of the restaurant and even were cold during dinner. Also, therefore, we visited regularly after the lunch a few kilometres to the south situated hotspring baths to warm up again. Also today we had prepared with regard to our clothes (long trousers and anorak) adequately. However, this time this would not have been necessary in the wonderful weather. Nevertheless we did not want to do without this pleasure also this year and drove again to "Sumaro Endo Hot Springs". In a lockable cabin we could fill the hot water in a tiled washbasin which was just large enough for us both. It was explained to us that the water is pumped upwards directly from the bed of the lake.

In the end we went back again to Tomohon. There we allowed ourselves for the end of our Highland stay a drive with the "Bendi" (traditional horse carriage) through the city.

Fahrt mit dem Bendi



During our whole stay in HIGHLAND RESORT we had the feeling, that everybody does everything to make our stay an unforgettable experience. An excellent service is offered by the owner and manager up to the youngest employees.

Charly knows exactly, why guests come to his Resort: They want first of all...


  • Go on excursions to experience the scenery with its luxuriant vegetation and animal world, to climb volcanoes, to get to know the tradition and culture of the Minahasa, to visit the Tangkoko National Park.
  • to relax for a few days in the cool climate of the highland and get spoiled.

Who wants to make tours through the Minahasa highland, be it a one-day trip or a tour of several days, finds in Highland Resort a high-class starting point. You can contact the reception with all concerns. There you will either be advised by Charly or one of his experienced employees competently, or one offers you completely organised tour. Who is interested in a longer Sulawesi tour, can contact Charly's travel agency LIMBERS TOURS&TRAVEL in the local middle of Tomohon.Highland Team

So that we felt fine in every respect, a team of mostly still very young employees employees took care of us. One could see by their badges that many of them were still in the training ("Trainee"). Their high motivation, friendliness and willingness to help was probably to be explained with the fact that they were eager to want to transform the theoretically learnt in the practise. Beside their everyday performances, like cleaning of the bungalow and changing the towels, dinner service and changes of the bedclothes (all two days), they always were there immediately if one rang for them or called them.

Within the shortest time we had become very much fond of these young people.




Usually we don't take massages. Unless they are prescribed medically. Or we get a voucher. After the motto "it won't do any harm" I did not want to allow the voucher to lapse. At the end I was nevertheless happy to have once had this pleasant experience. Though I lacked the knowledge to be able to judge the professionalism of the (qualified) masseuse, I enjoyed during 1 hour this MASSAGE ALAM TRADTIONAL of Meifi in a heavenly atmosphere so much that I used the offer a second time.

  Meifi, Masseurin im Highland Resort   Traditionelle Massage durch Meifi  

To see more massage offers, click please here.


What I particularly liked in Highland Resort

  • The relaxed, friendly atmosphere
  • Engagement and friendliness of the Manager Charly and his well trained staff
  • Comfortable furnishings of our bungalow
  • The kept clean and cultivated gardens with its many tropical trees, bushes and flowers
  • The excellent service which meets all the wishes
  • Hygiene in all areas and every regard
  • Big offer and attractive presentation of the very tasty dishes
  • Serve of the dishes if requested in the Bungalow at every time of day and nighttime
  • Many services which one may expect, otherwise, only in much more expensive Resorts
  • Free access to the Internet
  • Fridge and television in the bungalow
  • Competent support in the tour planning by advice or: complete organisation and realisation
  • No annoying noise
  • Cool highland climate with luxuriant vegetation
My Recommendation

I can just back up the enthusastic travel reports of many guests on the Internet.
Who longs after the diving or snorkelling on Bunaken for a few days or more of rest in the cool climate of the Minahasa Highlands, or looks for a starting point for 1-day trips or a big tour across Nord-Sulawesi, the HIGLAND RESORT is a very good choice.

He finds there a very comfortable, clean lodging in an enchanting, quiet nature, a big offer of very tasty Indonesian and western food round-the-clock and an extremely friendly and professional service. By the tour planning one will be advised competently or gets an attractive package deal. Definitely one receives for his money more than one can expect in this price range.


Should you have got interest in further information, you find them on the Website of the resort


An here some more photos...
  Highland Resort Blick von unserem Bungalow   Diese Blüte findet sich wieder im Logo des Highland Resorts  

View from our terrace

  This enchanting blossom beside our bungalow finds itself in the logo of Highland Resorts  
  Bungalow bei Nacht   Duftenden Blütenschale im Spa-Bungalow  

A bungalow of Highland Resorts at night

  Fragrant flower bowl in the Spa-Bunglalow  
  Blüten vor dem Spa Bungalow   Das Frühstück wird auf unserer Terrasse serviert  

Blossoms in front of the spa bungalow invite to enter

  A Trainee serves the breakfast on the terrace  
Extremely rare we have seen so nice blossoms, like here
  Blüten   Blüten  

Impressions of the market in Tomohon



  Fische   Fische  
  Marktszene   Djati handelt  
In the interest of rather sensitive people and children I have left out some photos. Who would , however, like to expect them of himself, he can make them visible by a click
  Living dogs in the cage; besides the skin of an just killed one is flamed   Roasted dogs on offer  
  Flying foxes   Rats  
  Arm of a monkey      

You can zoom in this map with a click; then you will find other destinations

Minahasa Highlands Karte