The following advice results from my previous personal
experiences in and around Bunaken.
Should you have further questions or should you be
in difficulties, then address the manager of your Homestay. On the
one hand most of them know the mentality of his compatriots and
on the other hand they already have learned, too, to think modernly.
- In Manado: Look on your way! Pay attention to
pits and holes on the pavement particularly at darkness. Danger
places are not indicated particularly like in your country.
- The roofs of stalls usually are located in a height
where an average tall Indonesian cannot hurt himself but
a European or American tourist awfully well .
- If you go for a walk on Bunaken, then pay attention
to falling coconuts particularly at a strong wind.
- Alcohol is a problem in North Sulawesi particularly
also on Bunaken. Before all the local "Cap Tikus " which
is made from the fruits of a palm tree is so cheap that everybody
on the island can easily afford it. Therefore you will often
meet there drunk guys especially in the evening. Do never
take a risk by verbal or even physical discussing with
them. It could find a bad end for you.
- Categorically do not go barefootedly in the
- Do not have any garments hung in the bathroom
("mandi"), also no bathing clothes. Check always before
you put on a garment whether it was not choosen as a hiding-place
by an (poisonous) animal.
If you are not already insured with your diving club,
you should effect a health insurance especially for divers.
And make sure, that it is valid during the whole period
of your stay in Indonesia. Hand over phone number and insurance
number to your homestay/divecenter and explain the procedure
at an accident. As a rule, hospitals or decompression chambers
in Indonesia refuse the admission if you cannot prove your ability
to pay or the coverage by an insurance. By the way: There is
a decompression chamber in Manado.
Carry always the phone number of an Indonesian friend, an acquaintance
or your dive center when you are away.
I am often asked whether I recommend a malaria prophylaxis.
I always answer that I had only a stand-by medication till
now. I do not know yet what I will do on my next journey. I
use to ask on the Internet (see links) and my GP in addition.
It would be irresponsible to give you medical advice at this
point. You must yourself ask about the current situation and
take a decision together with your doctor.
- I incurred a serious wound infection with
streptococci in 2006. Despite medical treatment in Germany the
cure was carried out only after 5 weeks. I advise you therefore
to go to a doctor immediately if you state, that wound (if also
so small) does not want to cure or that it even becomes enlarged.
Always ask about exact prices and performances before
move into a bungalow. Always articulate special requests and
ask for the extra costs before, too.
There are Resorts, where non-diving guests must pay a
surcharge. Ask before!
"Mandi" means "bathing" or "having
a shower" . This is a typically Asian way to wash: The
"Kamar Mandi" (bathroom) contains a basin filled with
water. A kind of scoop is besides it. You fill this with water
from the basin and pour that over yourself. So the basin is
not provided to take a seat inside. However, the scoop also
fulfils another purpose (see below).
As a rule, the toilet ("kamar kecil") is in the same
room. It may vary from only a hole in the ground
up to a western style toilet with or without flush. The
traditional Indonesian toilet is a hole with places on the two
sides for your feet. You must only squat down and
Indonesians normally do not use a toilet paper. For
cleaning themselves, they use their left hand while they let
much water flow from the scoop (right hand) centrically down
the end of their back. (Therefore it is not polite if one gives
an Indonesian something with his left hand.) If you cannot force
yourself to this method, then agree with the management early
enough that a loo roll is always available in your "kamar
kecil". However, take care that you do not stop the drains
- Most bungalows have mosquito nets. However, these
very often already have many holes so that it would be advisable
to take an own one. One can also - if necessary - closure these
access openings by pasting up, clipping, or tying up. Before going
to bed, check whether gnats have already lodged themselves and
only wait for your fresh blood. In this case you can "clean"
the area inside. For this purpose I have bought a kind of tennis
racket in Jakarta with which I use to kill the mosquitos by means
of high voltage. There is this chargeable equipment in Manado
meanwhile, too.(e.g. in the department store Mata Hari/Manado
in the electric department, ground floor). It is not expensive.
5. Diving and Snorkelling
As said already under item 2, alcohol is a problem on Bunaken.
Unfortunately, many dive guides are also affected by it. For
your own safety notice their behaviour (also in the evening
before at the bar) and expresses your doubts if you think your
dive guide still has considerable lots of rest alcohol in the
blood. Require another guide if necessary. You can contribute
to a changed consciousness also by your behaviour and by your
influence in this respect.
Before you go to snorkel for the first time, ask about dangerous currents
(particularly in front of the village of Bunaken).
- Act always as a model for the local people by
your environmentally compatible behaviour ashore and diving as
Do not overtax Indonesians by asking virtues, such as punctuality,
precision, reliability, hygienic behaviour etc., of them. You
may nevertheless practise criticism -at all appreciation of
the strange culture- tactfully and friendly if you yourself
are concerned. In addition, it cannot harm in contributing to
more environment conscious behaviour or to the improvement in
the tourist offers.
Most locals are kind and sociable people. Return their
kindness! A certain caution nevertheless is advisable. The kindness
in some cases focuses less on your person and rather on your
- Avoid misunderstandings when negotiating prices.
Later the local may namely react extremely emotionally
and dangerously if you do not comply with his demands. Close a
larger deal only with witnesses and written if possible.
Do not only trust the kind assurance: "You can trust me".
You find detailed information about local transportation
with taxis, mikrolets (mini-buses), buses, rented cars, boats, ojecs
(a method of motorcycle transport) and bendi (a traditional cart
pulled by a horse) on Peter's
Hotels, Restaurants, Cafés,
Pubs, Internet Cafés
You find detailed information about Hotels, Restaurants,
Cafés, Pubs/Discotheques, Internet ... on
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on this web site or if you like to write about own
experiences, then take a little time for my Guest
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