Asia Journey travel blog

Nightmare - World Ocean Conference, no hotel rooms....

Welcoming band at the airport (as we were leaving)

At Manado airport....new forms and procedures for Swine Flu....


After three consecutive days on buses, the prospect of a nice hotel and a good meal beckoned. Lonely Planet describes Manado as one of the best places to eat in Sulawesi, and the list of hotels is long. The horror story that had become the last few days had one more act to play. On arriving in Manado there were signs everywhere advertising the World Ocean Conference and Coral Triangle Initiative.....thousands of delegates from around the world. Every hotel I tried was full. Despair, then desparation. Smelly, overly tired, teeth gnawing edge of tears desparation. Until a nice young Indonesian couple told us of the homestay where she was staying. Not in LP or any travel brochures, one room remaining free. So it was off there to grab the room. It was small, no windows, no air con, no TV, no hot water, 4 times the rate that you would normally have paid....but the oweners were wonderful and I took it gratefully. First bed in three days.

All I can say about Manado is do not go there. Unless you are transiting to one of the islands to go diving. It is the term "crap hole" defined. We searched the city and found one decent restaurant. There are no bars - the only place to drink is at the billiard (pool) halls, and they are plain nasty. We found one "night club" that was just plain bizarre. Aside from the above you're eating at the side of the road - which would be quaint in a nice town or village, by the side of the sea or countryside. But Manado is all malls and hotels, rotting concrete and traffic. So it was great to get to the airport the next day and get the hell out of there.....



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