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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kiasu & Kiasi

Monday, March 02, 2009

Hmm... Where to go?

So one day, I got all excited and came up with a plan for this year end: go backpacking to somewhere exotic and beautiful. I then went to look for AirAsia flights and did a research on airfares to several interesting Southeast Asian destinations.

My initial requirement was to get away from all those touristy areas which are usually expensive and crowded. And so I narrowed down to a few destinations from a list of potential candidates. My ultimate choice: Manado. So where the hell is this place? I was quite unaware of its existence until I googled for it. It turned out to be the capital of the province of North Sulawesi, and is a peaceful seaside town overlooking the beautiful Bunaken island, one of the world's foremost diving sites.

I was so captivated by its beauty, with the extinct volcanic island of Manado Tua looming in the background. As I read on, I found out there are several volcanoes inland like the twin peaks of Mt. Lokon and Mt. Empung, which were a marvellous sight to behold. My mind was literally flown to that paradise after seeing a bunch of amazing photos of North Sulawesi. Yet things don't usually go the way we desire ~ The region is visited by the dreaded wet season from November onwards. Bummer!

Undeterred, I went to look for more reviews and I so happened to stumble upon a blog written by a native of Manado who's keen on promoting her homeland to potential travellers. Without much thought, I e-mailed her to ask for more information regarding this and boy, she was so prompt to give me a reply! As expected, she told me it was not advisable to visit it during that time unless one wants to delve into the Christmas atmosphere of the place (North Sulawesi is the only Christian-predominant province among the 6 provinces in Sulawesi).

Oh ya, I was quick to gather some friends to go along with me and we have 7 of us going thus far. Although this number exceeded the more rational 4 or 6 that we were aiming for, we're still hunting for one more since an even number will make things like accommodation and rides easier to manage. And as for the duration of the whole trip, we're thinking of making it between 8 and 10 days so that everything won't end up being so hasty.

So how now? I'm thinking of resorting to either Yogyakarta (so we can make trips to the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur then head east to the majestic Mt. Bromo, and if we're financially capable, we might even board a flight or a ferry to Bali which is just nearby) or to the coastal town of Krabi in Thailand (with Phuket just a 2-hour bus ride away). Decisions, decisions...