Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sonder's Birdwatching and Butterflywatching Sites and Other Cultural Attractions

Sonder town in Minahasa highland of Indonesia
This is Sonder, a small town in Minahasa. I like to spend my time here exploring its villages, farmlands, roads and forest areas. Most of the town dwellers work as farmers. There are those who work as carpenters, construction workers, traders of agricultural produce, and government employees. 
Farmers plant rice, vegetables, and other agricultural crops. While in Sonder, I like to do exploratory trips to clove plantation areas, rice fields, fish farm and to chicken farm. 
In the past, people from Sonder were famous in North Sulawesi for their clove commodity. Clove was the raw material for making the Indonesian cigarette called Rokok Kretek. In 1970s and early 1980s, the price of clove was very high. A lot of farmers in Sonder became very rich.

Now, clove is not the only commodity that they rely on. Farmers in Minahasa have diversified their business by planting other crops. They also raise pigs and run chicken farms. When we walk along the farmland, we can see terraces of rice fields, vegetable gardens and fish ponds along the sides of rivers. 
Farmland in District Sonder of Minahasa regency
Palm Sugar
There is a village in District Sonder that produces palm sugar from the sap of aren tree. Its name is Rambunan village. Visitors who are interested in traveling to the village can see how the villagers collect the sap of the aren tree and how farmers boil the sap until it is thick enough to become palm sugar caramel which is used in various kinds of Minahasan foods.  The road between Sonder town and Rambunan village is a good site for birdwatching and butterflywatching. Visitors could see Chestnut Munia, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Black-naped Oriole, Sahul Sunbird and a lot of other birds while walking between this small town and the village. Manado Yellow Tiger and Blanchard's Tree Nymph butterflies are some of the many butterflies visitors could watch in Sonder. 
Aren palm tree (Arenga pinnata)
Aren Tree

solid palm sugar made of Aren tree
Palm Sugar from Rambunan village

Hot spring
There are a few villages in District Sonder that have got hot springs. Visitors can go there for sightseeing or for enjoying the warm water from the hotspring. The stream that flows from the hot springs emits steam that causes the surrounding atmosphere to smell sulphur. 
hot spring in Leilem village of District Sonder in Minahasa highland
Hot spring in Leilem village of District Sonder
The hills and farmlands in and around Sonder are the habitat of a lot of species of birds such as:
  • Sulawesi Hanging Parrot
  • Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul
  • Chestnut Munia
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Black-faced Munia
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Sahul Sunbird
  • Black Sunbird
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Gray-sided Flowerpecker
  • Yellow-sided Flowerpecker
  • Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove
  • White-faced Cuckoo Dove
  • Gray-cheeked Green Pigeon
  • Green Imperial Pigeon
  • Black-naped Fruit Dove
  • Black-naped Oriole
  • Hair-crested (White-eyed) Drongo
  • Sulawesi Drongo
  • Yellow-billed Malkoha
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Scaly-breasted Kingfisher
  • Brush Cuckoo
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • White-browed Crake
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail
  • Mountain White-eye
  • Black-crowned White-eye
  • Barn Swallow
  • Edible-nest (White-nest) Swiftlet
  • and etc.
birding in Sonder
Some birds from Sonder's forest of Minahasa highland
In addition to Sonder, I also like to visit several other towns in Minahasa highland such as Tomohon, Kawangkoan, Tondano, and Langowan. These towns are surrounded by villages.
Blanchard's Tree Nymph butterfly
Blanchard's Tree Nymph Butterfly
There are various species of butterflies too including Helena Birdwing (Troides helena), Manado Yellow Tiger Butterfly (Parantica menadensis), Clipper, Tree Nymph (Idea blanchardii), Blanchard's Wood Nymph (Ideopsis vitrea), and Sylvia's Clipper  (Parthenos sylvia) butterflies. 

Where is Sonder and how to get there?
Sonder is a small district town in Minahasa regency of the Province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The main gate to this region is Manado city. It is easy to reach Manado. You could fly from your country to Singapore and other major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar, Balikpapan and Sorong. There are daily flights to Manado city that are served by domestic airlines such as Garuda, Citilink, Lion Air, Batik Air and etc.
Visitors can spend their holiday time by combining visits to Raja Ampat and Sonder. 

flying to Manado city
Flight routes to Manado city from Singapore, Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar and Sorong

Landing in Manado city, you could continue your trip to Sonder town in Minahasa highland by car. It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes for the trip. 
vacation tour in Minahasa
It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by car from the airport in Manado city to Sonder town
Manado city flight destination
Sam Ratulangi International Airport of Manado city

As a guide, I offer cultural tours for tourists who want to visit the highland of Minahasa. I can organize trips to see villages, and meet farmers, or have sightseeing tours to beatiful places such as Mount Mahawu, Lake Tondano, Lake Linow or terraces of rice-fields and waterfalls in Tincep village.
If you are interested in visiting Minahasa, please, contact me by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

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