The Jakarta Post
The view of Linow Lake, Tomohon, North Sulawesi. (Shutterstock/File)
Starting Friday, Indonesia's largest low-cost carrier Lion Air has officially opened a new route from Shanghai Pudong International Airport in China to Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi.
The charter flights are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with departure time from Manado is at 6:35 p.m. and from Shanghai at 1 a.m. The travel time is around five hours using Boeing 737-800/900ER and Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft.
“We see a growing number of foreign tourist visits especially from China who entered Indonesia via Manado, which is why we feel the need to open a new route from Shanghai, the economic and trade center of China,” said Lion Air Group Public Relations manager Andy M. Saladin.
With the new route, Lion Air has officially served four destinations in China, namely Guangzhou, Changsha, Shenzhen and Shanghai. It also offers charter flights to other Indonesian destinations, such as Bali and Batam.
“Beginning August we’re going to start a new charter flight route from Jakarta to Haikou in China,” Andy added.
The Tourism Ministry's deputy minister for Overseas Promotion, I Gde Pitana, said the new route would be able to contribute to the 2017 target of 130,000 Chinese tourists. “In the first trimester of 2017, there were already 21,208 foreign tourists, close to last year’s number of 50,208 tourists."
“During the high season period there will be 19 charter flights every week from China to Manado with each flight carries around 200 to 212 passengers,” Pitana added.
Apart from providing Chinese tourists with a free-visa policy, Manado has plenty on interesting things to offer, such as white sand beaches in Likupang in North Minahasa and Lembeh in Bitung. It is also home to the famed Bunaken National Marine Park, which is the best place for snorkeling and diving.
Other interesting destinations in North Sulawesi include Linau Lake in Tomohon, Lake Tondano and Tangkoko National Reserve in Bitung.
Manadonese food is also an attraction in itself. Known for its spicy taste, its food are mostly seafood-based dishes, such as woku belanga (spicy chicken curry), ikan bakar rica rica (grilled fish in spicy rica rica sauce) and kuah asam (sour soup). (kes)