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Manado - Makassar - Bali

View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Today we are leaving Sulawesi behind and heading to a far more touristy destination – Bali.


Breakfast at Aryaduta Hotel in Manado is an almost Western affair, with some very nice fried egg on toast, but after struggling to eat it with the provided spoon and fork, I finally give in and ask for a knife.


Manado Airport

Having arrived too early to check in, we take a seat while we wait. I am not sure how, but my camera rucksack appears to take a leap off the bench and lands with an uncomfortably-sounding thud on the hard tiled floor. With much trepidation, I open the bag to be confronted with my worst fear: lots of smashed glass at the end of my lens.


Upon closer inspection, it appears to just be the UV filter that is damaged, but I don’t really want to remove all the broken glass, here, so I shall wait until we get to our hotel room later.

As usual, I have booked wheelchair assistance with the airline, and when the porter arrives with my carriage, he takes me straight to the Quarantine Health Office. Apparently I need a letter from them to be allowed to fly. This is another first, I have flown as a Special Assistance Passenger on over two dozen flights, on a dozen or so airlines, through nearly 20 airports, in several countries over the last couple of years, and never once has there been any suggestion of a medical certificate, especially since I specify that I only require the wheelchair through the airport to the gate and am capable of boarding the plane myself.

I digress. A nurse takes all my vital statistics (blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, temperature, pulse) and asks me several health-related questions, all of which she writes down in a book. Taking my passport, boarding card, and the aforementioned book, she disappears for several minutes, before coming back with a letter that she hands to the porter.


It appears that they find my health more important than my safety here in Manado airport, as I am pushed straight through security, bypassing the walk-through metal detector without as much as a cursory pat-down.

The flight schedule has changed a little since we booked – we were due to change aircraft in Makassar (two different flight numbers), whereas now it is the same aircraft flying all the way through. That suits us fine.

Just as the announcements for boarding start, three jet fighters take off and fly past the terminal building. The noise is ear-piercing and drowns out any messages coming over the tannoy.

The plane is unbearably hot, and we are delayed for over two hours on the tarmac before taking off. It’s like sitting in a sauna, fully clothed, with 200 other people. Looking around, all I can see is passengers fanning themselves with the emergency cards.

The moment we are airborne the chap in front of me reclines his seat, although it doesn’t stop me sleeping the majority of the flight. On arrival in Makassar, the crew suggests I stay on board while everyone else is made to deplane and wait in the terminal. Unfortunately, however, I have to move seats, from the extra legroom 5D to the much more cramped 12A.

Sitting in 12A while the other passengers have disembarked

I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport

Bali’s main international airport has changed beyond all recognition since we were here last, some 20 years ago, and even more since our first visit to Bali fifteen years prior to that. It is huge and the arrivals is more like an enormous shopping complex than an airport. We walk what seems like miles, zigzagging our way past shop after shop, food outlet after food outlet – anything where the unsuspecting tourist can be separated from their money. I hate it. After Sulawesi, which was so delightfully uncommercialised, Bali is a bit of a shock to the system.

The pick-up procedure is well organised, with several lanes for the cars to pull up in to collect their passengers, however, and after an easy five-minute drive, we arrive at our hotel.

Harris Tuban Hotel

Our first impressions of the hotel are positive: it is bright, modern, clean, and welcoming. Check-in is painless, the staff speak good English, and our room is a mere hop and a skip away, overlooking the beautifully lit swimming pool.


Once I remove all the broken glass from my damaged lens, I thankfully discover that it was indeed only the filter that broke. Phew

It’s only when we start unpacking that I realise that no-one asked for the health certificate I have been carrying around with me. What a waste of time and paper.


Not having eaten since breakfast, we just drop our stuff in the room and head to the café for some dinner.

Colourful prawn crackers while we wait

A very welcome pina colada

Very tasty sausages - I have mash, David chooses fries, of course.

The dessert is an unusual combination, at least for us Westerners: crispy fried banana with grated cheese, chocolate sauce and ice cream. It works really well, though.

The dish is known as pisang goreng

After a long and tiring travel day, we crash into bed after dinner. Thank you so much to Undiscovered Destinations for all the hard work putting together this incredible Grand Tour of South East Asia trip for us.


Posted by Grete Howard 09:21 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia airport camera flights sulawesi manado wheelchair piña_colada makassar vital_stats lion_air aryaduta_hotel xrsay harris_tuban_hotel broken_lens health_quarantine pisang_goreng

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I had this once too when my camera bag touched the ground and luckily I had a filter as well. Nowadays I don't travel anymore without a filter ... you can never know!

it was quite a traveling day so it seems ... would have loved the Pisang Goreng! :)

by Ils1976

It is so worth having a filter! I had a bad experience in St Lucia some years ago, when my lens had come unscrewed from the body and just fell off the camera and onto the hard floor. A filter didn't help then, unfortunately.

The pisang goreng was delicious, I may have to try and recreate it at home. ♥

by Grete Howard

I'm so pleased your lens survived the fall. I've never heard of pisang goreng but it does sound worth trying!

by ToonSarah

Thanks, Sarah, it would have been pretty disastrous at this stage if the lens had been broken. :(

I'd never heard of pisang goreng either, but loved it! ♥

by Grete Howard

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