The Gateway to Northern Indonesia Tourism: Likupang, Bangka. Well to be honest when we hear the word Bangka, most of us will automatically think of the Bangka-Belitung Isles just a bit off Sumatera, Indonesia.
Surprisingly enough, as not even many Indonesians know about the matter, it is not the only Bangka in the archipelago. This time, let us talk about the other Bangka.
So, this newly viral Bangka Island is a small island located just off the north-eastern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is known for its beautiful unspoiled beaches and exotic diving tours. Bangka Island is located within the administrative area of the East Likupang sub-district, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province. On the coast of this island are four villages: Lihunu, Kahuku, Libas and Ehe.
Bangka Island is not well known to the public. This small island has only surfaced to national coverage since the media made a big fuss over the local government’s decision to grant a Mining Business Permit (IUP) to a multinational mining company from China to conduct exploration on the island of Bangka, which then plans to mine iron ore and build steel smelters.
All politics aside, let us just explore one of the most talked-about places on the island: Likupang Beach. This one of the most famous beaches in Likupang District, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province; distancing about 48 kilometers northeast of the center of Manado City. If you are visiting Manado, make time to explore the beach and Bangka Island either by using a private vehicle or public transportation.
If you use a private vehicle, the route you can take is from the center of Manado City to Dimembe to Likupang. From Likupang, just follow the signposts that tell you the direction of Likupang Beach. If you use public transportation, you can use transportation services such as buses from Terminal Paal 2. This transportation will take you to Likupang Terminal. From Likupang Terminal, the journey can be continued by renting a motorbike taxi or public transportation.
With its white sand beaches, green hills and fresh blue sea water, waves in Likupang Beach are relatively calm, due to the Bangka Island locating just in front of it; functioning as a barrier to big waves that come towards Likupang Beach, making it a perfect snorkelling, diving and fishing spot. The panorama around the beach area is also beautiful, and crossing to Bangka Island is a breezy 20 minutes trip using a motor boat.
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Besides Likupang Beach, there is also a place that is being highlighted by travelers and nature lovers in this area: Padang Savana Likupang, Bangka. To reach Padang Savana, we must first pass a sea journey of approximately 40 minutes by Murex Speedboat to arrive at Lihunu Village. pier of Lihunu Village, East Likupang District, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province.
The sea journey takes only a few minutes because of the beautiful scenery on the way towards Bangka Likupang Island which is surrounded by four villages, namely Kahuku Village, Ehe Village, Libas Village and Lihunu Village. If you start the journey from Manado City, the total travel time is about 2 hours.
Hukum Tua (The Major of) Lihunu Village, Jody Umboh, said that the Padang Savana location was indeed being developed into a mainstay tourist location for the village. “(However, although) The road is not really developed yet, the path is relatively easy to trek on,” Jody further stated, discussing the trip to Padang Savana.
Another thing that makes traveling to Lihunu Village comfortable is the application of health protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic which should be appreciated. In front of people’s houses, there are hand washing facilities, complete with soap and running water. There are also unique trash cans, which are homemade from wood and some are made of bamboo.
“We aim for the village to be declared a tourist destination because with all the natural potential that exists and the community wants to be fostered into a tourism-aware community, even during this pandemic, we are optimistic that we will be able to present healthy, entertaining and memorable tourist destinations for local tourists. and abroad,” he added.
After about an hour, you will arrive at the top. This time frame is doubled since there are so many beautiful photo spots that are hard to ignore. To get to the savanna through Lihunu Village, everyone has to go through residential areas, farmlands, several hills and valleys.
Arriving at the top of the hill, you can clearly see the beautiful natural scenery in this area. The savanna on Bangka Likupang Island is accessible from Lihunu Village, Libas Village, Kahuku Village and Ehe Village, and it is just like something out of a fairy tale. If you look at the expanse of grass and the scenery around it, it feels like you are enjoying a piece of the garden of heaven that has fallen to earth. So, are you ready to go to Likupang?