At 657 meters above sea-level, and air is clean and cool and makes for the perfect conditions for a leisurely stroll around this huge sea-like lake. Venture further from Poso’s banks and into the surrounding tropical forests which provide rare sightings of the endangered Dwarf Buffalo and Babirusa (pigdeer.) Several other species of wildlife only found on the island of Sulawesi also call these forests home.
Take a dip in the cool, clear waters at the base of the recently discovered Saluopa Waterfall. In the forests around Tentena, at Poso’s northern end, neatly concealed in the jungle-clad scenery, the Poso Lake flows into a small river, which spills into mild rapids, and finally cascades in surge of water, streaming down a rocky bank into the natural, crystal pool below.
Rent a boat for a cruise around the Poso lake, which locals claim is always perfectly clear, even deep in the throes of the monsoon season. Some experts consider Lake Poso’s water to be among the purest in the world. A variety of vessels are available for this watery adventure from the typical motorboat to a more traditional wooden canoe.
The ancient Lake of Poso, Central Sulawesi (Source : tantular.com)
Go fishing in the lake, which holds fishes of such abundance including the Sogili Eel, one of the largest freshwater eels in the world. Take a swim in the crisp, clean waters of the lake, where gusts of wind cause waves that break in a white foam on the shoreline, similar to those in the ocean. The sloping banks of the lake are soft sand with no rocks or reefs hidden below the water, so there is no need to worry about cuts or scrapes while wading. Unlike the ocean though, the water is fresh, and therefore won’t affect your eyes should you choose to take a peek beneath the surface, where clusters of small fish sweep across the water.
In the fourth week of August, a large festival is held at Lake Poso. The Lake Poso Festival is a cultural event exhibiting a wide range of competitions and performing arts from the surrounding provinces and cities of Central Sulawesi, including traditional games, decorative boat races, rowboat races, dance performances and beach volley ball. Locals from other regions of Indonesia also participate in this event to display arts, handicrafts and traditional clothing from various tribes around the country. The main dishes served in the food stalls during the festival is lake fish cuisine of the Pamona Tribe, and tasting this should definitely be on your list of things to do while in Poso.
Danau Poso or Lake Poso, Central Sulawesi (Source : ensiklopediaindonesia.com)
Another place to visit is the Bancea Orchid Garden in a nearby developing village, about 15 kilometers from Pendolo. Covering over 5,000 hectares, the garden is the largest orchid preserve in Indonesia, and displays a delightful collection of more than 50 species of rare and exotic orchids, both cultivated wild. If you enjoy a good long walk, it is possible to reach the Orchid Garden by foot from Pendolo. Alternatively, you could rent a car to take you there. Aside from inviting tourists, this lake has also attracted the interest of researchers and investors who are interested in developing fisheries. In addition to the plenteous fish, this area is also Indonesia’s largest deposit of the rare Black Orchid.
The nearest transport hubs are Makassar in South Sulawesi and Manado in North Sulawesi, both of which have domestic flights from all the major cities around Indonesia, and a few International flights; from Manado to Singapore and Davao in The Philippines, and from Makassar to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Both of the airports listed above have flights to Palu, a city in the west of Central Sulawesi. Mutiara Airport in Palu is a domestic only airport with flights available from Jakarta, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Manado and Makassar.
From 15 June 2012 Citilink flies Jakarta-Palu daily, leaving Jakarta at 02.45 am West Indonesia Time, arriving Palu at 06.25 Central Indonesia Time. The return flight leaves Palu at 07.00 am and arrives Jakarta 08.40 am local time.
Starting 11 August 2012, Lion Air flies Jakarta-Poso v.v. three times weekly via Makassar, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Alternatively, Sulawesi is extremely well-connected by sea, if you prefer the more scenic, and much longer route over water from the ports of Manado or Makassar to Palu.
From Palu, continue over land to the lake via bus, rented car or motorcycle. The drive is about 280 kilometers and will take approximately 8 hours.