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For a refreshing getaway from the normal city-life routine, the quaint villages and fresh air of the less explored Lake Poso may be just what you need to revitalize your mind, body and spirit. Its waters are deep blue and aquamarine and it is one of the clearest lakes in the world.
Lake Poso is an ancient lake located in the Poso District in Central Sulawesi, and is the third largest lake in Indonesia after Lake Toba and Lake Singkarak in Sumatra. The lake spans across an area of 32,000 hectares, and, with a depth of 515 meters at its deepest points, it is almost three times deeper than the Java Sea which has a mean depth of 151 meters only.
Lying just north of the Toraja highlands in South Sulawesi, Lake Poso is bordered by the Pendolo town at the south end of the lake and Tentena at the north, with several smaller villages scattered in between. The water of the lake pours in a river and out into the Tomini Bay by the town of Poso.
Silver and yellow eels criss-cross the lake together with two endemic species of fish. The center of the lake is crystal blue, outlined by a shade of green and bordered with soft white and golden sands. Rolling hills surround this enchanting lake, covered with stretches of bright, green rice fields, fragrant clove trees and tropical forests. Here are found anoas and babirusa (wild boar), endemic to Sulawesi.
At Bancea near Pendolo is the Bancea Orchid Garden which holds a large collection of orchid species, among which is the rare Black Orchid.
There is also a strange phenomenon about Lake Poso. When night falls, a vivid, bright light is often seen glimmering beneath waters. Sometimes stationary, but sometimes moving rapidly from bank to bank across the lake. Some people attribute it to Indonesia’s counterpart of the mysterious “Nessie” in Scotland’s Loch Ness.
Since its first sighting, the tale has evolved from a light within the lake to a light that hovers above the lake and around the nearby hills and fields. This spectacle has been observed for many years, yet the source of the mysterious light has never been confirmed.
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 Batavia Air 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. (for bookings click www.batavia-air.com)
Starting 11 August 2012, Lion Air flies Jakarta-Poso v.v. three times weekly via Makassar, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. (information and booking at www.lionair.co.id).
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.