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Tomohon is a pleasant, cool respite from Manado), with a stunning setting below Gunung Lokon volcano. It’s popular with city folk on weekends; for travellers, it’s a possible (though spread-out) alternative to Manado, and an ideal base from which to explore the many nearby attractions.
Gunung Lokon (1580m) contains a simmering crater lake of varying hues, which takes about three hours to reach (and another hour to the peak) from Tomohon. Before climbing any volcano in the area, report to the vulcanology centre. The centre can provide advice about the hike. Volcano Resort in Tomohon can help arrange this and other hikes in the area, for guests.
You can drive almost all the way to the top of Gunung Mahawu, where you’ll be rewarded with views over the whole region and into a 180m-wide, 140m-deep sulphuric crater lake. There’s no public transport but lots of tours go here. This place gets swarmed by locals on the weekends.
There are numerous other places to explore from Tomohon, and all are accessible by mikrolet. Danau Linow, a small, highly sulphurous lake that changes colours with the light, is home to extensive birdlife. Take a mikrolet to Sonder, get off at Lahendong and walk 1.5km to the lake. From Danau Linow you can hike 8km to Danau Tondano, but you’ll need to ask directions.