Manado, also known as Menado, is the main gateway to Northern Sulawesi (Sulawesi Utara) to places like Bunaken Island.
Where is it
Manado lies in North Sulawesi, almost at the tip of it.
Map of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Fly in here to access to everywhere around North Sulawesi that is touted to be untouched and pristine beauty.
Lake Tondano in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
When is the best time to go
Weather in Manado is mostly sunny throughout the year with a tropical rainforest climate, having some rain during wet seasons from October – April. Try to come during the dry season to make the best of your time here but bear in mine it can get really hot and it would be more crowded with tourists. Also note that it gets extra busy during Christmas for the locals here are mostly Christians.
What to see
Ban Hin Kiong
Airmadidi Marke in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
– a 19th century buddhist Temple
– Agotourism place where you can find farm, lakes and nature up close. You can even stay in traditional community houses here.
– a huge lake along the eastern side of the massive volcanic caldera of Mount Tondano.
– opens every Thursday and Saturday
What and where to eat
Manado is famous for being extra delicious yet extra spicy. You will find indulgent food here like meat soaked in alcohol and also exotic meats like cats, forest rats and fruit bats. Look for dishes like:
Ikan mas bakar rica or Ikan mas goreng – grilled spicy fish or fried fish
Ayam rica-rica – grill spicy chicken
Babi fore – fried spicy pork
Tinutuan (Bubur Manado) – rice porridge with pumpkins, noodles, vegetables and anything you can think of to stew together in a porridge
How to get there
Fly in by plane to Manado Sam Ratulangi Airport, with international flights from Singapore with Silk Air. Else there are many domestic flights that flies here from Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar (Bali) and Balikpapan. Indonesian airlines to come here are Batavia Air, Garuda and Lion Air.
Visa on arrival is possible here and make sure you prepare for the departure tax of 100,000 Rp for international flights and 30,000 for domestic flights.
How to get around
Like most cities in Indonesia, you can get around with local Indonesian transports like taxi, angkot, rental car or ojek.
Sunset in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Where to go nearby
Bunaken Island – the Bunaken National Marine Park is one of the best kept place for diving and nature. You would need to take a boat here from Manado.
Tangkoko Nature Reserve – here you can see the cute tarsiers and not so cute macaques almost up close and personal. You would need a guide to the park at the cost of about 85,000 Rp. It lies about 50km from Manado.
Tomohon – for the Mt Mahawu Volcano Trek, it is one of the best kept secret of Indonesia, where at end of the 1 hour trek at vantage point you get to see bunaken and Manado Tua in a view. The bottom of the crater is still steaming with volcanic lake and sulfuric air.
Photo credits from top: Burmesedays, sektordua, sektordua and Stenly Lam