Manado, North Sulawesi


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

Map of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia


Why go

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

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

Airmadidi Marke in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Airmadidi Marke in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Ban Hin Kiong – a 19th century buddhist Temple
Modoinding – Agotourism place where you can find farm, lakes and nature up close. You can even stay in traditional community houses here.
Lake Tondano – a huge lake along the eastern side of the massive volcanic caldera of Mount Tondano.
Airmadidi market – 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

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



About Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers, so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+

One thought on “Manado, North Sulawesi

  1. choices!!! My initial goal was to do Sabah, Kinabatangan Rvr, dive Sepidan, perhaps several treks along the way. However, there is now a U.S. warning out for the Sulu Sea area & my wife is having a fit absolutely certain I will be kidnapped. I am a 67 yr old adventurer. So now I am struggling between Northern Sulawesi & Kalimantan (East) for this 25day (with air time from US) in Sept. What I seek is great diving (although that is not the be-all and end-all),, appreciating nature up close & personal, I tend to avoid tours but seems that here that is almost a requirement, getting to understand culture. Generally, I stay away from popular “tourist sites” but have to be cautious about not having an experience or learning something. Have you been to Kalimanatan (east)? It seems that Sul would have a little easier (meaning less travel time) transportation. Can you (or anyone else) provide any resources or insights so I can make up my ming? Thanks for your kindness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>