Manado Travel Guide, North Sulawesi
Manado, also known as Menado, is the main gateway to Northern Sulawesi (Sulawesi Utara) to places like Bunaken Island.
Most travelers will fly into Manado’s international airport when they come to visit northern Sulawesi. This city is worth a short visit before hopping off to various tourist spots around this area.
Where is it
Manado lies in North Sulawesi, almost at the tip of it.
Fly in here to access to everywhere around North Sulawesi that is touted to be untouched and pristine beauty.
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 mind 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 – 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
Where to stay
In Manado city, you are spoilt for accommodation choices. For budget travelers, there are hostels and also budget hotels. While for the comfort seekers, you have mid-ranged hotels to high-end luxurious hotels to choose from. Most tourists stay in Wenang * as it is the central of Manado with the highest concentration of hotels and guesthouses.
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We recommend Aryaduta Manado *, for those who wants affordable luxury. This hotel provides not only the rooms but also the swimming pool with beautiful relaxing mountain views.
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.
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 secrets of Indonesia, where at the 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