The capital of the province, the former stronghold of the Dutch (called Menado during the Dutch colonial time) and the cultural center of the Minahasa people, for a long time Manado prospered through trade with the nearby Philippines and the spice trade with the rest of the world. Alas, the bombings of World War II and the suppression of a local insurgency in the 1950s flattened most of Manado's older buildings. While by Indonesian standards still relatively prosperous, most visitors will be rather less impressed and head straight to the islands and reefs of nearby Bunaken. Unlike much of the rest of predominantly-Muslim Indonesia, Christianity is the dominant religion in Manado.
Mostly sunny throughout the year, the wet season usually starts from September until March or April. During its hottest days, it can reach up to 32 °C. In the highlands of Tomohon, Tondano, Kawangkoan it is cooler but sunny nonetheless.
Manado is quite far from the rest of Indonesia and most visitors arrive by plane.
- 1 Sam Ratulangi Airport (MDC IATA). An airy, modern facility last expanded in 2001. The airport fields some international flights to Singapore (Silk Air, 4x weekly, 3 hr) with visa on arrival possible, but Air Asia no longer operates. Philippines airlines Flys to and from Davao city.
If you want to make a call in the airport, please have your cell phone ready, don't count on the public phone.
There are also frequent flights to Jakarta (Garuda, Lion Air 3 hr, from Rp 600,000) and Makassar (1½ hr). Other flights include Surabaya(East Java), Balikpapan (Kalimantan), Denpasar (Bali), Ternate (North Maluku), and Sorong (Papua). A taxi from the airport to central Manado takes about 30 minutes and costs Rp 70,000 (bargaining may be necessary). There are also frequent mikrolets leaving from Terminal Paal 2 [paal doo-ah] costing Rp 2,300 that take about the same amount of time.
Departure tax from Manado is Rp 100,000 for international flights and Rp 30,000 for domestic flights. The terminal has an Internet cafe in the public area and the standard array of restaurants (KFC, Es Teler 77) and gift shops inside, but note that there is nothing once past immigration.
The main ways of getting around are ojek/ompreng, moped taxis that can be a bit scary, or with Mikrolets (mikros), the blue mini buses that you jump on just standing by the street. They all have a certain route and within a day one should figure out how it works.
There are several taxi operators here: Bluebird, Taxi Kokapura, Trust, Celebrity.
- Bluebird, ☏ . The most reliable one is Manado, the blue taxi. It is the most trusted taxi operator in Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia.
By Angkot (Angkutan Kota)
Also known as mikrolets or bemos. Angkot is the typical Indonesia's cheapest way of transportation inside the city. Most of cities in Indonesia have this Angkot, as well as Manado. Angkot is a minibus of 8-10 passengers. The cost is charged on per trip basis, which is Rp. 4,000 (as of Oct 2018).
Compared to angkots in other cities in Indonesia that have side-facing seats, the ones in Manado come with all front-facing seats. Manadonese are known for being picky and would only take the good-looking and full music angkots.
By rental car
- Manado Rental Car, ☏ , . around Rp. 500,000 per day, including driver and gasoline, or Self Drive approximately Rp. 300,000 per day.
- CV. Sinar Berkat Rent a Car Manado, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. It has been operating since 1995 has various types of care. Reservation can be made through email or by phone. The service includes pick up and drop at the airport.
Ojek is motorcab taxi (pronounced "O - jack"). Ojek is also a typical cheap land transportation in Indonesian cities. In Manado, ojek rate is not fixed, and depends on the distance and is negotiation. For a very short distance of approximately one kilometre, it will be around Rp. 4,000.
By transportation-sharing app
Transportation sharing app like Grab and Go-Jek are already a commonplace in Manado. You can even take it to go to Tomohon (give the driver a little bit extra, considering the worst case that the driver needs to go back to Manado without passenger).
- Ban Hin Kiong is the oldest Chinese temple built in Manado during the Qing Dynasty era in China (1644–1911). It is a house of worship for the Tridharma followers from Manado and the region.This Temple is located at D.I. Panjaitan Street in Manado, which is the center of the city's China Town. There are some shrines and temples, homes and interesting shops run by Chinese. The temple is easily reached by public transport, by mikrolet or taxis. Visitors can also rent a car or motorcycle to tour China Town.
- Bukit Kasih 45 km (28 mi) south of Manado. 5 km (3.1 mi) from Kawangkoan. One of popular tourist destinations in North Sulawesi. Go to the top of the Hill by climbing 2435 stairs to see an amazing view of nature. There are many natural hot springs around this area. Get your feet relax. Nearby, you can visit Watu Pinabetengan, an animism site
- Modoinding. Agrotourism place, where all kind of vegetables and spices come from, to supply the demands of East part of Indonesia, the area is about 900–1,200 metres above sea level. The place is cool and you will find Modoinding valley with Moat Lake with "Bukit Doa" on the east, very beautiful place. There is also Ambang National Park where you can see Golden Owl as favorite for Bird Watching activity. About 180 km (110 mi) from Manado. You also able to stay in the community house, Traditional Minahasan wooden house with Rp 200,000 a night for the small house with western toilet and shower.
- Day trip to Bunaken: Manado is famous throughout the region for its diving areas. Bunaken is one of the well-known national marine park in Indonesia. 30 minutes boat ride. See its Wikivoyage article for more information.
- Day trip to Tangkoko Nature Reserve: Home of tarsiers and macaques, about 50 km (31 mi) from Manado. 1-2 hours ride. See its Wikivoyage article for more information.
- 1 Manado Town Square (Mantos), Jl. Piere Tendean, Kota Manado, Sulawesi Utara 95114. 10AM-10PM. The biggest shopping center in Manado. You can find various Western stuff here.
- 2 Mega Trade Center (MTC). the shopping place for electronics and bulk purchase. Similar to Mangga Dua ITC in Jakarta or Makassar Trade Center.
- 3 Megamall. shopping center with two blocks, connected by a bridge.
- Manado Inter Money Changer, in front of Bahu Mall, next to Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN), Jl. W. Monginsidi No:62 Bahu Link: III Manado, ☏ , .
Manadonese food is famous throughout Indonesia for two things: the Minahasa eat absolutely anything, and the flavour of choice is very spicy. Sugar is used little if at all, with flavour added through lemon and herbs. Being Christian, the Minahasa also often marinate meat in alcohol and favour pork. More exotic protein options include cats, forest rats, fruit bats and dogs, the last of which is the obligatory centerpiece of any wedding ceremony or Christmas feast. Classic dishes include:
- ikan mas bakar rica, grilled spicy fish cooked in traditional style, using a piece of coconut shell as a way of cooking. Grilled together with chilli, that poured in the fish while cooking.
- ikan mas goreng, fish fried till the soft bone is crunchy.
- ayam rica-rica, grilled chicken topped with a fiery red chili-and-onion paste
- ikan mas woku balanga, fish simmered in herbs
- babi tore, fried pork until crunch with a lot of chilli
- perkedel milu, corn fritters
- tinutuan (or bubur manado), a goopy porridge of rice, pumpkin, noodles and random vegetables — doesn't look very attractive, but it can be tasty and, for once, not spicy.
- miedal, very similar to tinutuan (same sauce), but using noodles instead of rice.
- biapong, a Chinese-style bun dumplling. what is called 'bao' in Chinese, is called biapong here. different fillings available.
Dutch settlement here has also brought in a few surprising influences, notably:
- brenebon (bruine bonesoep), a rich red kidney bean soup, comes in two version, savory (as a side dish) and sweet (for desserts)
- klappertaart, a Western-style coconut cake
- Fresh grilled fish is served every morning in a small warung near the harbour dock to Bunaken. The place is very basic, but don't mind the look. Just ask around for warung ikan bakar and hope someone helps you.
- Bambuden Seafood Restaurant @Sario, Jl. Pemuda No:2 Sario Manado, ☏ , , . Well-known locally for grilled & fried fish, and also offers a variety of seafood dishes.
- Kawan Baru Restaurant and Cafe, Mega Mas Boulevard, ☏ , . Indonesian food.
- Raja Sate BBQ & Asian Resto, Jalan Boulevard (near Mega Mall), ☏ , . Asian cuisine, with an emphasis on satays and barbequed seafood.
- Warong Rica Rica, ☏ . A seafood restaurant at Bahu Mall Bay street Cafe. Local seafood with panoramic sea views.
- Pizza Hut, Mega Mall, ☏ . The usual pizza from a well-known chain.
- Kafe Excelso, Mega Mall. Good place for coffee and light snacks.
- Rm. Rasa Laut (海的味道), Jln. Boulevard 2, Singdulang 2 (Near Jabatan Soekarno), toll-free: . 09:00-23:30. Very good place for seafood like wild lobster, crabs, shells and barbecued fishes with a lower price than some other places. Beach front and with a wonderful view of the sunset, Bunaken and Manado Tua islands. $3.
These two kind of drinks are made from Palm trees:
- cap tikus
Please Drink Responsibly, the locals have a bad habit of drinking irresponsibly. A major crime problem in town is caused by drunkards.
- Raja Oci, Jln Sudirman no 85, ☏ . Seafood restaurant with "Oci" as speciality fish.
Manado is Sulawesi's other bustling center of business and tourism. And with demand to match, the prices here are higher than elsewhere in Sulawesi. However, if you are willing to pay up, luxury options that you haven't seen since Makassar are available here.
- Hotel Ahlan, Jl. Sudirman. Stuffy, unappealing, dilapidated. Double room w/out air-con and with stuffy shared bathroom, but cheap. Rp 50,000.
- Metropolitan Inn, Jln. Arie Lasut No. 69, ☏ . Located on the quiet side of the river, this popular place has good-value single rooms at Rp 120,000 (outside bathroom) and doubles Rp 180,000 (inside bathroom), both include breakfast. Wifi is available in the lobby, Rp 10,000 one-time fee for the duration of your stay. Rp 120,000-180,000.
- Rex Hotel, Jl. Sugiono 3, ☏ . Very basic room. Staff can help you arranging transport to Gorontalo or Pulau Bunaken. Rp 55,000 for single room with shared bathroom, Rp 137,000 double w/ AC and private bathroom.
- Sinar Berkat Stay, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in the downtown where suitable for budget or backpacked travelers that need to lay back and enjoy the city. The rooms have a bed, air-con and bathroom. US$15-20.
- Hotel Central, Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 33, ☏ . Opened in 2004, the sheen of newness is fading fast, but the rooms are clean and functional with air-con and hot water. Rp 195,000-215,000.
- Hotel Minahasa, Jl. Sam Ratulangi. A nice family-run place on Sam Ratulangi. They are used to tourists, as well as being the main place that academics in the area stay in, so you are apt to meet someone who could really fill you in on the local scene. The drawback is the monotonous breakfasts.
- Hotel Regina. Big rooms with AC, TV and bathrooms with hot water. The best option on this street of Lonely planet recommended cheapies. Rp 198,000.
- Hotel Wisata, Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 7, ☏ . Another popular business hotel. All rooms have AC, hot shower and TV, the difference in room quality is really a matter of the size of the room, the date of the furniture and the size of the bed. Rp 215,000-315,000.
- Villa Wantik, Jl. Raya Manado - Tanawangko km. 21., ✉ email@example.com. Homestay with nice views.
- 1 Aston Manado City Hotel (Aston Manado), Jl. Jend Sudirman No. 128 (City Center), ☏ . Enjoy a beautiful hotel in the very heart of Manado that combines exceptional service and attention to detail to ensure a most memorable stay. The delightful Aston Manado City Hotel offers over 100 rooms and suite with dramatic views of the city skyline. Experience the best restaurants, entertainment, and shopping, as well as the city’s fines attraction, all within easy walking of the hotel.
- Hotel Gran Central Manado, Jl.Sudirman No.45 (Located in the centre of the city), ☏ . In the centre of the city with 65 rooms priced from Rp 350,000.
- Sintesa Peninsula Hotel, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Gunung Wenang, ☏ . In the heart of the city. Featuring 150 spacious and modern superior rooms, studios, corner suites, deluxe suites, sintesa suites and a presidential suite.
- Hotel Sedona, Desa Tateli, ☏ . Was perhaps a 5-star resort 20 years ago. It is 20 minutes drive from Manado City. Some rooms feature view of the sea, others the garden. While it has been through a downward phase, it is under new management and is very nice. They provide good access to Bunakin via a 30-minute boat ride. It is up to 3-4 stars now, and with more business, looks like it will continue to improve.
- Hotel Santika Manado (located in Tongkaina Village just across the Bunaken Sea Garden), ☏ . Often cited as the only resort facing Bunaken island, offers a wide range of accommodation options ranging from deluxe, bungalow and suite, all over looking the beautiful sea.
- Hotel Aryaduta Manado (former Ritzy Hotel), Jln. Piere Tendean Bulevar, ☏ . Offer rooms equipped with air-conditioning, TV with cable channels, coffee/tea maker, and Internet access. Some of its facilities and services include the Cakrawala Coffee Shop, a swimming pool, the lobby lounge, massage and room services. From USD114.95.
- Grand Puri, Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 458, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Shabby, tired and out of the way.
- Quality Hotel, Jl. Piere Tendean No. 88 - 89, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A short walk from the Mega Mall with restaurant and bar services, wonderful staff and rooms. From US$40 per night.
- Mapia Resort & Spa. Located on Kalasey beach, 30 minutes from the airport. Boutique Resort in a beautiful tropical garden resort with Indonesian/Italian cuisine. Diving operated by Celebes Divers as on the sister location Onong Resort on Siladen Island. Both resorts have 24/7 electrical power and all cottages are air-conditioned.
- Tasik Ria Resort & Spa Manado, Jl. Raya Trans Sulawesi (30 minutes drive south of Manado), ☏ . Boutique resort with 34 rooms in a peaceful and scenic palm fringed backdrop, ideal for divers & non-divers, families and adventure seekers. US$109-145.
There are 3 main providers of GSM cellular services in Manado: Telkomsel, Indosat/Satelindo and XL (Axiata co). As per November 2010, Telkomsel provides EDGE, 3G WCDMA, 3.5G HSDPA. Indosat only GPRS, EDGE. XL up to 3G. High bandwidth cell service mainly works in downtown area of Manado. All 3 of them carries Blackberry services.
Prepaid GSM SIM cards dan CDMA RUIM cards can be cheaply purchased (approx US$1) at almost every supermarket along with their reload vouchers, ranging from Rp 5000 to Rp 100,000.
If you want to go online cheaply then go to Ocean internet cafe, at the 3rd floor of Samudera minimarket located in the Megamas shopping center area on the Manado boulevard. The rate is approx Rp 5000 hourly and the bandwidth speed is good. It is open from 10:00 to 22:00.
- Philippine Consulate General, Jl. 17 Agustus No. 30A, Tanjung Batu, ☏ , , fax: .
- Bunaken National Park: a diver's paradise. Many small bungalows are available in this small but beautiful island.
- Tangkoko National Park near Bitung: Home of The Big-eyed Tarsius Monkey (the smallest monkey in the world).
- Tomohon, a small city, surrounded by 3 active volcanoes: Mount Lokon, Mount Mahawu and Mount Masarang. 45 minutes from Manado, Tomohon is a very nice place to stay for its cold climate (around 20 degree Celsius).
- Gorontalo then a boat ride to the Togian Islands.
- Ambon, the center of Maluku (what used to be the Spice Islands)