Most people arrive here through the airport Sam Ratulangi, it is served very well by all major airports in Indonesia. The airport is located 12 kms north east of town and you surely won’t have any trouble trying to arrange transportation and accommodation as the place is touted by numerous individuals all plying for a part in the tourist trade. It is recommended you make your own arrangements before arriving and ask your hotel to collect you from the airport.
Most people stay one or two nights in Manado depending on their itinerary. There are several hotels in town that are all centrally located. The main reason to come to this part of Indonesia is for the world-class dive sites of Bunaken.
The marine reserve of Bunaken is a 75 square kilometer park offering some fantastic coral life and steep drop offs into the abyss. The waters here are abundant with marine life and you will surely see the Blue Green Napoleon as well as the hump headed Parrot Fish. Bunaken is the main island in this area and receives the most visitors, however if you are looking for a little peace then head to Bunaken’s sister islands of Siladen, Manado Tua and Montehage. As with all national parks, expect to pay an entrance fee of around Rp 75,000. This money goes towards keeping Bunaken clean and maintains the coral that is so important to the area.
If diving isn’t your thing then head to the Minahasan Highlands. The highlands are located just 20 kms south of Manado and can be a great escape from the hot humid town. The highlands are covered in lush forest and are also the home to two towering volcanoes. Getting here is relatively easy from Manado – you can take a “Mikrolet” from town and pass the 1-hour journey winding upwards through the hills. Of course a trip here would not be complete without sampling the Minahasan food of pig (not to mention dog and rat).
Manado is the capital of Northern Sulawesi and the town has a rather cosmopolitan feel to it with Chinese, Minahasans and Westerners. With this mix you can expect to find some great, if not at times, unusual food. One particular dish that needs a mention is the classic Minahasan dishes of dog (rintek wuuk), rat (tikus) and not forgetting the favorable fruit bat (paniki). As with all exotic dishes, you will not be expected to eat them, as there are other food establishments around town offering the classic Indonesian cuisine of fried rice.
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