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20 Top Things to Do in Manado, Indonesia #No.1 Untouchable

by stefanus

The islands of Indonesia are full of natural beautiful places. One of them that you need to visit is Manado city in North Sulawesi. Manado lies at the northern tip of the Sulawesi Island, directly on the border with the Philippines. It holds the reputation of being the second most crowded city in Sulawesi, next to Makassar. It also has many interesting tourist sites. Here are some of best Manado attractions that you need to visit someday.

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1. Snorkeling in Bunaken Marine Park

bunakenThe Bunaken Marine Park has been widely well-known for its exceedingly rich marine biodiversity, that it is claimed to be an “underwater paradise”, especially for diving lovers. It is declared one of the World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 2005. It has at least 39 diving spots. Even for those who can’t swim, there is readily available another method of sightseeing the magnificent under water environment of Bunaken, which is by a specially designed submarine. You can clearly see through the sub’s transparent glass walls, so you won’t miss any single detail of the spectacular marine biodiversity.

Basically, the Bunaken Marine Park is open at any time for diving enthusiasts to have fun. Nonetheless, it is recommendable to go diving between May and August, when the underwater view is clearest and the water temperature is the most ideal. This Marine Park is located about 7 miles from Manado port, and reachable within a mere 35-minutes sea-trip by speed-boat.

2. Diving in Tumbak Marine Park

tumbak marine park This is another alternative to marine tourism lovers and diving fanatics alike. It has about 20 diving spots with similarly beautiful underwater environment. Unfortunately, it takes about 3 hours by land transportation to get to this spot. This relatively new tourism destination is located in the Southeast Minahasa, about 90 kilometers from Manado.

In order to get to this marine park, you need to reach the Tumbak village first. Its name “Tumbak” is actually an acronym which stands for “Tumbuhan Bakau”, which means “mangroves”, due to the fact that the mangroves predominate here, covering about 1 hectare of the village’s area. This village has a boat quay, from which you can take a mere 10-minutes sea trip by a fishermen’s boat right to Tumbak Island.

This Tumbak Island itself is not inhabited, with an area of less than 1 hectare. Despite its small area, it has a huge marine tourism potential due to its naturally virgin environment, both marine and terrestrial, almost untouched by human hands. You can climb up a hill on the island, where a shrine of Syekh Abu Sahmad Baddar, one of Tumbak village’s respected elders, is located. Reaching up there, a magnificent view of the wide blue sea and the surrounding islands is waiting for your eyes to feed on. This island also has savannas, interspersed by a few trees, which would perfectly fit those seeking tranquility and stillness amidst a lonely island. Despite the fact that this spot has not been as widely exposed as the Bunaken has, it has as many marine attractions to offer with its numerous diving spots.

3. Laying in Siladen Island

siladen island This is another ‘paradise’ of Manado beside Bunaken. Located north of Bunaken, it is actually one of the five islands covered by the Bunaken National Park. Among the five islands, Siladen is the smallest, with an area of no more than 31.25 hectares. You can reach this island within 45-minutes trip from Manado. It is famous for its beaches with clean and white sand. Unlike the Bunaken, which is more famous with its coral reefs, the Siladen stands out for its variety of fishes. The beaches are mostly dominated by clear sand, and thus the beautiful fishes are more easily visible through the crystal-clear sea water.

Here you can get more tranquility and feeling like having a private island of your own, due to the fact that not many visitors have come here yet. Your relaxing moment on the beach is made perfect by the soft sounds of coconut leaves and seagulls flying and playing around.

Siladen 1 and Siladen 2 are two most interesting diving spots this island has. These spots also have diving equipment ready for rent, only not as much as in Bunaken. Resorts and homestays with pretty good accommodation facilities are readily available. Sure this place worth being included in your vacation plan.

4. Diving in Lembeh Island

lembehThis island has no less than 88 diving spots – more than twice those of the Bunaken. Its underwater ecosystem is also as amazing, that surely it should be your alternative of spending a vacation, especially if you’re into diving. Many resorts are available there too. You will be very surprised of its beauty that you would not found in any other islands of the earth.

It is located in Bitung, not far from Manado. Upon arriving in Bitung, you only have to take a 15-minutes sea trip by boat to the Lembeh Island. The entrance fee is only IDR 8,000, and it takes but a nice IDR 300,000 to hire a boat if you want a pleasant 3-4 hours round-sailing around this magnificent spot.

5. Sunbathing in Lihaga Island

lihagaThis island also has an exotic environment with its clean beaches and bright white sand. This 8-hectares island is located in North Minahasa. Its relatively cam water and small waves are pretty enjoyable for those seeking refreshment and tranquility. Nonetheless, you will be charged upon entering this tourist site, since this beach is under entrepreneurial management. But the entrance fee of IDR 20,000 will prove worth the impressive experience waiting in this beautiful spot.

Before getting right to the Lihaga Island, you can ask the boat’s owner to sail the boat passing by the Gangga Island, which natural beauty is almost the same as Lihaga. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to land in this island without permission, since it includes a resort with foreign ownership.

At the Lihaga Island, you can also snorkel-dive at certain spots with beautiful underwater panorama. Despite the island being uninhabited, you don’t have to worry about facilities. There are toilets and dressing rooms readily available. There is even a big wooden building where you can stay overnight without any extra-charge. Unfortunately, you’d have to bring all the necessary stuff yourself. Don’t forget to bring enough food supply, since there are no food sellers in the island.

6. Getting Lost Manado Tua Island

manado tua This island lies about 10 kilometers from Manado, and it takes about 60 minutes trip by a motor boat to get there. It also belongs to the five islands within the borders of the Bunaken National Park. It is inhabited by about 3,200 local people who mostly work as farmers and fishermen. You will getting lost by its beauty of Manado Tua island. It has mount and water element in one great view.

This island has a volcano overgrown by shady trees. Just like the Bunaken and the Siladen, the Manado Tua also has spectacular underwater panorama which will surely enchant any diving lovers. So it’s no surprise that it was made one of the locations of the World Ocean Conference in 2009.

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7. Flowing from Kima Atas Falls

kimaLocated about 15 km from Manado and reachable within 20-minutes trip, this spot is another favorite destination. Cool and fresh air generated by many trees surrounding the waterfall adds up to the eye-spoiling view of its natural beauty.

This waterfall has three levels, so the water flow is not so swift, making the pool under the falls a quite safe place to swim and have fun. Even if you’re not into aquatic fun, just relaxing on the mats while enjoying local culinary is an interesting option. Various kinds of local culinary are being sold on this location. There are even ATM’s available here, so you don’t have to worry about running out of cash.

8. Sailing in Tondano Lake

tondanoJust like the Toba Lake in North Sumatera, the Tondano Lake was formed out of volcanic activities in pre-historic times, and it also has an island in the middle thereof. Located in an altitude of 600 meters a.s.l. and covering an area of 4,000 hectares, it is surrounded by three mountains, namely the Tampusu, the Kaweng, and the Masarang. The beautiful combination of mountain and a lake view.

Here on this lake you can watch the fishermen using keramba (the traditional gear of fishing) to do their job. If you want to have a closer look, you can go round-sailing with a boat. You will be charged IDR 50,000 and you must wait a little bit until the boat is full-loaded with the maximum of 10 passengers.

9. The Sawangan Rafting

The Sawangan RaftingIf you’re a rafting fanatic, then you’d have to try the Sawangan River. You’re invited to conquer the combination of strong currents and solid rocks for approximately 2 hours along the 9-km river. The Resort River Park in the Sawangan village is your starting point. You can enjoy the beautiful view of dense forest along the riverside – and monkeys dangling among the trees, if you’re lucky enough. By spending a mere IDR 180,000, you can have a full experience of this extreme sport. Also, the best rafting experience is if you do it with your close friends or squads.

10 The Timbukar Rafting

Timbukar RaftingAnother spot any rafting enthusiasts would love is the Timbukar rafting site. The adventurous challenge here is just as extreme and will certainly pump up your adrenaline. In addition, you can also try rock-climbing in Kilo Tiga village, not so far from the Timbukar site.

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11. Refreshing in Ratahan Telu Falls

ratahanThis waterfall is another favorite spot for natural tourism. It is located a little bit deeper into the forest, about 20 kilometers from the Manado city center. It has pretty swift water flow, that it makes the surroundings including a classic-styled bridge mossy. Nonetheless, this adds up to its artistic side.

It is pretty easy to get to this waterfall. You can do it even by biking, but this is only recommended for those who are familiar with uphill biking. Reaching the edge of the forest, you can continue by some 20-minutes hiking into the forest. Despite the absence of any food-sellers or such alike, there are toilets and some resting places readily available, so you don’t have to worry about convenience. Along the way from the city center to this spot, you can also drop in to another spot of interest, the shrine of a national hero, Tuanku Imam Bonjol.

12. Watching The City from Boulevard Area

manado boulevardThis area is located at the city center. Initially it was only used by street vendors to sell their stuffs, but then it was modified by the city administration to become the landmark of Manado city. When the evening comes, this area is usually filled with visitors to enjoy the sunset. If you’d like to join in the fun, then you’d better come before 5 p.m. in order to get yourself some convenient place to sit.

Then at night, this place is changed into a culinary center. Not only typical Manado culinary is sold here, but also that from all over Indonesia. While enjoying the culinary, you can relax and watch the Manado Tua Island from the shore.

13. Walking around the Tomohon Flower City

tomohonLocated about 22 kilometers from Manado, this city has beautiful and neat flower gardens. Even every resident has private flower gardens which makes it so astoundingly beautiful all over the city.

The Flower Festival is organized every year between June and August. At this event you can watch the flower parade and various art exhibitions along the city streets. Even if you wish to enjoy this city’s beauty a little bit longer, there are many lodging places available here.

14 Praying in The Jesus Blessing Statue

jesus statue manadoThis is one of the icons of Manado worth your visit. This 50-meters high statue is located at an elite residential area. Nevertheless, don’t worry of being charged upon entering this area, since it is free for anyone to visit here.

You can at best visit this place in the morning, when the sun just beginning to rise from behind the Klabat Mount is dropping its ray on the statue. After enjoying the sunrise scene, you can walk along the stairs surrounding the statue’s spot while watching fragments of Jesus’ life put in orderly manner.

15. Visit The Malalayang Beach

malalayang beach manado This is another must-visit spot in Manado. Located only about 4 km from the city center, this beach also has an incredibly gorgeous underwater view, so it is a good idea to take another diving here. Diving equipment rentals are available in case you forgot to bring your own. Also, you can just laying on the sand with your swimsuit and let the natural materials of the beach relaxing you.

Its relatively calm water enables you to have more fun at its dark-colored sand beach. Another option is just relaxing on the beach while enjoying fried bananas combined with the typical dabu-dabu condiment. Indeed, dabu-dabu is manado traditional dish that you love.

16. Chasing Peace at The Love Hill

love hill manadoThis is another spot of interest in Manado, located in Kanonang village, about 55 km Manado city center. The special feature of this place is the existence of five houses of worship belonging to five different religions, all in the same place.

A little bit further from the entrance, you’ll encounter a 22-meter high monument called the “Monument of Tolerance”. It is pentagon-shaped, with symbols and scriptural verses of a particular religion on each side. There is also a 53-meters high, cross-shaped white tower, which is visible even from the city center. Those five houses of worship are separated and interconnected by hundreds of winding stairs, taking you up and down around the whole place. So make sure your footwear is comfortable enough.

17. Enjoying in Tandurusa Zoological Garden

Tandurusa Zoological GardenPlaces to visit in Manado Indonesia? If you’re interested in zoology, this tourism park is a perfect place for you. It is located in Bitung city, right at the edge of the Lembeh Strait. Despite the park’s rather small area, endemic species of Sulawesi, such as the babirusa (Babyrousa) or deer-pig, the black monkeys, and the tarsius are conserved here.

Meanwhile, the latter is a kind of tiny primate no more than 15 cm in size, with disproportionally big eyes covering almost half of its face. In this place, you may learn about Indonesia fauna and their habits.

18. Learning in North Sulawesi State Museum

Learning in North Sulawesi State MuseumOne of the best things to do in Manado Indonesia is to visit the museum. This is the perfect place to get more acquainted to Manado and Minahasa culture. Some 2,810 cultural items such as miniatures of traditional houses, traditional clothes, fishing equipment, home appliances, relics of local heroes, etc., will take you closer to the original culture of Minahasa people. Also, you may try to make or learn to create theses traditional fabric. It’s unique and beautiful.

19. The Ratotok Beach

ratoto beachLocated in Southeast Minahasa, this beach is actually included in the company Newmont’s goldmine area. Nonetheless, it has exceedingly clean and fresh environment, crystal-clear water and soft sand, which surely will give you a refreshing sphere.

One of the best things to do in Manado Indonesia is visiting this beach maybe with your friends or lovers. You can just walk the edge of the beach, feel the air, may sunbath too, or read your favorite novel by the shore.

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20. The Tumpa Mount

The Tumpa MountThings to do in Manado Indonesia? This is a special must-visit for photography enthusiasts. This mount can be reached within a 50-minutes trip by land transportation from the Manado city center. A beautiful scenery of green forests and coconut plantations, and especially the scenery of the whole Manado city, are but a few things you can enjoy upon reaching the mountain top.

Its collections are categorized into 10 divisions, e.g. geology, biology, archaeology, history, and technology. Out of the total of 2,810 items, 500 are put constantly on display on every weekday. It is so easy to access this museum, even by public transportations, because it is located right at the center of Manado city.

There are still many, many more attraction spots for tourists in Manado and its adjacent areas. But, this brief description is hopefully sufficient to give you a glance of the whole fun waiting for you in this North Sulawesi region. As a result, if you want to visit Manado in Indonesia, then do not forget to check those lists of all the things to do in Manado, North Sulawesi Indonesia. Happy Holiday, Fellas!

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