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Manado Tourism

The capital city of North Sulawesi in Indonesia, Manado is the second-largest city in the region best known for being home to the Ban Hin Kiong temple, which assumes great importance during the Chinese New Year celebrations, and for its stunning marine biodiversity. Being one of the lesser-known but culturally rich places in Indonesia, Manado remains a popular tourist attraction for its authenticity as a small place on an island between Pulau Bunaken and Minahasa Highlands. The highlands and the historical standing of Manado as one of the most important ports for the Spice trade make it a must-visit destination for most backpackers and travellers.

Tourists visit the city for the beautiful Bunaken Island with its vertical reefs, also famously known as the “hanging walls” and the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. Lined with beaches and cultural attractions, Manado offers splendidly built resorts or private villas as a residence during one’s stay in the city.

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History of Manado

Manado has a vast history of changing leaderships, colonialism and religious shifts in mainland culture. The city was first under the rule of the Sultan of Ternate who was known for introducing a form of tax system and bringing Islam to Manado’s inhabitants, who was then overthrown by the Portugese. The next set of rulers came from Spain, who first established economic monopoly over Manado by way of using the region as a commercial trade centre for Chinese coffee traders. The first king of Manado, Muntu Untu, was the descendant of a Spanish Mestizo, which was an Indo-Eurasian community that had developed in the 16th century.

Fort Amsterdam was built in 1658 in Manado by the Dutch East India Company; the time period also saw major Christianization of the population by Dutch missionaries, signifying a shift in the religious allegiances of the people. Oude Kerk was the first Christian church built in Manado by the Dutch missionaries, which is now popularly known as Gereja Sentrum. One of the most famous events attached with the history of Manado is the Battle of Manado which took place in the month of January, 1942, wherein the Japanese took control of the region. The city had also faced major losses because of two important bombing incidents, one being the Allied bombing during World War 2 and the other being the invading force used by Jakarta in 1958.

Culture of Manado

A mixed population of Sudanese, Javanese and Chinese ethnicities along with the dominant Minahasan ethnic group, Manado has a variety of thriving cultures existing together. Most of the population is mainly Christian and has occupations of farmers or fisherpeople depending on the area of their residence. Small theatres and local resorts host traditional dance shows for the visitors and tourists to enjoy, like the Kabasaran War dance or the Minahasan dance. These dances are performed to the tunes of the Kulintang and Tambour, which are traditional musical instruments most popularly used during ceremonies or these dance performances.

Nightlife in Manado

The nightlife in Manado moves at a comfortable pace with the numerous relaxed and ambient bars and clubs spread across the city. Corner Café is one of the locally loved spots for people to unwind with live music and an assortment of Indonesian and Western food on the menu, with a wide range of drinks served to the customers. Another place to spend a fun night at would be Haha Café in Mega Mall, which has a huge dance floor and is known for being enjoyed by the crowds, especially on weekends. Satoro Café and Pub is a bustling spot for tourists and locals alike as it offers not only live music but also a karaoke room for its customers, best to be visited after a day spent on outdoor activities.

Shopping in Manado

Indonesia is known for its cottage industries and bargaining culture, and Manado is another city rich in traditional markets that are mostly visited by tourists to shop for souvenirs or things that are exclusively Manadonese. Stores the Gecko Art Shop and Gallery and the Karya Karema are the best examples of popular traditional stores, wherein the former deals in Minahasan and Lombok art culture and the latter sells the cultural form of cloth and woven cotton worn by the Minahasan population. There are other places bustling with customers that serve the global market, like Megamall, Mega Trade Centre, Manado Town Square, President Shopping Centre, etc.

Places to Visit

Manado is known for famous attractions like Waruga, the ancient burial site located in Sawangan with vividly architectured tombstones and rich histories attached to each one of them, or Bukit Kasih, also known as the Hill of Love which has five different places of worship for different religions explaining the significance of its name. Manado is also home to the third-largest lake in Indonesia, Lake Tondano, where visitors go to enjoy the stunning scenery amongst the mountains and enjoy fresh seafood. 

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Manado - Beautiful City Surrounded by Mountainous Area
 Ban Hin Kiong temple - Most Famous Temple in Manado
Hill of Love - Also Called as Bukit Kasih

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FAQs on Manado

What is the best time to visit Manado?

Since Manado does not experience extreme weather changes, it is loved by tourists all throughout the year. Nevertheless, the best time to visit Manado is from early July to mid-October as it is the best period for summertime activities like visiting the beach or indulging in adventure sports. Rainfall is usually at its peak during January and at the lowest during August, so visitors are advised to plan their trips accordingly.
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What is the local food in Manado?

Manado is popularly known for dishes like Tinutuan, Cakalang Fufu, Paniki, Babi Putar, etc. which can easily be found in small street food settings or even in properly established restaurant chains. A famous local dish, Rica Rica, known for its spiciness derived from the cabe rawit ingredient, can be found in most places but if one prefers their food to be cooked after ordering it and to personally select the level of spiciness in the food item, they should definitely head to Warong Rica Rica in Bahu Mall. Tinutuan, or Bubur Manado, is a locally loved form of congee that visitors can try from the Wakeke Street, which has popularly come to be known as the congee street because of the multiple tinutuan vendors, with Cafe Dego Dego as one of the most visited eateries. 
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What is the best way to reach Manado?

Visitors usually opt for air travel to get to the city. The Sam Ratulangi International Airport is a fairly new facility built for travellers that mostly pour in from neighbouring places like Thailand and Australia, and also from Singapore. Air Asia does not operate at the airport, but flights like Silk Air from Singapore, Garuda from Jakarta, Makassar etc. frequently fly to and from Manado. Domestic flights from Surabaya, Bali, Papua etc. are also available. Visitors can hire taxis from the airport, which takes around half an hour to reach central Manado. Taxi fares are highly bargainable, so it is advisable to try for cheaper prices while travelling within the city.
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What are the things to do in Manado?

The top things to do in Manado are Tunan Waterfall, Malalayang Beach, Hill of Love, Minahasa Highlands, Ban Hin Kiong Temple , Waruga . You can see all the places to visit in Manado here

What are the places near Manado?

The top places near to Manado are Bali which is 1536 km from Manado, Jakarta which is located 2174 km from Manado, Lombok which is located 1469 km from Manado, Bandung which is located 2127 km from Manado, Surabaya which is located 1656 km from Manado

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