It is very curious to find buildings of all sizes, colors and architectural styles. In the streets of Manado dotted with the most abundant vegetation, your attention will certainly be caught by numerous churches. Quirky, tiny or huge, with traces of Portuguese influences, they will all make you want to visit them, or at least take some interesting pictures.
A little bit of history
Portuguese influence noticed in Manado is not far-fetched at all. Even though their stay didn’t last long and it was followed by the centuries of Dutch and British colonial rule, Portuguese succeeded to influence the history and looks of the city. However, the city was founded by the Spanish people, in the late sixteenth century. Today, there are many Spanish people who visit it, and you can find them literally anywhere, all the way from the airport to the resorts of its islands.
Why visit Manado?
Get in touch with its nature
Especially adored attractions of North Sulawesi are its striking seabed and impressive coral reefs. Manado and neighboring Bunaken Island are the most representative places where you can enjoy observing marine reefs and species. On this remote island which stands on the edge of the modern world and the world known in earlier times, a few kilometers north of the equator, near the Philippines, you will be able to see an intriguing animal species. With its huge eyes and interesting fingers, tarsier, the world’s smallest primate will occupy your attention.
Diverse food in night life
There is no better way of spending the night in Manado than tasting local fast food, visiting nightclubs and karaoke bars (with free wi-fi!). Here you’ll also be able to see unique little trains in the shape of a giraffe or a cow, making tours along the coast.
Despite the abundant supply of fast food, it is worth searching for local strong and spicy flavors. The most famous dish is a special porridge called Bur Bur, which consists of spinach, corn, rice and is often accompanied by spicy fish. For dessert, you should have a Klappertart, a sweet made with Dutch reminiscent of coconut, nuts and raisins. Finally, order a good espresso to complete your meal.
Interesting sights of Manado
When it comes to exploring the area which surrounds the city of Manado, we strongly recommend you not to be afraid of leaving the center of the city, since you won’t lack interesting places to visit. Some of the most impressive sights which are definitely worth visiting are:
- The Pinawetengan Museum and the House of Fabrics, where you can learn interesting facts about local traditions.
- Pinawetengan Watu, the whimsical set of megalithic stones, about 60 kilometers away from the city, is widely popular because of its interesting and unique shape.
- The Waruga Park, where the Minahasa tribe buried their dead in the squatting position. This park is positioned about 40 kilometers away from Manado, in the Sawangan village.
- The Linow Lake, which is two hours driveway of the city center. Observing this lake is a thrilling experience because of its constant color changes during the day, depending on the light. These color changes happen because of the high percentage of sulfur in the water.
- Tangkoko Nature Reserve is a special place, as well, since it is a home to dozens of species of mammals, birds and reptiles and more than two hundred different species of plants. The most spectacular inhabitants of this reserve are the white-crested macaque and the tarsier.
- National Marine Park of Bunaken Island and Lembeh Strait should be the crown jewels of your visit to Manado. Lembeh Strait is one of the most famous diving destinations in Indonesia.
How to get to Manado
The capital of North Sulawesi is well connected with the rest of the country by efficient airlines: Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air and Batavia Air fly from Manado to many Indonesian cities. You’ll need about three hours by plane to Jakarta, the capital, where the clock has to be delayed an hour. About four hours on the plane will be needed for you to get to the famous beaches of Bali, via Makassar route.
If you are a traveler who is genuinely interested in exploring various areas of Indonesia, Manado is not the place that you should miss. Maybe it is not as popular as some other destinations in Indonesia since it isn’t a typical tourist city, but this place has the soul which will charm you if you are willing to spend some time exploring its hidden beauties.