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People are Manado’s best asset. Manadonese are extroverts, warm and happy-go-lucky, drawing visitors naturally into the big family circle. Aptly, the city’s slogan is “Torang Samua Basudara”, meaning:” we are all one family”. No one here is allowed to feel lonely.
Manado is the largest, most-northerly city in Indonesia, capital of the province of North Sulawesi. It is better known for its breathtaking underwater life at Bunaken, an island that directly faces this city. But Manado has much more to offer, and you will miss much if you do not explore this part of the Indonesian archipelago. For Manado spells fantastic diving, adventures through the wild and cultural heritage attractions.
Located on a long promontory, Manado is backed by a number of active volcanoes, while facing the open sea. Its wide Pierre Tendean Boulevard bordering the water edge is lined with top class hotels and restaurants serving typical Manado cuisine. Having recently hosted the World Ocean Conference, Manado is fast growing into a favourite venue for international meetings and conventions.
From the Boulevard you can see the perfectly cone-shaped mountain of Manado Tua, which, together with the islands of Bunaken, Mantehage, Siladen and Nain form the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Park, world famous among divers for its steep walls and fantastic underwater life. A deep trench separates this National Park from the city, preventing pollution of the park. Regular ferries take visitors to Bunaken.
Behind Manado are a number of active volcanoes called Lokon, Soputan, and Dua Saudara whose lush green tropical terrain are ideal for trekking, eco-tours, bird watching and white water rafting. The Tangkoko National Park is habitat to the world’s smallest monkeys called tarsiers, cute little animals with saucer-large eyes. And all around you will see coconut trees and plantations. For, the region of Minahasa is also known as the land of the waving coconut trees or” Nyiur melambai”.
The majority population being Christians and Catholics, you will find Manado dotted with churches. Christmas is a particular good time to visit when the city and the surrounding hills come alight with Christmas decorations. A huge statue of Jesus Christ rises above the city, blessing its inhabitants.
There is also a sizable Chinese population here, so that Chinese New Year and Cap Goh Meh festivities are held in grand scale, especially around Chinatown and the Ban Hin Kiong Temple.
Manado’s cuisine is particularly tasty. Try the rice porridge, called Bubur Manado, and the fresh seafood served with cut green tomatoes and special chili sauce. Many of Manado’s cuisine are cooked in bamboo tubes, then baked over an open fire, giving it that particular zesty taste. Do not miss “klappertaart”, a special cake filled with large slivers of fresh young coconut.
To view some of the finest images of Kalasey beach, at the outskirts of Manado, visit oru photo essay: The Deep Water Paradise of Kalasey Seas off Manado
There are taxis available, which are best taken from the hotels. The “mikrolet” mini buses are your best bet. They have fixed routes and are not as crowded and are better organized compared to those in Jakarta.
The Sam Ratulangi International Airport of Manado is able to receive wide-bodied aircrafts. SilkAir was the first international airline that flew Singapore-Manado directly. The airline now serves Singapore- Manado four times weekly.
Domestically, there are daily flights to Manado from Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Makassar, Papua and Balikpapan. Airlines flying to Manado include Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Batavia Air, Mandala and Merpati Airlines.