10X WHAT TO DO IN MANADO
Although you will find few sights in Manado, there is more than enough to do in the area besides shopping in one of the gigantic shopping malls.
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Diving, diving and further diving. If you are a bit of a diving enthusiast, you probably have Bunaken National Park on your wish list. This is because diverse paradise. From giant coral walls to unique muck dives. The diving here is really fantastic and fun for beginners to advanced. Most people bring their own dive gear, so make sure you choose a dive center where you can rent diving equipment. This usually costs around 20 euros per day. We dove with Celebes Divers, very professional and they dive from Manado and Siladen (Near Bunaken). During our dives we saw dozens of turtles, sharks, pipe fish, frogfish, stonefish and much more. We even saw a Doejong (Indian manatee) swimming past. So do it!
2. Snorkeling and island hopping
If you are 100% sure that you do not want to dive, you can also snorkel beautifully in the area. You usually go with a dive boat, so you have a wonderfully quiet place to snorkel. Because most places have a small current, you hardly even have to do anything. Float and watch a little.
3. Island hopping to Bunaken Island or Siladen island
Would you rather not be in the water? Then go island hopping. For example, visit Siladen Island and spend a day on the beach.
4. Dolphin trip
We were so enthusiastic about diving that we unfortunately didn’t have time for the dolphin trip. Yet I could not omit this. One after the other at our resort came with stories about hundreds of dolphins at the same time. The images were really magical. A little regret that we did not do this ourselves. So if you have time for this, do it for sure.
5. Tangkoko National Park
From Manado you can book a day trip to Tangkoko National Park. You are about a little more than 2 hours on the road from Manado, but then you suddenly find yourself in the jungle. And not just any jungle. In Tangkoko National Park you will find a lot of rare animals, such as the too cute tarsir (ghost animal) and black macaques. But you can also spot the kiss kiss and hornbills here. If you choose to linger in the evenings, the bird spiders will appear. We didn’t find the jungle very spectacular, but the animals you can spot there are certainly. Tangkoko National Park is really a MUST when you are in North Sulawesi.
Within an hour you drive from the chaotic Manado to Tomohon, into a completely different world. Around Tomohon you will find a volcanic area, called the Minhasa region. It is the place for hikes and volcano climbs. The walking tours are relatively easy and accessible to everyone.
You will also find a volcanic lake in the area; danau linow. The lake has beautiful colors that change every so often.
If you are looking for some cooling, you have several waterfalls where you can do a dive. But what Tomohon is perhaps best known for, is its macabre market. They sell everything here. People with a weak stomach or real animal lovers can better skip the meat department. Not only will you find rats, snakes, chickens, goats, buffalo, pigs, but also live dogs, for example. The people in this area eat everything and you can find everything on this market. Certainly a special sight and according to many a must see. However, we have skipped the market.
Watch out for film lovers, because in Manado you have a great cinema. It may sound a bit like a crazy to do item, but as a true film lover this is really a must. The cinemas here are extremely cheap and really luxurious.
8. Shop till you drop Baby
Pay attention to fashionistas and souvenir hunters, because Manado is great for shopping. You really have all the big brands here and more. Dive into 1 of the many shopping malls and go free. We are not really shoppers, but have secretly played a game in a game hall.
9. Go loose in the karaoke bar
Karaoke is really hip here. Find a karaoke bar with a group and sing along with Britney Bitch! You don’t have to look far, karaoke is everywhere in Manado. Don’t be surprised if you’re eating in a hip resaurant and someone starts to sing a splendid K-pop song. We speak from experience.
10. A visit to the boulevard
Manado has a small boulevard with all kinds of eateries and food trucks. Chances are that you are the only tourist here. You will find here mostly hip young people who are drinking a coffee.