Manado, in North Sulawesi, is famous for its marine park at Bunaken. Even before you land at Sam Ratulangi airport, you will be able to see the stunning view of the Sulawesi Sea and the small island of Bunaken, as well as the neighboring mountainous island, Manado Tua from your plane. Looking out at these incredible islands from above, you are sure to become excited just thinking about all the fun you will soon be experiencing down below. Additionally, you may be mistaken if you think that water sports are the only activities taking place in Bunaken. There are many fun things to do in the city of Manado!
1. Have Fun At The Boulevard
You will be surprised to find that Manado is quite a fancy city, as it has the biggest business district in Eastern Indonesia, ‘The Boulevard’. This district was built on a 76-hectare-reclaimed land (188 acres), and besides the 4 big malls in the district (Boulevard Mall, IT Center, Manado Town Square, and Mega Trade Center), there is also a large concentration of shops, restaurants, and offices. You can do any city activities from grocery shopping at Hypermart inside Manado Town Square, seeing a newly released movie at Cinema XXI Mega Mall to singing karaoke songs at NAV Karaoke! It’s in a really big contrast with Bunaken, isn’t it?
2. Hunt for good food
Surprisingly, Manado is a good place for a culinary hunt as Manado is rich with unique and delicious local delicacies. You will find international restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, and Mc. Donald’s along with other internationally popular foods, such as Japanese sushi in the district, making it a great time to try different local dishes. If you go to Indonesia quite often, you may be familiar with foods, such as the spicy meat ‘rica-rica’ and bubur Manado (porridge with veggies), or es Manado, especially if you stay in a big city. These foods originated from Manado, so it’s interesting to find out how it tastes in its home city. In fact, you can have all of those at many dining places in Boulevard district. For the most popular 'tuna rica’ and tuna sashimi, go to a small restaurant named Tuna House on Jalan Laksda John Lie (near the Boulevard district, located at Boulevard Beach). The tuna here is very fresh (the sashimi color is a lively bright red!) as it was the catch of the local fishermen. Like any ricas served in other places, it always comes with water spinach (this 'kangkung’ is a local vegetable of Southeast Asia) and 'rica chilli sauce’, which is spicy, savory, and rather sweet. However, what makes it unique, is you can choose to have your tuna with cassava instead of white rice. You’ll definitely enjoy the new eating experience you can have here!
3. Enjoy Your Time At Malalayang Beach
Who says there are no beach activities for you to do in Manado? In fact, there are some beaches near Manado and one of the most visited beaches is Malalayang Beach, which is only about 4 km (2.48 miles) away from the city center. Especially during the weekend, you will see many locals swimming and snorkeling in the water, and of course you can join them too! It’s free, and it’s also nice to spend your time here relaxing in one of the food stalls by the beach, which sells iced coconut and the local mouth-watering specialty named ‘pisang goreng sambal roa’ (fried banana dipped into garfish chili sauce). You’ll be able to enjoy the ocean wind and the magnificent view of the Bunaken Island and Manado Tua in the vastness of the sea, as well as some of the tall buildings in Manado city!
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4. Have A Photo Session At The Giant Statue Of Jesus
Another icon of Manado’s city is the monument of ‘Tuhan Yesus Memberkati’ (The Blessing Jesus), built in 2007 in Ciputra housing complex (located in the outskirts of Manado). This is the world’s 2nd largest statue of Jesus, after the one in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where it extends 50 meters (164 feet) from the ground! Another uniqueness to this relatively new, Christian-dominated city, is that the statue sits on a 20 degree slope, and since it’s facing the city center of Manado, it looks like Jesus is blessing the people who live here. You can take good photos from afar, but you can also get up close with the statue and climb up 200 stairs to the monument. Along the way there are 14 stops, each with an epigraph depicting Jesus on the way to Dolorosa.
5. Marine exploration with Eco Divers
Discover the wonders of sensational marine life, teeming just below the surface of clear ocean waters, when you dive with the Eco Divers in Manado! Rated as one of the top overall attractions in all of Manado, the experience that Eco Divers provides for dedicated guests and locals alike promises to prove nothing short of world-class. Your gear is all-things secure and maintained, and the tour of marine life itself in Manado waters is always facilitated by a professional dive expert, who understands the region and the capacity of his or her role.
Your introduction to diverse sea life of all types is only an easy decision away! From face-to-face, worldless conversations with sea turtles, to ocean bottom organisms of unparalleled color and attitude, this is finally your chance to see it all. Guides are allowed a maximum of four guests per dive, in order to provide all of the hands-on advice and attention which each traveler necessitates. There’s always a bevy of First Aid equipment available on each and every boat, courtesy of an agency that has long since understood how to properly introduce new and experienced divers to the wonders of underwater Manado.
Boats are fitted with free fruit and snacks, for the comfort and the convenience of all divers, and you’re also provided with a shaded salon, complete with seating, a sundeck, toilets, and towels! Take advantage of a prospective trek into clear waters, when you dive with Eco Divers in Manado!
Marine exploration with Eco Divers
Address: Mercure Manado Tateli Beach Resort, Jaga 2, Desa Tateli Dua, Mandolang, Tateli Satu, Mandolang, Kabupaten Minahasa, Sulawesi Utara 95661, Indonesia
Website: Eco Divers
6. Gaze upon the Tunan waterfall
Discover one of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets: the Tunan waterfall! Reaching the site will require a somewhat extensive trek, so this is one of those locations for the true adventurer. You can expect a four to five hour trek before you’re gifted with a wonderful view of the falls, but we promise that the experience is entirely worth it! Note that this experience is best encountered as a local tour, as the foliage is quite dense in some areas, and the best in local experts are more than willing to answer all of the questions you may have regarding the region. However, if you do elect to visit the waterfall without the tour package, you can make the journey in substantially less time.
The falls, the gem of Talawaan Village, are only a fifteen-minute easy walk from the trailhead. Additionally, there are a number of food stalls that are located onsite, if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, or a quick drink, without leaving the glory of the falls! We recommend that you dress warmly and with a layer of protection, given that the spray from the falls itself is often rather dense, although entirely rejuvenating.
Toilets are also available on the premises, although they are rather rudimentary in nature, so visitors to the Tunan waterfall should plan ahead, and should use another restroom before visiting. Overall, the Tunan waterfall represents one of the premiere tourist locations in all of Indonesia, renowned by both visitors and locals alike for its awe-inspiring beauty, together with ample photo opportunities!
Address: Wasian, Talawaan, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Surprising Contrast With Bunaken
You may have heard about the island of Bunaken, which is a nice place to stay in one of the resorts despite its primitive infrastructures. There are many parts of the island where you can’t go anywhere else from your resort other than to the beach, as there are no shops or restaurants on the island. However, you may have never heard that Bunaken is only about a 40-minute boat ride away from Manado city, a big city with 21st century modernity and many fun things to do. So, after landing at the airport, spend some time in Manado and have some fun!
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