Located in North of Sulawesi, Manado is best known for its scuba diving attraction in Bunaken National Park. Besides its tempting Manado local food you should try, it is also a unique and most tolerant city in Indonesia where you can find some most influential churches in the province.
To reach Manado, you can fly to Sam Ratulangi International Airport from any other cities in Indonesia. Eventually, as the Sulawesi's second-largest city, it has more adventure to do in Manado beyond diving.
Hike to the monument of 'Christ Blessing'
As Asia's 2nd tallest and the world's 4th tallest statue of Christ, this statue of Jesus Christ stands 50 meters (164 ft.) tall, consisting of 20 meters (66 ft.) of the pedestal and 30 meters (98 ft.) of the statue. It took three years to construct and was completely built-in in 2010. While it sits on a 20-degree slope facing the Manado city, it looks like Jesus is blessing the people of Manado, and became the "first flying tallest statue in the world". To get to the statue, you can climb up the 200 stairs to the monument – it is definitely one of the things to do in Manado.
Visit the temples
One of the temples you should visit in Manado is the Ban Hing Kiong Buddhist temple located in Panjaitan Road, the center of the Chinese population in downtown Manado. As the oldest temple in Eastern Indonesia built during the Qing Dynasty in China, this temple holds an annual festival called "The Toa Peh Kong" (or Cap Go Meh) around Chinese New Year. In this festival, you can witness special performances of Barongsai (lion and dragon dancers), Ince Pia (body immunity performance), Pikulan (colorfully decorated palanquins carrying religious symbols), Kuda Lo Cia or Cakalele and Kebesaran (both are local Minahasa special dances on important occasions).
You can also visit another unique temple of Pagoda Ekayana (Vihara Buddhayana Tomohon) in Tomohon, where you can see the 9-level pagoda and 18 arhats or monk statues, surrounded by the peaceful atmosphere of the nice garden and Chinese style structures. It is one of the things to do in Manado while you visit Tomohon city.
Discover some waterfalls
Another adventure things to do in Manado is to discover some waterfalls, which one of the beautiful ones is Tunan Waterfall in Talawaan Village. With 86 meters (282 ft.) high, the Tunan Waterfall is surrounded by a natural forest and can be reached within 30 minutes by car, then 15 minutes easy walk from the trailhead.
Kali Waterfall or Ratahan Telu Waterfall is another amazing waterfall you might not want to miss. This attraction has three different waterfalls close to one another with 20-60 meters (66 - 197 ft.) high. It can be reached within 30 minutes drive from Manado, then 20-30 minutes walk through a dirt road under the shady trees.
Explore nature conservation and national park
One interesting nature park to explore is the Tangkoko Nature Reserve conservation area in Mount Tangkoko in the district of Bitung, can be reached around one hour drive from Manado. This lush green rainforest offers some awesome view as the home for some exotic fauna and flora, such as anoa, black tailless monkeys, tarsier known as the smallest primate in the world, kuskus (marsupials), hornbill, maleo birds, wild pig, deer, etc.
For other options, you can also visit the Batuputih Nature Park covering the 615 hectares (1520 acres) area of savanna and beach, or the Tandurusa Zoological Park located in the subdistrict of Aertembaga in Bitung.
Chilling by the lake
- Another interesting thing to do in Manado is visiting some beautiful lakes surrounding this region, including:
- Linow Lake is a nice place to chill, with changing lake colors, which occasionally turn to Prussian blue, dark green, or even a striking red due to its varying chemical compositions.
- Tondano Lake, the most famous tourist destination, is sitting 600 meters (656 yards) above sea levels in Remboken Village – about 3 km (1.86 miles) from Tomohon or 30 km (18.64 miles) from Manado. Surrounded by caldera rim and the east side and rice fields on the west, this lake is the second largest lake in Indonesia, covering the area of 4.278 hectares (10.5 acres).
Visit the traditional markets
Strolling around the traditional local markets is always a good way to see and feel the locals' life. One of the unique markets around Manado is the one located in Tomohon city called Tomohon Beriman Market, where you can see the extreme and exotic meats cooked and consumed by the locals, such as dogs, cats, bats, rats, snakes, monkeys, etc. It is quite unusual so it could be disturbing for some people outside the region.
Trekking the mounts
Another adventure thing to do in Manado is trekking to the craters of Mount Mahawu located in the east of Lokon-Empung Mountain. To reach it, you can start from Tomohon to Rurukan, and walk along the path and reach the summit on about 1.324 meters (0.82 miles) above sea level – where the peak is green, not sandy. It is a relatively gentle mountain for beginners and can be reached within an hour of trekking.
Another option is Mount Tumpa, which is located in Tongkaina Village, on the north side of Manado. It can be reached in less than an hour to go up to 750 meters above sea level, featuring the scenic lush green landscape overlooking the Manado city.
See the local craftmanship
There are some places around Manado you can visit to see the local craftsmanship, such as the pottery in Pulutan Village or the wooden houses in Woloan Village.