10x what to do in Manado

While you won’t find many attractions in Manado, there is more than enough to do in the surrounding area, aside from shopping in one of the gigantic shopping malls.

1. Diving

Diving, diving, and more diving. If you’re a bit of a diving enthusiast, chances are Bunaken National Park is already on your wishlist. It’s a diverse paradise, from giant coral walls to unique muck dives. Diving in Bunaken is truly fantastic and suitable for beginners to advanced divers. Most people bring their own dive gear, so make sure to choose a dive center where you can rent equipment. Usually, this costs around 20 euros per day. We dove with Celebes Divers, highly professional, and they dive from Manado and Siladen (Near Bunaken). During our dives, we saw dozens of turtles, sharks, pipefish, frogfish, stonefish, and much more. We even saw a Dugong (Indian manatee) swimming by. Definitely a must!

Tip! Book an overnight stay at Kuda Laut. Beautiful place and a professional dive center.

2. Snorkeling and Island Hopping

If you’re absolutely sure you don’t want to dive, you can still enjoy beautiful snorkeling in the area. Usually, you go on a dive boat, providing a peaceful spot for snorkeling. Due to the mild currents in most places, you hardly need to do anything. Just float and enjoy.

3. Island Hopping to Bunaken Island or Siladen Island

If you prefer not to be in the water, try island hopping. Visit, for example, Siladen Island and spend a relaxing day on the beach.

4. Dolphin Trip

We were so excited about diving that we unfortunately didn’t have time for the dolphin trip. However, I couldn’t leave this out. One after another, people at our resort came with stories about hundreds of dolphins at once. The images were truly magical. A bit regretful that we didn’t do it ourselves. So, if you have time, definitely do it.

5. Tangkoko National Park

From Manado, you can book a day trip to Tangkoko National Park. It takes a little over 2 hours from Manado, but then you suddenly find yourself in the jungle. And not just any jungle. In Tangkoko National Park, you’ll find many rare animals, such as the adorable tarsier (ghost animal) and black macaques. You can also spot the kuskus bear and hornbills here. If you choose to stay around in the evening, the bird spiders come out. We didn’t find the jungle very spectacular, but the animals you can spot are definitely worth it. Tangkoko National Park is a MUST if you’re in North Sulawesi.

Read also the article about Tangkoko

6. Tomohon

Within an hour’s drive from chaotic Manado, you’ll reach Tomohon, a completely different world. Around Tomohon, you’ll find a volcanic area called the Minhasa region. It’s the place for hikes and volcano climbs. The hiking trails are relatively easy and accessible to everyone.

You’ll also find a volcanic lake in the area; Danau Linow. The lake has beautiful colors that change from time to time.

If you’re looking for some cooling off, there are several waterfalls where you can take a dip. But what Tomohon is perhaps best known for is its macabre market. Here, they sell literally everything. People with a weak stomach or true animal lovers might want to skip the meat section. Not only will you find rats, snakes, chickens, goats, buffaloes, and pigs, but also, for example, live dogs. People in this area eat literally everything, and you can find everything on this market. Definitely a unique sight and a must-see for many. However, we skipped the market.

Read also the article Sulawesi Route

7. Cinema

Movie lovers, take note, because in Manado, you have an awesome cinema. It might sound like a bit of a quirky to-do item, but as a true movie lover, this is really a must. The cinemas here are incredibly cheap and truly luxurious.

8. Shop till you drop Baby

Fashionistas and souvenir hunters, pay attention because in Manado, you can shop wonderfully. You have all the major brands and more here. Dive into one of the many shopping malls and go wild. We’re not really shoppers, but we secretly played a game in a game hall.

9. Go wild in the Karaoke Bar

Karaoke is really hip here. Find a karaoke bar with a group and sing along to 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 restaurant and someone suddenly starts singing along to a K-pop song. We speak from experience.

10. A visit to the Boulevard

Manado has a small boulevard with various eateries and food trucks. Chances are you’re the only tourist here. You’ll find mostly trendy young people enjoying a coffee.

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