The province of North Sulawesi, with Manado as its capital, is a land of magnificent coral reefs protecting virgin white beaches and mountains. The Sangir-Talaud Islands to the north of the mainland form a natural passageway to the Philippines. Today, the main industries of the province are copra and cloves. North Sulawesi has the largest concentration of coconut trees in Indonesia.
Manado’s main attraction is off-shore; the truly incredible coral reefs off nearby Bunaken Island are now a Protected Marine Park and offer some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world.
Manado is the provincial capital of North Sulawesi. This beautiful city has both scenic coastlines and a mountain range flanking its sides. Manado possesses an interesting mix of Indonesian, Filipino and Chinese cultural and architectural styles. Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport is one of several entry ports into the Indonesian archipelago. Manado’s fascinating ecotourism is its biggest attraction. Nearby Bunaken Island offers fabulous world-class scuba and snorkeling locations.
Manado Tua Island
Manado Tua Island
Manado Tua is the main island of the Manado Bay group of islands. A path to the top of Central Mountain requires several hours to climb, but the view takes in all the islands in Manado Bay. The beach is a mixture of white sand and coral formations. The reef lines the coast of Tangkoko Batuangus is a nature reserve. A permit should be obtained from the Nature Conservation Office in Manado, before heading for its reserve.
Diving in Bunaken
About half an hour by motorized outrigger canoe from Manado, Bunaken Island is a veritable paradise for snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts. The coral reef off Bunaken Island is particularly noted for the drop-off at Liang Cove. It is described by international divers as being among the most spectacular in the world, with caves, gullies, and caverns harboring an immense wealth of marine life. The water averages a pleasant 28° C and visibility is over 30 meters.
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Tasik Ria is situated about 20 kilometers southwest of Manado and has a beautiful sandy beach fringed with coconut trees and is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, diving and snorkeling. Tasik Ria seashores resort features the four-star Manado Beach Hotel, with 250 rooms, a swimming pool, bar and a night club.
Tara-Tara, 15 kilometers further southwest from Tasik Ria, this village has traditionally been the center of Minahasa culture and arts. Traditional dances enthrall visitors at Kemer Garden. There are World War II at Japanese caves at the Ranowangko Dam, and the Kemer natural bathing spot nearby in the shadow of volcano Lokon, Mount Kasehe and Mount Tatawiran.
According to Minahasa history, this is the site where the ancestors first divided up the land among the people. A famous megalithic stone here bears crude, mysterious drawings and a script which has never been deciphered. It is located in Tompanso, about 45 kilometers from Manado.
Bukit Kasih is a picturesque hill situated in the vicinity of Kanonang Village in Minahasa Regency, 55 kilometers from Manado. ‘Bukit Kasih’ or ‘Hill of Love’ is a spiritual epicenter where followers of different faiths can commune, meditate and worship in the fresh air and natural settings.
This ancient cemetery of Minahasa ancestor consists of 144 stone sarcophagi, remnants of the megalithic age. ‘Waruga’ sarcophagi are unique square stones with holes in the middle of prism shaped lids. The tombs are carved with various motifs such as human beings, plants, animals, and traditional geometric motifs of clouds, lines, curls and double braids. The cemetery is located in Sawangan Village, about 24 kilometers from Manado.
Tangkoko Natural Conservation and the unique rare animals of Tarsius
Tangkoko Natural Conservation
Mount Tangkoko Batuangus natural conservation is located in North Bitung sub district, Bitung district to preserve monkeys, endemic maleo birds and the endangered endemic species of tarcius. This 3,196hectares-natural conservation has been a meeting place of the researchers all over the world. Its biodiversity that includes manguni bird (Otus manadensis) which is the symbol of Minahasa, bear cuscus (Ailurops ursinus), small cuscus (Strigocuscus celebensis) and kangkareng (Penelopides exarrhatus). The conserved spaecies and many more.
Dumoga Bone National Park
Located on the border between two districts, approximately 260 kilometers from Manado, this park straddles Dumoga in Bolaang Mongondow and Bone in Gorontalo. Its mountains and hills are blanketed in dense forests, making it an ideal habitat for rare species like the maleo bird, anoa, hornbill and tarsius spectrum (the smallest primate in the world).
Lake Tondano – Remboken
About 36 kilometers southwest of Manado is Lake Tondano, located 600 meters above sea level. The drive to Tondano passes through charming villages and sprawling clove plantations. Situated right on the edge of the lake is the Remboken Tourist site, an excellent place for skiing, fishing and boating. Bungalows, a natural hot water swimming pool and restaurants are available.
Situated in the highlands about 900 meters above the sea level the lake is surrounded by a dense forest abound with birds.
Sparkling clean natural hot springs set in a gorgeous terraced paddy field make this a popular tourist destination. Bungalows are available at Koya village, about 3 kilometers from Tondano.
Situated at Sonder Village, about 37 kilometers from Manado, Wale Papatupan is a sumptuous tourist spot with bungalows, a swimming pool, steam bath facilities, restaurants, fish ponds, and an open stage for cultural performances. It is easily reachable from Manado by public bus or taxi.
Ban Hing Kiong Chinese Temple
According to historical records and resources, this temple is fi rst built in the city of Manado to allow the followers to practice their faith and submission to God. “Ban Hing Kiong” means “Fully Blessed Palace”. This temple was once damaged by the bombing of the Japanese in World War II ion 7 September 1944 and also was caught up in fi re on 14 March 1970. This 1819-construction was renovated in 1854-1859 and then in 1895-1902. After the 1970-fi re incident, this temple was rebuilt in 1971-1975. At present this temple also serves as religious tourism object which attract both the local and the foreign tourists.
Japanese War Memorial
Bitung played an important part in the Pacific Wars of WWII as the home base for Japanese imperial forces. The Japanese and North Sulawesi governments jointly founded this monument in honor of the fallen.
Liang Beach is situated in the western side of Bunaken Island. If Bunaken is quite crowded, this beach is relatively deserted. This beach has a comfortable resort for the divers. Diving equipment plus the internationally-certified instructors are widely offered in this area. To stay here you can opt for some alternatives like Froggie Divers, Bastianos Resort and Cottages and Sulawesi Dive Quest.
Still in the Bunaken Island and not far from Liang Beach, this beach boasts amazing diving spot facilitated with clean water, electricity, western style bathrooms and toilets, comfortable mattress with mosquito nets and fans, internet access, open bars and restaurants. These are the resorts already operating: Bastiano’s, Bunaken Village, Cha Cha, Daniel’s Home stay, Panorama, Scubana Dive and the latest one is Mc Dive Bunaken.
This tiny but exquisite island is bordered by white-sand beaches perfect for swimming, boating, snorkeling, diving, and water skiing.
This island is located in the northeastern side of Bunaken Island and it takes 45 minutes from the Port of Manado with sea transportation. On this island the tourists can enjoy the sea park in glass boat (katamaran), snorkeling, diving, undersea photography, sunbathing and coastal picnic. This island has glass boat, diving center, cottages and café.
Typical Local Food of North Sulawesi
Typical food of North Sulawesi is the widely popular Tinutuan or Midal (a vegetable porridge). In the Minahasa area, there are significant numbers of typical food that are not found in the other part of Indonesia. The Minahasa people are quite known for their quite interesting habit to consume uncommon animal’s meat like dog meat (locally known as rintek wuuk or in short RW), snake meat and bat meat. For the people in coastal area they have signature food called cakalang fufu or smoked cakalang (resemble to tuna fish).