Travel Guide

North Sulawesi Tourism Manado Travel Guide Tourist Attractions

North Sulawesi Tourism

Manado is the capital of the North Sulawesi Province of Indonesia and it has estimated to have been resided since XVI century and was called "Wenang". Later, in 1623 the name was changed into "Manado". Geographical location and position of North Sulawesi is in most northern region of the country, and directly adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.

The people of North Sulawesi can be classified into four groups; Minahasa, Bolaang Mongondow, Gorontalo (now become the province of Gorontalo) and the Sangir Talaud. A majority of the population belong to the Minahasa people, with a language much like Philippine. The Minahasans historically and culturally has strong ties to the Philippines due to its geographical location which allow movement of people and languages, their dialects are related to that of filipino languages. There is also a large group of Chinese in the city. The entire city was wiped out during an earthquake in 1844, and was built up from scratch by the Dutch, after this it was known as one of the prettiest towns in all of South East Asia. This is maybe not true today, but Manado is still nice and clean and the population here have some of the highest living standard in Indonesia.

Portuguese traders were the first Western to come in contact with the people of North Sulawesi in 16th century, notably, the Minahasans were very welcoming to the western, especially the Dutch whom they asks during the mid-17th century to expelled the spaniards out of North Sulawesi. From the beginning of the Dutch occupation in 1679 until the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the Dutch monopolized the spice trade and governed North Sulawesi.

North Sulawesi is a land of magnificent coral reefs protecting, mountains and active volcanoes, reminding the islanders and the world of the potential power of one of the earth's most awesome forces. It is a land of vast coconut plantations fringed along the coastline, which is why the area is also known as "Bumi Nyiur Melambai" (The Land of Waving Coconut Palms).

Manado has no large attractions by itself, except for an interesting museum and an old Buddhist temple from the 19th century, the oldest of it's kind in eastern Indonesia. A colorful festival is held here every February. The city are also full of monuments in memory of Minahasian and Indonesian heroes. Manado is a great starting point for expeditions to the beautiful landscape in this region, and has several good facilities for visitors, like hotels, resort accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. This part of Indonesia is famous for it's brilliant diving conditions, and divers from all over the world come here. The most famous spot is the corral reefs around Bunaken Island, a marine reserve just a short boat trip from Manado. You can also take a diving course here. The reserve consists of Manado Tua, a volcano that can be seen from Manado, Nain and the Mantehage islands, Siladen Island and Bunaken Island. Another attraction is the lovely Lake Tondano (altitude 600 m), south east of the city. This is a very popular area for hiking and Sunday picnics among the local population.

North Sulawesi Manado tourism travel guide and tourist attractions popular destinations can be enumerated as follow :

Minahasa Highland.

The name of the land of Minahasa has been changed several times: Batacina-Malesung-Minaesa and then finally the current name Minahasa, meaning "becoming one united". This name dates from the war against the Kingdom of Bolaang Mangondow. In 670, North Sulawesi never developed any large empire. In North Sulawesi the leaders of the different tribes, who all spoke different languages, met by a stone known as Watu Pinawetengan. There they founded a community of independent states, who would form one unit and stay together and would fight any outside enemies if they were attacked.
The name Minahasa itself arose at the time the Minahasans fought against Bolaang Mangondow. Among the Minahasan heroes in these wars against Bolaang Mangondow are: Porong, Wenas, Dumanaw and Lengkong (in the war near Lilang village), Gerungan, Korengkeng, Walalangi (near Panasen, Tondano), Wungkar, Sayow, Lumi, and Worotikan (in the war along Amurang Bay).
These are the nine subethnic groups in Minahasa (which explains the number 9 in Manguni Maka-9): Tonsea, Tombulu, Tontemboan, Tondano, Tonsawang, Pasan Ratahan, Ponosakan, Babontehu and Bantik. Until the dominance of Dutch influence in the 17th and 18th century the Minahassans lived in warrior societies that practised headhunting.
Minahasa Raya is the area covering Bitung City, Manado City and MInahasa Regency, which are three of the seven regional administrations in the province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Manado City.

Manado a large city with a population now topping half a million residents. The city of Manado may have lost some of its colonial character and charm, but still delivers on tourist attractions, being home to the Museum Negeri Propinsi Sulawesi Utara and the historic of Ban Hin Kiong Chinese Temple.

Bunaken National Marine Park.

Like the Manado coastline, Bunaken Island is characterized by clear waters, beaches and stunning drop-offs. The world famous Bunaken Marine National Park has very deep water bodies. The depth is 1,566 m in Manado Bay and the clear waters afford a visibility of 35 to 40 meters. The temperature here is a mild 27 ° C to 29 ° C. One of the most remarkable dive sites in the world is the Bunaken Coral Reef with an area 75.26 hectares, is located very close to Manado and comprices of 5 island: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, Mantehage, and Nain. The superb diving and snorkeling sites puts the Marine Park in one of the Top 10 dive area and its ideal for experience divers or beginner divers. Glass-bottom boat cruises around Bunaken are also always a popular attraction with tourists ...

Siladen Island.

The Siladen Island is located to the right of Bunaken Island and is surrounded by picturesque white sandy beaches filled with shells. It offers great diving for experienced divers and snorkeling for non-divers. To those who feel the need to escape from civilization, this tranquil place offer nice opportunity for diving, snorkeling, fishing, and sunbath.

Manado Tua Island.

This island is the main island of its sister island group: Bunaken,Siladen,Mentehage and Nain, located just off Manado bay. The path to the top takes several hours to climb, but it offers a nice view of island of Manado bay. Superb for diving and snorkeling.


Waruga lies in Sawangan village, Airmadi sub-district, Minahasa district and it is an ancient material culture indicating the special characteristics of North Sulawesi people. It is a coffin made of stone that is used to put the dead body of North Sulawesi people. It consists of the body and the cover. The dead body is put within the body of Waruga, which has cube shape, in a squatting position. It portrays that dead person will be back to God in the same position as he was in the womb. This philosophy is commonly called by inhabitants with Whom. Visiting waruga means observing the incredible heritages of North Sulawesi. It is the most famous stone coffin among the other stone coffin graveyards in the North Sulawesi. Observing the ornate carvings on the Waruga will amaze. It is finely carved with some motives such as plants, animals, and traditional geometric motifs. You can find some famous handicrafts and the traditional clothes of Minahasa in this area.


The town of Tomohon lies about 24 km from Manado and is at an altitude of about 700 meters above sea level. It is located between Mount Lokon and Mount Mahawu, and has a very cool temperature of about 20 °C. It is a great place to cool off after the warm air of Manado. The land surrounding the village is flower bedecked with varios types of flowers. Every year, the Tomohon Flower Festival is held and attracts thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. Tomohon is really a paradise, especially for flowers beauty lovers. The city also offers enchanting panorama.

Lake Linow.

The Lake Linow is a beautiful but rather strange lake. It can change colors! The waters of the lake sometimes look blue, sometimes green, and sometimes red. Located of the Lake Linow lies in Tomohon city, Minahasa Regency. The lakeside is a lovely place to relax. Lake Linau is a unique lake for its high level of sulphur content that cause it tends to turn its color based on the viewing perspective and the lighting angle of the sun. There are numerous endemic faunas like Blibis birds and insects called “Sayok” or “Komo.” Those winged insects living in the water are consumed by the inhabitants around the lake.
Besides the panoramic view of surrounding area, Lake Linau has special characteristics as the tendency to turn its color because of the high level of sulphur content. That is the beauty of the lake that will amaze you by watching it from different viewing perspectives. However, you must be careful of a deep heat mud in the lakeside.


Woloan is the oldest village in Tomohon. Being the oldest village, some of the people preserve the tradition of building houses. Wooden house is typical to traditional house for people in North Celebes. This wooden house is special because it is knockdown house too, meaning that the house will be built in the production area and after it is finished, it will be knocked down and send to the client's place and rebuilt the house there, either permanently or not. This type of house is good because it works well for earthquake.

Japanese Caves.

Built during World War II by the Japanese, these caves are located between the two charming countryside villages of Kawangkoan and Kiawa. The caves were mostly used to store supplies during the war and defenses against a possible allied invasion, and as arsenals.

Lake Tondano.

Lake Tondano offers blend a beautiful natural mountain and fragrance water disquisition. It is a perfect beauty that rarely found anywhere. Pleasure at this lake becomes more perfect when you taste a variety of local culinary. Tondano Lake located in Minahasa, Province of North Sulawesi and the distance is about 35 kilometers southwest of Manado.
The area of Lake Tondano reaches 4,278 hectares. It is the widest lake in North Sulawesi. Located at 600 meters above sea level made the lake area is packed cool. The atmosphere is typical mountainous with water views unfold. It is a calm nuance.
At the edge of the lake, you can rail the top of Lembean Hill and see beauty of Maluku Sea towards east, precisely in the area of Tondano Pante. On Every November, Tondano Lake Festival is held by resident. Dynamic culture of Minahasa always presented such as Maengket Dance, Katrili, Tumatenden, and Pisok Danse. The unique traditional music instrument called kolintang that made of bamboo also presented together with bia traditional music, and attractions of traditional boats race.
This lake also rich with some consumption animals like fresh water fish called mujair and gabus, shrimp, and small fish which is called nike by local residents. Fish is a typical dish in many restaurants there. One of the special dish is roasted fish. There are also typical food of Minahasa namely Dabudabu.

Tangkoko National Park.

The Tangkoko National Park is located on the slopes of Mount Dua Saudara. It is situated to the north of Bitung and is a few hours away from Manado. Tangkoko National Park comprised of rolling hills and valleys with a variety of hardwood trees and unusual plant life. The lush green hills and valleys that make up the landscape of the nature reserve offer some exceptionally beautiful views. This ancient rainforest is packed with striking fauna and flora. Some of the more common fauna found here include anoa, black apes, cuscus, hornbill, Tarsius Spectrum (world's smallest primate/the smallest monkey in the world), black tailess monkeys, Maleo Birds, Wild pigs and kuskus (marsupial family).

Lokon and Mahawu Volcanoes (Rurukan Village).

Mount Lokon (1.580 m) and Mahawu (1.311 m), both have crater lakes of considerable beauty, duck-egg blue and smoking. Lokon is usually considered to be more beautiful of the two, but right now it is to risky to there since there was a warning from local government. Mt Mahawu is ok and normally they walk from Rurukan Village. It takes only 1 hour walking from Rurukan Village to the top of Mt. Mahawu. Walking condition is good, you are welcome to do trekking in this mountain.

Ban Hin Kiong Temple.

This 19th century temple, the oldest in east Indonesia, is the worship place of Chinese Buddhist believers. The temple is located on Jl. Panjaitan in the center of the city. During Toa Peh Kong each February, a traditional Chinese parade dating from the 14th century is held.

Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park.

The National Park, 260 km from Manado, has a land mass of 193,600 ha, altitudes of 200 - 1,968 m and stretches from Dumoga in Bolaang Mongondow to Bone in Gorontalo. Its mountainous terrain and dense vegetation make it an ideal home for maleo birds, anoas, horn-bills, wild pigs, tarsius spectrum and giant fruit bats. Giant fruit bats were a new species discovered in 1992. The major reason for establishing this area as a National Park was to protect the watershed and stop deforestation. The World Bank has lent its support to this program. Much of the forest is at comparatively low attitudes and correspondingly rich in fruit bearing plants and trees, such as wild durians and wild nutmeg.

Bukit Kasih.

The Bukit Kasih Monument it new tourism objects located at Kanonang Village, Minahasa regency, it is a sulfur hill that is still natural. In this place, your love will raise. There stood five places of worship of the five religions that grown in Indonesia. Bukit Kasih is built as a monument of religious harmony and brotherhood indeed. You have to climb thousands of stairs. At the top of the hill you will see that five houses of worship that closely stand each other. From there you will also see the beautiful panorama of Minahasa.

Bitung and Lembeh Strait.

The reputation of Lembeh Strait as a mecca for divers interested in odd and rare macro fauna continues to grow. Visitors coming during different times of the year are treated to a variety of seasonal deslights. June brings a mixed blessing, being when the south-east monsoon winds begin. While these winds don't effect the generally placid waters on the Bunaken side of North Sulawesi, these winds that appear daily at mid morning on the Bitung side can bring choppy waters at unprotected dive sites in the strait until September when the monsoon abates until the next year. But on the positive side there is much to reward intrepid divers beneath the surface. One of the most sought-after macro subjects, ornate ghost pipefish, move into the shallows to breed, exhibiting a rainbow of color combinations to delight those who find them hiding amongst the arms of feather stars or alongside sea fan ...

Sangihe and Talaud Island.

Sangihe and Talaud Island is sometimes is not easy. Sangihe and Talaud Island are a chain of islands stretching North Sulawesi in the direction of the Mindanao Island - Philippines, includes the three clusters, which is Tatoareng Cluster, Cluster Sangihe, and Cluster Border. There are many active volcanoes here and a very fertile soil. The total land area is 813 sq. km, population about 240.000. The largest islands are Sangihe, Siau, Biaro and Tahulandang ...

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