If you want to see what life is like in a relatively big city in Indonesia, this is your chance! Manado has developed rapidly for the last 5 years. The city center with many shopping malls, nice hotels, restaurants and other entertainment businesses around the seashore of Manado bay attracts many people. The city is perhaps the favorite East Indonesian city for local people to come spend their money for leisure.
You might not be particularly interested in visiting cities when on holidays but if you need to go Manado anyway, you can visit:
- Pasar 45 and Manado harbour
Pasar 45 used to be the heart of Manado city, but nowadays the shopping mall area in Boulevard is regarded as the city centre. However, you can still see the authentic Manado around this area with small stores, little flea markets, Jalan Roda (traditional outdoor coffee shops), and Manado harbour that services mid-sized ships going to Gorontalo or the Sangir Talaud Archipelago, as well as small boats going to nearby islands such as Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen and Mantehage. Close to the harbour you can visit colourful Ban Hin Kiong, the oldest Buddhist temple in East Indonesia.
- Boulevard shopping mall area
Manado Boulevard which runs along the shore of Manado bay is the busiest area of the city and well known for its sunset views, shopping malls, hotels, seafood restaurant and other entertainment.
IT Center Mall – Specializes in selling headphones, laptops, cameras, and other electronics. The food court on top floor offers great view over the sea and the entire Boulevard shopping area.
Mega Mall – There is a great coffee shop here called Excellso. Gelael supermarket with delicious food court on base floor, Matahari department store, Haha cafe and disco, Bread talk bakery, Hair & Beauty salon (Johnny Andrean and Yopi offers a hair cut at very affordable prices), shoes/bags/clothing shops like Rottelli, Everbest, Giordano, Planet surf and many other. Pizza and KFC restaurant. Outside the Mega mall building you will also find delicious seafood restaurants by the seashore and other Indonesian restaurants. There is also a McDonalds restaurant 🙂 and karaoke. Here you also find Pohon Kasih (Love tree): lights ornaments arrangement for Christmas and New Year, Ramadhan, Easter, Chinese New Year.
Manado Town Square – The favorite mall for young people. There is a nice cinema (Cinema 21 with price range of 4-5 euro per person, English movies are with Indonesian subtitles. Movies schedule can be checked at www.21cineplex.com). Score (pub, bar, disco). Timezone (playground for kids and teenagers, very noisy here), karaoke, restaurant (Pizza, Kawan Baru, Solaria, etc.), Hair & Beauty salon (Johnny Andrean and Yopi offerhair cuts with prices starting at 5 euro), shoes/bags/clothing shops like Rottelli, Everbest, Giordano, Planet surf and many other. Hypermart supermarket, Sports shops, bookstore, and many others.
Bahu Mall – Similar to Mega Mall. Additional are some spa, bridal hair beauty salon, and delicious seafood restaurant stalls.
From simple culinary/food stalls selling fried banana, grilled corn, Bubur Manado, ikan bakar grilled fish, dabu dabu… and many nice seafood restaurant by the sea.
- Citraland water park
A bit outside Manado centre, the only amusement park in Manado. Fun for kids. It is located in the upscale residential area in Manado where the statue of Yesus Memberkati Manado is build.
Distance from Bitung is about 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the traffic. On weekend or public holidays be prepared for traffic jams everywhere in Manado city centre (Paal dua, Pasar 45, Boulevard area).
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN MANADO
The typical local food is seafood and dabu-dabu (chili sauce), pisang goreng, Bubur Manado, Tinutuan, Nasi goreng ikan asin (fried rice with dry salted fish flakes), and bush-meat you may not want to try :). Typical cooking style are: Woku (cooked with many healthy herbs and fresh lime), bakar rica (grilled with chili spices) and santan (coconut milk curry). Our suggestions for nice restaurants that serve delicious seafood, have beautiful outdoor settings with sea view, a nice interior and friendly staff would be: Big Fish Restaurant, City Extra Restaurant, The Bandar, and Wisata Bahari. If you don’t have enough time to go to the restaurants mention above, you can look around at some good food stalls behind all malls at the seashore area, they also serve fresh seafood. Often you can choose the fish you want to order yourself. If you prefer some fast food of course there is McD, KFC, Pizza hut, etc.
Price: 3 persons, per person: 550.000, 2 sharing, per person: 750.000, single 1.400.000
Includes: Boat transfer, car + driver, guide, water + soft drinks