About Manado

About Manado

Manado is one of the world’s most applaud dive destinations in the world with more than 70% of all the fish species in Indo-Western Pacific can be found in this region. Undoubtedly, one of the leading dive destinations in terms of marine biodiversity.

  • Manado

    Manado city is the capital of North Sulawesi, a province of Indonesia. The economy of the city was previously driven by trades with nearby cities in Indonesia and Philippines. As time goes by, ecotourism took lead in bringing economic growth to the city. Scuba diving and snorkelling in 30 over diving sites in Bunaken National Marine Park. On top of that, Manado is also the gateway to Lembeh Straits, one of the leading muck diving sites in the world, ideal place for macro divers. It is a place not to be missed by divers who are into different types of diving.

    Manado’s most popular dive sites include Mandolin, Timur and Siladen where the biodiversity of marine life is rich. On top of that, due to the regular visits by divers, the marine life at these sites are used to divers maneuvering around them making it easy for divers to take down beautiful shots with their cameras.

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    Besides diving, nature attractions in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, and cultural sites in the Minahasa Highland are prime areas for tourism activities. The diving and non-diving activities make it an ideal destination for divers visiting with their non-diving family members.

    Although there are several dive resorts and hotels in this area, visitors are encouraged to make reservations for their stay prior to arriving. This is to prevent disappointment when the resorts and hotels are fully packed during peak seasons.

    In terms of shopping, Manado may not be the best place to go for a shopping spree as there are only two big shopping malls here, Mega Mall and Bahu Mall. Although their range of products are not comparable to major shopping malls in Jakarta or Bali, the two shopping malls have shops and restaurants (including KFC and Pizza Hut) that will be able to meet all the basic requirements of visitors during their stay here.

    Manado is also 90 minutes away (on car) from another city of North Sulawesi, Bitung, located at the east coast of North Sulawesi and faces Pulau Lembeh. Lembeh is another famous dive site in Asia, known for its muck diving.

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  • History

    The culture, religion and building architecture in Manado are mostly influenced by the Dutch when Dutch East India Company built a fortress in the capital during 1650s. Almost 70% of the population is Christian because of the widespread of Christianity by the Dutch missionaries during that time.

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    It prospered mainly through trades with the nearby cities in Philippines and was one of the suppliers of spices to rest of the world. During World War II, the city was heavily damaged by the bombings and a number of tall buildings were brought down at that time. The city was also damaged during the Permesta rebel movement in 1958 by the Indonesian government.

    Despite the damages brought by war and rebel movement, the city still prospers today, largely attributed by the beautiful diving destinations (Pulau Bunaken, Pulau Siladen etc.) nearby.

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  • Getting to Manado & Around

    Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport is linked directly to Jakarta and Singapore by Lion Air and SilkAir respectively. The airport also serves other domestic flights from Balikpapan, Surabaya, Makassar, Ternate, Denpasar/Bali, Timika, Sorong, Merauke, Jayapura and Bilu.

    From the airport to Manado city, there are two types of land transport to choose from, Oplet or taxi. Oplet is a public transport (mini van) that charges between IDR 1,500 and IDR 5,000 per person for transportation from the airport to the city. The taxi charge to city will normally cost around IDR 50,000 to 60,000. The journey from the airport to city will take about 30 minutes. For comfort and safety reasons, foreign visitors are encouraged to take the taxi from airport.

    Visitors can choose to stay at the accommodations in Manado. Boat ride from Manado to Bunaken takes about 50 minutes, and 30 minutes from Manado to Siladen.

    Depending on the arrangement with the accommodations you are staying in, the transportation from airport to the accommodation can be free.

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    The following table lists down the flights arrival at Manado. For the air transfers’ rates between Manado and the country of origin, you may visit https://www.wego.com/ and check out the list of flights available and their respective rates.

    Manado arrival flights
    Garuda Indonesia departing daily from Jakarta, arriving Manado at 12:50, 23:30 and 09:10 local time.
    Lion Air departing daily from Jakarta, arriving Manado at 23:05, 09:10 and 14:00 local time.
    Batavia Air departing daily from Jakarta, arriving Manado at 20:30 and 12:50 local time.
    Silk Air departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Singapore, arriving Manado at 13:05 local time.
    Merpati Nusantara Airlines departing on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Jayapura, arriving Manado between 15:00 and 18:00 local time.
    Manado departure flights
    Garuda Indonesia departing daily for Jakarta at 13:30, 07:00 and 10:30 local time.
    Lion Air departing daily for Jakarta at 06:55, 09:50, 14:45 local time.
    Batavia Air departing daily for Jakarta at 07:00, 13:35 local time.
    Silk Air departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for Singapore at 13:45 local time.
    Merpati Nusantara Airlines departing on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for Jayapura 04:45 local time.

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    The land and sea transfers are inclusive in all the diver and non-diver packages with any of the Manado Resorts.

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    The land and sea transfers are inclusive in all the diver and non-diver packages with any of the Manado Resorts.

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    Direct transfer from the Airport to the resort is available daily. The transfer time between the Airport and the resorts ranges from 25 minutes to an hour. No transit accommodation is needed in Manado. For transit accommodation in Jakarta, you may visit AsiaRooms to check out a comprehensive list of accommodations available.

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  • Useful Information

  • Climate

    North Sulawesi enjoys a typical equatorial climate. The rainy reason starts from November and ends in March but as compared to other parts of Southeast Asia, Sulawesi is less affected by the monsoon winds thus travellers can visit this place all year round. During the rainy season, the temperature varies from 23 to 30 degrees Celsius, and during the dry season, temperature varies from 23 to 31 degrees Celsius. The humidity level averages around 80%.

  • Currency

    The currency used locally is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). US Dollars (USD) and Singapore Dollars (SGD) are widely accepted in Indonesia, however, be prepared to be shortchanged in terms of exchange rate when using foreign currency to pay for goods.

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    The number of banks, ATMs and money exchangers in Manado are relatively less as compared to major Indonesian cities such as Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya. For visitors arriving from other parts of Indonesia, it is advised to load up on IDR first elsewhere. For visitors arriving from other countries, it is advised to stock up on IDR before departing for Indonesia. For visitors exchanging currency in Indonesia, be careful during the transaction as some money changers may attempt to distract you when counting the notes and shortchange the amount given to you. As a precaution, pay only when you check through the amount with the notes in your hand.

    Credit cards are accepted in major cities but do be careful of cloning and fraud issues. Visa and Mastercard are relatively more accepted than American Express.

    Foreign visitors are allowed to bring in IDR not exceeding IDR 50,000,000 each. If the amount is exceeded, they must be declared during in-processing at the customs.

    Foreign visitors are allowed to bring out IDR not exceeding IDR 5,000,000 each. If the amount is exceeded, they must be declared during in-processing at the customs. If you are sure that you want to bring in/out cash exceeding the stated limits, prior written permission can be obtained from Indonesian Central Bank, https://www.bi.go.id.

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  • Electricity

    The electricity is supplied at 220V, 50 Hz. The power plug used is Shuko Euro plug, a two round pin plug with no earth or ground pin. However, some of the resorts use British Standard BS 1363 which requires use of a three-wire grounded and fused plug for all connections to the power mains (requires plug with three rectangular prongs that form a triangular pattern). Guests are advised to bring along international plug converters.

  • Time Zone

    The time zone for Manado, Indonesia is GMT+8.

  • Telecommunications

    For foreign visitors, there are three ways to make phone calls in Manado. The first way is through Wartel (under Warung Telkom), a shop that provides public phones for customers to use. The second way is to buy a prepaid card (by local service providers – simPATI, Kartu As, Mentari) and used it in your GSM mobile phone. The third way is to use the auto-roaming service through your home country’s service provider and make phone calls directly from your mobile phone.

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    The third option is the most expensive option and it is not advisable to make overseas phone calls due to the expensive charge rates. For foreign visitors using the first option, it is advisable to keep tabs of the price meter when making phone calls.

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  • Immigration

    Foreign visitors will have to ensure that their passports are valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival otherwise the immigration may deny your admission. For foreign visitors arriving on/for tourist visa, it is required to show the onward ticket or return ticket, and a tourist card will be issued at the custom. The tourist card has to be kept and returned at the custom during departure.

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    On 1 August 2005, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia implemented the Visa on Arrival Policy. Foreign visitors will be able to apply for visa at a special payment counter in the international airport during arrival before going to the immigration clearance desk. Following are the three different categories of tourist visa that apply after the policy has been implemented:

    30 days visa free entry – This is granted to the passport holders of the following countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hongkong Special Administrative Region, Macao, Morocco, Peru, The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam and Chile.

    30 days visa on arrival at USD 25 per person – This applies to the passport holders of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, The United Kingdom, The United States of America and United Arab Emirates. Cash is the only accepted form of payment.

    Note that the 30 days visa starts from the day of arrival till the day of departure, in other words, visitors will have to leave on the 30th day. All visas are non-extendible unless for special circumstances such as natural disasters, accident, illness, medical, otherwise there will be legal charges.

    It is recommended that all visitors contact their nearest Indonesian embassy or Indonesian consulate and enquire on the documentation needed for visiting Indonesia as regulations are subject to changes.

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  • Useful Contacts

    Dive Asia NOW!

    +65 6536 6532

    Emergency Service Numbers:

    999 – Ambulance, Civil Defence, Fire or Police

    Manado Hospital

    Tel: +62 431 853191

  • Manado Frequently Asked Questions

    You’ve come to the right place! Here you will find a list of Manado’s most frequently asked questions.

    Just ask if you can’t find what you are looking for. We will be most glad to answer your questions! No bookings with us is required.

  • When is the best diving season in Manado?

    You can dive in Manado all year round. Overall, the best conditions at Bunaken Marine Park is from April to October, especially July and September. Visibility averages at 25m and may go beyond 30m on some days. January to March can see some unsettled weather and a decrease in visibility.

    Other than Bunaken, where else can I dive at?

    There are two popular nearby dive destinations which you can visit, Lembeh Straits and Bangka Straits. Both are well known for muck diving. Additional surcharges may apply for diving in these areas. It is recommended to find at least a group of 4 divers to go together in order to bring down the surcharges.

    How easy it is to get a flight to Manado?

    The two main transit cities to Manado are Singapore and Jakarta. SilkAir operates the route between Singapore and Manado, and flies only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is recommended to get your flights early as the tickets are very limited and often increases to S$1,200+ for business class. The average economy airfare is S$400+.

    There are more options to choose from if you are flying via Jakarta. However, most of the airlines are not stable and the schedules are often delayed. This often cause problems when the flights are transiting in other areas such as Makassar, causing passengers to miss the second flight.

    What is the common language in Manado?

    In Manado, the locals speak Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia. However, most of the dive and resort operators are foreigners who can converse in English fluently.

    Is there internet at the resort?

    Yes, there is internet at Cocotinos Resort, Tasik Ria Resort and La Rascasse Resort. Dive Asia Now screens partnering resort carefully, ensuring that they are well equipped and facilitated, and providing quality service before sending our guests there.

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