“There’s nothing to do here if you don’t dive.”
That seemed to be the main complaint about Indonesia’s choice of the North Sulawesi port town of Manado as the site for the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2012.
After the conference ended, many of the attendees skedaddled — and boarded one of the many Bali flights, or just headed on home.
That’s too bad. There’s a lot to do in and around Manado if you’re willing to seek it out. Those that stuck around were rewarded with the following…
Things to Do In Manado, Indonesia
Look to the Lord for Guidance
Christened “one of the…ugliest statues of Jesus” by London’s Daily Mail when it was unveiled, the Christ Blessing monument may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s definitely worth a look.
It may be the second largest statue of Jesus in Asia, and the fourth largest in the world, but it’s the only Lord a’-Leaping.
Hightail it to the High Seas
Even if you don’t dive, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the water.
The area around Manado is stunning for it’s scenery, both above and below the sea. Taking a day trip to Bunaken Island or Siladen Island to snorkel or just laze on the beach is definitely a must for any non-divers.
Wander Through Waruga
What’s a waruga you ask? They’re the stone sarcophagi that Minihasans used to house their dead. The odd thing is, they placed their dearly beloved in a squatting position.
In former times, these tombs would be out in the front yard among the weeds. That’s until upset neighbours objected to having stone tombs a stone’s throw away. So some years ago, they were rounded up by the local government and carted to the towns of Sawangan, near Manado, and Airmadidi, a bit further afield.
They still seem to be at home among the weeds though.
Fix Yourself a Drink
Check out a local delicacy of a different kind by getting a guide to take you to to see how Tuak, or palm wine is made. This “Manado Moonshine” is sweet and cheap, which makes for a very tasty brew.
Get to Know the Locals
Tangkoko Nature Reserve is only a short haul from Manado, and for your effort you’re bound to see this little fella – the tarsier, the world’s smallest primate.
There’s more than monkeys in miniature to see here though: slinks, sloths, macaques, and babirusa (that’s a horned-pig) call Tangkoko home too.
Make no mistake about it, Manado is not Bali. While Bali has pretty, this town has gritty. And although you may need to do some extra legwork, there’s no shortage of things to do in Manado.