What to do in Manado
Manado - Kali waterfall - Tomohon - Pagoda Ekayana - Woloan - Lake Linow - Bukit Kasih - Pulutan - Lake Tondano - Sawangan - Manado
Manado was supposed to be only a transit spot on our way to Bunaken National Park. But we liked it so much we decided to see more of the Minahasa Peninsula.
In Manado, we stayed in Aryaduta Hotel, and we loved it.
The evening before our trip around Manado, we just hooked the taxi drivers in front of the hotel, showed them our desired itinerary, and negotiated the price of the trip.
The next day, at 10 am, the driver already waited for us near the hotel.
We started with the viewpoint of Big Ben and Christ Statue. We stopped at the roadside and took some pictures from a distance.
Then we went to the Kali waterfall.
We drove through some small villages, and the driver parked in a private possession near a small shop. We had to pay a modest fee and were showed a way to the waterfall.
After a few meters of tarmac, we went down a dirt road. The whole way down was pleasant, in a shade of the trees, although we kept in mind we eventually had to go back the same way only up.
Near the fall we met some children playing in the water and taking pictures. We haven't seen any other visitors.
The fall was very nice and picturesque although in our opinion not worth a trip on its own.
The next on our list was Tomohon. On the way, we stopped at Tinoor Spot (the viewpoint of Manado, near a nice restaurant).
In Tomohon, we visited the beautiful pagoda Ekayana. Although, maybe "beautiful" might be a wrong adjective in this case. The pagoda looks like an alive illustration of the Buddhist legends. You'll find here fat monks, giant tortoises, elephants, leaning towers... and all in the spectacular surroundings of the volcanos.
in 1 day
We also wanted to see the flower market, but the driver misunderstood the request and took us to the "extreme market", where we saw the dogs being killed and their fur removed with a burner (I wish we never saw it).
Then we headed to Woloan, the village where the traditional houses are built. On the way, we stopped to watch some traditional dances near a local hospital.
W H A T T O S E E N E X T
In Woloan, we admired the craftsmen building the so-called knock-down houses. They are the traditional houses but built on orders coming from all over the world. After building, the houses are dismantled, relocated and rebuilt in any location. The craftsmen claim that many orders come from tourists. We haven't ordered anything, but we have to admit, the houses are indeed beautiful.
From Woloan, we went to green, sulfurous Lake Linow. Actually, the lake changes colors depending on the chemical composition of the water. The day we visited Lake Linow, it was emerald green. We left the car in the large parking lot and went to find a table on a wooden platform above the water. The restaurant was full, but we managed to get a place. Drinking tea, we observed the geysers of egg-stinking fumes. I can't believe I'm writing this, but we had fun.
After that, we went straight to Bukit Kasih. It's a peculiar place being a crossing between a sanatorium (plenty of basins with sulfur water for soaking weary legs) and some interfaith pilgrimage destination. We came here to see the enormous human heads carved in the rocks (bringing to mind Mount Rushmore).
On the way back, we stopped in Pulutan to see the pottery masters at work.
Pulutan is a village specialized in one industry - ceramics. Most of its residents work as craftsmen, as pottery traditions are passed on from one generation to the next. Currently, the emphasis is put on improving quality so that the products can be exported abroad.
When visiting pottery workshops along the way, you will see the ceramic products in various stages of their formation: from a pile of clay to beautiful vases waiting for customers.
The next stop was at Lake Tondano and its picturesque surroundings. Actually, Tondano is worth a trip on its own. There are many goldfish farms to visit along the shore, accompanied by the lovely restaurants where you can enjoy nature. You might also hire a boat to visit the houses of those who actually live on the lake.
The last place we visited was probably the most interesting of all: Waruga cemetery and the museum in Sawangan village, located about 40 kilometers from Manado. Waruga Sawangan is the megalith cemetery park with the graves dating from 1600 AD and shaped like the traditional houses. The carvings on each tomb vary depending on the profession or social status of the person that been buried.
From Sawangan, we went straight back to Manado. The whole trip took us about 9 hours, but only because a few kilometers from Manado, we got stuck in a massive traffic jam due to road construction. Usually, the whole loop we made shouldn't take more than 8 hours of driving and sightseeing.
To learn more about the places in Sulawesi we liked the most, go to What to see and do in Sulawesi.
And if you want to know how we did it, see our detailed itinerary here: How to plan a trip to Sulawesi.