From Terminal Paal 2, eastern end of Jl. Martadinata, you take a bus to Bitung, about 2 hours, it stops near the port. Also from Terminal Paal 2 to the Airport.
From Terminal Karombasan, 5 km south of the city to Tomohon and Tonado.
From Terminal Malalalang, far south of the city to Gorontalo, 8 hours.
You will not see any yellow or blue taxi with a neon lamp above. Yet, hotels will offer to call a taxi for you. Taxi in Manado is a rental car. You can rent it per hour ~~at least 50thousand rupiah per hour~~ or per day. A driver will be ready to take you to any place you ask. Most of the rental cars are new Toyota Kijang Innova from year 2005 or newer.
For mean time, DIAN TAXI is the only taxi in Manado. It will be written as DIAN TAKSI on the local language. It is a SUV type white car with the blue stripes. The drivers do not use meter here, so you have to bargain the deal before you ride. They may charge you more if you are a foreigner and travelling alone. From city center (Pasar 45) to other places in town will cost you around 30,000 to 40,000IR. Ask the common price to others before you ride one. It has 4-5 passengers capacity and a big storage for your luggage. MOST OF THE DRIVERS CAN NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. They are good and harmless ones though.
Cow cart or RODA SAPI in the local language is the farmer favorite transport in Minahasa and highland area. When you have time to go to those areas, you will see many of them on the road to the farm area. You will see them usually in the morning when they go to the farm or late afternoon when they go back home. When you see one, ask the farmer if you can take picture of it. He will be very happy and ask you to join him for a free ride. I got my free ride with my friend in Amurang, South Minahasa from the local farmer. What a wonderful ride.
Mikrolet is the most popular public transportation in Manado and can be seen anywhere around the city. It is a light blue car with 9 passengers capacity an unlike the mikrolets in other places in Indonesia, the seats are designed comfortably facing the front side so the driver can not get more 9 passengers. For around Manado, the mikrolet has the platname on the front glass; showing the destination e.g. WANEA, TELING, WONASA, PAAL2, etc. Get to know the platname of your destination and which direction of the mikrolet you have to take. For outside Manado, you may not see the platname but each destination has their separated stop in each terminal. Ask help from anybody at the terminal. The mikrolet is not air conditioned one but you can open the window to let the wind for the convenient travel.
The most common way to move around Manado by public transport is the microlet. Rates are at Rp1k - 2.5k depending on the distance you want to go. Most microlets final stop is at Pasar45 (public market). Signs on the microlet's dashboards are noticeable.
In northern part of Manado (Sindulang, Wonasa, Tuminting), Bentor will be an other alternative transportation besides ojek. It is a better choice when you want to reach the smaller streets with many hand carries. It will be looked like becak or rickshaw but run by a modified motorcycle at the back. It may carry two passengers but one passenger with many hand carried would be choosing this one too. Some shields and curtain will protect you from the sun or rain. You could find some interesting bentors with colorful lights at night and with great sound system music. :-)
In Manado you will find only a few Bendis. In the morning time, around Coco supermarket (Grandpuri Hotel area), you may still find them. In the Highland area, e.g. Tomohon city (30-45minutes) from Manado, Bendi has its own terminal and still one of the main transportation there. It is a horse cart with 2 big wheels, with 5 maximum passengers (average size). You will enjoy the chill windy ride, the plastic curtains will be available when the rain comes. There are some things you have to be alert though. :-) Whenever you see the horse raise its tail, cover your nose as it will pass something. :-) Try to hold any part of the cart whenever the horse becomes restless and dont be panic. The one who is guiding the horse has his own skills to control the horse. During Christmas and New year, you may see colorful decorated bendis around. It is for a joyride but wont be effective when you want to reach your destination faster.
Sam Ratulangi International Airport, is located at the northern side of Manado city. The public waiting area is filled with some small restaurants, ATMs, and souvenir shop. Buy anything you need in the city`s supermarkets, because all the things in here is expensive. This public waiting area will not be air conditioned. Once you arrive in the airport, you will be welcomed by the porters (orange uniforms). The fee usually will be around 10,000IR per bag, depends on how big it is and how good your bargaining skill is. You have to show your tickets before entering the checking in area. The entrance will be one only, so do check in first once you arrive. The security belt area at the entance will be available for 2 lines only.The checking in area is not really a big one, and you will be trapped in a long like if you arrive 1.5hours before the departure time. Be on the desk at least 2-3hours before your departure time. After checking in, get your airport tax. It will be located at the right side of the area, just before the stairs going to the boarding gates area. Get your airport tax ticket once you check in, and it will be sticked with your boarding pass. For domestic flight, the ticket will be 15,000IR and for the international flight will be 75,000IR. You may go out to the public waiting area through the exit door or go straight to the passenger waiting area. Not much to see in the passenger area. The toilets will be located at the both ends of passenger area. There are only 5 boarding gates there. The international flight will be at the right side. The fiscal and immigration desk will be in front of the international boarding gate. You will be walking through the tunnel to go to the plane. Your relatives may go to the balcony area to see you walking into the plane. The ticket will be around 10,000IR/person. No toilet paper in the airport toilet so bring your own !! :-)
Manado is in Indonesia, the most populous moslem country in the world, but Christian is the largest population in Manado and its province,North Sulawesi.When you want to go for holiday of visiting your relatives in Manado, beware that moslem holidays are not the holiday season here.Booking your flights or hotels in Manado should be done ahead of time when your travel time will be on CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR, AND EASTER.All the Manadonese who work abroad or other cities will go home on those times when they are able to do so.Plane tickets could be extremely expensive and you may not even get your seats on those holiday seasons.JULY-AUGUST will be THE HARVEST FESTIVALS (PENGUCAPAN, for local people) in most of the villages in South Minahasa.You may expect slightly increment of bookings.The end of MAY to the first weeks of JULY will be one month `the end of school year` holiday for all the schools and universities here.Significant rise may happen during that period.Anyway, Christmas-New Year time will be the wettest time with the frequent rains and July-August will be the hottest time of the year.
So,be wise on setting or booking tickets and hotels on your traveling time to manado.You may save some of your budget.
Manado , the capital of North Sulawesi Province in Indonesia, has an international airport, SAM RATULANGI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. Its code will be MDC on international flight codes. For the time being (January 2007), the international flights are from Singapore (Silk Air) and Manila (Sriwijaya Air). The arrival times of international flights usually will be day time. It is a small airport so you will be off of the board through the tunnel going to the arrival hall. You will be arrived on the 2nd floor (2 floors of airport hall) and have to go down (1st floor) for the immigration and baggage claim. Read the rules for the passport and visas in Indonesia. Many western countries could get visa on arrival for the short visit whereas the ASEAN member countries dont need visa for the short visit. I use to see some visitors complain for the immigration service. My advices will be : get officer who speaks English well, dont talk in a louder voice (very unpolite for local customs), and confront the officer when you know you are doing the right things. The common misunderstandings use to happen because of the lack of English ability only. Your baggage may have to be opened by the airport staff when you see the white cross sign on it (it will be with the presence of you). When anybody offers you taxi, look for DIAN TAXI SERVICE. For domestic flights, the taxi service will be in the bagage claim area. Ask about the car you are going to ride, you may request sedan or bigger type of cars. It will be crowded airport but totally safe one. If you have complain, you may ask for the duty manager at the present.
Ojek is a motorcycle, outgrowing alternative transportation in Manado, that can be rented or ridden by anybody to anywhere. You may rent the motorcycle hourly (the owner will bring you anywhere you like), 10,000 to 20,000 Indonesian rupiah per hour, depends on how good the motorcycle is. 1US$=9,000Ind Rupiah (March 2007). You may ride it to reach the places with very bad condition streets or to the places that cant be reached by public transportation cars. Bargain your fare before ride on the OJEK. 5kms journey may cost you around 5-10,000 In Rupiah, whereas the shorter destination (just around 1-2blocks away) will be 1,000-2,000 IR. You will see THE OJEK TERMINAL anywhere in Manado, it is easily identified. Many motors park at the intersections, a board with the terminal name, and a small `guard house` for the riders nearby will be the signs of ojek terminal. Once you are walking by the area, they will offer you their service. Dont forget, BARGAIN THE FARE. The ojek owner other fellow may offer you the good price if he offers you more. All of the ojek owners will be men but they are safe. Well, it wont be a good alternative transportation when you bring along many things and when it rains. :-))
Just a warning for the travel buffs who want to visit Manado, Indonesia:
If you will search the internet about Manado, it will boast about the beautiful Bunaken island with a variety of underwater species. Yes, it is very tempting to go there...
Unfortunately, I got on a flight from Davao, Philippines to Manado, Indonesia via Bouraq Airlines. It was horrible! The flight was supposed to leave at around 12pm, so we have to be at the airport by 1030 am just to be prepared. And you know what? for some other reason I do not know, the plane arrived at 430pm. Imagine, just waiting in the terminal without doing anything but sleep! The people were becoming restless, really.
Anyway, when the plane was about to take off, (oh my gosh!) the brakes of the plane got stuck, so we have to wait another hour before they finished fixing it. We left Davao at around 6pm and arrived at Manado probably 8pm.
The microlet is nothing more than a blue mini-bus. You find them everywhere in Manado.
They work quite simple. Each microlet has its own route. At every point of this route you can either step in or step out of the microlet.
You can stop a microlet to board by just raising your hand (lots of microlets automatically stop for all white people anyways). Just ask the chauffeur (sopir) if he goes to your destination or look for his direction at the sign at the front-window. If he goes where you want to go, just hop in. If not, maybe the driver can tell you which microlet you need instead.
If you are getting close to you destination, shout "stop" or buzz the bell. The microlet will stop almost imediately and you can get out and pay. (Usually the passenger next to the driver collects the money.)
Microlets are a lot cheaper than taxi's, but the seats are small and the ceiling is low. So if you are tall, you might consider wearing a helmet while riding a microlet.