Many flights will be likely to delay, especially during the rainy season (October to April), so beware on planning your connecting flight on your next destination. When you plan to take a/some connecting flights after Sam Ratulangi Airport/Manado Airport (MDC), take the following day's connecting flight if possible. Nobody will be responsible for your missing flights, so take a longer stopover time after your Manado flight. Many flights will be delayed from 15 minutes to 5 hours (the min and max time from my own experiences). In some cases, your flight will leave manado on time but may land in Makassar (Manado-Jakarta flight) for few hours during the bad weather. An other weird case, my Manado-Makassar flight had a few hours transit in Denpasar (Bali) due to 'unexpected visit' of the vice president in Makassar. Be prepared because at the end, you are the only one who has to deal with all the mess caused by the delayed flights.:-)
Manado food is the hottest and having the most spieces one in the world.I could say that after I have eaten the hot and spicy Indian food that claimed to be the number one on the hot and spicy food.
Be careful on choosing your menu in the restaurants and choosing the food you are going to eat in the parties, hotels and in a family.Ask for help or assistance.Most of the food here have lots of hot fresh chillies!!!Even the children can eat spicy ones here.
Ah, the most important thing you have to be aware of is MANADO EXOTIC FOOD!!!Local people in Manado eat DOGS,CATS,RATS,BATS, AND SNAKE.You may find them anywhere.Once again, ASK ANYBODY WHAT THE FOOD ON THE TABLE ARE!!!
You have to bring your own emergency medicines for your digestive system.Diarrhea is the common disease for the foreigners here.
Manado people love to eat.Try some food.The hosts or family will be offended if you do not eat anything at all.You may ask for anything you want to know, they will be very happy to help you.
When you are living with your Manadonese relatives here, just tell your concerns and you may ask them to cook some special Manado food for you at home.Guests are the king in Manadonese house and home cooking use to be clean here.
Take a look at the picture.It will be the common toilet in Manado in most of the public places.You wont get toilet paper and you have to pay around 1000 Indonesian Rupiahs in the malls to use the toilet.
There will be a person standing or sitting near the toilet door with the box where you put your money in.The Indonesians won`t consider a toilet as a toilet if it is not wet.So,all the toilets will have wet floor.Just be ready with the stinky smell and bring your own tissue.You may find some toilets in the mall with western style but you will not dare to sit on it.:-))Most of the people will be on the line if many wanna use the toilet.If somebody will just cut your line ahead of you just scold him/her.It works everywhere not only in Manado.:-))
Mikrolet is the most popular public transportation in Manado city. See my other transportation tip Mikrolet. Bus will be the automobile public transportation between the big cities only and will not be seen on Manado streets. It leads to overwhelming mikrolet cars all over Manado streets. With that larger amount of mikrolets, the competition is harder and they will try their best to get more passengers. Louder music and honks; and slowly moved on the streets. They could stop anywhere to drop or get any passengers. Once you will be standing on the sideways, each mikrolet will stop and ask your destination. When you travel with the car, avoid the malls area, Pasar 45, schools right before and after school hours. Walking within the mikrolet traffic could be a disaster too. Gas fumes may irritate your eyes , and louder music and horns will kill your ears. The common sites of mikrolet traffic will be within Pasar 45 area, Pasar Jengki , Manado Port area, Pasar Karombasan, Megamall, Pasar Paal 2 Gate, and Don Bosco school area. Nevertheless, the traffics are not really bad; you will not be stacked in traffic in hours.
Renting a car could make a convenient travel time, but there are things you should know for your pleasant trip too. Firstly, GET TO KNOW ALL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Find out if the fare will include the fuel and driver meal. In touristic areas, they will provide you water and umbrella during the rainy season. If you have to buy the fuel, find out which type of car you are going to use. Some will give you a cheap rate but you will spend more in fuel. Renting a car with the driver will be better but you have to get all the terms and conditions from the car rental company from the first hand or the hotel transport desk. Find out who will be responsible in case the car crashes or damaged during your renting time. In case you rent the car along with the driver, the driver will be responsible for it. Make everything clear before you rent the car. Secondly, BE CAREFUL WITH THE DRIVER. Do not leave your things in the car unattended. When your things will be lost, nobody will be responsible for that. Few drivers may even be the mastermind of the robbery. When you need English speaking driver, find out if there will be an additional fee for that. Thirdly, DO NOT RENT THE CAR BY HOURS. You can not expect the traffic on the streets and many drivers will try their best to expand the miles and hours. You may see the sign SEWA MOBIL or MENYEWAKAN MOBIL on the main street or local newspaper. Other places to look for the car rental are in front of Bethesda Hospital Tomohon; and the parking area between the BNI 46 and TKB-Taman Kesatuan Bangsa Pasar 45.
Watch out your steps when you walk on the side walks in Manado city. There will be many holes there and you could be soaked in a stinky blackish sewage. Some vendors or motorcycles will be there too to block your way. The street lights are not good at night time so you have to be careful while walking on the side walks here.
Warung tenda or MOBILE RESTAURANT is the small mobile restaurant on the side roads or at the beach side of Boulevard area. I would not recommend you to eat in this kind of restaurant. You will be most probably ended with diarrhea after eating there. The hygiene standard is really bad and you should see how they wash the dishes to believe it. Do not be fooled with the aroma and the taste. Stay healthy during your trip and do not take any risks by eating there.
Many pets in Manado are not vaccinated. Though the rabies is the rare case in here, of course you dont want to take a risk to be bitten by the unvaccinated dogs, cats, or monkey. Manado people love dogs as their pets, their guides to the farm, and one of their favorite foods too. See the other warning and danger tip, REAL HOT DOG. Few dogs died after the forced vaccination program before and many people believed the vaccination itself killed their pets. This led to the misinterpretation of rabies vaccination and they do not bring the pets intentionally for the vaccination. Whenever you get an animal bite in Manado, visit the nearest hospital/public health, they will clean the bite wound appropriately, treat you, and will inform the things you have to do next. Ask the pet’s owner if the pet is vaccinated or not. Bring the walking stick with you or ask the local people for help, they do know which ones are biting.
The electricity voltage in Manado is 220V 60Hz with two rounded prong plug (see the picture). All of the receptacles here will be provided for that kind of plug. You may find the adaptor for three squared prong plug in the supermarkets/shopping centers BUT IT YOU CAN NOT FIND THE US PLUG TYPE (THE TWO SQUARED PRONG PLUG) ADAPTOR. Make sure you will bring the adaptor from your home country. A domestic flight (Garuda Indonesia) will sell the universal adaptor onboard in case you forget to bring it. The universal adaptor could be found in the business center of 3+ stars hotels. Check your appliances power too (hair dryer, chargers, razors or other electronic devices), especially if you are a backpacker or going to stay in a home stay/Indonesian relatives-friends houses. Some houses, especially in the villages will just have less than 1000W of electricity supply. Furthermore, in some areas there might be a schedule of the brown out due to the heavy rain, power crisis, or power source maintenance. In fact, the Director of PLN (National Electric Center) was questioned for the frequent brown out in 2005-2007 in Manado area. Charge your electronic devices whenever you can once a day; do not wait until the battery is finished/low. Who knows the brown out will come and you will be out of supply.
You may be surprised to see the hens, the goats, the ducks, and even the pigs on the streets here. In some areas here people have their own little farm, as long as the neighbors dont file the case to the police. One relative came to visit to Manado before and was surprised to see a boy tried to catch the chicken, her prospective lunch, running on the street. They are not dangerous though, just want to inform you so you will not be surprised.
There is no strict rule or registration for the automobile engine capability or the terrible amount of gas fumes produced by any automobiles in Manado. As long as the automobile can still run on the street, it is considered as a good automobile. Besides that, the premium gasoline will be less likely to buy and only sold in a few gas stations. No wonder you will still see the old year series cars with unbelievable noise and unbearable gas fumes. More old cars can be seen in Pasar Pinasungkulan Karombasan, called as ST20 cars. These types of cars are not running in the main streets though. Some people may be feeling dizzy or having eyes irritations for the gas fumes, perhaps it will be ok for the other travelers.
The dress code will not be a problem in Manado. The Manado people are more opened to the foreign cultures than in other places of Indonesia. Nevertheless, do not wear any shorts, T-shirts, jeans for ladies, or sandals when you will go to the church or government offices here. It is considered as the disrespectful dress for those places. Dont wear the bikinis in public beach where no tourists around. Wear the light cotton clothes because the weather could be humid and hot. Umbrella could be found anywhere with the cheap price. Flip flop will be a good choice for the road trip here.
Drinking water is not safe for most of the foreigners here.Some mineral dispenser water machines will be refilled only,using the previous water containers.Small mineral bottles, still with seals on them will be safe.AQUA brand is the better one among others, though more expensive.When you want to taste some drinks with ice, just confirm that they dont use unboiled tap water for the ice.USE MINERAL WATER FOR BRUSHING YOUR TEETH.
Local people dont eat raw and fresh vegetables here, they will steam or slightly boil the veggies.Do not try to eat unpealed skin fruit (apples,grapes) here without washing them with BOILED CLEAN WATER.