Within Manado (And Its Neighboring Towns)

The first thing you have to remember in Manado and its neighboring towns of Bitung, Tomohon and Tondano, is that wherever you walk, you should pay extra attention to local drivers and motorbikers. It is seldom to see drivers giving way to pedestrians and people can cross the roads anywhere they like. Generally, the traffic becomes crowded after office hour, between 4pm-7pm and when it is raining.

There are two common ways of moving around by public transports: mikrolets and/or ojek.

Mikrolet is a small minivan, normally painted in light blue, that fits 8-9 passengers plus a driver. Passengers sit facing forward, unlike Bandung's angkot where passengers sit facing each other. Don't be surprised if many mikrolets here like to play music loudly; it is said to attract more students and other young passengers. You will find these mikrolets almost on every (big) road in Manado almost every minute, so moving around the city should not be an issue. It is also cheap, only Rp. 2,000 per trip within Manado, Rp. 2,500 within Bitung, Rp. 3,000 to Kali Waterfall from "Karombasan" Terminal in Manado, Rp. 3,600 from "Paal 2" in Manado to Airmadidi (approximately half way from Manado to Bitung). Mikrolets start moving out early in the morning and they head back home around 10pm.

When taking a mikrolet, do remember this minivan might not be suitable for passengers with big bags or diving equipment or even surf boards, unless they tell the driver that they will pay the seats they are taking for their belongings. Another consideration is travelling time. If you are the only passenger, you might get to your destination quite fast but it can extend. For instance, a 10 minute hassle-free journey becomes 20 minutes, or more, if there are any other passengers who ask for the driver’s favour to drop them off at a particular place where they are going, such as school, home, or a shop. If you take a mikrolet from any terminal, often the driver waits until all seats are occupied.

Passengers can flag down and get off anywhere on the street. To get off you have to tell the driver, either by saying "stop" or as locals say "muka om" ( /moo-khâ ôm/ ), which literarily means "stop ahead sir". Then you pay the fare. Usually a mikrolet direction is fixed from one terminal to another and they will run between these two terminals all day long, as people can see from a small board placed on its windscreen and on its roof/top (see picture on the left). If you are in doubt, ask local people around you for the right direction and they will always be helpful and friendly.

Ojek is actually an unlicensed motorcycle/motorbike taxi and is popular because it brings its passenger faster to his/her destination, especially in cities like Jakarta where traffic jams are outrages. They can be found at their own "terminals", which can be anywhere in the city, recognized by a self-made small signboard that says "Pangkalan Ojek". On streets, they might be recognized by their "spare helmet" and they often ride their motorbikes slowly while looking around for passengers. A short distance negotiable fare is approximately Rp. 5,000. A four kilometer (2.5 mile ) journey costs about Rp. 10,000. Fare is paid once the passenger arrives at the destination.

Public buses or minibuses usually travel between towns, such as Manado to Tomohon, Manado to Bitung, Tomohon to Tondano, and so on. These minibuses do not go beyond their three designated terminals in Manado city's border lines. If you want to go to Bitung, you have to catch a bus from Paal Dua Terminal or from Karombasan Terminal to Tomohon. Bus directions can be found on its windscreen or from bus driver assistants, who often yell their directions. Usually a bus leaves every 15-20 minutes and fares depend on destinations, for instance: Manado-Bitung Rp. 7,500, Manado-Tomohon Rp. 5,600, Manado-Tondano Rp. 6,800, Manado-Kawangkoan Rp. 9,600, Tondano-Tomohon Rp. 4,000. About halfway to the destination, drivers' assistants will collect your payment.

If you are travelling to Bitung, probably you should sit next to the bus door, where commonly they will leave their doors opened or next to the window side to get the breeze, since it might be a hot and stuffy journey, while a trip to Tomohon or Tondano would not be that hot since these two towns lie on highlands.

Recently Manado inaugurated a new public bus transport within the city, called Trans Kawanua (see right photo). Unfortunately the routes are not as extensive as mikrolet’s, yet.

Taxi is also available in Manado and North Sulawesi. There are three companies here in Manado, which are still using their meters: Trust Taxi, Celebrity Taxi and Blue Bird (minimum payment: Rp. 15,000, booking cancelation fee: Rp. 5,000). There is another company, that has a fleet of white minivans and has been operating for many years, but it is losing its popularity because of poor services, such as vehicle conditions and fares that are always based on a fixed price. However, if you are travelling with 3 other people and carrying lots of bulky items, this company might be a good bargain, since its vehicles have more spaces.


There are also car rentals, with or without a driver. A car rental with a driver is highly recommended, unless you are familiar with the "driving culture" in Indonesia or willing to take the challenge of the experience. Rental rate varies from about Rp. 300,000 to more than a million rupiah. One day rental of a small-5-seater Daihatsu Xenia or Toyota Avanza with a driver usually costs around Rp. 400,000, excluding petrol/gas and other additional costs like parking fees. Some companies might charge based on hourly rental, with a minimum rental of four hours at a cost of Rp. 50,000 per hour.

The "one day rental" definition might be different from one company to another. One may give you 24 hours, while the other only allows you 12 hours of usage. Advanced reservation is also highly recommended. Below is a list of car rental companies in Manado:

CV Central


Location:Jl. Sungai Musi, Singki
Telephone:+62 431 3335011

CV Kenalan


Location:Jl. 21 Mei, Teling
Telephone:+62 431 3323293, +62 811 437793 (at least one day before).

Garuda Permai


Location:Jl. RA Kartini Lingk V - 39
Telephone:+62 431 846423

Mawar Sharon


Location:Jl. Sugiono No. 5 (beside Rex hotel)
Telephone:+62 431 855193

Mitra Rental Car


Location:Jl. Jambore, Winangun
Telephone:+62 431 3366442

Oto Multiartha


Location:Jl. Yos Sudarso, Kompleks Ruko
Telephone:+62 431 866488 (press "0" after the answering machine)
Website:www.oto.co.id

Serasi Autoray (monthly rental only)


Location:Jl. AA Maramis Paniki
Telephone:+62 431 818000
Website:www.trac.astra.co.id

Smart Rent A Car


Location:Kompleks Angkasa Pura 22
Telephone:+62 431 3325526

Sonny Tinangon


Telephone:+62 815 2320608, +62 431 816035

Paris Taxi Service 88


Location:Jl. Pierre Tendean No. 105
Telephone:+62 431 868250, 870247

Pass Rental


Location:Jl. Yos Sudarso 140
Telephone:+62 431 3327237

Leo Langitan Rental


Location:Desa Paslaten, Lingkungan 6, No. 71, Tomohon
Telephone:+62 431 4405637

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