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Manado is a prosperous, well serviced and friendly place, with a decent selection of comfortable hotels and excellent dining options. The waterfront is one nearly continuous mall, perhaps a testament to the city's relative affluence, and the streets are one nearly continuous traffic jam.

Most travelers blast through the city on their way between Pulau Bunaken and the Minahasa highlands, but if you find yourself waiting for a plane or a bus, give the metroplex a chance – you might just find Manado's hidden charm.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Manado.