Transportation in Manado
Finding transport in Manado is not a difficult thing to do. It is possible to use local transportation or hire a car. One option is to rent a taxi with a driver for a day and travel around town to get a good idea of the city and areas around it. Taxi drivers usually don´t speak much English and it is necessary to haggle and bargain with them, this is traditional and normal.
When arriving at the airport it is possible to use a "bemo" which is a minibus that leaves from the airport and will take the riders to their hotels. A "Bemo" can be taken at Paal Dua terminal in the roundabout that is 400 meters away from the airport. Bemos operate during the daytime and stop serving people as of 8 p.m. One thing to watch out for in Bemos is pickpockets so it is advisable to check one´s luggage before getting onto the Bemo and keeping watch of things on the way to the hotel.
One interesting way to get around in Manado is by Roda Sapi or Cow-cart. This is a traditional type of transport used by farmers in the countryside. After hiking all day in the countryside, one might be lucky and run into a cow-cart. A good way to get a lift and be able to rest a little and have a ride is to chat with the farmer and ask him if you can take a photograph, usually they will smile and say yes and then offer a free ride. This is a great experience so take advantage.
The most frequently used type of transportation in Manado is the Mikrolet, this is a blue car with 9 seats in it. Mikrolets have their destinations in panels in the front stating where they are going, however the rider will need to know the destination and which direction the Mikrolet is going in when hopping onboard. In Manado Mikrolets don´t have air conditioning so it is advisable to open the windows if they are not already open. A ride in a Mikrolet is of Rp1 to Rp 2.5k depending on how far one wishes to travel. In Manado, the final stop is at Pasar 45 which is the local public marketplace.
Mikrolets each have their own route which is indicated by a sign on the dashboard. Passengers hop on and hop off anywhere on the route. To get onto a mikrolet one waves it down but it generally stops automatically if the driver sees a tourist.
In Jakarta this transportation is called "becaj". In Manado it is called "Bentor". A "bentor" is a two passenger motorcycle with a driver. This is ideal for moving around in small back streets or up hilly roads. A bentor looks like a rickshaw but is different in that is a motorcycle driven vehicle. This type of transportation is not very recommendable when carrying much luggage. It is best to arrive in Manado by "bemo" or "Mikrolet" and once one has found the hotel and rested and left all the luggage in the room, go out exploring and hop onto a Bentor to enjoy the scenery and the ride. Bentors have a canopy to protect one from the rain or the sun.
Another option is the "Bendi" which is a horse driven cart that can seat around 5 middle sized people. Bendis can be found near the Coco supermarket that is in the vicinity of the Grandpuri Hotel. This is not the fastest way to get around but the driver will give you a good ride for your money and show you the local sights. Consider it a fun thing to do while on holiday and don´t expect it to go very fast or very far.
In Manado "Ojek" transport is also an option. This is basically a moped which can be rented for a day or for even a few hours. The deal here is to bargain and haggle for a better rate. There are many signs indicating Ojek Terminals in Manado. A ride by Ojek costs around 10.000 to 20.000 Rp. Depending on the state of the motorcycle and this price is per hour. 10.000 Rp is equivalent to about U.S. $1.