Mikrolet ( Local, Public Transport )
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.
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 fromKarombasan 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.
Taxi in Manado
Taxi is also available in Manado and north Sulawesi. There are three new companies here, which are still using their meters: Trust Taxi, Celebrity Taxi and Blue Bird. 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.
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. 3,000. A four kilometer (2.5 mile ) journey costs about Rp. 5,000. Fare is paid once the passenger arrives at the destination.