Gorontalo is a city in Northern Sulawesi.
With its old dutch colonial buildings, surrounding waterfalls, hot springs and pristine coral reefs for diving Gorontalo should be a world famous destination, however, most travellers only use it as a hub for the Togean islands. According to the local population census, 96.6% of Gorontalo residents are Muslims (June 2017).
- The overnight ferry, Touna Tomini, from Ampana / Togean Islands calls on Gorontalo every Thursday and Sunday, making the return trip the next day. Note: There's only 1 ferry and when it breaks down there's none.
- The new fast ferry from Togean leave Dolong (handy for Malenge) on wednesdays at 7.00 a.m. to Bubulan from where it's a 1 hour drive to Gorontalo.
Lion air connects Gorontalo to Makassar and beyond, while Merpati has flights to and from Manado. Garuda has also opened its two times daily services from Makassar. Sriwijaya and Batavia Air are another options whereby Sriwijaya flies daily and Batavia serves Gorontalo three times a week.
- Buses from Manado run daily price 60,000 Rp.
- Kijang (public cars) from Manado is a more comfortable option that will drop you at your preferred hotel. 150,000 Rp for front seat (more comfortable), 100,000 Rp. for backseat (brace yourself for a bumpy ride).
- Bentors (a cross between a rickshaw and a motorbike) elsewhere in Indonesia known as becaks are plentiful and will take you around town for 5,000 Rp. 20,000-30.000 Rp. for destinations outside of town, such as beaches and waterfalls. Arriving from the Togeans, the 4 km ride from Gorontalo harbor to the city should cost you 20,000 Rp.
- Local buses and bemos have been observed, but they seem only useful for the locals.
The bus runs from the airport to the harbour, through the city, 30 000 Rp.
- Dutch colonial mansions littered throughout the city.
- Ruins of dutch forts lining the coastline.
- Hot springs
- Lombongo is a must see with hot spring pool and fresh water stream and natural view. Has fee.
- sunset with best view come from the temple in the mountain, it's not open for public,need permission and donation may apply.
- Vihara Buddha Dharma. Chinese temple edit
Gorontalo is home to the Salvador Dali coral sponge, indigenous to this region. With more than 25 divesites accessible from the shore around Gorontalo, this should be a mecca for dive enthusiasts. However, so far this gem has remained relatively hidden.
- Miguel's Diving, ☎ 6285240047027 ([email protected]), . Miguel's Diving is Gorontalo's pioneer dive operator, showing divers pristine walls, multiple pinnacles, submerged points, caverns, muck and wrecks since 2003. edit
- Tomini Diving Center (Diving Gorontalo), Jalan Samratulangi No. 11, ☎ +62 435 822 790 ([email protected]), . edit
Whale Shark Watching
Probably the one thing that the city is most famous for and the main reason why some tourists stay overnight. You can do this in Olele Marine Park, and you can snorkel in the area as well.
IMPORTANT: There used to be a prawn processing plants nearby which attracted the whale shark for feeding. The plant has closed, but the locals are feeding the whale sharks to keep them in the bay, so that it is "guaranteed" that tourists can see them all year around. This is borderline ethical, because whale sharks are supposed to be migratory animals. Secondly, tour operators and tourists alike are not educated enough on the conducts around whale shark to avoid injuring them (for a start: do not touch them, and get out of their way!). If you really want to see a whale shark, do it responsibly.
Supplies for Togean. The islands are remote and essentials are expensive so bring sunscreen, mosquito spray / coils and other essentials that you can think of.
- Gorontalo Mall. edit
- Mega Zanur Mall. edit
- Santika Supermarket. edit
- Makro Supermarket. edit
- Magic Pan Pizza, ☎ (0435) 8829619. All 5 pizzas on the menu at this place are good and big. If they don't have what you want, just compose it yourself and they will make it happen. The taste is uniquely Indonesian, and the service is quick from the plentiful, friendly staff. 40,000 Rp.. edit
- Suga Fried Chicken, (Near Gorontalo Mall). Your typical fastfood joint. I recommend the tiny burger. It's small but it's tasty. As always with western food in Indonesia, you pay more than you would for rice and noodles (ca. 10,000 for a burger), but after the Togean diet you can treat yourself. edit
- King's Resto. Ikan bakar (grilled fish) is the specialty here. You pass the grill just outside the door as you walk into this place assuring you that the fish is indeed grilled here. edit
- Night market, (Just opposite Melati Hotel). A number of food stalls sell the usual suspects. Fried rice, Fried noodles, Soto Ayam and Gado Gado. The food is good, and the seating area near the stalls make it a great place to mingle with the locals who seem ridiculously happy to say hello to you. edit
- KFC, (at Mega Zinur mall). edit
- Meranti Indah. Meranti Indah is a local-owned restaurant providing extremely delicious fish. The fish though is not from sea but from man-made pond. It serves ikan Nila and Mujair (Nila and Mujair Fish) as its main menu. There are currently two of this restaurant. One in the city and another is outside of the city which you can travel to approximately 20mins from the city. Just ask any locals and they will give the direction for you. This is a must try, Really!! edit
- Rumah Makan Agung Baru. A Chinese food restaurant providing a mix of Chinese and Gorontalo taste. The restaurant provides a wide range of menu which are readily served 10-15mins after order. I personally recommend Seafood Fried Rice and Seafood Tah Mie which only cost you Rp. 18000 (approximately USD 2). The location is very near to Melati Hotel around 2mins walk or approximately 100 meters away from the hotel. Ask local for some direction. edit
- Mawar Sharon Restaurant. A traditional fried chicken specialty. The restaurant provides a good mix of spices in a very good combination resulting in an unforgettable taste of chicken. The chickens they are using are also not broilers but from traditional poultry which are good for your health too. Some may find the chicken too salty though but generally people I met are okay with the taste and the "saltiness". It is quite a good place for Gorontalo upper class, so it is not a surprise that one meal may cost you Rp. 25000 to Rp. 50000. The location are easy to find. It is near to Bank Mandiri and Gorontalo Mall. Ask any locals and they will show you the direction. edit
- Rumah Makan Sabar Menanti. Famously known as Rumah Makan Hola by the locals (located near to the former Pasar Jajan). Its tradition of making yellow rice has been inherited from generation to generation making the yellow rice remarkably delicious. Ask for the rice with the soup as in how the locals savor this good quality food. It costs you Rp. 15000 for the whole rice and soup pair. edit
The local shops sell beer for you to consume in the privacy of your hotel.
- The New Melati Hotel. The helpful staff can give you all the information you need for going to Togean, booking transport to Manado and explore Gorontalo. All this comes with a fee, of course. 130,000-250,000 Rp.. edit
- Imam Bonjo. 80,000-120,000 Rp.. edit
- Hotel Karina. A popular cheapie with rooms to match the price. A good option if the Melati is full. 115,000-150,000 Rp.. edit
- Hotel Oasis. This has been a very nice place when it was built. The rooms are located surrounding a garden with a pond that is now overgrown and mosquito ridden. The staff is unattentive and between them not a single one speak english. 150,000 Rp.. edit
- Liberty Hotel, jl kasuari 43. 100,000-200,000 Rp.. edit
- Penginapan Salsabilah, Jl Samratulangi, Belakang Roberta, ☎ ++628534040077. very close to the Bemo City Terminal. from 55.000 Rp. for a single fan room up to 90.000 for an AC room with small windows (06/2015). Price includes breakfast, often cooked by the owner in the morning. edit
- Mirabella hotel, 42 sultan botutihe, ☎ .(62435)827865 ([email protected]). checkout: Check in check out quite flexible.. It's BnB,price including simple breakfast,the staff quite helpful,the main receiptionist can understand basic English. It has ok bed,clean,old style tv,Air con,free wifi,free breakfast,free parking,family friendly.They will help with guest request with fee like city tour or airport transfer. This hotel also has meeting room for rent. It's family hotel,owners live in ( also accept food catering). Location walking distance from Gorontalo Mall. range from rp.150.000-rp.350.000.. edit
The prices are mid range, but the quality really isn't.
- Hotel Paradise. Plenty of rooms, all have aircon, cable tv and comfortable beds. Not exactly paradise, but it will do. 300,000 Rp.. edit
- Hotel Yulia. The rooms are fairly standard. Beds with spring mattresses and tv. All rooms have similar layout, but the more expensive has more space around the furniture. 400,000 Rp.. edit
- Hotel Maqna Gorontalo. The hotel is part of the building complex that includes the huge Citimall Gorontalo 400,000 Rp.. edit
- Togean islands for that Robinson Crusoe island experience.
- Saronde Island, great relaxing island for swimming and rest