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Your Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Manado

Manado is a city on the very northernmost part of the island of Sulawesi. It is quite a large city but chances are if you are heading to the area you are going to one of the dive resorts or islands even further to the north of the city. Traveling to most of these areas means you will be leaving behind the land of supermarkets, malls, and pharmacies where you would usually grab anything you need. This is why you need to pack smart when you plan a trip to Manado. You may think simple things will be easy to find, but sometimes they really aren’t. Let us give you a hand with your ultimate packing list for a trip to Manado.

Your Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Manado

Toiletries & Sanitary products

The amount of toiletries you need to bring will really depend on how selective you are about them. Gangga Island Resort & Spa provides high quality amenities in your room including soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste, but if you have very sensitive skin or are devoted to a certain brand, you may want to bring small bottles of your own from home.

In Manado you can buy recognizable brands of toiletries but remember they can have different ingredients from the ones in your home country. Many toiletries in Indonesia have stronger smells and contain whitening agents.

Women will definitely want to bring their usual tampons, or menstrual cup as it is near impossible to find these in Manado. If you happen to find them, they can be 10 times the price you usually pay so bring a good supply.

Gangga Island Resort and Spa in North Sulawesi

Sun protection

Sun protection is absolutely essential for a trip to Manado, or anywhere else in Indonesia. The tropical sun will burn you very quickly no matter what skin type you have. A hat, UV protective sunglasses, a long sleeved shirt or rashguaurd, and sunscreen are the best ways to protect your skin from the strong tropical sun.

It is best to bring all these things from home as they can be much more expensive, not to mention hard to find in Manado. Sunscreen is especially expensive, so bring enough for your whole trip. We recommend that you choose an ocean safe sunscreen that does not contain harmful chemicals. It has been found that certain chemicals can cause terrible damage to coral reefs, which has led to certain sunscreens being banned in some places in the world. Unfortunately, they aren’t yet banned in Indonesia, but it is good to think about this when you buy your sunscreens.

Your Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Manado


It would be strange to not think of bringing a swimsuit or 2 on a tropical holiday, but stranger things have happened. It is pretty easy to find swimwear somewhere like Bali, but Manado is a very different story. The local people are generally very conservative and usually wear shorts and a t-shirt to swim rather than a swimsuit. This means no market for swimwear, especially bikinis in the area.


For anyone who takes prescription medications it is very important to make sure you have enough for the whole trip. You can never be sure if your medicine will be available or in stock. Gangga Island and many of the other dive resorts in the area, it is a couple of hours away from a major pharmacy.

You should also pack any over-the-counter medicines you take regularly or may need. Ibuprofen or paracetamol, allergy medicine, and medicine for stomach issues can all come in really handy. If you are traveling with kids, it is a good idea to bring the fever medicines you would normally give to them.

Gangga Island Resort and Spa in North Sulawesi


You don’t need a ton of clothes when visiting a hot climate like Manado, but the right kind of clothes can save a lot of discomfort. Loose clothing made from natural fibers like cotton and linen are the most comfortable in the heat and humidity of North Sulawesi.

Sandals or comfortable trainers for taking walks are a good choice. You definitely won’t need high heels, in fact you may spend most of your time barefoot. Even on day trips to the mountains or Tangkoko National Park a pair of trainers will suffice. There is no need for hiking boots.

Your Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Manado

Scuba Diving Equipment

If you have scuba or snorkeling equipment that you are comfortable with you should bring it with you. Gangga Divers has everything you need, but if you prefer to bring your own it will be cleaned and returned to you after your dives.

If you are a keen underwater photographer, you will need your own equipment but there is space to work and upload your photos in the dive centre or lounge.

Diving in Gangga Island in North Sulawesi

Extras or donations

If you would like to bring something for the people of Gangga Island it is always appreciated. The children on the island are especially excited when they receive writing books, pens and pencils, and art supplies. You can walk into the villages with a guide from the resort and meet the families that live there.

There really isn’t much to pack for a trip to Manado. You will find when you are at Gangga Island Resort & Spa that you need very little. You will probably spend most of your time on the island in your swimsuit. What are the things you can’t live without when you go on holiday? Let us know in the comments box below.

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