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On the north eastern peninsula of the island of Sulawesi that forms the Province of North Sulawesi , lies the port of Bitung facing the Moluccas Strait. This is the harbour of Manado that has lately made rapid strides in development. The name Bitung refers to the lines of vegetation decorating its coastline but another source says that the name Bitung, in fact, is derived from the word Balisung, which means : the place for magical recovery. Together they spell a picturesque, peaceful and prosperous harbor.
The administrative region of Bitung covers the foothills of Mt. Dua Sudara and a stretch of sea that includes the island of Lembeh, whose clear waters are a paradise for divers. Meanwhile, the port of Bitung is kept busy with the loading and unloading of cargo, trading and as well as education. The language most used here is the Manadonese dialect.
Bitung is a conglomeration of many ethnic groups from around the region, comprising the Minahasa, and the Sangir –Talaud ethnic groups, who are mostly Protestants, but there are also those from Java and Gorontalo who embrace Islam, while Chinese descendents mostly follow Confucianism or the Buddhist religion. .
Not far beyond the town of Bitung lies an amazing array of exotic fauna and flora . Nearby, the Tangkoko Nature Reserve is habitat of the rare tiny tarsiers, cute little monkeys with big saucer eyes that are now the icon of Bitung. While at sea, the diving spots around the Lembeh Strait contain some of the most stunning tropical ocean life.
And because of the abundance of tuna fish caught here , Bitung is also known as “Kota Cakalang” the Tuna City, As a matter of fact, Bitung contributes the largest tuna catch in the whole of Indonesia. It will, therefore come as no surpirse that you will find a huge statue of a Tuna fish right in the center of town at Jalan Sam Ratulangi.
It is this cosmopolitan fusion of Bitung, its wealth in sea produce, flora and fauna on land and in the sea that have made Bitung a flourishing international port for trade and shipping, eco-friendly in tourism development and in step with the rhythms of today’s globalized world.
The distance between Manado, capital of North Sulawesi and the port of Bitung is approximately 44 km. If you do not wish to travel by private car, there are public buses available that serve the Manado-Bitung route, starting from Terminal Paal Dua or the Karombasan Bus Terminal. Non airconditioned buses charge Rp7,500 for the trip while the fare for airconditioned buses is Rp8, 500, for the two hours’ ride.
You can also rent a car in Manado with varying costs starting from Rp300 thousand.
Here are a number of car rental companies:
Address : Jl. Sungai Musi, Singkil
Phone : +62 431 3335011
Address : Jl. 21 Mei, Teling
Phone : 0431 3323293, 0811 437793
Address : Jl. Sugiono No. 5
Phone : 0431 855193
Mobil Rental Mitra
Address : Jl. Jambore, Winangun
Phone : +62 431 3366442
Bitung is also accessible by ferry. These ply the following routes: Bitung-Pananaru, Bitung-Siau, Bitung-Melanguane and Bitung-Ternate.