Lying directly east of the Wallace Line that separates the continent of Asia from Australia, Sulawesi is separated from Kalimantan (Borneo) by a very deep trench, which comes from the south separating the island of Bali from Lombok, and continues northward all the way to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Sulawesi is a landscape of dramatic smoking volcanoes, ragged mountains and dramatic gorges, tropical rainforests, deep lakes, green rice terraces and white sandy beaches . Beaches slope down to deep seas with extraordinary coral formations that are home to colourful tropical marine life. The prehistoric coelacanth, once thought to be extinct, was found in the seas off Manado in North Sulawesi, not far from the famed Bunaken dive site.
The large island of Sulawesi is surrounded by clusters of islands where beautiful coral reefs and sea gardens are found , among which at Bunaken, Banggai, the Wakatobi Islands and Selayar. These offer spectacular dive opportunities.
Sulawesi has also some of the strangest animal life. This is the habitat of the dwarf buffaloes or the anoas, the babirusa or pig deer, the tailless monkeys or macaques, and the shy, tiny nocturnal tarsier with saucer-like eyes found in the Tangkoko National Park. Trekking through the breathtaking Toraja countryside or visits to the national parks are life time experiences.
South Sulawesi is the home of the Bugis-Makassar seafarers , famous for their ship building crafts that take them as far away as Australia and Madagascar. Sulawesi is also the home of the Toraja highland people who for centuries lived nestled in the central mountains, as well as the home of the fun-loving Minahasa community and the Sangir-Talaud people living south of the Philippines.
Today, Sulawesi comprises five provinces, these are the provinces of South Sulawesi, South-East Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo and North Sulawesi. The main cities are Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi and Manado, capital of North Sulawesi.
The Highlights Places to visit in Sulawesi Indonesia.
Ever fancy yourself being a mermaid? Being able to swim along with other creatures of the sea , moving to the rhythm of the waves? In the Bunaken Marine Park, you will encounter a real “mermaid”, and you can also get a glimpse of sea life here.
Bunaken is an 8.08 km² island in the Bay of Manado, situated in the north of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Bunaken forms part of the administrative city of Manado , capital of North Sulawesi. The marine Park around Bunaken is part of the National Park that also includes the ocean around the island of Manado Tua – or Old Manado, Siladen and Mantehage.
Within the Bunaken Marine Park, visitors can see various strange and colourful marine life along its sea bed. To reach this park, you can take a motorboat. The journey from Manado takes around 40 minutes. Entrance fee is 25,000 rupiahs per person per visit.
The translucent waters of the Bunaken seas enable people to clearly view numerous sea biota. There are 13 species of coral reefs in this park, dominated by edge ridges and block ridges of rocks. The most attractive view is the steep vertical sloppy coral reef that plunges down as deep as 25-50 meters.
Feast your eyes on 91 types of fish found in the Bunaken National Park, amongst which are the locally known gusimi horse fish (Hippocampus), the white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tailed lolosi (Lutjanus kasmira), goropa (Ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) and others.
Divers may also meet mollusk like the giant kima (Tridacna gigas), goat head (Cassis cornuta), nautilus (Nautilus pompillius) and tunikates/ascidian.
For those who enjoy scuba diving, this is a great place to be. With about 20 dive spots to choose from, divers will have the chance to swim below the sea, and frolic joyfully while admiring the sea creatures.
Make sure to visit Bunaken during its best season between May to August. That way you can explore the Park to its fullest.
Ban Hin Kiong Temple
The beautifully designed Ban Hin Kiong Temple in the heart of Manado’s China Town is 335 years old and is the oldest Chinese temple built here during the Qing Dynasty era in China (1644-1911). It is a house of worship for the Tridharma followers from Manado and the region.
The name Ban Hin Kiong consists of three words, Ban meaning “plenty”, Hin meaning “abundant favors” and Kiong meaning “palace”. Therefore, Ban Hin Kiong means a holy palace that exudes much happiness. At Ban Hin Kiong, a number of annual events are held every Chinese New Year and at Goan Siao or Cap Go Meh.
Bukit Kasih – or the Hill of Love is located in the village of Kanonang at Kawangkoan, some 55 kilometers from Manado, North Sulawesi. It was built in 2002 as a spiritual center where religious followers from various faiths can gather, meditate and worship side by side in this lush and misty tropical hill.
This hill is called the Hill of Love because it is where people from different religions can gather and worship side by side as a symbol of religious and peaceful harmony. Five houses of worship are here, a Catholic Church, a Christian church, a temple, a mosque and Hindu temple built on the second peak. On the first peak is a 53 meter tall white cross which can be seen even from the Boulevard beach in Manado. In addition, this place is believed to be the original place where lived original ancestors of the Minahasa tribe, Toar and Lumimuut. Their faces are carved on the hillside beneath the second peak.
Tomohon is a hill resort located some 22 kilometers east of Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi province. Tomohon consists of 35 villages in five sub-districts, namely West, East, Central, South and North Tomohon.
Its land contour, cool weather and fertile soil encourage the local community to cultivate various kinds of flowers and vegetables. This city is known as a producer of flowers. When in season, the flower gardens of the local inhabitants look very beautiful.
Annually the Tomohon Flower Festival is held here in June and July. During this event, watch the flower floats parade through the town. A flower tournament is also held during this Festival where participants from 94 cities in Indonesia take part at the Inspiration Hill.
There are just so many things that make Gorontalo perfect for holiday, the beauty of its nature, the culture and not forget to mention, the friendly people. General information about Gorontalo, stated at North Sulawesi. Mountains, hills, shore line are the main characteristic of Gorontalo and it makes the island perfect for marine tourism.
Most of diving site take you just a few minute from town, Diving in Gorontalo mean diving within the richness of biodiversity, health and unique coral and reefs.
Lots of beautiful places could be found here. Tomini Bay, for instance, is famous for under water habitat and undefined creatures. There is several number of unsettled small islands. Tomini Bay is a heaven for divers, because the geographic position of Tomini Bay itself, which is crossed by the equator line, has naturally presented various kinds of sea creature inside.
Desa Olele or Olele Village is well known as the wild diving spot among world class diver. Olele beach is a gate to underwater paradise. The amazing beauty of underwater life on this area has been recognize and proofed by the enthusiasm of the divers who come to Olele beach. The divers called Olele as Traffic Jam dive spot.
In Tomini Bay and Olele Beach, you can find some or maybe the most amazing underwater creatures such as:
Giant Reef (Petrosia Sp.)
School of Gobi Fish (Bryaninops erythrops)
Salvador Dali reef (Petrosia lignose)
Kipas Laut Biru (Acanthogorgia Sp.). There are only 3 acanthogorgia Sp. In Gorontalo
Anemon Koralimorf (Discosoma Sp.)
Ikan Behang (plectorhinchus chaetodonoides), some people call it cha-cha fish caused they dance and swim around the coral.
Blenni (Escenius Caeruliventris)
Cardinal Fish, damsel, platax pinnatus, scorpaenopsis, oxycephala, goropa fish, butterfly fish, pusillus, cockatoo fish, Randal fish, parapterois hetururus, Bothus Sp " half face fish, frog fish, celebes
Not forget to mention that Gorontalo is the Kingdom of Nudibrancia
Seahorses and pigmy seahorses
Lake Tondano is a famous tourist destination in the province of North Sulawesi. It is located 600 meters above sea level and covers an area of 4,278 hectares (or about 10,571 acres). This lake is situated by the village of Remboken, some 3 kilometers from Tomohon city or some 30 km from Manado.
Lake Tondano is surrounded by mountains of 700 meters high, which are the Lembena, the Kaweng, the Tampusu and Masarang. The lake covers three sub-districts, these are Eris, Kakas and Remboken. From the lake side, you can see clearly Mount Kaweng.
Lake Tondano has a tourist attraction called "Sumaru Endo" Remboken, and the Tourist Resort of Bukit Pinus (from Tondano towards Toliang Oki). From the lake side at Toliang Oki, and Tondano Pante you can see as far as the beautiful Maluku sea, beyond the Lembean hill.
Lore Lindu National Park
Lore Lindu National Park. The second biggest lake in Central Sulawesi is Lake Lindu covering the area of 3,150 ha. It is located on highland about 1,200 m from the sea level. The beautiful panoramic view and it has a cool climate. Lake Lindu can be reached by car from Palu to Rahmat village then trekking through the thick tropical rainforest for about 4 hours. The visitor can stay at cottages. Barkcloth which is made in Bada, Kulawi and Napu valleys. Some megalithic statues of thousands of years at Napu, Besoa and Bada Valleys are consider to have relation with their ancestor worship. The statues with 1,5 m to 4 m height and 3000 years B.C. to 1500 years A. D.
Formerly called Ujung Pandang, the city of Makassar is the largest city in east Indonesia. Capital of South Sulawesi, Makassar enjoys a central location in the Indonesian archipelago and today Makassar is Indonesia’s busy air hub, connecting Sumatra, Java, Bali and Kalimantan in the west with Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Papua in the east.
In fact, ever since the 14th. century Makassar was already known as a thriving sea port where merchant vessels from far away China, India and Cambodia called regularly to trade in silks, tea and porcelain in exchange for cloves, nutmeg and pearls from the Moluccas and gold and forest products from Makassar and its hinterland. And when in the 16th century the Europeans discovered the sailing route to the coveted Spice Islands, the Spanish and Portuguese made Makassar their important entrepot to store valuable spices before shipment to Europe.
Meanwhile, in this southern peninsula of Sulawesi, the Bugis, Makassar and Mandar ethnic groups, known for their seafaring prowess and boat building skills, had already developed powerful kingdoms that encouraged trade, fishery, rice cultivation as well as literature and the arts. The Bugis epic poem I la Galigo is a recognized masterpiece in Bugis literature, as are the graceful dances and bright silk costumes of court dancers with their richly decorated accessories of wide gold bangles, opulent necklaces and tiaras.
In 1667 however, through the Treaty of Bungaya, Dutch merchants succeeded to oust the Portuguese and Spanish from Makasssar to make this port their stronghold, banning other Europeans from trading in Makassar. The Dutch destroyed the fort of Ujung Pandang built by the king of Gowa in 1545, and fortified this into Fort Rotterdam, which today still stands prominently on the waterfront of Makassar, while the king of Gowa was allowed to stay at Fort Somba Opu.
Many Makassar aristocrats who refused to be dominated by the Dutch, left the city and settled in Kalimantan , the Riau Islands and present-day Malaysia. The sultans of Selangor and Johore are Bugis descendents as are the sultans of Kutai Kartanegara in east Kalimantan.
Located on the busy trading route along the deep Straits of Makassar, the city of Makassar is a bustling cosmopolitan town with settlement of many races and ethnic groups, of Chinese, Europeans, Javanese, Balinese, Ambon and others, where local and international cargo ships continue to call at its busy port. While at its traditional port of Paotere, Bugis pinisi schooners can be seen lining the quay to unload goods from near and far away islands, and various types of fishing prahus, such as the pantorani, the lepa-lepa and the sandeq unload the day’s catch.
Today Makassar is also a university town, where youth from all over the islands, especially from the eastern archipelagos gather to gain higher education.
And, to provide entertainment for its population and to attract tourists especially from east Indonesia, Makassar now boasts a large theme park called Trans Studio, touted as the third largest indoor theme park in the world.
Makassar’s Sultan Hassanuddin airport is today Indonesia’s most modern airport. Makassar has a wonderful esplanade called the Losari Beach, the only place in Indonesia where one can see both a beautiful sunrise as well as a spectacular sunset. The Losari Beach is lined with luxury hotels and in the evenings comes alive with food stalls.
Makassar is the Gateway to East Indonesia, as well as the entry point to an adventurous tour to the Tana Toraja highlands, where awesome mountain scenery and the unique rituals of the Toraja people await.
Makassar's Circle of Tourism Writers, LPP, the travel industry and travel lovers of Makassar have created a new web in conjunction with the Visit Makassar Year 2011 to provide up to date information on this destination.
People are Manado’s best asset. Manadonese are extroverts, warm and fun loving, drawing visitors naturally into the big family circle. Aptly, the city’s slogan is “Torang Samua Basudara”, meaning:” we are all one family”. No one here is allowed to feel lonely.
Manado is the largest, most-northerly city in Indonesia, capital of the province of North Sulawesi. It is better known for its breathtaking underwater life at Bunaken, an island that directly faces this city. But Manado has much more to offer, and you will miss much if you do not explore this part of the Indonesian archipelago. For Manado spells fantastic diving, adventures through the wild and cultural heritage attractions.
Located on a promontory, Manado is backed by mountains and a number of active volcanoes, while facing the open sea . Its wide Pierre Tendean Boulevard bordering the water edge is lined with top class hotels and restaurants serving typical Manado cuisine. From here you can see the perfectly cone-shaped mountain called Manado Tua, which, together with the islands of Bunaken, Mantehage, Siladen and Nain form the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Park, world famous among divers for its steep walls and fantastic underwater life. A deep trench separates this National Park from the city, preventing pollution of the park.
Behind Manado are a number of active volcanoes called Lokon, Soputan, and Dua Saudara whose lush green tropical terrain are ideal for trekking, eco-tours, bird watching and white water rafting. The Tangkoko National Park is habitat to the world’s smallest monkeys called tarsiers, cute little animals with saucer-large eyes. And all around you will see coconut trees and plantations. For, the region of Minahasa is also known as the land of the waving coconut trees or ” Nyiur melambai”.
Safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi, are the Toraja people who live in valleys that are lush with green rice terraces and fertile coffee plantations.
“Discovered” and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many of her people are modernized or have embraced Christianity.
When one travels to the Tana Toraja highlands, therefore, expect to be awed by the spectacular beauty of nature, at the same time experience how communities have through the ages sustained their beliefs and traditions in splendid isolation in order to survive this eternal cycle of life and death on earth.
The road from Makassar to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130 km's and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja at the market village of Mebali one enters a majestic landscape of giant, gray granites and stones and blue mountains afar that form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty red of the tropical soil. This is Tana Toraja, one of the most splendid areas in Indonesia.
Here, the nobility of Toraja are believed to be descendents of heavenly beings who came down by a heavenly stairway to live here on earth in this beautiful landscape.
And to keep up the energy of the land and its people, the Toraja people believe that these must be sustained through rituals that celebrate both life and death, which are attached to the agricultural seasons. Here rituals in connection with life are strictly separated from death rites.
Toraja is most well known for its elaborate funeral ceremonies that can take days and involve entire villages. These are not only moments for mourning but are moreover events to renew family ties and to ensure continued unity among villages and communities.
Death ceremonies, however, are held only after the last rice harvest is in and cleared, which is normally between July to September, while ceremonies celebrating life are held in conjunction with the planting season which starts in October. These timings are possible since the dead are not buried immediately but are kept for months, sometimes for years, in the ancestral house until time and funds allow for a proper funeral.
Tourists to Toraja, therefore, are either attracted by its unique culture and rituals, most of which are mostly centered around graves and death ceremonies. While others prefer to avoid the morbid images and go trekking through the spectacular, almost untouched Toraja countryside visiting remote villages, or exhilarate in rafting the Sa’dan river rapids.
Capital of Toraja is Makale but visitors usually head to the town of Rantepao, heart of Tana Toraja – the Land of the Toraja people.
Tangkoko National Park
The Tangkoko National Park is a flora and fauna conservation area on Mount Tangkoko, Bitung in the province of North Sulawesi. To visit this park, you will pass Batuputih Natural Park located between Batuputih Bawah subdistrict and the Tangkoko National Park itself at Batuangus.
The Batuputih Natural Park covers an area of 615 hectares and is a savanna suitable for camping, outbound activities and relaxation by the beach. Since the Batuputih park is most visited by tourists, it is therefore also the best known, although it is only one of four conservation areas at Tangkoko.
In addition to the Batuputih Park, Tangkoko also comprises the Tangkoko-Batuangus National Park with a total area of 3,196 hectares - covering Mount Tangkoko-Batuangus and its surrounding areas – which are the Duasaudara National Park with a total area of 4,299 hectares (covering Mount Duasaudara and its surrounding areas), and the Batuangus National Park with 635 hectares (located between the Tangkoko National Park and Pinangunian village.
Togean Islands. A community - based ecotourism as well as in conserving the biodiversity. A bewildering array of tropical rain forest covered six islands formed by volcanic activity. Situated in the vicinity of equator. This enchanting archipelago is one of the jewels of Central Sulawesi. Stunning reefs, small isolated white sandy beaches, traditional fishermen village of a Bajau, verdant rainforest have left many a world weary travel searching for superlatives.
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