Known for its dive sites teeming with pristine reefs, nature parks and volcanic mountains, Sulawesi is one of Indonesia’s most fascinating islands.
Sulawesi’s main port of entry is Makassar, which has frequent flights throughout the archipelago. Manado acts as a secondary hub. Both airports are international airports with international flights to Kuala Lumpur from Makassar, and to Singapore from both airports.
The south is home to Sulawesi’s capital, Makassar with a population of 15 million inhabitants. The southern plains rise to the mountains of Tanah Toraja, with beautiful scenery, unusual architecture and vibrant festivals which are among the island’s chief tourist attractions. Those after a more unhurried experience can soak up the tropical sunshine on the Togian Islands, one of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets.
Manado, the largest city and main gateway to Northern Sulawesi, enjoys views to the emerald hills and the azure sea. The city has a European feel with the fun loving and extroverted Minahasa people living in neat, wood framed houses with fences and flower gardens.
The city’s numerous shops and markets are filled with an abundance of consumer goods and agricultural produce and those with an adventurous palate should try the famously hot and spicy Minahasa cuisine.
Manado offers easy access to some of Indonesia’s best diving and snorkelling. Of these, Bunaken National Park draws visitors from all over the world. It has warm water and visibility up to 30 metres with a myriad sea life, underwater volcanoes and coral reefs.
A trip inland will take you to the Minahasa Highlands where you can visit intriguing prehistoric above ground burial sites, volcanoes and hot springs. There are breathtaking panoramas of lush mountains, coffee and coconut plantations, orchid gardens and terraced hillsides. Also, be sure to visit the Dua Saudara Nature Reserve at Tangkoko that is home to birds and wildlife unique to Sulawesi.