Destinations for tours in Sulawesi

Sulawesi is located between Kalimantan (Borneo), Maluku and the Philippines. This magnificent island belongs to East Indonesia. Sulawesi was called “Celebes” in the old days. This name is coming from a Bugis word “Si Lebih, this meaning “more islands”. The name Sulawesi is coming from Sula (Island) and besi (Iron). This is coming from the iron around Lake Matano (Danau Matano). Sulawesi is has five provinces; North Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi Gorontalo and South Sulawesi.

Makassar (Ujung Pandang)
Makassar is the gateway to East Indonesia. The population is more then 1,3 million in Makassar and it’s a huge, but not a chaotic city. Journeys to Sulawesi will start most of the time at this modern cultural city. It’s great to spend the afternoon at Jl. Somba Opu during the magnificent sunset; you will see many local people sitting on the boulevard waiting to see the sun going down in the Makassar Strait. There is a lot to do in during the evening, many traditional and classic restaurants with local and international dish. Makassar has nice bars and clubs with an international atmosphere. The city’s energy is making Makassar a nice place to spend a few days for all kind of tourist young and old.

Makassar attractions and surroundings

Fort Rotterdam
This impressive building is rebuilt by the Dutch during their occupation in Indonesia in 1667. This is one of the typical Dutch buildings in Makassar and there are many other Dutch colonial buildings in this city.

Monumen Mandala, this big tower is a smaller version of the National Monument “Monas” in Jakarta. You will find a lot of history in the museum in this building, about the Dutch occupation and liberation of Irian Jaya (Papua). You can go up by the elevator and the view is magnificent from the top of this building, you can explore the all city during the visit at Monumen Mandala.

Pelabuhan Paotre, you will see a lot of traditional “Bugis” sailing ships going to other Indonesian Islands, like Java, Kalimantan and Bali. The locals put a lot of traditional things onboard, like bales of rice, Toraja Coffee and other condiments. It’s a nice place to see how life is standing still here in this harbour.

Somba Opu is the place to be, this street has a nice boulevard and many shops. You can see many gold shops most of the time own by the Chinese, the gold from Makassar is famous and popular by tourists. And in the afternoon you can hire a paddleboat in all kind of shapes and enjoy the sunset during paddle on the bay near the night market.

Bantimurung has beautiful natural vegetated limestone cliffs, with great waterfalls. You can slide from the limestone waterfall and refresh in a small natural pool after a walk in Bantimurung. This area is a great place for butterfly and bird lovers. Bantimurung is located about 42 km from Makassar.

Gua Leang Leang
The caves of Gua Leang Leang has unique paintings and nobody knows acutely how old these paintings are, but they are from 8000 to 30.000 years ago.

Malino has a huge spectacular waterfall (Air Terjun Takapala) between lovely rice fields. Malino was former colonial resort town; it’s a nice place for leisure.

Pantai Bira, if you want to see how the locals building traditional boats, then you have to go to Pantai Bira (Bira Beach). You also can see how they weaving and fishing in Bira.
Bira beach is a great place for snorkelling and diving lovers, the gorgeous pearl white sand beaches are great for a romantic walk. Daily ferries depart to Selayar Island; it is a quiet place with beautiful beaches. Sometimes you will see dolphins swimming when you are lucky. The seawater is crystal-clear and the shore is quiet. Bira is a lovely exotic place when you don’t like busy tropical beaches.

Danau Tempe near Sengkang is the largest lake on Sulawesi. Lake Tempe is a shallow lake fringed by wetlands with traditional floating houses and a large population of wonderful birdlife. Lake Tempe is the place to be for ornithologists. You can go by long tail boat on the huge lake and you will visit a traditional floating house and you can drink tea or coffee and eating fried banana (Pisang Goreng) with the locals. We respect the flora & fauna, so we will not come to close to the birds, so we don’t disturb them and so we safe this wonderful place near Sengkang. Sengkang was a former Bugis kingdom capital. The city has still old traditions character like; silk weavings and markets.

Tana Toraja attractions

Rantepao is the place to be in Tana Toraja, this is the largest town of the Toraja district. Rantepao has one main road with many local shops and some supermarkets, located near the Sa’dan River. The local traditional market is held every six days and the local people sale their products and livestock like pigs and buffalos. Pasar Bolu is a market near the Jl. Jurusan Palopo, about two km north side of Rantepao. Rantepao has almost everything you need during your trip to Sulawesi.

Batutumonga is a huge green mountain in Torajaland, with a magnificent panorama view of Rantepao and Sa’dan valley. The sunrises are lovely from the top of this mountain.

Ke’te Kesu is a traditional village, famous from the woodcarving and original houses with boat shape roofs. You will discover hanging craves behind the village on the cliff face. Many rotten wooden coffins hanging on the cliff and other coffins are filled with bones, scales and skeletons from the locals. Uphill you will find a cave filled with coffins and many scales and bones. Everywhere you will find offers, like; cigarettes, bottles with soda and more kind of privet gifts to the dead. The dead people are copied to a wooden doll and the wooden doll called “Tau Tau”. You will find some very old (Tau Tau) behind fence on the cliff face.

Londa, you can enter the dark cave of Londa after you get a lamp. The lamp helps you to discover this cave of burial. Inside the cave you will find a lot of coffins and bones from several families. This is an old Toraja custom that the people who lived together in one house should buried together in one family cave. Near the entrance of the cave you will see Tau Tau’s on the balcony.

Lemo, you will find here many balconies with Tau Tau’s, with many coffins in the sheer rock. The locals put the coffins in the holes of the rock. Lemo is a mysterious burial area and the atmosphere is here calm and quiet.

Sa’dan, is the traditional texture material village from Torajaland. This village is famous by traditional texture art. You can see how the local women making traditional carpets, tablecloths and dress material in all kind of colours.

Mamasa Valley
Mamasa is located at the Westside of Tana Toraja. Mamasa is the only large village in the valley. You can find many blankets at the traditional market which is every Monday. Blankets you may need it during the fresh nights. It’s a beautiful area and more rough then Tana Toraja, the Mamasa Valley difficult to passable, so an active hiking tour for one or three days is great for this area.

North Sulawesi attractions and surroundings

Togean or Togian Islands, are magnificent, this archipelago has pristine coral and volcanic isles and are located in bay of Tomini. You can reach the islands from Ampana village of from Gorontalo city. The Togian main islands are; Unauna, Natudaka, Togian, Waleabahi, Talatakoh and Puah. The marine life is still undisturbed and our tours keep it the coral reefs intact. The jungle on the islands is the home of variety of wildlife. This group of islands is the place to be for nature and diving lovers.

Manado and Palau Bunaken
Manado is the capital city of North Sulawesi. This place was visited by Alfred Wallace and is opinion about Manado was that it was the best places in East Indonesia. Palau Bunaken is a great place for divers, its international well knows and the 800hecatre is part of Bunaken Manado Tua Marine National Park. You can see colourful fishes and Sea turtles and dolphins too when you are lucky. One of the spotlights are Pantai Liang and Pantai Pangalisang, this is heaven for the snorkel and dive lovers. But it is also possible to make a boat trip with a glass bottom or with a submarine, so you will enjoy the coral view without diving. Manado is also a good place to start a trip to the Philippines; you can fly but also go by boat to Davao city in southern Philippines.

Central Sulawesi attractions and surroundings

Palu is the capital city of Central Sulawesi. Palu is one of the driest places is Indonesia. This made this area great for diving and swimming.
It’s great to visit Lindu National Park; this is the home of a rich population of Sulawesian flora and fauna. Bora mineral spring and Taman Mantikole with natural springs it’s worth seeing this places in the nature reserve. You will have a great time during a tracking in this area.

Lake Poso, Tentena and Pendolo
Danau Poso or Lake Poso is 33.000 hectares and reaches an average depth of 475m, the lake 32km long and 15km wide. Lake Poso is Indonesia’s 3rd largest lake and it’s nice for a boat trip. These places have nice beaches and it’s a great area for water lovers. But it’s also nice for those travellers who like to walk in the tropical rainforests, coffee plantations or green rice fields.

Lore Lindu National Park and Bada Valley
The Lore Lindu national Park takes about 250,000 hectares of Central Sulawesi; the park is located just across the border of Central Sulawesi.
The park has been barely touched by tourism and we offer ecotourism tours to this magnificent park with all her beautiful flora and fauna. The park is the home for amazing animals like the Pig-dear, Anoa and several species of Sulawesian Macaques and saucer eyes Tarsiers, Hornbills, green imperial Pigeons and huge Reticulates python. We offer tours to Banda, Besoa and Napu Valleys and especially for bird watching we will visit Kamarora (2500m) and 3100 hectares large Danau Lindu (Lake Lindu) with the small cosy island “Pulau Bola”.
North Sulawesi, is one of the nicest areas in whole Indonesia, it has magnificent volcanos and unbelievable beautiful coral reefs. These are breathtaking. North Sulawesi has a natural gateway to the Philippines. North Sulawesi is great for dive lovers.

Central Sulawesi has rough landscapes; dry mountain valleys and the rainforest are great for the real adventurers. The most of the population is living in the coastal towns. The highlands are most of the time uninhabited.

South Sulawesi
This province is popular by tourists. it has a lot to discover from huge lakes, caves, waterfalls, rough mountains, tropical coffee plantations, cotton fields and magnificent green rice fields. The dominate groups of Sulawesi are the; Buginese and Makassarese from the South west and the Minahasans of the North side of Sulawesi. The group from Tana Toraja, the Toraja are famous by their funeral ceremonies and burial areas. The cultural rituals are unique and amazing to explore. Torajaland is also a great location for active white water rafting.

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PT Emerald Indonesia Tours & Travel
Jl. Monginsidi No. 1
PO Box: 91
Rantepao, Tana Toraja
South Sulawesi – Indonesia 91831
Tel: +62 423 25100
Fax: +62 423 25100

* Feel free to contact us in Dutch, English or Indonesian.