Home to a bewildering range of creatures
Sulawesi is one of the main islands of Indonesia and enjoys a strong domestic tourist market, making it one of the top travel destinations in the country. Foreign visitors toIndonesia however often leave it off the list in favor of Lombok or Bali, but anyone willing to make the trip will be rewarded with amazing attractions and some truly stunning scenery.
As well as a chance to see a completely different culture to much of Indonesia, Sulawesi also has some of the best diving opportunities in the archipelago and diving aficionados have been coming for years due to the visibility and amazing range of sea creatures found in the seawaters.
Let’s explore the best places to visit in Sulawesi!
1. THE WAKATOBI ISLANDS
2. TANA TORAJA
3. LINDU NATIONAL PARK
4. BOGANI NANI WARTABONE NATIONAL PARK
5. TOGEAN ISLANDS
6. TANGOKO NATIONAL PARK
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THE WAKATOBI ISLANDS
The Wakatobi Islands take their name from the first letters of the four islands in this archipelago is southern Sulawesi. There are Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongkoand most people visit the islands for the splendid diving opportunities that abound here. You can fly across to the Wakatobi Islands from Bali, although you will get a completely different beach experience as this is one of the remotest parts of Indonesia. Expect jet blue seas and clean sands that stretch for miles on a visit here, which more than makes up for the journey.
Tana Toraja is probably the premium attraction inSulawesi and it is here that you can learn all about the Torajan indigenous group who call this island home. At Tana Toraja you can see how people have lived for centuries and there are a range of celebrations here that are unique toSulawesi such as the elaborate funerals held here. Make sure to look out for the grave sites which feature effigies of the dead, and you will also find ornate homes, traditional architecture, and local communities.
LINDU NATIONAL PARK
The Lindu National Park is located in Palu and even just getting there is something of an experience in itself. The park sits at the end of a series of mountain roads, and when you get there you will find vast swathes of lush rainforest. Those who love nature won’t be disappointed, and canenjoy colorful butterflies, majestic hornbills, and cheeky monkeys living in the forest. The forest also abounds with indigenous exotic plants, and its location is so secluded that it truly feels like you are getting off the grid.
BOGANI NANI WARTABONE NATIONAL PARK
Located in Northern Sulawesi is the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park which can be easily visited from the neighboring cityof Gorontalo. The main draw here is the acres of pristine rainforest and many tourists don’t make the trip here meaning that you are unlikely to be plagued by crowds and will be able to explore in peace. There are a range of trails all over the park and you can either hire a guide or go it alone. Whatever you decide you will find a plethora of plant and animal life here including monkeys, snakes, and birds.
The Togean Islands are one of the best kept secrets inIndonesia, especially if you like diving and you want to check out some of the amazing underwater creatures in this part of the world. It takes some effort to get to this small archipelago which sits in the Tomini Sea in the north of Sulawesi, but it is more than worth it for the pristine sands and sparkling turquoise seas.
TANGOKO NATIONAL PARK
Tangkoko National Park sprawls over an impressive 9,000 hectares of land and is the home of some of the most amazing indigenous animals in North Sulawesi. As you trek around the various trails in the park lookout for tarsiers which have the claim to fame of being the smallest primate in the world as well as Black Crested Macaques which are indigenous to the island.
Bunaken Island is one of the best places in the world to dive or snorkel, but because it takes some time to get here many people never get the opportunity to sample its underwater delights. Bunaken is also part of a wider marine national park and has an impressive array of marine life including 70 different kinds of coral and 5 species of turtles. On a dive trip here you can expect to see hundreds of species of colorful fish and if you are lucky you might also get the chance to see white and black tip reef sharks.
Other highlights include dugongs, pygmy seahorses, and barracuda.