Indonesia - Sulawesi Explorer

Indonesia - Sulawesi Explorer

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 - Makassar

On arrival in Makassar, the capital of Sulawesi, you will transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival it may be possible to stop en route at Paotere harbour, with its dozens of traditional wooden ships. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Aston Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Maros

Today we drive to Maros, situated in an area of limestone cliffs, rice fields and small villages. We spend our time exploring the area on foot and by boat before returning to Makassar in the evening. Overnight at Aston Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 3 – Malino - Bira

Leaving Makassar we head to the refreshingly cool market town of Malino, which lies on the lower slopes of Mount Bawakaraeng, and was once the favourite weekend retreat for the colonial Dutch. We walk alongside the rice fields and visit a traditional Bugis house, stopping for a drink at a villa in the area. We continue to the site of a local waterfall where we take lunch in a nearby restaurant, and drive on to Bira. It is a pretty village situated on the coast and we will arrive in the late afternoon / early evening. Overnight at Bara Beach Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 4 – Bira

This morning is at leisure, leaving you free to relax by the beach or take a walk in the forest close to the hotel, where monkeys are often seen. In the afternoon we visit the village of Tanah Beru, which is known for the traditional wooden pinisi boats which are made here, and we may be lucky enough to see some of the craftsmen at work. Overnight at Bara Beach Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 5 - Sengkang

After breakfast we travel north to the small town of Sengkang, stopping on the way to visit the village of Tanah Tua, the home of the Kajang people. Overnight at BBC Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 6 – Lake Tempe – Tanah Toraja

Early in the morning we board traditional colourful motorised canoes, travelling along the Walennea River to Lake Tempe. The lake is very scenic and is home to a number of species of birds, who share it with local fishermen, some of who live in floating villages where we will take tea/coffee in one of the floating houses. Before we leave Sengkang we will visit a silk weaving shop making beautifully coloured local garments. From here we will travel to the highlands of Tanah Toraja, home to some of Sulawesi’s most intriguing customs, and a stronghold of traditional architecture. Lunch is taken in the home of a local family. We pass Palopo driving onwards through Toraja to the market town of Rantepao. (approx.5 hours). Overnight at Heritage Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 7 – Tanah Toraja

We spend today exploring this remarkable region to gain a picture of the culture of past and present Toraja. We visit picturesque villages located in an amazing mountainous landscape dominated by rice terraces and bamboo forests. We see the different ways the Toraja bury their dead, including the traditional ‘hanging graves’ and the well-known stone graves guarded by puppets, “tau-tau”, high up on rocks. We also see huge richly carved traditional houses with their rice barns. For lunch we visit a small village where local people prepare a typical Toraja meal for us. Overnight at Heritage Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 8 – Tanah Toraja

Today we will explore the area further, walking and driving through the countryside, which will offer a further insight into the rural life of the region. Overnight at Heritage Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 9 - Makassar

A long day of driving takes us by a different route through interesting and varied scenery back to Makassar. We will pass through the rice production centre of the island and travel alongside the coast. Overnight at Aston Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 10 – Manado - Tangkoko

Fly from Makassar to Manado in the north of Sulawesi and transfer to the Tangkoko Batuangas Reserve, where we take an afternoon walk (approx. 2 hours) in search of its unusual wildlife, including Tarsiers and Cuscus Bears. Overnight at Tangkoko Lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 11 – Tangkoko - Tomohon

This morning we take another walk in the forest in search of wildlife (approx. 3 hours), before continuing on. We explore the fascinating Minhasa Highlands along the way, with its relics of traditional culture. This evening we visit a local home for some typical Minhasa food. Overnight at Mount View Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 – Mahawu Volcano

This morning we will visit the colourful market of Tomohon. The Minhasa are known for eating most things and you will find some unusual "ingredients" ready to take home and cook. We then head to the rim of Gunung Mahawu, an active volcano which gives us great views of its crater lake as well as of the surrounding area, including the nearby island of Bunaken. We reach it by a combination of driving and walking (it entails climbing around 250 steps) After descending the rest of the day is free to explore the town. Overnight at Lokon Boutique Resort or similar. (BD)

Day 13 – Manado

Transfer back to Manado. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore this interesting cosmopolitan city – the market in particular is well worth venturing into. Overnight at Sedona Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 14 – Bunaken Island

Today our destination is Bunaken Island off the northern tip of Sulawesi.The island is part of Bunaken Marine Reserve, and the sea around here is alive with stunning marine life including turtles, whales, dolphins and rays. We take a boat out to snorkel and then take lunch on the beach before heading back to Manado. Overnight at Sedona Hotel or similar. (BL)

Please note: A local permit is payable locally of RP50.000 and snorkel equipment can be rented for approx. RP100.000

Day 15 – Manado

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Tour ends. (B)