Sulawesi

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Sulawesi Island’s massive multi-limbed coastline is spread with sandy beaches and fringed with coral reefs, containing mind-boggling fish species. Meanwhile, Sulawesi’s interior is shaded by impenetrable mountains and jungles, thick with wildlife; including rare nocturnal tarsiers and unique Maleo birds (a chicken-like megapode that uses hot sand close to the island's volcanic vents to incubate its egg). Its main city, Makassar, is the gateway to eastern Indonesia; and for centuries, has been a strategic place, where the Dutch could control much of this hemisphere’s west and the east shipping. Today, one can tour Fort Rotterdam, once an ancient Gowanese fort, and Makassar’s main tourist attraction, still standing as a reminder of its Dutch occupation. Makassar continues to be an important transport hub and thriving port.Sulawesi has 8 national parks on the island, 4of which are mainly marine and 19 nature reserves. The largest land parks are Bogani Nani Wartabone and Lore Lindu National Park. The underwater environment of “Bunaken Manado Tua Marine National Park” is yours to explore; snorkel or dive amidst an astounding array of marine life, including over 200 species of corals (declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Throughout the interior over 400 granite megaliths can be encountered, dating back to 3000 BC. They vary in size up to a whopping 4.5 meters representing human forms, large pots and stone plates. At Maros Caves, the "oldest hand stencil in the world" can be observed, dating back about 40,000 years old (next to it, is similarly dated, a figure of a pig). There’s lot’s to offer in a relatively condensed space; you can dive over some of the world’s best coral reefs at Bunaken one day, climb a volcano near Tomohon the next, and visit the lowland Tangkoko-Batuangas Dua Saudara Nature Reserve for close encounters with spectral tarsiers, crested macaques, quizzical cuscus; a truly amazing forest and unbelievable extensive diversity of animal and plant species. Keep your eyes open for a Fanged Frog, since Sulawesi is home to at least 15 species of this frog, and they give live birth! It is also a must to take a boat and visit Rammang Rammang world heritage site, and see the second largest karst area in the world, covering 45,000 hectares.

Encounter the indigenous “Kajang Tribe”, whose members still retain strong beliefs in both magic and voodoo. Get up close and personal with the “Toraja Culture”, mountain people renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof houses and colorful wood carvings. Visit “Phinisi Boat Builders” for a first-hand look at construction of traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. Still looking for a unique Sulawesi reminder, try a trek to one or all of the Gunung Volcanic Peaks.

Komodo Travel offers custom guided tours in Sulawesi