Why you should visit Sulawesi
- Explore the traditional villages with their ‘tongkonan’ houses
- Travel north and dive in Manado
- Witness one of the elaborate funerals in Tana Toraja
- Visit the Monday morning buffalo market in Tana Toraja
- Visit the cliff side stone graves at Lemo
Our specialists ‘Must Do’
Walk through the paddy fields to see the cave graves and the intricately carved effigies representing the family.
A little more about Sulawesi
Sulawesi is a strangely shaped island located adjacent to Borneo. The island has an incredible diverse nature, supported by its many cultures, friendly locals and fascinating scenery.
The cultural rituals of the island are what attract travellers from afar. High in the hills of Sulawesi lays Tanah Toraja, an area famed for awe inspiring landscapes, beautiful vast rice paddies and its elaborate funeral rituals, burial customs and architecture. Any funeral is a huge affair using all the resources of the community. After an adult dies, their body is embalmed, sewn into a red funeral casing and then can be kept in the house for a year or more before being "buried" in a cliff side cave, guarded by effigies of themselves. The bodies of children are sewn into hollow tree trunks.
The houses within Sulawesi are shaped rather like overturned boats and decorated with intricate geometric carvings. Unlike most of Indonesia, which is Muslim, and Bali, which is Hindu, Tanah Toraja, contrary to what you might expect, is Christian.
The island is full of beautiful wildlife rich national parks which offer a secluded haven offering an off the beaten track experience to those who wish to explore. However, the main highlight of the island is its pristine diving waters that harbour its real treasures. The shorelines surrounding the island are known to offer the best diving sites in the whole of Indonesia if not the world, Pulau Bunaken and the Lembeh Strait are the most favoured but the incredible Wakatobi Marine National Park in the far southeast is definitely worth a visit.
Sulawesi attracts a diverse array of travellers, from those seeking cultural enlightenment to divers seeking their paradise. A fascinating place, certain to leave a lasting memory on those who travel to it.
When to go
Indonesia is best visited in our summer – a good excuse to escape the rain. The peak season is July and August but May, June and September are also good times to visit. Indonesia is a tropical country and various islands will have different weather patterns but during the spring and summer you can expect long hot dry days with clear blue skies.