Sulawesi is a prime example of Indonesia's thrilling diversity. Throughout the island are National Parks bragging a range of beautiful creatures from macaques to round-eyed tarsiers. Many of the parks are popular with bird enthusiasts.
In the South, you can visit Tana Toraja where locals welcome strangers to observe their burial rites. The delayed funerals (bodies may be kept for years before a family can afford the proper burial) can be a gruesome spectacle especially when combined with animal slaughtering, but one cannot deny the rare cultural experience.
Up North on the way to the famed snorkel and dive spots of Bunaken and Lembeh, travellers stop through Manado. Though it may seem unimpressive, it is the food that is famous. The exotic dishes include every animal species you can think of, rat and monkey to name a few, and the brazen can visit the animal markets. For the enthusiastic and flexible diver, try to reach the Togian Islands, possibly one of the great divespots that remains less touched because of the effort required to reach it.
Hints and Tips for Sulawesi
- Most travelers must pay US$25 upon arrival for the 30-day visa (entry day counts as 1, not 0)
- The more secluded the destination, the less available ATMs will be--make sure to bring emergency funds
- Be prepared to face head-on traffic when taking the roads
- Delays in transit (inter-city layovers lasting hours-days) are infamous, so if you are on a tighter timeline, it's best to stick to main cities and nearby islands for reliable transportation.
- If you go to nearby beaches, wear booties to avoid run-ins with sea-urchins, stonefish or scorpion fish.