The Island of Sulawesi
An island with the central areas being rugged mountains, Sulawesi has a distinctive shape with four large peninsulas. It is an island famous for its culture and traditions, its panoramic beauty and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago as well as some of the best diving spots in the world. Travellers who have been to Sulawesi rave about the culture of Tana Toraja with the hanging graves in the sides of mountains and, ceremonies for the dead that are unique on this planet. But, Sulawesi is more than just that. It has some spectacular historical places to visit and cities that will leave you in awe and make you wonder why you didn’t visit the place earlier on your travels to the archipelago of Indonesia. Sulawesi has six provinces and each being as wondrous as the next. The provinces are Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and North Sulawesi.
There are two large cities on the island. On the south-western coast of the island Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi and it is the largest city on island of Sulawesi. Formerly known as Ujung Pandang and at one time was the colonial fort of Rotterdam and is a fine example of Dutch architecture. Inside the fort there is an excellent museum housing various artifacts and some excellent samples from Tana Toraja. The tombs of the former kingdoms of Gowa are well worth visiting as is the former royal residence and now a museum, Balla Lompa. Visiting the harbour will give you an opportunity to see Bugis sailing vessels.
The other large city is Manado located on the Bay of Manado on the northern tip of the island. It is the capital of the North Sulawesi province. Ecotourism is the biggest attraction in Manado. Scuba diving and snorkelling on the nearby island of Bunaken are popular attractions. Ban Hin Kiong Temple is another tourism spot in the city, especially during the Chinese New Year celebration. Souvenirs shops are located on Jalan B.W. Lapian. Other places of interest are nearby Lake Tondano, Lokon Volcano, Klabat Volcano and Mahawu Volcano. As the largest city in the region, Manado is a key tourist transit point for visitors. Sam Ratulangi International Airport of Manado is one of the main entry ports to Indonesia.