Ancestral Houses, Sangalla, Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sulawesi

Sulawesi is a strangely shaped island located adjacent to Borneo. The island has an incredibly 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 cliffside cave, guarded by effigies of themselves. The bodies of children are sewn into hollow tree trunks.

Traditional Boat, Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Togian Islands, Sulawesi

Explore the stunning national parks

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.

Ancestral Houses, Sangalla, Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia
Ancestral Houses, Sangalla, Indonesia

A little more about Sulawesi

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.

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.

Experiences

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Tau Tau, Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Lemo Graves

Visit the cliff side stone graves at Lemo in South Sulawesi. These family graves are chiselled into cliffs and boulders and highlight the wealth of those buried there.

Toraja Traditional Homes, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Tongkonan Houses and Traditions

Explore the traditional villages of Sulawesi with their ‘tongkonan’ houses and fascinating festivals.

Corals thrive in the shallow waters of Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia

Dive Wakatobi

Take a short journey to Sulawesi’s southwest corner to dive and snorkel on the untouched reefs of Wakatobi

Close up image of fresh spices from a local village.

Sulawesi Markets

Visit colourful local markets including the floating market and the Monday morning buffalo market in Tana Toraja.

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A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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