Undiscovered Sulawesi

Immerse yourself in north-east Indonesia’s stunning scenery as you travel between towering cliffs and remote coral reefs, discovering superb wildlife and distinctive culture on our compelling Undiscovered Sulawesi holiday.

At a glance
  • Taste Makassar’s spicy beachside streetfood
  • Canoe through Sengkang’s karst cliff landscape
  • Fish with the locals on Lake Tempe
  • Sample traditional Torajan culture
  • Track tiny tarsiers in Tangkoko nature reserve
  • Dive into Bunaken’s underwater beauty
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Makassar - 1 nights

Makassar has been the gateway to eastern Indonesia for hundreds of years, and most of the trade that passed between the West and the East during Dutch colonial rule was controlled from this bustling city. At its centre are evocative tales of spice routes and high seas that have sparked enduring legends, and today is a busy hub connecting the Indonesian islands by air and boat. Through its strikingly modern skyline, Makassar’s colonial history can still be seen at sites such as Fort Rotterdam, one of the best-preserved examples of Dutch architecture in Indonesia.

Day 1 - Arrive Makassar

On arrival in Sulawesi, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your Makassar hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

After settling in, you’ll have the rest of your day at leisure to begin absorbing the city’s intoxicating history.

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Sengkang - 1 night

The market town of Sengkang, on the eastern shore of Lake Tempe, retains many of its deep-rooted, cultural traditions. You'll learn about the silk weaving process from caterpillar to thread, and pass through the Maros Pangkep Karst region, a stunning UNESCO site peppered with towering limestone cliffs and caves adorned with prehistoric paintings. Explore Rammang Rammang village on foot (keeping your camera close to capture the extraordinary landscape), enjoy lunch with a local village family, and relax into the region’s quiet rhythms.

Day 2 - Drive to Sengkang, canoeing, lunch with locals

Includes:

Head towards Sengkang, taking time to enjoy the scenery, and sharing lunch with the locals. Canoe through Maros Pangkep’s dramatic karst landscape, photograph every gorgeous angle of Rammang Rammang village, and pause in a small community known for its silk weaving. Arrive in Sengkang by late afternoon to enjoy the rest of your day at leisure exploring this calm waterside community.

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Rantepao Region - 4 nights

Sitting 2,600 feet above sea level, the cool, picturesque Tana Toraja region is dominated by mountains, rice terraces and bamboo forests, and is home to traditional Torajan communities. Rantepao, the region’s main town, is a good base for exploring the area’s long- established villages, unique architecture, caves and waterfalls. You might even see a ceremonial Torajan funeral - a vital part of the culture that involves days of feasting, dancing and drinking - and observe as the deceased are reverently laid to rest in hanging graves, carved into steep cliffs and guarded by life sized tau tau effigies.

Day 3 - Lake Tempe by boat, drive to Tana Toraja

Includes:

Accompanied by your guide, board a motorised canoe and cruise along the Walennea River to beautiful Lake Tempe, which expands from around 2,400 acres in dry season to an incredible 86,480 acres during wet season as the area floods. Observe how local fishermen use various ‘secret’ methods including nets, rods and bamboo fences to catch their quarry, and see their floating houses on the edge of the lake that move depending on water levels and where the fish are plentiful. Drive through the mountainous Tana Toraja region towards Rantepao, check in to your hotel, where you can relax with the rest of your day at leisure.

Day 4 - Visit Torajan villages

Includes:

With their distinctive wooden frames and boat shaped roofs, Torajan tonkonan houses stand out confidently from the landscape. Visit several small villages with your guide over the course of the day to see these unique structures, gain insight into Torajan culture, chat with the locals, and soak up the scenery.

Day 5 - Tana Toraja trek, village homestay

Includes:

Spend a day trekking through Tana Toraja's rugged rural landscape, passing remote villages, and eventually reaching a traditional tonkonan ancestral house: your homestay for the night. Meet your hosts and chat together as you eat a typical Torajan dinner.

Day 6 - Drive back to Rantepao

Includes:

After a leisurely breakfast the next morning, your driver will pick you up and take you back to Rantepao, where you can spend the day at leisure discovering more secrets of this multi-layered region.

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Makassar - 1 night

Coming back to the port town of Makassar, after nearly a week immersed in Sulawesi’s rich rural landscape, culture and traditions, shows you the city in a new light. Try a few of Makassar’s famous streetfood snacks, including bright green Es Pisang Ijo banana dumplings and Jalangkote savoury pastries. Choose your favourite from over a hundred stalls along Losari Beach selling Pisang Epe - the town’s iconic barbecued caramel bananas (try as many as you can, to ensure fair comparison!). Stay on the sand to see the sunset, or head into town to sip a sundowner at one of the city’s chic sky bars.

Day 7 - Scenic drive to Makassar, local village lunch

Includes:

Head off back to Makassar, settling in for a long drive through the mountains and along the winding coast road. Stop for lunch with local hosts in a traditional Bugis community, where you can try the local cottage-style cheese made from fresh milk and papaya latex extract, along with other regional dishes. Once in Makassar, the rest of your day will be at leisure to soak up the town’s vibrant bustle.

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Tangkoko Reserve - 1 night

Spread out at the foot of Dua Saudara Mountain, on the eastern tip of the Minahasa peninsular, the rolling hills and valleys of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve brim with varied wildlife. Watch Maleo Birds, black tailless monkeys and wild pigs move among the trees; hear fruit bats swoop overhead; and walk through the forest with a ranger as the sun goes down, keeping a sharp eye out for tiny tarsiers monkeys - just half the size of an adult human hand - as they wake and leave their trees to look for insects in the fading light.

Day 8 - Fly & drive to Tangkoko Reserve, wildlife trek

Includes:

Fly from Makassar Airport to Manado, and drive straight to the Tangkoko National Park. Spend a good couple of hours wildlife trekking through the forest, with a ranger by your side to help you spot those tiny tarsiers, before returning to your guesthouse on the edge of the reserve for dinner.

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Bunaken - 4 nights

Bunaken Marine National Park is undoubtedly the jewel in Sulawesi’s unspoilt coastal crown. Crystal waters lap against pristine sands on the islands of Bunaken, Manada Tua, Montekage, Siladen and Nain, where you can sunbathe, swim and snorkel to your heart’s content, away from the usual beach crowds. The area’s diving is renowned worldwide for the spectacular coral reefs, walls and wrecks (including the remains of WW2 planes buried deep within the ocean), where you can see colourful schools of fish, barracuda, turtles and even reef sharks, as you explore the world beneath the waves.

Day 9 - Nature trek, speedboat to Bunaken Marine Park

Includes:

Rise early and take a pre-breakfast trip to the Tangkoko Reserve for a last morning in its thick forest, spotting monkeys, hornbills and marsupials. Return for breakfast at your guesthouse, then drive on to Manado. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before heading to the harbour to catch the speedboat to your resort on Bunaken or Siladen, where the rest of your day will be at leisure to start soaking up the sun.

Day 10 - Bunaken dive

Includes:

Spend a day diving in the award winning Bunaken Marine Park, often cited as one of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs, where you can see gorgeous corals, hundreds of fish, and even reef sharks. Your introductory day includes all the basic theory and equipment, one pool session and one ocean dive. The only prerequisite is being in and good health and able to swim, but no prior diving experience is necessary - your session will begin at whatever level you are. If you’re a seasoned diver and want a more advanced experience, speak with your specialist upon booking and they can arrange everything exactly to your needs.

Days 11 & 12 - Enjoy a few days R&R

Includes:

Settle in for a couple of days at leisure, enjoying all aspects of the Bunaken reserve, whether you want to lay back on the sands, sign up for extra diving in the deeper waters, or drift away on land with a blissful spa treatment or two.

Day 13 - Depart Bunaken

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £1,307US$1,712 £1,181US$1,547 £1,088US$1,425

Favehotel Daeng Tompo

With an exterior of glass and neon pink, the Favehotel Daeng Tompo is an eye-catching addition to the hotel offerings in central Makassar... See more

BBC Hotel

The BBC Hotel is arguably the best place to stay in Sengkang, although we’re not talking five star. Contemporary style rooms are simply furnished, clean and comfortable, with views over the river or the town... See more

Luta Resort

Sitting at an altitude of 700 metres above sea level in central Rantepao, the Luta Resort enjoys views over the surrounding mountains and rice fields, the town and the Saddan River... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Two Fish Divers Resort

Set amongst the coral reefs and idyllic landscapes of Northern Sulawesi, Two Fish Resort’s purpose built accommodation and dive centre on Bunaken Island, is an ideal base for divers to explore... See more
Superior £1,940US$2,542 £1,746US$2,288 £1,688US$2,212

Aston Makassar Hotel

The Aston Hotel enjoys a central location in the heart of Makassar, within strolling distance (or short rickshaw ride!) of Fort Rotterdam and Losari beach... See more

BBC Hotel

The BBC Hotel is arguably the best place to stay in Sengkang, although we’re not talking five star. Contemporary style rooms are simply furnished, clean and comfortable, with views over the river or the town... See more

Toraja Heritage Hotel

Uniquely designed in the architectural style of a traditional Torajan clan house (Tongkonan), the Toraja Heritage Hotel offers a true sense of place, complemented... See more

Homestays

Homestays have been operating in various parts of Asia since travellers started to seek a more authentic travel experience in less-visited regions....

Siladen Resort & Spa

If you are looking for the wow factor of a world class Marine National Park complemented by classic boutique hospitality and service than the Siladen Reort is the ideal option... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • After a fairly busy week of travelling through Sulawesi you'll probably appreciate a few days of beach time to relax and reflect on your experiences. Rather conveniently, Garuda operate frequent direct flights between Makassar and the island of Lombok where the pace of life is slow and the beaches are unspoilt. Speak to your Selective Asia consultant for inspiration and information.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as July - September and Christmas) hotels often levy a surcharge, and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter Indonesia but this is obtained on arrival. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Kate – Indonesia tailor-made specialist

'Sulawesi is unlike anywhere else I have visited in Asia. Toraja’s unique funeral rituals are a particularly fascinating and genuine insight into Sulawesi’s ancient tribal culture.'

KateIndonesia tailor-made specialist

Speak to Kate on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.