Amazing Sulawesi

Tips

  • Only the big cities have ATM’s. Don’t count too much on finding a working ATM at the smaller towns and villages. There are also no ATM’s at Bunaken Island (or at any of the other popular islands around Sulawesi). Some resorts offer the option to pin cash from your credit card (check up front). Traveler cheques are not always accepted in Indonesia.
  • Always bring along anti-mosquito that contains DEET. It is also wise to bring along something against the itch (of mosquitoes and sand flies).
  • Sulawesi lies on top of the equator. Don’t forget to bring along protection against the sun (sun screen and a hat). Make sure you always bring a bottle of water along to hydrate. Even in the much cooler highlands too much sun has painful consequences.
  • If you are traveling low budget, make sure you keep your important belongings on you at all times. Local long distance buses are notorious, especially on the route from Makassar to Rantepao.
  • Diving enthusiasts need to make reservations beforehand during peak season, as many of the small resorts are fully booked (especially at Bunaken Island).
  • Mount Lokon is an active volcano near Tomohon. If the volcano is in rest, people can do a relatively light hike to the rim of the volcano. If there is activity, all tours are cancelled. Travelers then are offered to climb Mount Klabat instead (including 1 night at the mountain), but beware that this is a pretty strenuous climb and not everybody is fit enough to climb it.
  • One of the highlights of the highland town of Tomohon a visit to the local day market. But beware, Minahasians eat practically everything and all of this is displayed at the market (dogs, cats and all kinds of exotic animals).
  • Tangkoko National Park is a beautiful place to experience the jungles of Sulawesi. Many tour operators, tour guides and resorts offer a day trip to Tangkoko. However, it is much more fun if you stay overnight for at least one night. That way you have ample time to try and spot the Tarsiers, but you will also have a much greater chance to spot the Crested Macaques the next (early) morning.
  • If you are staying overnight at Tangkoko National Park, make sure you bring along a pair of proper walking (hiking) shoes and a flashlight or headlight. Binoculars would also be nice to bring along during the treks.
  • Peak season at Bunaken Marine Park is between June and September. Low season is between October and March, it coincides with the rainy season (with less visibility as a result).
  • Check with your doctor if there is a need for malaria prescription. Some parts of Sulawesi are supposedly malaria-free, other areas have a malaria risk.
  • One item we cannot travel without; a aquabag or waterproof travel bag. The bags are available in 5ltr, 10ltr, 20ltr and even bigger sizes. Well known brands are Hypergear and Trendz. It is especially recommended when you are going to do scuba diving or snorkeling trips. It is also a great way to keep you clothes dry when you are staying overnight in the jungle. During short boat rides we alway tuck away our camera and phones in our aquabag.
  • There used to be many ethnic disturbances in Central Sulawesi. Though it is still not 100% safe travelers can travel through this area. Many have done it before you and many will after you. However, make sure you have an experienced guide (preferably with a 4×4 car). Cities like Palu and Poso used to be off limit to tourists, but lately it has become much safer.
  • Sulawesi is especially popular among diving enthusiasts. There are numerous great diving locations, some of them compete with the best of the best in the world. As an alternative to staying at one of the islands (like Bunaken, Lembeh, Bangka, Togian or Wakatobi), you could also consider a Liveaboard. You stay on a boat that is prepared and modified for the sole purpose of offering a 24/7 diving experience. There are many liveaboard companies that have sail their ships along the Sulawesi shores in search for the best diving spots.
  • Female products like tampons are not easily available in Sulawesi. You will find it in the bigger cities, and resorts often also sell them at their small convenient store.

If you have a nice tip with us to share, do let us know by contacting us, or by posting it in our forums.