Sulawesi – The Real Indonesia discovered

I’d never really had the inclination to go to Bali in Indonesia, even though I have so many family and friends that return year after year and tell me of its ‘to die for’ resorts and delicious fresh food. 

To be honest, I had always just thought that when I finally did go to Indonesia I’d love to see more of the ‘real’ Indonesia and its culture.  Plus, I’d always wanted to spend some time in Jakarta and enjoy a good dose of ‘shop till you drop’ retail therapy.

So, when recently offered an opportunity to travel to Jakarta and the island of Sulawesi, the 4th largest of Indonesia’s many thousands of islands, I couldn’t pack my bags quick enough.

On the map, to me, Sulawesi looks a little like a starfish.  It sits to the right of Borneo and above and to the right of Bali.   

To date, I’d have to say the island’s most regular travellers would have to be divers and snorkelling enthusiasts from Europe. Many we encountered told us it was some of the best diving they’d ever experienced in the world.  Certainly, as a snorkeler it was the best I’ve seen to date – even taking into account Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the many islands in the Caribbean. No wonder divers have been keeping this island their own little secret.

The waters are 1,566 metres deep and filled with such beautiful corals, fish, turtles, giant clams and the island features a number of spectacular dive and snorkeling sites   I especially loved seeing loads of clownfish, wild turtles and beautiful red, yellow and purple corals.

Mass tourism hasn’t really arrived – but it will.  If you love scuba diving or snorkelling, jungle trekking, cultural splendor, beautiful vistas, and volcanoes, this is an island you will not want miss.

The island of Sulawesi itself – which used to be known as Celebes – is made up of  six provinces.  We visited three main regions: Southern Sulawesi with houses the islands capital, Makassar; Central Sulawesi and its capital Palu and Northern Sulawesi with its capital, Manado.

Overall, traveling far and wide around the island, courtesy of the Department of Indonesian Tourism and Dream Tours and Incentives Management for 8 days, I can assure readers this is an island that is going to be on everyone’s must-do lists over the next few years.

But wait, there's more:

Our time in Sulawesi was amazing and offered so much diversity and some of the friendliest people on the planet.  Too much for just one story so, over the next few weeks we will explore this Indonesian Island in detail with individual stories on the places we visited and the things we saw. 

We will look at Jakarta, Manado, Bunaken Island,  Kanonang – Hills of Love, The Waruga Stone Tombs of the Minahasa Ancestors, Lake Tondano, The Tangkoko Nature Reserve and Ambon to name just a few.  Plus we will advise you as to where to stay, play and eat so you won’t miss a thing,

Getting there:

With an international airport and many regional airports and direct flights from the main Asian hubs of Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, as well as Bali,  Sulawesi is both accessible and it will become highly desirable as the world becomes even more aware of its gorgeous offerings.

I’ll be back –  I can't wait to explore even more of Indonesia – I may even get to Bali!

For Jakarta click here

For Manado and more click here


Hi, I'm Alison Carmichael-Rulten the Publisher of Vacation Goddess, and I want to thank you for visiting Vacation Goddess – the one-stop shop for insider travel news, deals, 'Guest Goddes's stories, and of course our personal travel experiences. Plus, as we love to cruise we also try to find some amazing cruise deals for you too. From luxury, longer escapes right down to weekend breaks we know you love everything travel related. Here at Vacation Goddess, we hope you will find loads of inspiration and of course some amazing travel deals. We love a holiday at a great price and that's why we seek out what we call 'Champagne Experiences, on a Sparkling Wine Budget.' We constantly showcase a variety of special deals and offers and from time to time some very special competitions. Our recent 'Win a Trip to London' competition received over 24,00 entries. We invite you to visit us often, join our mailing list and please tell your friends

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