Indonesia Travel Guide

Sulawesi - Indonesia


Highlights * Scuba Diving * Snorkeling * National Parks * Accommodation / Hotels




Places of Interest in Sulawesi

Regions of Sulawesi

Other Indonesian locations




Sulawesi is becoming known as one of the best places in world for snorkeling and scuba diving. With many qualified PADI dive instructors this could be one of the best places in the world to learn how to dive. The best place for scuba diving is in North Sulawesi around Manado

Sulawesi has some of the most diverse sea life ranging from 7 different types of sea turtles, massive manta rays, thousands of types of fish and the world's largest fish the whale shark (Rhinocodon Typus).

Sulawesi's interior is mostly mountainous and has 11 active volcanoes and has many fumaroles and volcanic springs. The highest peak on Sulawesi is Mount Rantemario (Gunung Rantemario) at 3450m.

Ujung Pandang (Makassar) is the largest city though most visitors travel to Manado which has some of the best coral reefs in the world.

Sulawesi has 13 lakes which are over 5km2 in size. Lake Towuti in South Sulawesi and Lake Poso in Central Sulawesi and the 2rd and 3rd largest lakes in Indonesia behind Lake Toba in Sumatra. A number of these lakes are some of the deepest in the world. Lake Matana in South Sulawesi is 540m at its deepest. Lake Matana is located 160m below sea level.


12th February 2009 - A massive earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Sulawesi in the early hours of Thursday measuring a magnitude of 7.0. A tsunami warning was initially raised though called off after no signs of sea activity. At least 64 people were injured as hundreds fled to high grounds incase there was a Tsunami.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Sulawesi

Sulawesi has some of the best coral reefs found in the world, with is home to some of the most diverse sea life. These reefs offer some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world.

The reefs around Bunaken and neighboring islands off Manado in the north are the most easily accessible. Bunaken-Manado Tua Marine Park covers 75,000 hectares of perfect snorkeling and scuba diving playgrounds. Accessible by boat, one hour away from Manado.

Less well-known are the unique coral reefs of the Togian Islands in Tomini Bay and the spectacular though remote reefs and sholas of the Tukang Bay in Southeast Sulawesi.

Dive Operators in Sulawesi

There are a number of PADI certified dive instructors around Sulawesi who organise diving trips as well as PADI dive courses.

Thalassa Dive Centre have a 5 star PADI dive instructor rating. Operating out of Satika Beach Resort located 15km north of Manado.

Living Colours Diving operate out of Bunaken Island, close to Manado, offering scuba diving trips, diving courses and accommodation.

Bunaken Divers offer dive courses as well as dive trips around Bunaken Island, Bangka Island, Talise Island as well as Lembeh Straits.

Eco-Divers offer a selection of PADI dive courses from beginners to professional level courses.

Froggies Divers is PADI certified dive centre with accommodation on the beach on Bunaken Island. They organise dive trips to the Bunaken National Park as well as to the Lembeh Straights.

Sulawesi Dive Quest offer PADI certified dive courses from beginner up to divemaster. Prices from US$120.

Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort offer PADI dive courses. They limited the classes to 2 people so you get the best attention from their instructors.

Dive North Sulawesi

National Parks and wildlife reserves in Sulawesi

Sulawesi has a wide variety of unique wildlife which can be seen in any of the national parks and wildlife reserves including Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, the Tangkoko-Batuangus-Dua Saudara Reserve and the Dumoga Bone National Park in North Sumatra and the Rawa Aopa Watumohae National Park in Southeast Sulawesi. There is also the Bunaken Marine Park in North Sulawesi.

62 percent of Sulawesi's native mammal species and 88 species of birds are found only in Sulawesi.

In 2008, scientists found Pygmy Tasiers, believed to be extinct, close to Mount Rorekatimbo in the Lore Lindu National Park.

Pygmy Tasier in Sulawesi

Pygmy tarsier

The Tangkoko-Batuangus-Dua Saudara Reserve is accessible from Bitung, the main seaport in North Sulawesi. The reserve covers 9000 hectares of lush, tropical rainforest. As well as the chance of seeing some of Sulawesi's unique animals and plants within the reserve, the coastline offers some good snorkeling and diving locations to see the coral and sea life.

The Tangkoko-Batuangus Dua Saudara Reserve ranges from sea level to 1351m. There are 2 peaks within the reserve, Gunung Batuangus, 1109m and Gunung Duasudara, 1351m both volcanic cones. The wildlife in Tangkoko Nature Reserve include black macaque monkeys, tarsiers, bears and the red-knobbed hornbill.

Sulawesi Internet links

Here's a list of internet websites I recommend to visit for more information about Sulawesi:


Last updated 5th December 2010

Beaches of Sulawesi

How to get to Sulawesi

You can fly to Sulawesi or catch a ferry from Java or Kalimantan.

Manado's airport is called The Sam Ratulangi International Airport. The following airlines fly into Manado:

Batavia Air has direct flights  between Manado and Balikpapan, Jakarta, Surabaya and Gorontalo in Sulawesi.

Kartika Airline have direct flights from Manado to Ternate and Makassar.

Wings Air has 1 flight per week between Manado and Davao in the southern part of the Philippines.

Silk Air has flights everyday except Sunday between Singapore and Manado. Flight time from Manado to Singapore is around 3 hours 25 minutes.

Air Asia has flights 3 days a week between Kuala Lumpur and Manado.

Gorontalo Airport

Pelita Air has direct flights from Gorontalo in North Sulawesi to Makassar in South Sulawesi. Pelita Air also have helicopters for charter.

Makassar Airport information click here

Accommodation / Hotels in Sulawesi

Below is a list of hotels and resorts in Manado, in the mountains of Tomohon and on the Lembeh Straights. Included are current 2009 prices and contact details:

Hotels in Manado

Hotel Central is located on the main street of Manado. With room prices from 190,000R0 per night (US$19)

Lucky Inn Resort located within the heart of Manado have rooms prices from 230,000Rp per night (US$20)

Travello Hotel Manado is a 3 star hotel on the main street of Manado. Room prices from 395,000Rp per night (US$39)

The Ritzy Hotel Manado is an 11 story hotel with impressive views of Manado Bay and Mount Klabat. With Wi-Fi internet access. Prices from 520,000Rp nett (US$52).

Gran Puri Hotel is a boutique hotel located in downtown Manado. Prices from US$50 + taxes (internet rate)

Minahasa Prima Resort located in Manado with room prices from 500,000Rp (US$50) including taxes and breakfast

Tasik Ria Resort located in Manado on the coast with easy access to the Bunaken Marine Park. Room prices from US$109 per night.

Minahasa Lagoon Resort located 60 minutes from Manado airport. Room prices from 110 Euros (US$149)

Santika Hotel Premiere Seaside Resort is a 4 star hotel resort located 20 minutes from the centre of Manado.

Swiss-belhotel Maleosan Manado is a 4 star hotel located within the business district of Manado. Published room rates start from 800,000Rp (US$80) per night including breakfast and taxes. Discounts are available if you ask.

Bunaken Island Resorts and Hotels

Beach at Bunaken Beach Resort

Bunaken Sea Breeze Dive Resort have comfortable wooden bungalows overlooking the beachfront. From 13 Euros per person per day. (US$17)

Bunaken Beach Resort Located on Bunaken Island in the best place of Pangalisang Beach in the middle of Bunaken National Park. The Bunaken Beach Resort has its own private beach with sea view and sunrise in front of the resort. Room prices start from 22 Euros per night. Dive center with good dive set, large and comfortable dive boat, experienced dive master and instructor.

Bunaken Beach Resort Sulawesi

Bunaken Beach Resort


Bunaken Seagarden Resort is located on the east coast of Bunaken Island along Pangalisang Beach. Room prices from 15 Euros per night in the low season and 20 Euros per night in the high season. A small and cosy dive resort with modern spacious cottages build in a traditional style. The colourful coral gardens from the Bunaken National Park are right in front of the resort and only a minute swimming away you will find the Bunaken Timur reef, one of the most famous diving and snorkelling spot within the marine park. Scuba-Diving, Snorkeling, Dolphin tours, Highland tours, Volcano climbing, Jungle tours and more activities are offered. Perfect for divers, snorklers and of course underwater photographers. Non-divers are also welcome

Froggies Dive Centre have 10 bungalows right on the beach on Bunaken Island. Room prices from 25 Euros per night (US$34)

Sulawesi Dive Quest who operate PADI dive courses also have their own accommodation on Bunaken Island.

Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort is a small resort on the east coast of Bunaken Island who arrange dive trips and also offer PADI dive courses Prices from US$60 per night.

Siladen Resort and Spa located on Bunaken Island have PADI dive instructors to take your diving in the Bunaken Marine Park. Room prices from 145 Euros per night (US$197)  

Mountain resorts

Gardenia Country Inn is located in the mountains of North Sulawesi near Tomohon, south of Manado. Room prices from US$90 per night.

Highland Resort and Spa located in Tomohon have private villas for hire as well as spa treatments. Room prices start from 30 Euros (US$41)

Other resorts

Gangga Island Resort and Spa from US$175 single accommodation per night. Less for double and triple accommodation.


Kima Bajo Resort located 30 minutes north of Manado or 20 minutes from Sam Ratulangi Airport . Prices from US$180 for single/double accommodation per night.


Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort is located on coast of the Lembeh Straight close to Tangkoko Nature Reserve. Room prices from 26 Euros per night (US$35)


Kungkungan Bay Resort is located on the Lembeh Straight with 40 different dive sites within 40 minutes from their jetty. Room prices from US$135


Lembeh Resort located on Lembeh Island with air-conditioned rooms. All bungalows face the beachfront. Room prices start from US$175 single occupancy or US$140 per person for double.










































































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