Unforgettable Travel Company

Enchanting Sulawesi

  • Duration11 Nights
  • StylePrivate Tour
  • When to GoMar - Oct
  • Price GuideFrom $5,485 Per Person
On this adventurous 11-night private tour you’ll discover Indonesia’s most enchanting island, Sulawesi: where ancient traditions, breathtaking natural wonders, and vibrant marine life converge. Your adventure begins in the thriving port of Makassar, famed for its seafood, before continuing to Rantepao where you will spend several days exploring the captivating Toraja culture. Marvel at the elaborate funeral ceremonies, visit traditional villages and witness the intricate carvings and architecture that define this unique cultural heritage. Venture on to Tomohon, the gateway to the picturesque Minahasa Highlands. Immerse yourself in the beauty of lush landscapes, volcanic peaks, and emerald-green rice terraces. You’ll then have an overnight stop in Tangkoko National Park to search for the elusive tarsier before finishing your journey in the awe-inspiring Bunaken Marine Park, a paradise for snorkeling enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in crystal-clear waters, teeming with vibrant coral reefs and an array of marine life.

At a Glance

  • Day 1
    • Makassar

      • Fast track arrival service in Makassar Airport and private transfer to your hotel
      • Evening tour of Makassar with seafood dinner
  • Days 2 - 4
    • Rantepao

      • Transfer into ‘Torajaland’ by road and domestic flight
      • Two full days to immerse in Toraja culture
      • Accompanied by an expert local guide, explore traditional Torajan villages, witness buffalo auctions, hike through rice terraces and megaliths, and (luck-willing), visit an authentic Torajan funeral ceremony
  • Day 5
    • Rammang Rammang & Makassar

      • Fly back to Makassar
      • Half-day private tour of Rammang Rammang National Park
  • Days 6 - 7
    • Minahasa Highlands

      • Fly to Manado in northern Sulawesi and transfer to the Minahasa Highlands
      • Visit the local markets, flower gardens, volcanic lakes, and hike to the peak of Mt Mahawu
  • Day 8
    • Tangkoko National Park

      • Transfer by road to Tangkoko National Park
      • Overnight stay in simple lodge accommodation
      • Dusk and dawn nature walks to search for tarsiers, macaques, and tropical birds
  • Days 9 - 12
    • Bunaken Marine Park

      • Transfer by road and boat from Tangkoko to Bunaken Marine Park
      • Two full days to relax in paradise
      • Further diving and snorkeling trips can be arranged locally
      • Boat & road transfer to Manada Airport for onward flight
  • Meet Our Expert

    Luke 257 246

    Luke Stapylton-Smith

    Asia Specialist

    I am totally captivated by Asia. Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea and Hong Kong, travelled extensively across all of our destinations in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating exceptional trips comes naturally to me.

    CALL US ON: +1 844 879 7838
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    What's Included

    • 10 nights in superior hotel accommodation
    • 1 night in simple national park lodge in Tangkoko
    • Breakfast & dinner included throughout the whole itinerary
    • Private arrival and departure airport transfers, including fast track airport assistance on arrival
    • All mentioned transfers and road transport on a private basis in air-conditioned minivans
    • All mentioned tours and sightseeing on a private basis with private driver and English-speaking local guides
    • Entrance fees for any mentioned sightseeing, permits, local taxes, etc
    • All mentioned domestic flights in economy class, inclusive minimum 20kg per person checked baggage
    • Comprehensive final itinerary and travel app
    • 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
    • Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests

    What's not Included

    • International flights from your country of origin
    • Tourist visa for Indonesia, which can be obtained on arrival. Your consultant will advise on how to obtain this
    • Tips or gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel staff
    • Any meals, tours, or activities other than those specifically mentioned in itinerary
    • Incidental local expenses - souvenirs, laundry, taxis, etc
    • Travel insurance - we strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip

    Day by Day Itinerary

    • Day 1

      Makassar: Arrival into Makassar; private transfer & seafood dinner

      D1 Makassar500 x 333 Makassar Sulawesi

      Welcome to Indonesia! On arrival in Makassar, you’ll be met by your Sulawesi guide and driver and transferred to your downtown hotel, around 25 minutes into town. This evening your local guide will take you to one of the outstanding seafood restaurants in downtown Makassar. Dive into a sumptuous dinner of the freshest fish and shellfish, accompanied by a colorful variety of sambals (fiery dipping sauces), breads, salad, curries, and refreshing local beer. After dinner you’ll be taken for a short walk around the waterfront area, stopping at a street vendor for a local dessert of fried bananas in syrup…if you have room!

      Accommodation Options:

      • Melia Makassar Lobby

        Melia Makassar

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    • Day 2

      Rantepao: Transfer up to Torajaland

      D2 Torajaland Indonesia500 x 333 Carving Rantepao Sulawesi

      This morning you’ll be transferred back up to Rantepao by short domestic flight and then a 90-minute road transfer through lush jungles and mountains of central Sulawesi.

      Sulawesi has a wealth of attractions, but the top of any visitor’s list is a memorable journey up into the central highlands to the villages around Rantepao – home to the famed Toraja people. The Toraja have long held a fascination for anthropologists and intrepid travelers alike, known for their unique attitudes towards the deceased and their elaborate, multi-day funeral celebrations. Toraja villages – dotted all across this mountainous region – are easy to spot for their unique saddleback tongkonan houses. A visit to this region is an experience unlike any other in Indonesia – or the world.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Toraja Heritage Hotel Exterior

        Toraja Heritage Hotel

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    • Days 3 - 4

      Rantepao: Full days discovering the majestic Toraja region

      D3 4 Toraja region Indonesia500 x 333 Torajan Houses Rantepao Sulawesi

      You’ll be spending three nights and two full days immersed in the Toraja region. We deliberately keep the itinerary flexible and allow these two full days to let our expert local guides do their work. There are several key sights and experiences across the Toraja region, but the highlight will always be witnessing local customs – including the extravagant funerals for which the area is famed – so it is best to let the guide speak to locals and manage your time in situ.

      Throughout these two days, you will…

      – Visit the fascinating local market in Rantepao to see the buffalo auctions. Buffalo are the most valuable gift that one family can give to another, with the biggest and most well-bred being auctioned off for more than the price of a brand-new SUV!

      – Visit the megalith stone graveyard of Batu Menhir. This Stonehenge-like environment houses the graves of the most noble and respected Torajans. A short trek can be taken around the Menhir, where you’ll find graves built into the sheer rockface and covered by small stone windows.

      – Visit the village of Lomo, with its rows of Tau-Tau puppets in front of each gravesite. Here you’ll find the Toraja royalty gravesite of Suaya, and Tampangallo, a natural cave used as a burial ground. Lunch can be served here in the Tongkahan home of a local family.

      – Take a short hike or trek through spectacular scenery of rice terraces and picture-postcard rural villages. There are innumerable routes on offer: speak to your guide to establish the length, intensity, and specific interests you’re hoping to cover.

      – Most importantly, luck-willing, take in a traditional Torajan funeral ceremony! These huge festival-like events are packed full of villagers, buffalo, and enormous sound systems. A funeral will involve processions, feasting, music, dancing, and all-round festivities, with all locals dressed in their finest traditional attire.

    • Day 5

      Rammang Rammang: Fly back to Makassar and explore Rammang Rammang National Park

      D5 Rammang Rammang National Park500 x 333 Rammang Rammang Makassar Sulawesi

      This morning you’ll transfer by road and fly back down to Makassar. Upon landing you’ll be met by a new Makassar guide and taken to explore Rammang Rammang National Park. After the tour, you’ll be dropped back at your hotel in central Makassar.

      Just 30 minutes north of busy Makassar, Rammang Rammang has a stunning landscape of lush greenery, soaring karst peaks, and tranquil river systems. An immersive tour of the park will immerse you in its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Upon arrival you’ll be taken by canoe along the Pute River; along the way your guide will share the rich biodiversity of the area, pointing out various bird species, aquatic life, and unique plant species along the riverbanks. You’ll then embark on a short hike around the park, taking in some of its intricate limestone caves and lush trails. Keep an eye out for endemic wildlife species, such as the Sulawesi black macaque or colorful bird species. A delicious Bugis-style lunch will be served midway through the tour in a picturesque restaurant overlooking the park’s central waterways.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Melia Makassar Lobby

        Melia Makassar

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    • Day 6

      Tomohon: Transfer to the Minahasa Highlands in north Sulawesi

      D6 Minahasa Highlands500 x 333 Market Tomohon Sulawesi

      This morning you’ll head back to Makassar airport and then fly right from far south to far north of Sulawesi, landing in the island’s other principal city, Manado. On arrival, you’ll meet a new guide and driver team and immediately set off into the Minahasa Highlands, a road transfer of just over an hour. Check into your picturesque highland lodge and spend the rest of the day enjoying the views.

      Situated at an average of 700m above sea level, the Minahasa region is a fresh and cool respite from Sulawesi’s tropical lowlands. Thanks to its elevated position, rich volcanic soil, and temperate climate, the region is famed for its lush gardens. Tropical flower production is a core industry here; the region’s many gardens, along with placid lakes and the soaring peak of Mt Mahawu in the background, make Minahasa one of the most photogenic areas in Indonesia. It’s a laidback and scenic place to spend a couple of nights, taking gentle walks in the countryside and learning about the distinct local culture.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Gardenia Country Inn Exterior

        Gardenia Country Inn

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    • Day 7

      Tomohon: Exploring the Minahasa Highlands

      D7 Minahasa Highlands500 x 333 Lake Tomohon Minahasa Sulawesi

      Today you’ll set off on a day’s exploration of Minahasa. Head first to the infamous morning market of Tomohon, which is known for its colorful fruit and vegetable sections, and more challenging butchery area. The latter has an extraordinary array of mammals and reptiles on sale and can be skipped if you’re feeling squeamish!

      Continue to the peak of Mt Mahawa. Enjoy fine upland views as we drive to the ranger station, and then on arrival embark on a short trek to its 1,320m summit, followed by a circular walk along the rim path to explore this dormant volcano.

      Later in the day, you’ll visit some traditional wooden Minahasa houses and also the volcanic Linow Lake, known for its unique hydrothermal vents. Along the way you’ll enjoy lunch at Tondano Lake for lunch, savoring a delicious meal of freshly caught and grilled tilapia. There may also be a chance to stop in Kawangkoan village to meet the villagers and sample their local coffee.

    • Day 8

      Tangkoko National Park: Overnight stay in Tangkoko with nature hikes

      D8 Tangkoko National Park500 x 333 Tropical bird Tangkoko Sulawesi

      Today you’ll come out of the highlands and continue to Tangkoko National Park. Stop along the way at Molas village to witness the hyper local industry producing coconut oil from dried coconuts, and again at Bitung where you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. From there, it will take approximately 45 minutes to reach the entrance area of Tangkoko National Park.

      In the late afternoon, you’ll be picked up by a park ranger to embark on a nature hike in the national park. This park covers over 9,000 hectares and is home to many endemic wildlife species. As you stroll through the lush tropical forest, keep an eye out for a variety of birds and also – hopefully – the tiny Tarsier, one of the world’s smallest known primates. Then return to your simple lodge for dinner.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Tangkoko Hill Exterior

        Tangkoko Hill

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    • Day 9

      Bunaken Marine Park: Transfer to your magical island resort

      D9 Tangkoko National Park500 x 333 Beach Bunaken Marine Park Sulawesi

      Rise early this morning for a second hike in Tangkoko National Park. Key sightings again are tarsiers, tropical birds, and the rare black-crested macaque. Return to your lodge for breakfast then check out and continue to Bunaken Marine Park, a road journey of around 1hr45m followed by a short speedboat across to your paradisiacal island resort. Arrive early afternoon and have the rest of the day to relax.

      Bunaken Marine Park is a captivating and vibrant underwater paradise. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity, it attracts divers and snorkelers from around the world. The crystal-clear turquoise waters span approximately 89,065 acres, home to over 390 species of coral and a whole rainbow of tropical fish species. It is also home to several excellent island resorts, offering true relaxation and pampering for divers and non-divers alike.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Siladen Resort Exterior

        Siladen Resort & Spa

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    • Days 10 - 11

      Bunaken Marine Park: At leisure for snorkeling, diving, or relaxation

      D10 11 Bunaken Marine Park500 x 333 Underwater life Bunaken Marine Park Sulawesi

      These days are yours to relax in your resort, or arrange local exploration of the diverse marine ecosystems of Bunaken Marine Park. With more than 70 dive and snorkel spots, the park offers a variety of underwater landscapes to explore. Steep walls, impressive coral formations, and breathtaking drop-offs make every dive a memorable experience. The park’s unique combination of warm waters, excellent visibility, and rich marine biodiversity make it a dream destination for underwater enthusiasts of all skill levels.

      Beyond diving, visitors can also enjoy other activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and swimming in the clear waters. The surrounding islands of Bunaken Marine Park, such as Bunaken Island itself, Siladen Island, and Manado Tua Island, offer picturesque landscapes and white sandy beaches for relaxation and exploration.

    • Day 12

      Manado: Departure day

      Beach off Manado Indonesia500 x 333 Coral Bunaken Marine Park Sulawesi

      Sadly your adventures in Sulawesi have come to an end. This morning you’ll be transferred back to the mainland by speedboat, then on to Manado International Airport in a private car. The total transfer time will be around an hour. Arrive in good time to check in for your onward flight.

    Let’s make this itinerary yours.

    Speak to our experienced Destinations Experts about designing this itinerary around your budget and needs

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