Sulawesi Route 4 weeks
For the ultimate Sulawesi journey, we have mapped out the perfect Sulawesi route for you. From beautiful green rice fields, unique ceremonies to the most paradisiacal bounty islands. The island truly has everything. Sulawesi is, after Kalimantan, the largest island in Indonesia. The island therefore has a huge diversity of landscapes. You will also find jungle, volcanoes, and the most beautiful diving spots in the world.
Many people thought we were crazy. Are you going back to Indonesia again?? After all, we were there just a year ago for three months. You would indeed think that this would be enough. But Indonesia is so large, and each island is so different that you never tire of the sights. You need at least 4 weeks just for Sulawesi and then you still run out of time. In 4 weeks and several flights, bus rides, and boat trips later, we traveled from Makassar to Manado to end there on the wonderful island of Siladen, Bunaken National Park. Check out our Sulawesi route in 4 weeks from North to South.
SULAWESI ROUTE 4 WEEKS FROM SOUTH TO NORTH
- Makassar / 3 nights / Visit Rammang Rammang here
- Tana Toraja / 3 nights / unique funeral ceremonies and imposing landscapes
- Tentena / 2 nights / lovely village on the beautiful Poso lake
- Ampana: 1 night
- Togian Islands / 4 nights / paradise on earth!
- Boat trip to Gorontalo: 1 night / not fun, definitely book a private cabin or exclusive
- Gorontalo / 2 nights / go diving with Whale Sharks
- Manado / 2 nights / base for Bunaken National Park and perfect for muck dives
- Tangkoko National Park / 1 night / spot the cute tarsier here
- Bangka Island / 2 nights / bounty island
- Siladen / 3 nights / even more paradise and the most beautiful diving spots
- Manado / 2 nights / one more last day in Sulawesi
Makassar / 3 nights
Makassar might not win any beauty contests, but it’s definitely a good starting point for your Sulawesi route. In addition to a lively center and some attractions, you’ll find the beautiful Rammang Rammang just an hour’s drive away. Gorgeous mangroves, massive limestone rocks, and lots of greenery. A must-visit! In Makassar, it’s fun to visit the night market and eat at 88 Noodle House.
From Makassar, you can take a night bus to Tana Toraja. The buses are super luxurious. Choose Prima Donna. You won’t regret it. There’s also a bus early in the morning, but it gives you fewer options and you’ll spend the entire day traveling.
Tana Toraja / 3 nights
Tana Toraja is one of the most famous places in Sulawesi and perhaps even in Indonesia. The area is known for its unique funeral ceremonies, but it’s also one of the greenest and most breathtaking places in Indonesia. Culture and nature lovers can indulge themselves here. We stayed for 3 nights, but you can easily stay a bit longer.
Do: attend a funeral ceremony and explore the surroundings by scooter.
From Tana Toraja, you can take the bus to Tentena. We decided to go early with a taxi. It’s more expensive, but you get there faster and have more of your day left.
Tentena / 2 nights
Tentena completely surprised us. We were under the impression that this place would just be a kind of stopover for our trip to the Togians. But Tentena was a delightful place to visit. The town is located on Lake Poso, one of the largest lakes in Indonesia. The surroundings are beautiful.
Do: rent a scooter and explore the surroundings, visit the Saluopa waterfalls and the local market.
From Tentena, you can travel to Ampana. This is THE place where you can catch the boat to the Togian Islands.
Ampana / 1 night
To go to the Togian islands, you need to spend a night in Ampana. This is not a great city, so try to stay in Tentena as long as possible during the day. However, we have a great tip for you to eat, namely Ayam Geprek Ampana. Unintentionally super hipster. You can put together a delicious rice table here. Definitely recommended. The next day you can take the boat to the islands.
Do: eat at Ayam Geprek Ampana.
Welcome to paradise. No wifi, hardly any electricity, no roads, a few bamboo huts, white beaches and crystal clear water. Well… how beautiful do you want it to be. The Togian Islands consist of different islands. Super fun for island hopping.
Do: swim among the jellyfish at the special jellyfish lake, dive at Una Una, visit a village, snorkel and chill on Karina beach.
From the Togian Islands you can book a night boat to Gorontalo. Not the best ride, but manageable. After 11 hours of sailing, you arrive in Gorontalo.
Gorontalo / 2 nights
Many people went straight to Manado. Gorontalo, after all, doesn’t have much to offer. The city itself is okay, but not very special. However, you can swim with whale sharks here. Initially, we didn’t want to do this because we weren’t sure about the conditions of the animals. But several people were so enthusiastic about it, that we ended up staying in Gorontalo. Unfortunately for us, the whale sharks had been nowhere to be found for a few days.
From Gorontalo, we flew to Manado. You can also take the bus, but the bus ride takes 13 hours.
Manado / 2 nights
We love a vibrant city, and Manado definitely is one. You can shop and eat excellently here. From large shopping malls to small food trucks. But Manado is mainly a great base to explore the rest of North Sulawesi, such as Bunaken National Park, Tomohon, or Tangkoko National Park.
From Manado, we went to Tangkoko National Park to venture into the jungle.
Tangkoko National Park / 1 night
This is the place to spot unique animals. Besides the black macaque and the bear cuscus, you can also find the cutest little animal in the world, the tarsier. The jungle itself is not particularly special, but the animals certainly are.
Bangka Island / 2 nights
Bangka is a well-kept secret of Sulawesi. It might be the most beautiful island where we’ve ever stayed. Along the way, we met people with the most amazing stories about this island. We also read stories about spotting the dugong, the Indian manatee. Enough reason to go. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a manatee (not here at least), but it is definitely a wonderful place with a super relaxed vibe. The beaches are truly breathtaking!
Do: Enjoy doing nothing and if you want to do something, go diving and maybe you will spot a manatee!
Siladen / 4 nights
Paradise is abundant on Sulawesi. One of our last destinations was Siladen, a tiny bounty island located in Bunaken National Park. This area is known for its amazing coral walls and there is no exaggeration in that. WOW! You can dive beautifully here. Bunaken Island itself seems to be a bit disappointing. If you want to visit the national park, we definitely recommend booking accommodation on the adjacent Siladen Island. An absolute gem. We slept here right on the beach with a house reef that is incredible.
Do: Dive, dive, and dive again.
Manado / 1 night
And then it was time to head back home. We spent 1 more night in Manado before flying to Bali very early the next morning. Flying to Denpasar is much cheaper than directly to Sulawesi. Plus, this way you can add a few more days to your trip in Bali.
Sulawesi destinations you can still add to your trip
After 4 weeks of traveling through Sulawesi, there were still beautiful destinations that we would have liked to add to our Sulawesi route. We would have loved to go to Wakatobi. More paradise. Bima also seemed very beautiful to us. Unfortunately, our time in Indonesia was over. But who knows, we might return someday.