THE TRANSULAWESI : FROM MAKASSAR TO BUNAKEN

  • Destination:
  • Duration: 24 days
  • Price: €1,465

Level: Easy

We will explore the fascinating Lokon and Mahawu volcanoes … as well as Tangkoko Nature Reserve, home of numerous species including the world’s smallest mammal, the Tarsius. And, of course, we will visit Bunaken islands, world renowned as one of the most colorful marine eco systems in Asia.

Bugis, Toraja and Minahasa people will help you fully experience the beauty and diversity of their lands and cultures. Above all, they will share their formidable gaiety and joy of loving, laughing and singing.

D/1 – Makassar

Arrival at the Makassar airport, greeting and transfer to hotel.

Dinner and night at hotel, ideally located at Losari Beach

40 minutes of transfer
Meals : Dinner

 

D/2 – Makassar – Bira

Travel to Bira, located on the western tip of the island. On the way, we make a stop to visit a traditional shipyard in Tanaberu well known for producing the best wooden boats of Sulawesi, very likely the best of Indonesia too. The carpenters still follow the ancestral method, working without any layout, only using the knowledge passed down by their fathers. The Phenisi boats can reach up to 30 meters long and weigh as much as 200 tons.

Relaxing afternoon on the seaside; visit traditional Bugis homes where ikat textiles are woven.

Night in a hotel.

5 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/3 – Bira – Sengkang

Free morning (snorkeling) before departing for Sengkang, located on the banks of Tempe Lake.  This 350km2 by only 5meter-deep bird sanctuary is home to hundreds of aquatic birds.

On the way, we stop to visit a rubber plantation.

Night in a hotel near the lake.

5 ½ hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/4 – Sengkang – Rantepao/ Toraja Land

At day break we board a motorized longboat to discover Tempe Lake’s numerous wild birds, egrets and herons. They fly off as our boat makes its way through the dense vegetal universe that immediately closes itself behind us. We come across fishermen who live permanently on the lake, in bamboo floating houses. In August, we can witness the “Maccera Tappareng” festival intended to purify the water of the lake. After our boat excursion, we visit a silk weaving workshop then follow a spectacular mountain road with stunning views to Rantepao, the capital of Toraja Land.

Arrival at the end of the day, night in a hotel.

5 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/5 – Rantepao/ Toraja Land

First encounter with the astonishing Toraja society; visit the pig and buffalo market and a number of interesting sites such as Lemo, Suaya, Kete, Londa, Bri and Tampang Allo. All will help you understand the special relationship Toraja people maintain with death. There is a chance we can witness a funeral ceremony as they are very frequent.

Night in a hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/6 – Tantepoa – Batutumonga

Morning transfer to Batutumonga, a village perched at 1300m altitude in the highlands of Toraja. We reach it after a pleasant 2-hour walk through terraced ricefields. Several opportunities to meet with the villagers.

Night in a boat-shaped Toraja house.

Uphill: 500m / Downhill: 600m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/7 – Batutumonga – Karonanga

The entire day is spent trekking in the ricefields and the bamboo forests. You will be surprised to see how the Toraja make use of bamboo in cooking while visiting numerous Toraja villages.

Night in a villager’s house.

7 hours of walk
Uphill: 1200m / Downhill: 1200m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/8 – Karonanga – Rantepao

Another day of trekking before coming back to Rantepao.

Night in a hotel in Rantepao.

5 hours of walk
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/9 – Rafting – Sa’dana  river – Tentena

The whole day is spent rafting on the very scenic Sa’dana river, another great way to discover the Toraja’s rich culture… lots of animation on the banks.

Night in a hotel in Rantepao.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/10 – Rantepao – Pendolo – Tentena

Long drive (approximately 9 hours) towards the middle of the island, destination Pendolo on the south side of Poso Lake. This lake is huge, 232km2 and it is one of the world’s deepest – 450m. The water is considered one of the purest on earth with an average temperature varying very little between 26-30 degrees at any depth.

Night in a hotel by the lake.

9 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/11 – Tentena – Poso

Today, orchid hunting in the rainforests surrounding the lake…and, if we are lucky, we might catch a glimpse of two extremely rare endemic species, the Anoa (dwarf buffalo) and the Babirusa (literally, pig deer). Back to the hotel and possibility to swim in the lake. (However, you must be careful… a local legend says the lake is inhabited by a monster similar to the Loch Ness).

Night in a hotel.

2 hours of transfer – 1 hour of walk
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/12 – Tentana – Bada Lore Lindu Valley

After 4 to 5 hours of jeep travel on rough roads and trails, we reach Lore Lindu National Park. This 2290 km2 park has been declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. Ranging from an altitude of 200 to 2620m, it shelters a unique fauna consisting of 227 bird species, including the Rhinoceros Hornbill, the largest on earth. We might also come across the very discreet Anoa, a rare babirusa, a cuscus (Strigocuscus celebensis callenfelsi), a giant civet (Sulawesi palm civet) and 3 species of tarsiers (the smallest mammal on earth).

Dinner and night in a villager’s house.

4-5 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/13 – Bada Valley – Lore Lindu

A day filled with multiple discoveries; from the fauna’s uniqueness to the giant megaliths (4m high) standing along the Laliang River in the Bada Valley. Silent witnesses of a forgotten and still unexplained past, these statues seem to be watching over the neighboring villages and their inhabitants.

Dinner and night in a villager’s house.

6 hours of transfer
Uphill: 100m / Downhill: 150m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/14 – Bada –Tentana – Ampana

Back to Tentana by jeep. After lunch, we transfer to Ampana (about 4 hours of travel). Lunch on the banks of Poso Lake.

Night on the seashore, facing the vast Tomini golf course and the Molucca Sea.

9 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/15 – Ampana – Togian Islands

Morning departure to the Togian Islands by public ferry.

Night in a hotel.

4 hours of transfer (ferry)
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/16 & D/17 – Togian Islands

Togian is an archipelago consisting of 56 islands and islets, located 30 km south of the equator in the Gulf of Tomini. Formed by volcanic activity, these islands are covered with tropical rainforest and surrounded by coral reefs. The average water temperature is 31 degrees Celsius and the underwater visibility goes up to 50 meters. Both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems are still in their natural states, something extremely rare today.

The coastline and the coral reef formations provide an excellent habitat to numerous wild animals endemic to the Togian Islands, such as turtles, dugongs, macaques, parrots, babirusas.  There are 37 villages within this tropical paradise, reflecting the culture of different ethnicities like Bobongko, Togian, Saluan and Bajau (sea nomads).  We have 2 days to explore this small paradise; Una-Una and its active volcano Mt Colo, Malengue with its fauna, the Bajau villages of the sea nomads, plus many opportunities to explore the exceptionally beautiful underwater universe.

Night in a bungalow.

2 hours of walk
Uphill: 100m / Downhill: 150m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/18 – Togian – Ampana – Pagimana – Gorontalo

We come back to Ampana by public boat, then by car to Pagimana where we catch a night ferry to Gorontalo. Otherwise, we might cross the gulf directly from the Togians to Gorontalo; this will depend on the often changing boat schedules.

Night on board or in Gorontalo, depending on the ferry schedule.

11 hours of transfer (ferry)
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/19 – Gorontalo – Manado

We travel by land to Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, then transfer to Tomohon, a small mountain town located in the middle of the Sangihe subduction zone. We finally settle in a beautiful lodge, nestled in an extraordinary garden overlooking the 3 towering active volcanoes, Soputan, Lokon and Mahawu.

Night in a lodge.

½ hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/20 – Tomohon – Lokon – Mahawu

We make an easy trek to Mahawu volcano and discover its acidic lake while enjoying a magnificent view of Lokon volcano, Minahasa region and the northern tip of Sulawesi Island.  Descending, we then follow a scenic route towards Tandano Lake, lying adjacent to an ancient volcanic caldera. We visit a goldfish farm and eat lunch in a traditional restaurant along the lake. Back to Tomohon and hike to Lokon volcano (approx. 1½ hour hike). We might be able to go inside the crater but this will depend on the volcanic activity.

Back to the lodge.

5 hours of walk
Uphill: 500m / Downhill: 500m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/21 – Tomohon – Tangkoko

We depart to visit a construction site where the Minahasa traditional houses are built. On the road, we make a stop over at the Waruga animistic stone grave. Arrival in Tangkoko National Park and trekking in search of fauna like the black macaque, hornbill and the tiny Tarsier, the big star of the National Park and smallest mammal on earth.

Dinner and night in a basic losmen, Mama Rossa/ Tangkoko.

2 ½ hours of transfer – 2 hours of walk
Uphill: 100m / Downhill: 150m
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/22- Tangkoko – Pulisan

Transfer to the splendid beaches of Pulisan, the most beautiful of North Sulawesi. We settle at the “Jungle Beach Resort” which offers an interesting ecotourism approach involving the local communities. The rest of the day is spent snorkeling on Bangga Islands.

Dinner and night in bungalows at Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort.

2 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/23 – Pulisan

Free day. Enjoy the sea and the best beach of Northern Sulawesi, walk around the hotel grounds, or choose from many other activities including fishing, snorkeling, and diving.

Night in bungalows.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

D/24 – Pulisan – Manado

Transfer to Manado then to airport to board your international flight.

2 hours of transfer
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

End of Program

 


Download the program (PDF)

Inclusions

  • – Services of an Azimuth English speaking (or French speaking) local guide.
  • – Land & sea transfers needed for the circuit
  • – Accommodation
  • – Meals as indicated in the description day by day
  • – Entrance fees for touristic sites and museums
  • – Mineral water and snacks (fruit, biscuits …) during the days of walking

 

* In high season, our tour guides can be already busy. If you want a guarantee of supervision by one of them, we recommend an early booking of this tour.

 

 

Exclusions

  • – International and domestic airfare
  • – Airport taxes & visa fees
  • – Drinks, personal expenses and tips
  • – Travel Insurance & Assistance
  • – Anything that is not listed in “Inclusions”

 

 

What to bring:

  • – Good walking shoes
  • – Headlamp
  • – Flask (for water)
  • – Hat or cap, light clothing & replacement clothes
  • – Raincoat (for the rainy season, from October to April)
  • – Small backpack & camera
  • – Mosquito repellent (lotion / cream)
  • – Sunscreen, sunglasses & your good mood!

Net rates per person in US$

  • Based on 1 persons              US$ 6,280
  • Based on 2 persons              US$ 3,140
  • Based on 3 persons              US$ 2,900
  • Based on 4-5 persons           US$ 2550
  • Based on 6-7 persons           US$ 2,485
  • Based on 8-9 persons           US$ 2,420
  • Based on 10-15 persons       US$ 2,120

Additional Information:

The schedules are given as rough guide only. The itineraries are subject to change due to volcanoes or weather conditions.

 

Easy 

Walking an average of 3 to 4 hours per day, mostly on well-beaten paths with moderate differences in altitude. If you are used to regular health walks, you will be satisfied. Otherwise, here is your chance to feel the physical and mental benefits of walking while discovering amazing surroundings.

Training: It would be good to start training yourself at least two months prior to your departure. A ten kilometer walk twice a week is strongly recommended.

For further information concerning the trekking grades, we invite you to visit our page Trekking Grades

 

Carry-on luggage:

Bring only what you need for the day.

 

The volcanoes

Lokon Volcano (1580m): In 2001, Lokon was in a state of permanent activity and many recent eruptions have considerably modified the shape of its crater. We might be able to go down and get a close look at its new crater, approximately 200m deep and covered with an emerald green carpet.

 

Mahawu Volcano (1324m): At the bottom of its crater sits a light green acidic lake, solfataras, boiling cauldrons and numerous holes releasing hot smoke and gases.

 

For further information concerning Indonesia, we invite you to visit our page Indonesia