Gentle adventuring on Indonesia's Sulawesi island - Tourism Indonesia


Monday, January 14, 2008

Gentle adventuring on Indonesia's Sulawesi island

Bali, Sumatra and Java are familiar names for many travellers but Sulawesi, formally known as Celebes, is relatively unknown to most tourists. But anyone who makes their way to this island is richly rewarded with unusual sights and experiences and some visitors have even been invited to funeral ceremonies.

The island's jungle has a vast variety of fauna such as apes and the surrounding coral seas are populated by seahorses.

Most tourists travel to the highlands in the south or to the Manado region in the north. Outsiders are still a novelty for most locals.

"We did well by the creator," says Kern Panambunan. The tour guide is standing on a hill in the Tomohon highlands, about an hour's drive inland from Manado.

He points out the beans and tomatoes growing between the banana plants. Cabbage heads nestle amongst cinnamon and papaya trees. In the background are palm groves, fields of rice and grazing water buffalo.

The people who live here are called the Minahasa and have mastered the art of cultivating the land and building terraces.

The market in the small town of Tomohon is not for those with weak stomaches: the roasted dogs, "did not originate from the streets but from a breeding farm," assures one seller.

Children chew sugar cane while a grandmother turns the handle of a press that squeezes juice from the cane as her neighbour grates coconut flesh.

Coffee, tea, tobacco, vanilla and different varieties of rice are all on sale at the market.

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