Once known as Celebes, this orchid shaped island of Sulawesi lies south of the Philippines, and north of Java between Kalimantan (Borneo) and the Moluccas. Sulawesi consists of five elongated land masses that seem to stretch out from the centre. This odd contorted formation is due to the collision of ancient continents, say geologists.
Sulawesi is a landscape of dramatic smoking volcanoes, ragged mountains and dramatic gorges, tropical rainforests, deep lakes, green rice terraces and white sandy beaches . Beaches slope down to deep seas with extraordinary Coral formations that are home to colourful tropical marine life. The prehistoric coelacanth, once thought to be extinct, was found in the seas off Manado in North Sulawesi, not far from the famed Bunaken dive site.
The large island of Sulawesi is surrounded by clusters of islands where beautiful coral reefs and sea gardens are found , among which at Bunaken, Banggai, the Wakatobi Islands and Selayar. These offer spectacular dive opportunities.
Sulawesi has also some of the strangest animal life. This is the habitat of the dwarf buffaloes or the anoas, the babirusa or pig deer, the tailless monkeys or macaques, and the shy, tiny nocturnal tarsier with saucer-like eyes found in the Tangkoko National Park. Trekking through the breathtaking Toraja countryside or visits to the national parks are life time experiences. South Sulawesi is the home of the Bugis-Makassar seafarers , famous for their ship building crafts that take them as far away as Australia and Madagascar. Sulawesi is also the home of the Toraja highland people who for centuries lived nestled in the central mountains, as well as the home of the fun-loving Minahasa community and the Sangir-Talaud people living south of the Philippines.