In Sulawesi the traveller needs time just to reach the desired destinations, but the great mixture of the tranquility of beautiful and deserted islands and the cultural experiences of this diverse island is definitely worth all the effort. If you have about 2-3 weeks, a tour from South (Makassar) to North (Manado or Gorontalo) or vice versa, stoping at the Togean Islands, is possible. With less than two weeks you need to skip the Togean Islands, then a flight to Manado is recommended. Take a boat (1h) to the Bunaken Islands to have your beach experience (Diving, Snorkel) for the number of days you desire (3+) and have a transit flight to Makassar. From there you need a one day trip by car with driver (or public bus – 140.000 Rp) to reach Rantepao and observe the burial traditions of the Tana Toraja people. The South peak of Sulawesi also offers interesting sights, mostly pretty beaches though.
Public Travel costs:
Makassar – Rantepao (Nightbus – 15h) ~ 140.00 Rp
Rantepao – Tentena (Daybus 08.00 13h) ~ 150.000 Rp
Tentena – Poso (Morning Bus 3h) ~ 60.000 Rp; Poso – Ampana 50.000 Rp (4h)
Tentena – Ampana (Charter Car 5h) – 400.000 Rp
Ampana – Bomba (Public Boat leaves 3 times a week in between 08.00 – 09.00 – 1 h) – 15.000 Rp
Wakai – Gorontalo (Night Ferry leaves at 16.00, 65.000 Rp