Even though I have been in Indonesia for quite some time, I had never set foot on the island of Sulawesi until a trip late last year. In October I started a trip from Jakarta to this large region that lasted a few weeks. And it was a fascinating, adventurous and amazing journey filled with wonderful moments and experiences. It is very much an unspoilt and original island.
Sulawesi is quite large. In fact, it is really really huge. It is the eleventh largest island in the world, but compared to Java not as populated. Large uninhabited stretches of land, even relatively near the island’s capital of Makassar, are not uncommon. The shape of the island is also quite unique as its land mass spreads out as arms of a spider or an octopus.
We visited several places in Sulawesi; from the capital of Makassar to mountainous Tana Toraja, and the beautiful, pristine, off-the-beaten path, and awe-inspiring tropical islands of Togian. The words underwater paradise do not even begin to describe how amazing the coral reefs and seas are in that part of the Gulf of Tomini, but more on that in later posts.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I hope I can, through a series of posts about the activities and experiences I have undertaken, inform and inspire you fellow travelers to give this part of the world a visit whether you are in Indonesia or abroad.
Unfortunately, I spent only a short time in Makassar. I didn’t get to see the whole city, but from what I understood it really is a harbor city. Most of the fun places are located around the waterfront.
Hotel Pantai Gapura
We stayed in the Pantai Gapura Hotel in Makassar. It is located near the waterfront, close to Fort Rotterdam, and pretty much in the center of town. The hotel feels quite dated and could really use a huge renovation. It feels like an old-fashioned Disneyland hotel. One of the restaurants for example, is located in a big replica of a ship. The pool looked quite nice at first glance, but the water was very murky and felt dirty and oily, as if it had not been cleaned for a while. The rooms we stayed in were also quite dated and not very clean. There were cockroaches scuttling around the room, blood on the bed sheets, and the sink wasn’t connected to the pipe underneath, so the water just dripped down on the bathroom floor. So yeah… there were lots of issues. But, we only stayed here a short time and were too tired to look for another hotel, so we lived with it.
Losari Beach (or Pantai Losari)
We took a short visit to this “beach”, which happened to be near the hotel. There is nothing to do there during the day, except look at the harbor view. I thought it was more of a boulevard instead of a beach. This place is much more interesting and lively at night when the warungs and food stalls are set up to serve people. I was so exhausted after the trip that I didn’t really explore this place at that time.