Sulawesi North: Impressive mix of national parks and volcanoes

View of Lokon Volcano, Tomohon, North Sulawesi

With an area of approximately 180,000 km², Sulawesi is Indonesia’s 4th largest island and offers a correspondingly wide potential for sights and activities. Today, as in the past, the gateway to Sulawesi’s north is typically through the metropolis of Manado. In the 16th century it was the rich resources of the surrounding area that made Manado a strategic port along the route of the spice traders, but today it is the many natural attractions located in the immediate vicinity that make the city the starting point for a trip in the region.

Located in the so-called ‘Coral Triangle’, divers and snorkelers in Bunaken Marine Park and Lembeh Straits can count on a species-rich underwater world with exceptionally good visibility. But the region also impresses with numerous interesting scenic features on land as well, including the Minahasa highlands, various nature parks with interesting wildlife and active volcanoes.

Discover Tangkoko National Park in North Sulawesi on one of our tours!

Attractions in the North of Sulawesi

Manado: The northernmost centre of Sulawesi and gateway to Bunaken Marine Park

Manado: The gateway to the north of Sulawesi

Manado is Sulawesi’s northernmost centre and the gateway to the Bunaken Marine Park, the Lembeh Straits and the Minahasa Highlands and also to various nature reserves. As the largest city in this largely Christian region, there are also numerous entertainment and activity options.

Underwater Highlights in the 'Coral Triangle': In Sulawesi's Bunaken Marine Park & the Straits of Lembeh

North Sulawesi’s Marine Parks

For underwater activities, the Bunaken Marine Park and the Straits of Lembeh are the main highlights. Located in the middle of the so-called ‘Coral Triangle,’ there are wonderful diving and snorkeling areas with unique corals and fish species. Exploring the underwater world can be done from the main island, but combine it with a stay on one of the small offshore islands for a truly atmospheric experience.

Tangkoko National Park: Home of the Sulawesi Tarsier and Black Crested Monkeys

The Tangkoko National Park

Located near the harbor town of Bitung and famous for its little monkeys, the Sulawesi Tarsier, Tangkoko National Park covers Sulawesi’s northernmost tip. It also offers an insight into the life of the black crested monkeys and the chance to see one of the largest tarantula species. Just as worth seeing, but a little more remote is the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, which is home to numerous endemic species as well.

View of Lokon Volcano, Tomohon, North Sulawesi

Sulawesi’s Minahasa Highlands

The Minahasa highlands rise up in the area between Manado and Bitung. The high altitude does not only provide for a pleasant climate, it also reveals wonderful panorama views over small towns, lakes and active volcanos.

Tomohon, also called 'Kota Bunga' - Flower City, in the Minahasa Highlands of Sulawesi

The flower festival town of Tomohon

Tomohon is another centre in North Sulawesi, located at an altitude of 800 m and set in the midst of the charming landscape of the Minahasa highlands. Every year, the wonderful Tomohon Flower Festival attracts thousands of visitors. But there are many other attractions to delight the visitor the whole year round.

Tomohon's Pasar Ekstrim offers quite exceptional fare

Tomohon’s Pasar Ekstrim

Tomohon’s Pasar Ekstrim is a market with a difference – in addition to typical local fruit and vegetables, the range of produce for sale here includes grilled bats, dogs, rats and snakes.

Sulawesi's north: With numerous lakes, often framed by small fish restaurants

Lakescape: Sulawesi’s diverse north

A trip through the varied landscapes of the north inevitably leads past various lakes, with Linow and Tondano Lake among the best known. Linow is said to change its colour every day and there are various fish restaurants around Tondano, which offer good food and great views of the lake.

North Sulawesi's mountain panorama: Every peak a volcano - or so it seems

North Sulawesi mountain panorama

North Sulawesi’s mountain panorama is impressive, especially knowing that some of the peaks are active volcanos. The steam clouds repeatedly emitted by Gunung Soputan, Lokon or Empung add further drama to an already wonderful scene.

Hot springs: An impressive landscape in the north of Sulawesi

Hot Springs in the North of Sulawesi

Not only the mountains offer visible signs of volcanic activity here. There are also hot springs scattered throughout the region, some of which attract attention from afar.

Ancient burial sites, so-called warugas, in the Minahasa Highlands, North Sulawesi

North Sulawesi’s mysterious Warugas

Another attraction to be found in the Minahasa highlands are the Warugas, which date back to the 9th century. These stone graves, which are differently decorated according to the profession and status of the deceased, originally contained also some tools and possessions that accompanied them in earthly life.

Tours to Sulawesi-North

Events Sulawesi-North

Journey to Sulawesi North

Singapur – Manado (Sulawesi)  —>  SilkAir 3 ½ hrs.

Singapur – Makassar (Sulawesi) – Manado  —>  SilkAir 3 hrs. + among others Garuda, LionAir, Citilink 1 ¾ hrs.

Jakarta (Java) – Manado (Sulawesi)  —>  Garuda, LionAir, Batik, Citilink 3 hrs.

Manado Hafen – Bunaken Maritime Park Island –> ca. 30-60 min.

Bastiong (Ternate) – Bitung (Sulawesi) –> 18 hrs.

Indonesia’s region East of Wallace on the map

East of Wallace