SULAWESI

Here in Sulawesi, you can enjoy fantastic snorkelling, and diving on coral reefs. You will also find delights in unpopulated small islands surrounded by endless white sandy beaches and natural reserves. The region is rich in flora and fauna like the most expensive Ebony wood, Teakwood, Rattan, Banyan trees and also the famed Black Orchids. The shy Babirusa (deer pig), Anoa (Dwarf Buffalo), deer and various species of birds including the rare maleo birds (Macrocephalo maleo), and monkeys like the Black Monkey Sulawesi (Maccaca maura) and Tangkasi (the smallest species of monkeys), are waiting for visitors who like adventure (trekking, rafting, birdwatching).

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History
Central Sulawesi is rich in culture and history. As early as the 13th century, many small Kingdoms emerged in this area. Some of them are Banawa, Tawaeli, Sigi, Bangga and Banggai. In the 16th century, Islam began to dominate these Kingdoms.  Bone and Wajo Kingdoms were first influenced by this religion and it later started to spread to other Kingdoms.

The Dutch came in the 17th century and attempted to try and take over. By the 18th century, the Dutch took control of Central Sulawesi until the arrival of the Japanese. After WW2, the Dutch tried to create another Sulawesi here but the locals vehemently opposed to this so it became a part of Indonesia in 1950 and then a separate province in 1964.

Entry
Many domestic airlines fly directly from Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Makassar and Balikpapan. Central Sulawesi can be reached by bus from Toraja in South Sulawesi in 14 hours and by bus from Bunaken in North Sulawesi in 18 hours. Central Sulawesi with the capital city, Palu, consists of diverse ethnic groups that have retained their traditions and customs, living in relatively peaceful harmony with each other.

People and Culture
Like many areas in Indonesia, the first natives of Central Sulawesi were a mixture of Wedoid and Negroid races. Malay came later and began to dominate the region. Relics of Bronze and Megalithicum Age can be found here. These days the dominant races here are Palu Toraja, Koro Toraja and Poso Toraja.

Cuisine
Try the specialty sugili, the local name for eel, or perhaps try Pisang molen, a pastry filled with banana then fried or baked, which is also wonderful to eat.

Kaledo or beef and bone marrow soup is also worth a try. Bear in mind that Indonesians use chilli and tamarind so the taste is rather spicy and sour. Perfect to be enjoyed with burasa, made of rice and coconut milk then steamed in banana leaves.