Can travelers watch the funeral in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi?

I will be traveling to Tana Toraja, Sulawesi and would like to watch the famous Torajan funeral rituals there. Are travelers allowed to watch the Torajan funeral rituals? If yes, when is the best time to catch the Tana Toraja funeral rituals?
– Grey

Yes travelers are allowed to join and watch the Toraja funeral rituals. The best time to catch the Torajan funerals are during the dry season which is between June to August.

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Author: Pearl

Living in Jakarta for more than 20 years now, she still have not manage to cover the tip of Indonesia’s diverse destinations, people and even food! Pearl loves shopping as much as enjoying luxury but she knows all these have to be done sensibly and on a budget. Therefore you may find the best scoop and offers in Jakarta and beyond with her.

Itinerary for Travel in North Sulawesi around Manado for a week

Q: I would like to travel around the Sulawesi Utara besides just diving, which is, of course, my main aim there. I will be diving either at Bunaken Island or the Togian Islands, I haven’t decide. What other places can I cover in between? A suggested sample itinerary for week in North Sulawesi would be great!
– Evika

A: Sulawesi is an island that would take some time to fully appreciate what it has to offer. But with a one week plan, you can start with a taste of it. Most travellers make their way out here for diving, but other than that you can be sure to find pristine beaches and lots of peace and relaxation on some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Map of Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Map of Togian Islands, Sulawesi

For a week itinerary, you may go along these plans along with your dive trips:

Day 1 – Manado

You’re most likely to arrive in Manado international airport. Take the day to go around this city, you may choose from lakes, farms, markets and temple for a good dose of culture trip.

Lake Tondano in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Lake Tondano in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by sektordua

Day 2 – Day trip to Tomohon

Just an hour drive from Manado up in the highlands, this place is popular for tourists and local alike. One of the top tourist attraction here is the Mount Mahawu volcano, accessible through a scenic drive through plantations and end with a 1-hour trek to the vantage point overlooking Bunaken Island and Mando Tua.

Day 3 to 5 – Diving in Bunaken Island

Now it’s time to head into diving, and since we only have a week, we would need to choose from either Bunaken Island or Togian Islands. Both are listed in the top diving sites in Indonesia, with rich marine life and pristine clear waters.

Reefs and fishes in diving at Bunaken Island in Indonesia

Reefs and fishes during the dive. Photo by mattk1979

Day 6 – Day trip to Lake Tondano or Tangkoko Nature Reserve

If you would like to explore more of Sulawesi on land before heading off, you have two choices. Go to the Tangkoko Nature reserve to admire unique wildlife like Tarsiers, the smallest primate in the world, and also the Black Crested Macaque which can only be found in North Sulawesi. Or go to Lake Tondano to check out more local life around the lake and have some time to relax.

Day 7 – Departure from Manado

Fly out via the city.

Related articles:
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Author: Pearl

Living in Jakarta for more than 20 years now, she still have not manage to cover the tip of Indonesia’s diverse destinations, people and even food! Pearl loves shopping as much as enjoying luxury but she knows all these have to be done sensibly and on a budget. Therefore you may find the best scoop and offers in Jakarta and beyond with her.

Guide to Togian / Togean Islands, Sulawesi

Togian Islands (or also known as Togean Islands) are like islands lost in between the midst of everything in Northern Sulawesi (Sulawesi Utara) thus coining it as an almost a secret dive destinations. With this, it invokes thoughts of real independent traveling there and diving in unexplored areas.

One thing for sure is the water is pristine and you would not see many other divers around. There are around 3 dive sites among the 56 islands! Imagine all the places untouched! You come here for dive, dive and dive but of course, it can possibly be also for just a retreat.

You may still arrange tour and trips to get here without hassle but it is not impossible to get here yourself as well though it is quite difficult. The difficulty is the reason these islands remain untouched largely therefore it is a good thing in a way.

Kadidiri, Togian Islands in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Kadidiri, Togian Islands in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Where is it

Togian Islands is an archipelago located in the transition zone of Wallace and Weber lines across the central Gulf of Tomini. It consists of around 66 large and small islands, scattered at the gulf between the large island of Sulawesi.

Map of Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Map of Togian Islands, Sulawesi

When is the best time to go

Climate here is tropical and with two seasons – dry and wet. But it is warm generally all year round and it is driest during summer months of April-October, making these the best time to come here but bear in mind it could go really hot.

What to see

Bajo people – Known as the Sea Gypsys, they are the indigenous people who lives semi nomadic at Kadidiri They rely on fishing on their sole income and you may come here to see their way of life.

Melange – stop by this remote island which lies in between Ampana and Wakai, where you can see traditional village with many smiling people!

Melange kids at Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Melange kids at Togian Islands, Sulawes

What to do

Diving – As one of the top diving sites in Indonesia, this is definitely the place that you have to try scuba diving. There are hundreds of species of corals here, many still unclassified, and the diversity of marine life here is staggering. One of the best dive sites in Togian islands is the B24 Allied bombers in WW2, located just 16km northeast of Kaidiriri Island. Here you can dive with the aircraft wrecked that is now home to so many mysteries of the underwater sea. Another highlight is to dive in Pulau Una Una (the pinnacle) which has lots of large marine life to see. Other good diving sites are The Gap, Dominik Rock, The Crak, Batugilla and Little Lembeh for night dive.

Snorkeling – you can snorkel off the serene sea of a nearby island from Black Marlin. To get there you need to kayak for about 30 minutes.

Fishermen at Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Fishermen at Togian Islands, Sulawesi

Where to stay

You may stay on Kadidiri Island itself, with three resorts here to choose from which normally charge per night inclusive of meals. The best place to stay here is the Kadidiri Paradise *. Alternative accommodations would be at Kalolio Island, such as Sanctum Una Una Eco Dive Resort * .

-> Find the best hotel deals in Togian Islands *

How to get there

Melange girl at Togian Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Melange girl at Togian Islands, Sulawes

By Flights
There are regular flights everyday from Jakarta and Surabaya to Gorontalo, and then catch a public ferry to Wakai in Togian Islands which would take about 13 hours! You may also charter a boat from Marisa for more flexible departure time.

Alternatively, also the fastest way to Togian Islands is to fly directly to Luwuk and then charter a car from there to Ampana and then onward boat to Wakai. Or from Gorontalo you can take a car to Ampana before taking a boat over to Wakai, which is only 4 hours.

By Land
If you are coming from Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi, you may take a bus trip from Rantepao of about 14 hours to Ampana and then follow by a boat to Wakai in Togian Islands, which is another 4 hours.

How to get around

You may charter a boat to go around the Togian islands which typically cost from 1-2 million Rp.

Where to go nearby

Manado – get back to this unassuming yet quite interesting city which acts as springboards to other dive sites and areas of travels.
Bunaken Island – another amazing dive site for divers alike.
Tana Toraja – you may head to South Sulawesi and catch the ancient funeral rites of this indigenous tribe

Sunset at Togian Islands in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sunset at Togian Islands in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Travel Tips

Remember to bring mosquito repellants as they are really notorious here being it still hugely undeveloped.

Photo credits from top: Rachel, Arian Zwegers for the rest and last oneNeilsPhotography

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Tomohon Travel Guide, North Sulawesi

Tomohon is a small town up in the highlands, about one hour drive from Manado, thus a natural cooling respite for travelers and locals alike.

It is also a springboard to discover the rest of the North Sulawesi (Sulawesi Utara) highlands.

Map of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Map of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Why visit

Tomohon is a place to get into the rough and feel of rustic highlands, with vast lands spread out that boosts relaxation.

What to see

Local market to feel some hustle and bustle.

Mount Lokon, an active volcano that rises above the Tondano plain with a flat and craterloss top. Many tourists did this moderately difficult hike up to the crater for the views over Tomohon and the lake.

Mount Lokon, Tomohon, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Mount Lokon view from Tomohon. Photo by Michael Kelley

Mount Mahawu Volcano, which can be access with a scenic drive through fields of plantations, is one of the best kept secret of Indonesia, where at end of the 1 hour trek at vantage point you get to see Bunaken Island and Manado Tua in a view. The bottom of the crater is still steaming with volcanic lake and sulfuric air.

Handicraft Villagee of Woloan which is mainly the architectures of the houses.

Tomohon Resort, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Tomohon Resort. Photo by Michael Kelley

Where to stay at Tomohon

There are only a selected few resorts to stay in Tomohon and a couple of homestays too. The popular one is the Mountain View Resort & SPA *, where like its name you get a pleasant stay with a view of Mount Lokon. Another good choice here would be the Highland Resort & Nature Tours *, with traditional huts surrounded by beautiful sceneries.

-> Find places to stay in Tomohon *

How to get there

Fly in to Manado and then it is another 1 to 1.5 hours drive away. Else you can also take a pelni ship from Manado harbor.

Get around

Tomohon is just an hour drive from Manado. There is also a local public transportation from traditional horse cart called bendi, if you would like to try something unique. The common public transport to go around the place is a mikrolet. You may also use a mikrolet to connect with Manado.

Related articles:
Manado Travel Guide, Sulawesi
Itinerary for Travel in North Sulawesi around Manado for a week
Top 10 Must Visit Places in Sulawesi
Sulawesi Travel Guide

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Author: Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+