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Sulawesi Tribes and Traditions
From Indonesia's vast archipelago of more than 13,000 islands, the island of Sulawesi stands out for its unique shape comprised of four large peninsulas. It is also an island of dramatic extremes – from rugged volcanic peaks and beaches to two vastly different tribes – the seafaring Bugis and the mysterious highland Torajans. Discover the charismatic local cultures of the Tana Toraja Region, starting with a visit to Kete Kesu, one of the oldest ethnic Torajan villages. Here you'll learn about their complex funeral rites and see their cliff graves. The trip continues into the mountains and on to discover serene Lake Poso. The tour ends at the coastal town of Poso – which is also one of the biggest and the oldest towns in the province.
- CategoryMountain Biking
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration9 days
- Culture LevelOut There
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level3 - Active
- Elevation2 - Moderate
- Distance174 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance29.2 miles
Sulawesi is not as popular with tourists, unlike Bali or Java, giving you unadulterated authentic experiences as you cycle. Being east of the Wallace Line – the division between the Asian and Australian ecozones – the island is also home to unique flora and fauna, including ebony wood, hog-deer and the maleo bird, which is able to fly immediately after hatching.
Named Celbes by the Portuguese, Sulawesi is famous for its role during the heyday of the spice trade wars in the 16th century. That was the time when European powers tried to wrest control of the seas from great seafarers like the Minahasans and the Bugis, who were based in Makassar, which is now a modern city of over 2 million people and the gateway to Eastern Indonesia.
You’ll start your exploration of Sulawesi from the provincial capital Makassar, peopled by Buginese, Makassarese, Mandar and Torajan ethnic groups. Pedaling north, you’ll travel over the southern and central mountain ranges and rice plains ending at the port of Poso. The highlight of the tour will be exploring the most charismatic places of the Tana Toraja Region, starting with a visit to Kete Kesu, one of the oldest ethnic Torajan villages. Here you’ll learn about their complex funeral rites and see their cliff graves. The tour continues on into the mountains, and discovers serene Lake Poso. The tour draws to a close at the coastal town of Poso – which is also one of the biggest and the oldest towns in the province.