Southeast Sulawesi is one of six provinces on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. This area is bordered by the provinces of Southern Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi. The largest city, which is also the capital, is Kendari. Sulawesi itself is the world’s eleventh largest island and located between Borneo and the Maluku Islands.
Southeast Sulawesi holds claim to an impressive history dating back 40,000 years. It was at this time that ancient inhabitants drew still-visible cave pictures. In the 10th Century, a series of kingdoms took rule over Southeast Sulawesi, including the kingdoms of Konawe, Buton, Muna, Kemongga, Tiworo, Kalususu and Moronenen. Buton quickly became the most powerful of the kingdoms after it converted to Islam and began to cultivate spices. Later, in the 17th Century, the Dutch arrived and created a puppet kingdom under the name of Laiwoi. The Dutch never managed to capture the love of the locals and following the Japanese occupation during World War II, the Dutch never regained control of Southeast Sulawesi. In 1950, the island of Sulawesi became a part of Indonesia and in 1964, Southeast Sulawesi was born as a separate province.
Today, Southeast Sulawesi is one of 16 areas identified by the Indonesia government for tourist development. These areas are designed to minimize the strain placed on traditional Indonesian destinations like Bali. While Southeast Sulawesi and Wakatobi National Park are still difficult to reach, it is getting easier to travel here every day. Be quick and book your dive vacation to Southeast Sulawesi soon so as to explore this undiscovered paradise before the tourist crowds arrive.
Most of activities in Southeast Sulawesi center around the underwater environment. However, visitors should also take some time to enjoy sea kayaking, kite boarding or hiking around the verdant topside environment. A visit to local villages will give you the opportunity to get to know the locals. In addition, cooking courses and craft workshops can be arranged. Of course, a few days relaxing on the pristine, white sand beaches are an absolute must.
Getting to Southeast Sulawesi is, at the moment, a bit of a challenge. For the easiest access fly to Manado, Kendari, Wangi-wangi, or Makassar. These ports of entry welcome domestic flights from Indonesia as well as a handful of international flights from destinations such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Once on the ground in Sulawesi, you can choose to travel to Southeast Sulawesi by bus or ferry. Divers may also choose to travel around Southeast Sulawesi on a liveaboard.