Getting there & away
Sulawesi is well connected, with more than half Pelni’s fleet calling at Makassar, Bitung (the seaport for Manado), Pare Pare and/or Toli-Toli, as well as a few other minor towns.
Some of the more important boats that stop at Makassar and/or Bitung (Manado) include:
Agoa Mas To East Kalimantan.
Bukit Siguntang To southern Maluku, Banda, Papua and Java.
Ciremai To Northern Maluku, northern Papua and Jakarta
Kelimutu To northern Papua and East Kalimantan.
Lambelu To Java and southern and Northern Maluku.
Rinjani To southern Maluku, southern and northern Papua, and Java.
The three transport hubs are Makassar and Manado, which are well connected with the rest of Indonesia, and Palu, which offers connections to Balikpapan in Kalimantan. It is possible to arrange direct flights to Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua, but you’ll need to transit for connections to Sumatra or Nusa Tenggara. Merpati Nusantara Airlines and Lion Air are the main carriers, but Adam Air, Batavia Air, Bouraq, Garuda Indonesia, Mandala, Sriwijaya Air and Wings Air also service Sulawesi.
Silk Air flies between Manado and Singapore four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) for US$250/375 (one way/return). Bouraq and Merpati fly between Manado and Davao in the southern Philippines once a week for US$110/200. This is useful for a visa run, but it is important to note that you need an onward ticket before you can enter the Philippines.
Tickets for all international flights from Makassar and Manado are often cheaper through travel agencies.