The capital of Southeast Sulawesi province has long been the key port for trade between the inland Tolaki people and seafaring Bugis and Bajau traders. During WWII it was a focal point of Japanese advance as its airstrip opened up the ability to bomb East Java and Timor. In 1942 they defeated the 400-man Dutch garrison.
Today Kendari is a bustling city with little to recommend it except its range of decent accommodation. It begins in a tangle of lanes in the old kota (city) precinct adjacent to the original port in the east, and becomes progressively more modern in the suburbs to the west. One very, very long main road has most of the facilities, except the bus terminal.