Welcome to Sulawesi
This splay-limbed enigma of a tropical island, the 11th-largest in the world, is one of Indonesia's most fascinating. It is tied physically and historically to the sea and ringed with teeming waters and reefs; its interior is mountainous and cloaked in dense jungle. Here rare species such as nocturnal tarsiers and flamboyantly colourful maleo birds survive, as do proud cultures, isolated by impenetrable topography, who guard their customs against the onslaughts of modernity. Meet the Toraja highlanders, with their elaborate funeral ceremonies in which buffaloes are sacrificed and balok (palm sugar wine) flows freely; the Minahasans in the far north, who offer spicy dishes of everything from stewed forest rat to grilled fish; and the Bugis, who are mainly found inhabiting Sulawesi's coastal regions and are Indonesia’s most famous seafarers.