Cultural holiday in Indonesia

“On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi you'll gain fascinating insight into local culture and history, as well as viewing some of the island's unusual flora and fauna in its national parks and reserves.”

Highlights

Makassar | Maros | Malino | Bira | Sengkang | Lake Tempe | Tanah Toraja | Tangkoko Batuangas Reserve | Mahawu Volcano | Bunaken Island

Description of Cultural holiday in Indonesia

On this cultural holiday you’ll head to one of Indonesia’s least visited islands – Sulawesi, along with a small group of likeminded travellers and an expert guide. Taking in both the north and the south of the island over the course of two weeks, this is a trip that’s full of dramatic landscapes, historical insight and fascinating cultural encounters with diverse ethnic groups.

Starting in lively capital Makassar, you’ll make for the highlands of Tanah Toraja, an area rich in traditional architecture and cultural practices, where highlights include incredible carved houses and mysterious “hanging graves”. Time will be spent walking through verdant rice terraces, visiting local communities and maybe even taking in a tribal festival or two, in an attempt to get to know this area a little better.

In north Sulawesi you’ll go in search of some of the island’s unusual plant and animal life in the local parks and reserves, including the petite, wide-eyed tarsier. You’ll also get to try traditional local food courtesy of friendly villagers, see the bizarre ‘waruga’ sarcophagi of the Minhasa Highlands and delve into buzzing local food markets, where everything from rat to dog is on the menu.

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
10 Sep 2021
£1925
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 Sep 2021 departure
20 May 2022
£2060
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 20 May 2022 departure
16 Sep 2022
£2060
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 16 Sep 2022 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
This tour travels through some remote regions, away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and when camping we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, and introduce them to ‘green thinking’, which often does not feature as an issue in the tourism industry in Indonesia.

We visit nature reserves that are home to some unique wildlife, and the entrance fees that we pay here contribute to their ongoing conservation. At Bunaken clients are fully briefed about appropriate behaviour while snorkelling so as not to disturb the marine wildlife. We work with local guides in the parks who know the areas well – these are from the communities that surround the parks and this therefore ensures that these vital areas are seen not just as the preserve of wealthy western tourists but as a valuable source of employment and income for local people, thus further contributing to conservation and acting as a discouragement to unsustainable use of the parks’ resources. We issue guidelines to our travellers about the importance of leaving these parks as they were, and taking all litter out when we leave.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.

We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.

We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.

We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.

Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.

Climate

3 Reviews of Cultural holiday in Indonesia

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 13 Oct 2019 by

Excellent trip, our guides were outstanding. The trip was well managed and our food and accomodations were generally excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2017 by

It seems strange to say but the highlight of the trip was attending a funeral in Toraja. The lavish ceremony, held over five days, is like nothing I have ever seen. There were hundreds attending the ceremony and dozens of buffalo and even more pigs slaughtered to feed the people. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2015 by

Simply amazing! Read full review

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