Sulawesi transport – getting there and around

Sulawesi transport – Before travelling to the magnificent and pristine island Sulawesi, it is better to get a knowledge on Sulawesi transport modes you are going to take, including how to get there and get around Sulawesi.

This article provides you all information you need on Sulawesi transport, therefore you will be able to enjoy your Sulawesi trio at most.

Sulawesi transport – How to get there

Travelling to Sulawesi by plane

Makassar is where the main airport in Sulawesi, and it operates frequent flights throughout the archipelago. And there is Manado as a secondary hub, which provides some connections eastward to Halmahera and Papua.

Both Makassar and Manado airport are the international airports, which also offer on-arrival facilities for the visitors.

Both Makassar and Manado airport operate the international flights to and from Kuala Lumpur, and from and to Singapore.

Getting around Sulawesi

By bus, bemo and shared taxi

By bus

The air-conditioned intercity buses are available if you want to travel around Sulawesi. It also travels through the  Trans-Sulawesi Highway winds for about 2000 km connecting Makassar to Manado.

The other option to travel around Sulawesi is by taking the shared taxi (minibus or often the local call it Kijang). This shared kijang taxi is however faster than taking the bus, but doesn’t mean it  is more comfortable.

Travelling around Sulawesi by mikrolet or pete-pete are the main mode of transport for locals, it is the local minibus for the short distance travel distance within the cities and towns in Sulawesi.

Getting around Sulawesi by plane

Wings Air, Garuda Indonesia, XpressAir, Batik Air, Aviastar and Sriwijaya Air are the airlines serve passengers to get around Sulawesi.

Getting around Sulawesi by Car

The road conditions in Sulawesi is far better now, as the 2000 km highway road connecting Makassar with Manado.

The highway condition is not like what you see in the western countries, it is basically a two-laned paved road that passes through towns, over innumerable mountain ranges and is affected by landslides during heavy rains. It is therefore travelling through this road can be pretty slow like say 40kph most of the time.

If you are travelling with the group of people it is more practical to travel around Sulawesi by renting a car. If you want to travel from Rantepao to Ampana (510km) for instance, which takes a minimum of two days travel time. Renting a car would give you peace of mind, and more comfortable for sure.

Getting around Sulawesi by boat

Some travellers choose to travel to and around Sulawesi by boat known as Pelni ferries. There are some useful links from Makassar to Maluku and Kalimantan and from Bitung in the north.

The Tilongkabila ferry sails every two weeks from Makassar to Bau Bau, Raha and Kendari, up to Kolonedale, Luwuk, Gorontalo and Bitung and returns the same way to Makassar.

There are also fast boat available (occasionally) for charter, to travel around the southeastern peninsula.

Read more about Sulawesi travel guide.

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