Poso

Poso

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Poso is the main town, port and terminal for road transport on the northern coast of Central Sulawesi. It’s a spread-out, noisy place and there’s little reason to stay other than to stay overnight to break up a trip to/from Ampana and the Togean Islands, use an ATM or change buses.

The northern part of Poso, around Jl Haji Agus Salim, is more like a small village but it has limited shops and restaurants. Most facilities are along or near busy Jl Sumatera.

Poso is the last sure chance for Togean- and Tentena-bound travellers to change money; the best option is BNI bank, with an ATM, near the port about 2km from town centre – take an ojek.

Luwuk

Luwuk

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Luwuk is the biggest town on Sulawesi’s isolated eastern peninsula and is a possible stepping stone to the Togean Islands and the Banggai Islands. Nearby attractions include Air Terjun Hengahenga, the 75m-high waterfall 3km west of Luwuk; and the Bangkiriang Nature Reserve, which is 80km southwest of Luwuk and home to Central Sulawesi’s largest maleo-bird population.

Maleo Cottages is by far the best place to stay in the area, about 16km from town. There are rooms in the main house and simple but atmospheric cottages. Meals are available, as are private car transfers to Ampana for 750,000Rp. This is the base for Wallacea Dive Cruise, so it’s a good place to arrange diving in the Banggai Islands or liveaboards to the Togean Islands. The hotel can also help arrange independent trips to the remote, beautiful Banggai Islands and offers treks to some remote forest regions nearby.

Batavia Air, Lion Air and Wings Air all fly regularly to/from Makassar.

Every week the Pelni liner Tilongkabila links Luwuk with Bau Bau and Bitung and many stops between; it is an excellent way to travel to this remote part of Sulawesi. There’s a Pelni office in town.

There are also buses to Pagimana (two hours), Poso (12 hours) and Ampana (seven hours).

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/luwuk

Tentena

Tentena

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Tentena is a town of white picket fences and churches, cool breezes from the lake and lots of wonderfully strange things to eat. Surrounded by clove-covered hills, it’s a peaceful and very easy-to-manage town with several good places to stay, an interesting market and some natural treasures to explore nearby. There are no beaches in the town itself, but it’s easy to hire a motorbike or an ojek to get to some.

Tentena is the host of the annual Festival Danau Poso, the undisputed highlight of Central Sulawesi’s social calendar, in late August. Villagers from far afield gather for a colourful celebration of culture, with dancing, songs and traditional sports.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/tentena

Palu

Palu

Palu

Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi, is characterless but loaded with banks and ATMs, cheap internet, travel agencies, supermarkets and, oddly, pharmacies (all along Jl Emmi Saelan). It’s a good place to do errands when arriving from or heading out by ship to Kalimantan or treks to Lore Lindu National Park. Nearby is the rarely visited yet wonderfully quaint village of Dongalla and beach area of Tanjung Karang. Situated in a rain shadow for most of the year, Palu is one of the driest places in Indonesia.

The best part of town to wander around is the busy Jl Hasanuddin II area.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/sulawesi/palu

– Central Sulawesi

Central Sulawesi

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Nearly abandoned by tourism during and after a period of religious violence spanning over eight years, Central Sulawesi is back on the itinerary for travellers who are moving up or down between the Togean Islands and Tana Toraja. The towns on the vast Danau Poso are an ideal place to stop awhile or break up a long bus ride, but there’s much, much more to this province and it’s simply begging to be explored. Tranquil Tentena is the easiest place to arrange treks into the Lore Lindu National Park, which is filled with mysterious megaliths and has a wildlife-rich jungle; those with lots of time and a nose for anthropology should head to the adventurous Morowali Nature Reserve to seek out the Wana people; divers and beach bums can laze around on the white sands of Tanjung Karang near Palu.

It’s a vibrant and extremely varied region scarred by its recent history and still a little shaky, but the people here want their foreign visitors back. While it’s unlikely tensions will flare again soon, it is still wise to check the current situation before visiting this area.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/central-sulawesi