Sulawesi (Celebes) lies between Kalimantan and Maluku and is Indonesia’s third largest island. A volcanic range stretches from north to south, covered mostly in rainforests and uninhabited areas. Sulawesi is divided into six provinces: North, South, West, Central, South East and Gorontalo.
North Sulawesi lies on a narrow peninsula with six dormant volcanoes. Rich volcanic ash has made the province’s land extremely fertile. The lowland valleys produce rice, vanilla, nutmeg, corn, coconut, palms, and cloves. The predominant export is copra and cloves. North Sulawesi is heavily industrialized, and has higher standards of living than the other three provinces. Within a short distance from Manado, the provincial capital, there are 41 tourist spots, including extensive marine parks and scuba diving and beach resorts.
South Sulawesi’s agricultural products include irrigated rice, sugarcane, cotton and corn and export plantation crops of coconuts, coffee and rubber. Its extensive grass plains support extensive herds of livestock. The province is Indonesia’s second largest exporter of cattle. Copper and oil deposits have been discovered in recent years. South Sulawesi is also famous for its tremendous scenery and the superior talent of its silk and silverwork industries. This province is a major Indonesian tourist destination, with many direct links overseas. Ujung Pandang (now Makassar), its capital, is a major airport and seaport, where passenger liners call frequently.
West Sulawesi is one of the youngest provinces in Indonesia, which was established in 2004 resulting from the separation with the South Sulawesi Province. Mamuju is the capital city of the province. It has direct access to the Makassar Strait and to neighboring Kalimantan Island and to land strips connecting cities around Sulawesi Island. The provincial government of West Sulawesi is putting in place measures to open up the province to regional and international trade with small medium enterprises as the anchor for development. The province is rich in agricultural, fisheries and mineral resources. Major agriculture products include cocoa, coffee, coconut, and clove. Abundant sources of gold, coal and oil are found in the West Sulawesi. Tourism is one of the important emerging industries of the province.
Central Sulawesi, situated at the heart of the Indonesia archipelago, features ancient megaliths, indigenous tribes, mossy mountains, blue lakes, the longest river for white water rafting, fantastic snorkeling and diving on coral reefs, and unpopulated small islands surrounded by endless white beaches. Until 1980, the province lay isolated, but with the recent opening of the Trans-Sulawesi Highway, the province now has access to both Manado in the north and to Ujung Pandang in the south. In the interior, rivers serve as the main means of transport. Major food crops include rice, corn, peanuts, and soybeans. Commercial crops include coconut, clove, rubber, cacao, coffee, and pepper. Commercial forestry products include rattan, resin, incense and logs.
Southeast Sulawesi consists of three main islands (Peninsula, Buton and Muna) and other small islands spread out in the south and southeast of the peninsula. The province exports forest products and is famous for its fine silver crafts. A Japanese nickel project is a major investment here. Most of Southeast Sulawesi is covered by natural jungle, with extensive plantations of teak and ironwood. The beauty of the region is being preserved through the formation of national parks and nature reserves.
Gorontalo was part of North Sulawesi until 2001, when it was declared a separate province. Gorontalo has 56 small islands, divided into the Boalerno Regency (38 islands) and Gorontalo Regency (18 islands). The current focus of the local government is on improving and expanding vital infrastructure, including the development of the airport, sea port and inter- and intra-province road networks. Gorontalo’s economy is largely agriculture- and natural resource-based. Corn is the major product, and a development priority is the establishment of more commercial corn plantations. Other major products include coconut, cloves, nutmeg, cashew, cocoa and coffee. Gorontalo is known to have significant gold and copper deposits, which are still largely untapped.
Tomini Bay, the largest bay in the world, bounds Gorontalo in the south. Lying along the equator, Tomini Bay offers a rare water quality that supports highly diverse marine life, including large and small pelagics, lobster, reef fish, and squid. The bay also provides 1,620 kilometers of pristine white sand beach ideal for tourism development. Gorontalo is an ideal location for investments in infrastructure, commercial plantation, fisheries, transport, and hotel and resort development.
Kalimantan comprises roughly the southern three-quarters of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak and the sultanate of Brunei lie to the north, occupying the island’s northwest quarter. The territory covers approximately 28% of Indonesia’s total land area, but has only 5.4% of its population. Kalimantan is divided into four provinces: East, West, South and Central.
East Kalimantan is the second largest province of Indonesia. It is a major producer of oil and timber and is at present the most industrially advanced of the Kalimantan provinces. The main attractions of East Kalimantan are found along the Mahakam River. From the Bayur Estuary, the Mahakam reaches more than 350 kilometers northwest into the province with its 920 kilometers of running water.
West Kalimantan’s capital, Pontianak, lies directly across the equator and is the main gateway to the province. The city is a bustling economic hub. Canals crisscross the city and one of Indonesia’s longest rivers, the Kapuas (1,143 kilometers long), divides the town into two, providing an essential and historical communications link. Like Java and Sumatra, West Kalimantan was once an important cultural crossroad. West Kalimantan is rich in a variety of minerals and precious stones that is largely still unexplored. Coastal areas are mainly swamplands with more than 100 rivers sculpting the flat plains. Riverboats are still the most important means of transport here, even if transport by road becomes more and more common. West Kalimantan is easily accessible from Jakarta or Singapore by air and boat and overland journeys provide a rare opportunity to see the interior of one of the world’s largest and richest islands. Places of interest in West Kalimantan are Pontianak; Betong (Long House); Pasir Panjang beach resort and the Gunung Palung National Park.
South Kalimantan is divided into two distinct regions. The eastern part of the province is mountainous and lush with dense tropical rain forests, and is home to the “Orang Gunung” or mountain peoples. The southern section of the province is much flatter, with large rivers meandering through lowlands to vast mangrove swamps along the coast, helping to make South Kalimantan an exceptionally fertile land. South Kalimantan is full of colorful and distinctive traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people’s ways of life, art, dance, music, ancestral dress, games and ceremonies. Exquisite traditional and commercial handicrafts are all made from local raw materials that include a variety of precious stones, gold, silver, brass, iron, and wood species including bamboo and rattan. South Kalimantan is one of the largest wood producers in Indonesia. Extensive forests with a vast array of trees such as ironwood, meranti, pinus and rubber have helped to make the province unique and rich in natural resources. The provincial capital of Banjarmasin lies a short distance from the mouth of the Barito River. The rivers are the life-blood of the city and everything revolves around them.
Central Kalimantan is the biggest province in the island. Approximately 80% of the province’s area is jungle. The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach. Transportation facilities are limited due to the rough terrain and the central area is dense. Fertile tropical forests produce valuable commodities such as rattan, resin and the best woods. The southern area is swampy and has many rivers. Palangkaraya is the center of government, trade and education of the province.
Papua Island (Irian Jaya) is a land of contrasts, with some of the most impenetrable jungles in the world and snowcapped mountain peaks towering over glacial lakes, representing almost 21% of the Indonesia’s total land area. Papua Island is the country’s easternmost area and covers the western half of the world’s second largest island.
Papua Province has the largest area among all the provinces in Indonesia. Jayapura is its capital city. The province is located in the west of New Guinea and Jayapura is its capital city. It is rich in mineral resources including copper, gold, oil and gas. The mining sector represents more than 50% of the province’s economy. Papua has an estimated 2.5 billion tons of gold and copper reserves. Ninety percent of Papua’s mainland is covered by forest with more than 1,000 species of plants. Although small plantations have been developed in recent years, commercial production of palm oil, cacao, arabica coffee, and rubber have immense potential in the province. The province is also known to have the best coral stone, the widest mangrove forest in the world.
West Papua, home to only around 800,000 people, is the least populated province of Indonesia located on the western end of the island of New Guinea. Manokwari is the capital of West Papua. It covers the Bird’s Head (or Doberai) Peninsula and the surrounding islands. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Bird’s Head Peninsula is covered by the Vogelkop Montane Rain Forests Ecoregion, which includes more than 2.2 million hectares of montane forests at elevations of 1,000 meters and higher. Incredibly rich in glorious-looking birds, swathed in lush forests and steeped in thriving traditions, West Papua has more than earned its position as a biodiversity treasure through millions of years of evolution.
Maluku Islands. The over 1,000 islands of Maluku are sprawled across a vast expanse of ocean, sitting astride one of the world’s most volatile volcano belts. These are the famous spice islands which drew Indian, Chinese, Arab and eventually European traders in search of cloves and nutmeg. Maluku is a transition zone between the Asian and Australian fauna and flora, and also between the Malay-based cultures of western Indonesian and those of Melanesia. Maluku is divided into two provinces: Maluku and North Maluku.
Maluku province comprises broadly the southern part of the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas, Molucca Islands or Moluccan Islands). Maluku traditionally belongs to Melanesia and is one of the oldest provinces in Indonesia history. All the Maluku Islands formed a single province of Indonesia from 1950 until 1999 when the Maluku Utara Regency and Halmahera Tengah Regency were split as the separate province of North Maluku. Known as the “Land of Thousand Islands”, Maluku’s cultural diversity and natural resources is outstanding. Based on its geography of more sea than land area, the population heavily depends on sea transport to connect them to other areas around them. Ambon is the main city and capital of Maluku province. Agriculture drives the economy of the province. Principal commodities include “palawija”, corn, peanut, cassava and sweet potato. The plantation sector produces clove, nutmeg, cocoa, coffee and cashew.
North MalukuI, one of the least populated provinces of Indonesia, covers the northern part of the Maluku Islands, which are split between it and the province of Maluku. Ternate, its capital, was once the seat of the most important kingdom made rich by the spice trade. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the islands of North Maluku were the original "Spice Islands". At the time, the region was the sole source of cloves. The Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and local kingdoms including Ternate and Tidore fought each other for control of the lucrative trade in these spices. Clove trees have since been transported and replanted all around the world and the demand for clove from the original Spice Islands has ceased, greatly reducing North Maluku's international importance. Today, the province relies heavily on agriculture, forestry, and marine fishery. Nickel and gold mining are emerging industries. Tourism is also fast becoming an important industry anchored on old customs and traditions and rich artifacts from ancient empires of the Ternate and Tidore Sultanate.