Kendari : The Tourist Center Of South East Sulawesi

Sulawesi Tenggara (Southeast Sulawesi) is on one of the world’s most uniquely shaped islands, often referred to as the “Orchid Shaped Island.” Today, Sulawesi is divided into six provinces, one of them being Southeast Sulawesi, covering the lower eastern “petal” of this beautiful island. The city of Kendari is its capital which lies on the east coast of the peninsula and is the starting point to any adventure into this fascinating province.

In Southeast Sulawesi are found the 7-tiers Moramo Waterfalls, the Giant Clam Marine Park, and also the Wakatobi National Park, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Park.

The indigenous people of this province are the Tolaki, Morunene, Buton, Muna and the Bajo ethnic groups. Kendari has the fourth largest population in Sulawesi, behind MakassarManado, and Palu.

Kendari city, was formerly named Kandai, and also sometimes referred to among the locals as Kantahi. Translated literally, this means, the coastal region.

The city of Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi
The city of Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi (Source :

Kendari is the tourist center of the province of Sulawesi Tenggara, which offers wonderful attractions both on land and seas. It lies along the sloping hills and seaside of Kendari Bay, and is residence to some 100,000 people. Kendari boasts the manufacture of numerous fine, artistic handicrafts, for both home and office use. They are reproduced by skilled craftsmen, from original designs and handed down through the generations, using indigenous roots and ironwood.

Visitors will find frequent, colourful ceremonial events in and around Kendari. To be present at any one of these occasions is to be invited to participate. For the closing of any ceremonial event in Kendari it will be highlighted by the local “Lulo Dance”, performed by local men and women. And all on-lookers are invited to join the dance, as part of the conclusion and harmonious farewell.

Kendari, the capital city of Southeast Sulawesi
Kendari, the capital city of Southeast Sulawesi (Source :

Most the of the land area of Southeast Sulawesi, Kendari included, is covered by natural jungle. There are extensive plantations of teak and ironwood, which are used for local handicrafts and contribute to the local economy. For those who like challenging adventures and ecotourism, this part of Sulawesi is ideal. There are several dive and snorkel spots which you may wish to try in and around Kendari, before you venture  further into the deep-sea waterworld  around Wakatobi.


Sea food is the specialty here, and you can never go wrong with ikan bakar (roasted fish), Pisang epe and pisang hijau, desserts made of banana, should be sampled as well.

Cuisine here is generally rather spicy. You should try sinonggi, a sago porridge served with clam and fish soup. Pokea or skewered clams with peanut sauce is also tasty, served with baked sticky rice and some kind of lontong, which is steamed rice in banana leaves.

As a delicious snack, or even a souvenir to bring home with you, you should try bage, a cookie that predominantly taste of ginger and cashew, perfect to be had with tea or coffee.

Kendari offers many good accommodation options.

Kendari Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park

This is an interesting place to visit during your stay at Kendari. It is located in the Toli-toli Village, approximately 1 hour from Kendari. A large number of marine biota off the Kendari bay are on the verge of extinction. This park was started by volunteers who felt compelled to do something towards nature conservation, particularly the marine environment and its contents, especially for the conservation of the Giant Clam.

The marine park was completed in January 2010. Up to this time the marine park has been successful, having collected and preserved as many as 700 Giant Clams (Tridacna), and various other species such as, the Tridacna Gigas, Tridacna Derasa, Tridacna Squamosa, Tridacna Maxima, Tridacna Crocea, TridacnaTevoroa, Tridacna Rosewate, Hippopus-Hippopus and HippopusPorcellanusand other creatures that live in shallow waters.

The Marine Park not only preserves and protects the Giant Clam, but also other marine biota such as starfish, sea cucumbers, ornamental fish, and the lobster.

There are tour dive packages, where you can arrange to be picked up at the airport or your hotel and be taken to the Toli-Toli Village. The trip will take about 1 hour from Kendari City or 1 ½ hours from Kendari airport.

Moramo Waterfalls

Moramo Waterfalls is located in the area of Tanjung Peropa Nature Reserve, which is about 60 kilometers east of Kendari. The waterfall is claimed to be the most beautiful natural wonder in the region. It has 7 large, main levels, and 60 smaller levels of cascading water that is ideal for swimming, with clear and cool water. The water slides freely on large multilevel granite boulders. The height of each level ranges from 0.5 – 3 meters. These formations are naturally formed over thousands of years. Surrounding the waterfalls are large, ancient trees, which are home to a large variety of colorful butterflies and tropical birds, creating a picturesque scene, ideal for relaxation.

Batugong Beach

Batu Gong Beach is located about 15 kilometers north of Kendari. This beach has sparkling white sand and its location on the coast is a ways from any villages or buildings making the atmosphere very natural and quiet. This beach faces directly in the Banda Sea, while on the other side you can see the vast array of the Nipanipa Mountains.

Nambo Beach

You can reach this beach in approximately 30 minutes, being located about 14 kilometers south of Kendari. This is a sloping beach, with breezy winds, and beautiful palm trees blowing in the wind. The water itself is calm and clear, making it ideal for swimming or boating. There are pavilions built on the beach, where you can enjoy the beaches beauty, with a view of the vast expanse of ocean and the small Bokori islands in the distance, while you sip on fresh coconuts from the nearby palm trees.

Mayaria Beach

Mayaria Beach is a white, sandy beach located approximately 10 kilometers to the east of Kendari. This  is a beautiful beach with white sand that slopes so that in addition to swimming, visitors can make traditional tours around the coast by boat. For tourists who want to spend the night, there are near-by inns and cottages complete with restaurants and facilities.

Sea Garden of Pulau Hari

This island paradise is located approximately 20 miles from Kendari and will take between 1 ½ – 2 hours by speedboat. Pulau Hari, literally translated, means Daylight Island. Because of the way the sun’s rays reflect over the water of the sea surrounding this island, the local people call it the “Island of Daylight”, Pulau Hari. Swimming, Boating, and other marine sports find a natural home along these shores. Diving to see the colorful fish along the coral beds is a popular activity.


Kendari Haluoleo Airport, formerly known as Wolter Monginsidi Airport, is the main airport of Kendari. There are flights directly to Kendari from Jakarta and Makassar.

Several airlines flying to and from Kendari are: Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air.

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