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Overview

Travel through Sulawesi’s south to discover the island’s cultural heartbeat. Start with an insightful visit to Makassan’s La Galigo Museum, where displays tribal artefacts give a taste of what’s to come. Then explore Toraja villages where deep-rooted traditions are still thriving, with unique cultural discovers found at every turn.

Trip Highlights

South Sulawesi: Toraja Discovery

Explore historic Makassan

Start the journey with a visit to Makassan’s historic Dutch fort, ethnology museum and authentic Bugis villages.

Discover Torajan culture

Visit Torajan villages, seeing their incredible hanging effigies, ancestral stone circles and traditional boat-shaped houses.

Hike Mt Sesean

Trek through the black-rock lava fields of Mt Sesean, an extinct volcano, stopping in rural villages on the way. 

Itinerary

1

Arrive to Makassar – Hotel

Makassar Hasanuddin international Airport – Makassar City Centre (17 km): 30 minutes

Arrive at Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, which was once referred to as Celebes and is sometimes called Ujung Pandang -the islanders use both names freely. In addition to being the fourth largest island in Indonesia, it also has one of richest traditions of cultural heritage, some of the deepest history and some of the most exceptional natural wonders.

Recommended flights (not included in package and quoted separately – airfares and schedules subject to change without prior notice):

Domestic: Garuda Indonesia from Surabaya to Makasar GA671, departing at 16:35 and arriving at 19:10 or Garuda Indonesia from Denpasar to Makassar GA620 departing at 17:20 and arriving at 18:50.

International: Silk Air from Singapore to Makassar MI142 (Monday and Thursday), departing at 07:55 and arriving at 11:00 or MI144 (Sunday), departing at 14:45 and arriving at 17:55.

Meet with an airport assistant and be introduced to the guide and driver for a private transfer to the hotel in Makassar.

Note: depending on the arrival time a Makassar city tour can be added as well as lunch.

After checking in and getting settled, the rest of the day is free to spend at leisure either exploring independently or relaxing at the hotel.

Dinner at leisure.

Overnight in Makassar.

2

Makassar – Pare Pare – Rantepao

Makassar – Pare Pare (155 km): approximately 4 hours 30 minutes Pare Pare – Rantepao (175km): approximately 5 hours 30 minutes

Check out from the hotel and depart for a short sightseeing tour of Makassar before leaving for the drive to Toraja via Pare Pare. Start with a visit to the bustling Paotere Harbour to learn about the famed Bugis Phinisi Schooner shipbuilders of the region and continue to city’s most iconic landmark, Fort Rotterdam. Recently refurbished, it is perhaps one of the best preserved Dutch forts in all of Indonesia; learn more about the diversity of Sulawesi at the La Galigo Museum here.

Afterwards, the journey leads us through several villages of the Bugis people, whose stilted houses line magnificent mountain passes. Stop at a local restaurant in Pare-Pare for a late lunch.

The drive continues through the hills reaching Rantepao in the late afternoon. Rantepao is the small capital of Toraja, with an estimated population of around 450,000. The Toraja ethnic group is renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, traditional houses and spectacular carving and dancing. Here, spend next two days exploring the Toraja villages and learning about their unique culture and customs.

Check in to the hotel in Rantepao.

Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight in Rantepao.

3

Southern Part of Tanah Toraja

This morning after breakfast, if the timing is right, have the chance to be immersed in the bustling life of the Torajan’s with a visit to their twice-a-week traditional Buffalo Market in Bolu. This market is important to the local society as buffalos and pigs are an essential part of the intricate funeral ceremonies that take place here.

Note: Bolu Market depends on the schedule and is only held twice a week every Tuesday and Saturday. In case there is no market on the day you visit, we will replace it by a visit to a local market in Rantepao or on the next day.

Afterwards, head south of Toraja and visit two traditional villages. After exploring these cultural hotspots, head to the villages of Lemo and Suaya, which are enveloped  by cliffs pierced with graves and tau tau (hanging effigies) of deceased nobility. These cliffs are also referred to as the ‘death balconies’ due to their perilous locations.

Lunch is served in a traditional ‘Liong Tongkonan’ (local name for housing structure). While enjoying some unique local food, learn about the spiritual elements of ancestral Torajan architecture.

After lunch, visit Londa Village where wooden coffins are suspended by ropes and poles extending from the cliffs. Continue to Kete Kesu, a village which has one of the finest ensembles of Tongkonan (Toraja traditional houses) on the island. These boat-shaped houses have tall roofs made of slender bristles and create strange silhouettes in the sky. The Tongkonan facades boast many carved and painted motifs and a wooden buffalo head typically adorns the wealthiest homes. Kete Kesu Village also has a rice granary of the traditional Toraja country style.

Return to the hotel late in the afternoon.

Dinner will be served in the hotel.

Overnight in Rantepao

4

Northern part of Tanah Toraja

After breakfast in the morning, head to Palawa, a typical Toraja village, and then on to the highlands of Batutumonga for stunning views across the Toraja Valley.

In this incredible surrounding, take lunch at Mentirotiku Local Restaurant.

According to preferences, take a 1 or 2-hour light trek through fascinating Toraja villages.

OPTION: 1 HOUR OR 2 HOUR TREKKING

Perched on the slopes of Mt Sesean, these villages offer beautiful views of rice fields dotted with large black rocks -remains of ancient volcanic eruptions. The one-hour trek leads through the villages of Lempo and Tinongbayo, while the easy two-hour walk leads through the villages of Bori and Tikala. In both instances, there will be an opportunity to meet locals and observe their traditional lifestyles. These villages have ancestral stone circles, part of the local lore of the Toraja people, with each stone representing an important noble who has passed away. They also feature impressive Tongkonan houses.

Return to Rantepao, with a stop at a Todi weaving factory where the ancient technique and motifs for Torajans textile known as Ikats are preserved.

Return to the hotel late in the afternoon.

Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight in Rantepao.

Note: Between July and September (dry season) many funerals take place and during this period many Toraja migrants return home for the holidays. The program will be tailored to allow for an attendance of such ceremony during stay in Toraja if desired and possible. On weekends (Saturday and Sunday) such ceremonies do not take place, and there is never any guarantee that it will be possibly to attend

5

Rantepao – Makassar – Departure

Rantepao - Pare Pare (175km): approximately 5 hours 30 minutes Pare Pare - Makassar Airport (140km): approximately 4 hours

After breakfast, depart for Makassar, stopping along the way to visit Carawali Village.

Take lunch at Asia or Bukit Indah Restaurant in Pare Pare before arriving at the airport in Makassar for the onward journey.

Recommended flights (not included in package and quoted separately – airfares and schedules subject to change without prior notice): Garuda Indonesia from Makassar to Denpasar GA621 departing at 19:35 and arriving at 21:00 or Garuda Indonesia from Makassar to Surabaya GA630 departing at 18:00 and arriving at 18:35.

Important Information

Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in half-twin/double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • English speaking local guide (other language available).
  • All entrance fees and tours as indicated in itinerary.

Our Services Do Not Include:

  • Visa arrangements.
  • International and domestic flights.
  • International and domestic departure tax.
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc).
  • Travel insurance.
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

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