Impression of Southern Sulawesi

Two hours before my flight home. Try to make one more post of the trip to Tana Toraja. I decided to use some candid shots to accompany this post as it doesn’t related to anything specific.

Tana Toraja (6)

“No matter what happens, it is for our own benefit.” I used this axiom to survive and to enjoy most trips.

After resting one night at Makassar, we took the morning bus ride to Tana Toraja. The hotel staff helped me to check on available bus on 9AM. When we arrived at the main terminal at 7AM, there was only 2 seats left at the rear seats.

Tana Toraja (10)

The 10 hours journey on a ‘not so new’ (positive phrase for ‘old’) bus, plus the winding uphill country road was not the most enjoyable ride. I suspected the fish we eaten at the lunch stop was ‘not hygiene’ (positive word for ‘dirty’), and I have diarrhoea for subsequent days. The two ladies on by left and right keep vomiting throughout the trip, and I am running out plastic bag.

Tana Toraja (9)

Then it started raining. The driver felt cold and decided to turn off the air-conditioning. We were almost run out of oxygen on for 2 hours. We finally arrived at Rantepao by 8pm and most of the shops were closed.

There was no taxi. The only form of transportation was ‘sitor’. The 3 wheels motorbike taxi which you can barely fit in 2 fat persons. We took two sitors and headed to the guesthouse I paid via Agoda.

After some searching, we found the guesthouse with closed door. After some knocking and yelling, the owner finally come out and greeted us, “Sorry all rooms were full. We don’t recognize Agoda’s transaction.”

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Makassar (Ujung Pandang) – the port city

This could be one of the most boring city in the world according the many travellers.

Pantai Losari at Makassar (3)

It was so boring that you would rather stay in the hotel and watch National Geographic.

Paotere (1)

You can visit the so call top 3 sites in 1 hour. Paotere Harbour is properly more colour and great for photography.

Paotere (2)

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Tongkonan and Alang – the icons of Torajan Architecture

The shape of tongkonan is so unique that it becomes of the icons of Tana Toraja.

Palawa 2

The number of buffalo horns represent the number of buffalos the family had slaughtered. The jaws of the pigs were hang on the side of the house.


The detailed artworks are intricate and symbolic for the Torajan culture.

Tongkonan and Alang (12)

Both Kete Kesu and Palawa have some traditional villages that are near to Rantepao.

Kete Kesu (1)

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Faces of Tana Toraja

We are waiting for our night bus back to Makassar afterwards. The sky is giving its heaviest down pour in the last 72 hours. So we are relaxing at Mambo Restaurant publishing this post.

Traditional costume (Tana Toraja)

We met this girl during lunch just now. She was dressing up for the celebration of 100 years gospel spreading into Toraja (“100 tahun injil masuk Toraja”). When she grows older, perhaps she can become another ‘cover girl’ for the Toraja tourist guide.

cover girl on Toraja tourist map

The old lady above was the actual weaving lady on the tourist map. More info about the weaving town (Sa’dan To’Barana) was posted yesterday. It is good to purchase something as a token of appreciation to the people who contribute to the local tourism.

Kids riding in front of Alang (Tana Toraja)

We rented a motorbike and ventured into some traditional villages where the local still staying in the community.

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Buffalo Market @ Pasar Bolu (Tana Toraja)

It is interesting to visit theme market. For example, bird market in Yogya, camel market in Rajasthan, fish market in Tokyo, and just now we were at the buffalo market in Pasar Bolu, 3KM from Rantepao.

Pasar Bolu Buffalo Market (Tana Toraja) (12)

We arrived at 8am before more buffalos coming to town. By 9am, the lanes were jammed pack with buffalo.

Pasar Bolu Buffalo Market (Tana Toraja) (1)

Buffalo could cost from IRD 20 million to 250 million (record?). The ‘precious’ one are those albino buffalo with three colours, gigantic with impressive horns.

Pasar Bolu Buffalo Market (Tana Toraja) (17)

The whole place is like a car exhibition showroom.

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Londa– exciting cave grave

Londa has 3 tier graves on the tall cliff face. If you look carefully, you can see the coffins inside the natural limestone caves (or holes when it is looked form far away).

Londa (Tana Toraja) (8)

Only the nobleman were allowed to be ‘placed’ at higher spot (= higher rank?). Since I am no Spiderman, I couldn’t access the top but yes to the cave at the bottom of the hill.

Londa (Tana Toraja) (1) 

The first interesting sight is a balcony with family members ‘gathered’ together and gazed to the open field.

Londa (Tana Toraja) (3)

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Lemo–the postcard cliff grave

If you are traveller, you may recognize this picture because it is as unique as the pyramid in Eygpt or the Mo’ai stone statues in Easter Island.

Lemo (Tana Toraja) (3)

I was standing alone at the in front of the cliff just few hours ago. It was indeed very impressive. Below was the view before I walked down and passed by a paddy field to the bottom of the cliff.

Lemo (Tana Toraja) (1)

The well organized “tao-tao’ were displayed on the windows on the cliff face.

Lemo (Tana Toraja) (6)

(you may notice the small spider if you have sharp eye sight).

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