Tana Toraja is one of the most interesting places I have visited. Located in the highlands of Sulawesi. However, for all the nice things I have to say about Toraja I faced a problem; there is simply not enough useful travel information about Tana Toraja online.
To help you make the most of your trip to Toraja I created a short article that covers the essential information you need to know when visiting the region. The article covers how to get to Tana Toraja, where to stay in Tana Toraja, where and what to eat in Toraja and the best places to visit when you’re there. Let’s get started.
How to get to Tana Toraja
Tana Toraja has always been isolated and remains so to this day. There are currently two ways to reach Toraja, the first option is by bus and the second by plane. I’ll cover both of these options below.
Flying to Tana Toraja
The nearest airport to Toraja is in Makale. There are two companies that service this route Aviastar and Saban Merauke Air Charter. Aviastar flies three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) from Makassar Makale. You can find more information about Aviastar here. Saban Merauke Air Charter runs from Makassar to Rantetayo twice a week. The airline flies on Tuesday and Friday.
It’s best to phone or email the airlines (or better yet the airport) to check the schedule; the companies that operate these routes are likely to stop or change the schedule with little notice. The companies also change regularly.
When the extension of the Airport is complete larger planes will service the route from Makassar to Rantepao. The flight from Makassar to Makale takes 90 minutes. It is a further 90 minutes from Makale to Rantepao.
|Aviastar||Tues, Thur, Sat||Rp 400,000-450,000|
|Saban Merauke Air Charter||Tues, Fri||Rp 400,000-450,000|
Bus from Makassar to Tana Toraja
The easiest way to get to Toraja is by bus from Makassar. There is only one bus company, Litha & Co, which operates from the central bus station in Makassar. Litha & Co is also the most reliable bus company operating the route. A ticket costs roughly Rp 130,000. There are other companies operating the route. These include New Liman and Bintang Prima. The journey from Makassar to Toraja takes 10 hours. Day and night buses depart from Makassar to Rantepao daily.
Best Hotels in Tana Toraja
There are two main towns in Toraja, Makale the center of government and Rantepao where the tourism activities are held. While Tana Toraja is popular with tourists there are less than two-dozen hotels in the region. Most of the hotels are based in Rantepao, the town where the bus from Makassar goes.
Hotel Indra is probably the best budget hotel in Rantepao. The hotel is situated in the centre of Rantepao close to many of the tourism restaurants. Though the facilities are basic, they offer just what you need as a budget traveller. It also has a nice setting with a courtyard. For the price and the location this is a good option for backpackers travelling through Tana Toraja on a budget.
Luta Resort is probably the best hotel in Tana Toraja. The hotel is located in the centre of Rantepao and there are a number of good restaurants on the same street. The hotel is built around a small central courtyard and there is a small pool out the back. The rooms are all well furnished and comfortable. It’s a great base from which to explore the region. At the top end you can check out the Misiliana Hotel.
What to Eat in Tana Toraja
There are plenty of good restaurants around Rantepao. If you are a really big fan of pork, you will be in heaven here. You can find old classic pork, pork cooked in bamboo, or pork satay. Oh! besides pork, buffalo meat is also a star here. You can find really tasty buffalo satay (I ate it at Bambu Restaurant in Sanggala, out of Rantepao). However the quality of the meat does not seem to be consistent, which makes me think it might a little bit tricky to find good meat (that or some restaurants just don’t seem to get it).
Places to See in Tana Toraja
The highlands of Sulawesi offer some of the most beautiful countryside in Indonesia. Great scenery, cool temperatures, strong culture and very friendly people make Toraja a comfortable place for tourists to visit. Two of the top sites I’d recommend visiting while in Tana Toraja are the cliff cemeteries of Lemo and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ke’te Kesu’.
If you’re looking for a planned itinerary I’d recommend some trekking. Tour operators normally offer a 3-day 2-night hiking package that mixes beautiful views with some of the best sites. There are a lot of different routes, so it’s worth arranging a personalised tour package. There’s also the chance to do white water rafting.
We created this guide to give you a snapshot of everything you need to know to arrange your holiday in Tana Toraja. If you need more information make sure to check out the links at the top of the post to the other articles we’ve written about the region. Hope you enjoy your holiday.
Have you visited Tana Toraja? What did you think of the region? Do you have recommendations for other travellers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.