Six days around South Sulawesi
Buginese boatbuilding, the Kajang tribe, Senkang silk weaving, Tana Toraja
In the different corners of Sulawesi one finds an incredible diversity of people and cultures. The geography dictated that some, like the Bugis, became seafarers, while others, like the proud people of Tana Toraja who were hemmed in by mountains, developed a land-locked culture.
The southern part of the southwestern peninsula is dominated by the Bugis. Since ancient times they were great seafarers who in fact sailed as far as Australia; drawings of their ships were found in cave paintings while some Bugi words were absorbed into Aboriginal languages of northern Australia. In the northern highlands the people of Tana Toraja preserve a unique culture based on the animistic belief that their forefathers descended from heaven onto the mountains. Similarly the Kajang tribe is preserving ancient customs in the extreme isolation of their forest, living in natural simplicity and firmly rejecting anything to do with technology and modernization.
This six day itinerary is a true voyage into the past.
Day one : Arrival in Makassar (no meals included)
Meeting service at Hasanudin International Airport and transfer to the hotel of your choice. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Top Indonesia has selected and recommends the following hotel: Imperial Aryaduta
Day two : Makassar - Bira (B,L,D)
Our tour guide will meet you at the hotel lobby at 8.30 am and take you on a scenic five hour drive around the South Coast to Bira beach. On the way we will stop in the town of Tana Beru, the traditional center of wooden boatbuilding and watch the famous Buginese shipwrights at work. We lunch en route. After we reach Bira in the afternoon there is still time to go for a swim or relax on the white sandy beach. Dinner will be served in the hotel.
Recommended accommodation: Amatoa Resort
Day three : Bira - Sengkang (B,L,D)
After our breakfast we check out of the hotel and get started at eight o clock. The highlight of the morning is our visit to the indigenous Kajang tribe in the district of Bulukumba.
The people in the Kajang tribe believe that their ancestral home, which they call Tana Toa is the oldest land in the world. They live in groups in a forest area that covers approximately 50 square kilometers and stay away from everything associated with technology, modernization and outside economic activities. They remain close to nature and rely on the forest environment for survival. Their clothes are all black and when we enter the sanctity of the area we are required to wear black clothing ourselves. We visit the house compounds and meet their tribal chief to get an insight into the ancestral traditions. Not only does everybody wear the same clothes, the houses are all identical as well. The Kajang learned from their ancestors that as long as there is uniformity there is no jealousy among the people.
We will have lunch in Watampone where we also visit the Museum Andi Mappasisi. When we reach the town of Sengkang we check in at Pondok Eka, the best available local guesthouse and in the course of the afternoon we visit a traditional silk factory, where the women hand spin and weave silk cloth. We catch the sunset on Lake Tempeh passing by floating houses and fisherman villages. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day four: Sengkang - Rantepao (B,L,D)
After breakfast we leave for Toraja. We take the road via Enrekang that offers spectacular panoramic landscapes and make a stop at Puncak. Lunch will be served at Makale and afterwards we visit Londa, an ancient ceremonial burial place. Our next stop will be at Kete Kesu, the village of Torajan royalty where we visit ‘Tongkonan’ houses and rice barns. The village is also famous for its wood carving. Late afternoon arrival in the capital of Toraja. Dinner and overnight at the hotel of your choice. Recommended accommodation:
After breakfast, we spend the entire day on a thorough exploration of the Toraja Highlands. Toraja is set in stunningly beautiful scenery and known as the “Land of the Heavenly Kings”. Although the Torajans have nominally converted to Christianity, they still perform elaborate burial ceremonies that include ritual chants, spectacular dances and the slaughtering of buffaloes. We visit Lemo to see its iconic cliff with the ancestral sculptures and the hanging graves. We visit the traditional villages of Batutumonga, Pallawa and Sa’dan, the weaving center. We take you on a hike and there is plenty opportunity to interact with the local people. We have our lunch in a Rantepao restaurant. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 : Toraja - Makassar (B,L)
Morning departure from Rantepao and return to Makassar. The driving time is approximately 8 hours. Lunch en route in Pare Pare. We proceed directly to the airport for your flight to the next destination. Should you continue to Bali the most convenient flight connection is by GA 625 1800/1920.
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