Toraja is located in the north area of South Sulawesi. You can reach Toraja by two ways such as 9-hours (340 kilometers) road trip from Makassar and flying from UPG to LLO. If you prefer the road trip, you can drive or ride or take a travel bus via this route : Makassar – Maros – Pangkep – Barru – Parepare – Pinrang – Enrekang – Toraja or Makassar – Maros – Pangkep – Barru – Parepare – Sidrap – Wajo – Luwu – Palopo – Toraja. If you want to avoid the long hours and prefer the flying method instead, you can board ATR series (by Garuda Indonesia or Wings Air) from UPG (Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport) and arrive at LLO (Lagaligo Airport). LLO is located at Palopo, South Sulawesi and is only 1-hour away from Toraja. So, you can continue your travel to Toraja via road trip.
Where to stay while you are in Toraja ? There are several hotels that i can recommend to you during your visits over there such as Toraja Misiliana Hotel, Hotel Luta Resort and Toraja Heritage Hotel. These hotels are located at Rantepao, North Toraja Regency. Both Toraja Misiliana Hotel and Toraja Heritage Hotel are close to Kete Kesu. Hotel Luta Resort is close to Art Center Rantepao. People can book their rooms at these hotel via online application such as Traveloka or do it directly at the hotels.
1st tourism spot you should visit in Toraja is Lolai – Negeri Diatas Awan (Lolai – Place Above The Cloud). Lolai is only 16 kilometers (30 to 40 minutes) away from Rantepao. You can reach it by driving car or riding motorcycle. The best time to visit it is around 5 AM to 8 AM so you can have the chance to see the clouds forming up around Lolai. Don’t forget to bring your jackets, gloves and shoes too while visiting Lolai because the local temperature is quite low during the morning.
If you love Lolai, then i suggest you head to Batutumonga too. It is located at the slope of Mount Sesean (Gunung Sesean) and only 14 kilometers (30 to 40 minutes) away from Rantepao. You can reach this place by driving car or riding motorcycle (and don’t forget to bring your jacket, gloves and shoes too). Same as Lolai, the best time to visit this place is around 5 AM to 8 AM so you can enjoy the Sunrise and the clouds forming up around Batutumonga. There is a cafe too in this place if you want to enjoy the beauty of Batutumonga while satisfying your tummy.
While you are at Batutumonga, i suggest your next visit to Lo’ko’ Mata. From Batutumonga, it is only 2 kilometers away. The main interest of this spot is its stone graveyard. As you can notice on my photograph below, there are several levels at Lo’ko’ Mata. The ornament of Tedong head is put into the the graveyard too.
Bira ! It is a tourism spot located at Bulukumba Regency, South Sulawesi. From Makassar, people have to do a road trip for 186 kilometers in order to reach Bira. Along the way, people can do a stopover at Kampoeng Nelayan Cafe & Resto in Bulukumba before entering Bira. The view of the sea from the Restaurant is quite magical especially around the sunset. You just can’t resist it at all.
Main interest in Bira is the beach itself. Bira Beach is famous for its white sand and the crystal blue water (of course !) There is one hotel in Bira called Anda Beach Hotel which has this unique concept of its architecture. You will notice that the restaurant design of the hotel is sort of Phinisi Ship. As additional information, Phinisi Ship is a traditional Indonesian two-masted ship. The other great thing about this hotel is that people can enjoy the view of Bira Beach directly from their rooms. For some fantastic views over the sunset in Bira, i suggest you to visit, stay or dine at Amatoa Resort. The view is amazing.
While you are in Bira, the next tourism spot you can explore is Apparalang Cliff. It is only 13 kilometers away from Bira. The view in that place is quite magical. The blueness of the water is just magnificent. People can swim around but please be extra careful because there is no shore around this place. So you have to jump from the cliff or you can climb down the stairs from the cliff into the sea.
The 3rd tourism spot near Bira is called Kambing Island. This island is perfect for those who love underwater activities such as snorkeling and diving. You can reach this island only for 30 to 40 minutes away from Bira Beach. Unique thing in this island is no goat (kambing) can be found at the island even though it is called Kambing Island. As additional information, the waves at March 2018 when i visited this island were a little bit stronger than they were supposed to be.
For the next stop, you can visit Liukang Island (yes i know it sounds like the character from Mortal Kombat series). It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to reach this island from Kambing Island. Once you reach the island, there are several activities you can do such as enjoying its local seafood, swimming, snorkeling, diving, or playing around the shore. As additional information, the depth of the water around Liukang Island for snorkeling spot is about 5 to 7 meters.
The last stop of your journey is Bara Beach. It is not really far from Bira Beach actually. One of the greatest thing about this beach is the white sand. It feels smooth in your hands (i really mean it). In addition, the beach is not quite crowded with the tourists so you can enjoy the beach to yourself. If you are hungry while in this beach, local food kiosk is ready to serve you with some tasty snacks. On your way back to Makassar, i suggest you to visit Tana Beru, the village of Phinisi Boat Maker. People can observe and learn how Phinisi Boats built.
This trip was actually quite sudden out of nowhere at May 2018. 2 friends of mine and i had dinner that night and suddenly we decided to explore Samalona & KodingarengIslands for the next day. Samalona & Kodingareng Islands are located in South Sulawesi. You can reach these islands by hiring service of the locals and their boat at the pier in front of Fort Rotterdam, Makassar. One-day trip will cost you 600K IDR (42 USD) but this doesn’t include rent fee of snorkeling googles and fins. You can rent those at the Samalona Island for 50K IDR (4 USD) per set.
Distance of Samalona Island from Makassar is around 6 to 7 kilometers. Within 30 minutes of travelling then you can finally arrive at Samalona Island. Most tourists enjoy the beauty of the island by roasting fishes, swimming around the shore, snorkeling and trying speed boat for adrenaline junkie. If you come in large group, there are several cottages for rent in this island. The local food kiosk offers instant noodles, fried bananas with condiment and vegetable fritters for the menu. In addition, public restrooms are available too in this island but you have to pay if you want to use them.
Kodingareng Island is only 6 to 7 kilometers away from Samalona Island. The 1st thing you notice upon arriving in this uninhabited island is its distinctive crystal blue water. If you take picture from higher place, you can see that the sea and the sky almost become one. The main thing to do in this island is snorkeling of course ! If you plan to snorkel near the island, the depth of the sea is only 5 to 6 meters so you have to be careful not to disrupt the coral ecosystem.
The Manakarra Beach is only 500 meters away from d’Maleo Hotel Mamuju and the Peace Gong is located right at the Manakarra Beach. Mandatory thing to do at these 2 spots is taking amazing pictures of course ! Other than that you can walk & hang around while enjoying snacks from local food kiosk vendors. The construction of Peace Gong in Mamuju is slightly different than the one in Ambon, Maluku.
As additional information, people can reach Mamuju by road and air trip. If you stay in Makassar & prefer road trip, you can reach this city within 510 km (a 12-hours road trip). If you stay in Parepare & prefer road trip, you can reach this city within 365 km (a 9-hours road trip). But if you want to avoid road trip and prefer travelling by plane, you can fly from UPG (Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport) and arrive at MJU (Tampa Padang Airport) within 55 minutes. The planes type varies between Bombardier CRJ1000 and ATR 72.
Karampuang Island itself is located 3 kilometers away from Mamuju, West Sulawesi province. If you stay in d’Maleo Hotel Mamuju, then you can board the local boat from the hotel side directly. The main thing to do while you’re at Karampuang Island is snorkeling and swimming around near the pier. Don’t worry if you don’t bring your water sport equipment because you can rent from the locals. Other than that, people can have leisure by roasting fishes (as usual) and enjoying snacks + coconut waters at the local food kiosk.
Last time i visited Gorontalo was back at December 2017. I spent two days at Gorontalo over the long weekend and decided to explore some of its famous tourism spots such as Olele Marine Park, Saronde Island, Bogisa Island & Lampu Island. How to reach Gorontalo anyway ? If you’re at Makassar, then you’re gonna fly from UPG (Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport) and arrive at GTO (Jalaluddin Airport) within 90 minutes. The plane models vary between Boeing & Bombardier series.
It will be such a good idea to do islands-hopping tour consists of Lampu Island, Bogisa Island and Saronde Island due to those three islands located in the same zone so you can be more efficient in terms of exploring the islands. Haha ! Before you can visit these three islands, you have to go to Kwandang Port first. It can be reached at North Gorontalo Regency, 60 kilometers from Gorontalo. Two of my friends and i hired the service of local sailor and his boat including the life jackets for around 600K IDR (42 USD). The journey itself to explore those 3 islands took about 5 hours. The sea waves were quite calm around that time.
The 1st island we visited was the Lampu Island. This uninhabited island is really beautiful. The white sand and the crystal blue water will amaze you. Then we started sailing again to visit the Bogisa Island. What makes this island is so needed to be put in your travel itinerary ? The white sand and crystal blue water (again) ! To top all of that, this island is not so crowded so you can enjoy the island to yourself.
The last island we visited in day 1 was the Saronde Island. Unlike the previous 2 islands, this one is quite full of tourists. Besides, people can find local food kiosk who serves roasted fishes, instant noodles and fried bananas served with traditional condiment. Things you can enjoy around this island are snorkeling, sunbathing at the shore, fishing, trying the banana boat, swimming near the seashore and roasting fishes (of course) !
For day 2, we visited Olele Marine Park. It’s located at Bone Bolango Regency, 20 km away from Gorontalo. We hired the service of local tour guide and his boat for 300K IDR (21 USD). That service included life jackets, snorkeling masks and underwater photographs. The trip took around for 3 hours to explore 2 snorkeling spots in Olele Marine Park. The 1st spot was 20 to 30 meters deep and the 2nd spot was only 5 to 7 meters deep. You will enjoy the beauty of its underwater environment surrounded by fishes and corals. Definitely worth of your time.
Moramo Waterfall is located in Southeast Sulawesi. To be exact, you can visit this hidden gem in South Konawe. It will take you around 2 hours from Kendari if you prefer road trip. To reach Kendari itself, you can fly from UPG (Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport) and arrive in KDI (Haluoelo Airport). The planes vary between Boeing and Bombardier series.
Before reaching upon the infamous Moramo Waterfall, you have to do some trekking first through the Peropa Forest Preservation for 2 km or less. You don’t have to worry because the forest is quite safe for the bypassed tourists. Along the way, you’re gonna climb several uphill terrains so you have to be fit in order to reach the waterfall.
This 7-layered waterfall is to be said that a bathing place for the angels who come from the heaven (well, that’s quite fantastic isn’t it ?). It is surrounded by the forest and the average temperature is quite low indeed. One of the interesting facts about this waterfall is that the stones around it feel not slippery at all so it will be fun to move around.