Tana Toraja: Wonderful Culture, Wonderful Nature (part 1)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Tana Toraja, a must visited place in South Sulawesi for both domestic and international travelers. Located around 8 hours to north by bus from Makassar. The uniqueness of Torajans' traditions had magnify the world. I would say that this is the only originally culture that can be found in the entire world. Rantepao as the capital of North Toraja Regency is the gate for travelers and tourists to start their journey.

Cheap accommodations, motorbike and car rentals, food, tourist information can be accessed in Rantepao. Normally the bus from Makassar will stop at Rantepao as well. Most of the Torajans are Christian. They were celebrating 100 years christian faith entered Tana Toraja when I came there.

My journey started from Makassar accompanied by my friend, Bang Wahyu. 2 a.m. we were picked up by a panther car and off to Enrekang. Arrived Enrekang at 7 a.m., rested a while and grabbed Bang Wahyu's motorbike and drove to Rantepao. Approximately 3 hours to Rantepao. Before, we stopped for a while and enjoy the scenery of Buttu Kabobong Mount or the popular name is Gunung Nona which is amazing, yet erotic? People said it looks like "vagina". It was funny how people could think that way, but it's true though lol. There are plenty food stalls along the way, we stopped at Bambapuang Villa, on the road side. It's nice to had rest, drink coffee and enjoying the flowing wind messed up your hair =)
Looks like vagina?
Beautiful scenery on theway to Toraja
It was so nice looking at the wonderful scenery on the way to Tana Toraja. I love all the green hills showing off themselves and whispering "look at me". I couldn't even glance for a while because it's just too wonderful. After around half an hour rode, finally we saw the gate "Welcome to Tana Toraja" with its special shape, Tongkonan. Tongkonan is the traditional house of Torajans which shaped like saddleback. roof. We passed Makale, southern part of Tana Toraja and saw this huge statue in the middle of the pond. It is Pongtiku Statue. Pongtiko was an Indonesian Hero who had important role in fighting Dutch colonialism long time ago.

Bad luck, it was raining hard when we reached Makale and continued till Rantepao. I was stubborn at that time, thinking that the rain will stop soon, so we didn't buy rain coat. So we were wet along the way to Rantepao. We checked in to a hostel in front of Misialana Hotel. It's not a hostel actually because there's no sign board at all. It's a place where the owner rent the bed for driver and guide in Rantepao. I totally forgot the name of the owner. It was a huge room on the second floor with 20 beds inside. They provided pillow and blanket. Rantepao was cold at night. We slept for only Rp 15,000/night. Saved a lot! Normally the hostels in Rantepao cost around Rp 100,000-150,000. Hopefully these pictures can help you to recognize the place that I mentioned.

Day 2. Time to explore. Pretty easy to go to all sites because there are clear signs of the sites. First pit stop was Kete Kesu, one of the popular destination in Tana Toraja. Well-cared traditional houses genuinely show Torajans' culture. Buffalo horns were framed nicely with a buffalo head in the middle of Tongkonan. The more the horns they had, means the higher class or status that the person had. There's one musem in one of the Tongkonan. On the backyard there's hanging graves which can be only found in Tana Toraja. Normally the graves were created in the wall or big stone. Skulls and bones spread everywhere, coffins, stuffs inside the caves, dolls as the replica of ancestors. Weird but unique.

* Entrance fee for local/domestic : Rp 10,000 for international/foreigners Rp 20,000

We went up to Sadan where there are some villages as well with Tongkonan, but I think it's not as well-managed as Kete Kesu. It's still under construction. Sadan area is popular with weavers. Try to take a look at the women weaving and the woven fabrics. Next stop at Batutumonga where you can see Rantepao town also rice field along your way, then Lokomata located not too far around 5 k.m. from Batutumonga, a burial site.
Tongkonan in Sadan
Huge rice terrace on the way to Batutumonga

 Continue to Part 2

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