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Ancestral Adventures in South Sulawesi

Sulawesi is home to a vast array of colourful, exotic tribes. Get up-close and personal with them on our 6-day Ancestral Adventures in South Sulawesi itinerary. Enjoy stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, and accommodation that ranges from luxe to rugged - all part of the in-depth cultural immersion experience. From Makassar, to Bira, to Sengkang, to Rantepao, and finishing off in well-known Tana Toraja, you’re in for a thrilling journey into the lives - past and present - of Sulawesi’s tribespeople.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Sink your feet into the powdery white sand of Bira beach
  • Observe traditional Buginese boatbuilding
  • Speak with the Kajang’s tribal chief, who will give you insight into his people’s culture
  • See Tana Toraja’s famous hanging coffins and ancestral sculptures
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive at the Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, Sulawesi’s largest city, and transfer to your hotel. We recommend the Aryaduta Makassar: a simple, comfortable hotel. Spend the remainder of your day getting acquainted with your new surroundings.

Day 2

Rise and shine this morning, starting with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a five-hour scenic drive around Sulawesi’s South Coast, to Bira Beach. Along the way, you’ll stop in Tana Beru town, where wooden boatbuilding is an integral part of the culture. See how it’s done by watching the boat builders in action. Enjoy a packed lunch as you continue to Bira Beach. Once arrived, sink your feet into some of the whitest, most powdery sand you’ve ever felt. Enjoy some beach time this afternoon, before returning to your hotel for dinner. We recommend the luxurious Amatoa Resort, perched on a cliff overlooking the beach.

Day 3

Check out of your hotel early this morning - you’re back on the road again. This time, you’re heading the short distance to Bulukumba, where you’ll meet members of the indigenous Kajang tribe. These tribes people believe that their home, a 31-square-mile forested area, is set on the world’s oldest land. Here, you’ll be granted an audience with the tribal chief, who can provide insight into the Kajang’s culture and traditions. Lunch in Watampone, and afterwards, check out Museum Andi Mappasisi. Upon arrival in Sengkang, you’ll check in to your family-run hotel, Pondok Eka, the best in town. Once settled in, you’ll pay a visit to a traditional silk factory, where you can observe the traditional silk spinning and weaving process. Sunset is a can’t-miss - you’ll catch it over Lake Tempeh, before heading to a local restaurant for a traditional, delicious Sulawesi-style culinary feast.

Day 4

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before departing for Toraja. The 2-hour drive there is wonderfully-scenic - make sure your camera is ready! Have lunch in Makale, then head to Londa, an ancient cave cemetery. Continue onwards to Kete Kesu, and check out the traditional boat-shaped Tongkonan ancestral houses. You’ll arrive in Toraja’s capital by late afternoon, and check in to our recommended hotel, the Toraja Heritage. Dine either at your hotel, or at a nearby restaurant.

Day 5

Spend the day exploring the Torajan Highlands, and discover how the place was endowed with the nickname “Land of the Heavenly Kings”. Today you’ll start with Lemo, a cliff gravesite where you can observe the Torajan’s traditional hanging graves and ancestral sculptures. Continue on to other traditional villages, where you can interact with the locals and observe their daily lives. You’ll dine in local restaurants, and truly feel immersed in the local culture. Relax tonight at your hotel ahead of your final day and journey home.

Day 6

For the final day of your South Sulawesi sojourn, you’ll take a long, scenic drive (8 hours) to Makassar. Enjoy lunch along the way with a stop in Pare Pare, a port-town where many of the Bugi people live, with their ancient seafaring culture. Once arrived, you’ll check in for your flight to your next destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Amatoa Resort

Amatoa Resort

Tropical paradise awaits you at the Amatoa Resort in Bira, Indonesia. Nestled into incredible stone cliffs, overlooking the sprawling white sand beaches, the views are unbelievable. You can even walk outside your luxurious ocean view room and jump straight off the cliffs into the sparkling water below. The deluxe hotel has seven private bungalows to choose from. There’s a restaurant offering a range of  Indonesian and European cuisine on site.  The resort offers private access to the sea with a stunning lively coral reef just over the edge of the water. There’s also a pool on site for the ultimate holiday experience. This eastern Sulawesi resort is perfectly-located for day tripping to the surrounding small islands. It’s easily accessible from the International Airport of Ujung Pandang/Makassar. 

Pondok Eka

Pondok Eka

The perfect location to relax after spending a day exploring the off-the-beaten-path southern side of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Clean, quaint and cozy, this is the best available accommodation in this less-traveled area. There’s a large, tiled pool in the center of the courtyard, ideal for taking a dip or a doing a few laps. Conveniently-located near Lake Tempe - a charming, historic, bustling little market town overlooking the picturesque lake, you will be able to delight in traditional everyday life, before returning to your comfortable, modern room at the Pondok Eka. Enjoy a local breakfast each morning at your hotel, offering the classic Indonesian style Nasi Goreng - a fried rice dish, along with coffee and the more western typical choices of toasts and eggs. The basic B&B has four irooms to choose from.

Toraja Heritage Hotel

Toraja Heritage Hotel

At Toraja Heritage Hotel, guests are in for a real treat: located 2,300 feet above sea level, looking out over one of Indonesia’s largest mountain ranges, this hotel prides itself on following the architectural style of traditional Torajan clan houses, complete with traditional furnishings and handicrafts, and a roof shaped like a ship’s prow. But the hotel - the first four-star international hotel in Toraja - also provides world-class amenities and comforts seen around the world, with two outdoor swimming pools, a bamboo bar featuring fresh juice and a “drink of the day”, and even as a flying ropes course for the adventurous type! Venturing off-site, guests can enjoy visits to nearby sites including rice fields and a traditional plait center; staying on the grounds, they can indulge in a spa treatment and order some room service to their luxurious suite. 

Meet An Asia Expert
From Our Blog
Our co-founder Jay Tindall travels regularly to Indonesia. As well as relaxing in beautiful Bali, he loves visiting more remote areas such as Torajaland, Sumba & Kalimantan.
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