A Trip to Tana Toraja Is Perfect for You Who Want to Explore the “Land of the Heavenly Kings“
Known as mystic land with pure tradition belief, Toraja is one of the most exotic and mysterious places in Indonesia. This land still has extravagant funeral practice and ancient burial sites. For instance, they still practice death and afterlife ceremonies. Toraja is one of Sulawesi’s most stunning landscapes and one of Indonesia’s most compelling traditional cultures. It is located in South Sulawesi province of Indonesia, which also known as Celebes island.
Toraja today still adhere to their ancient beliefs, rituals and traditions, although much of their society is modern or has converted to Christianity. To reach Toraja, you will go through a wondrous journey that moves you through interchanging sights of stunning granite cliffs, lofty mountains, and vast seas. But your trip will not be in vain because when you arrive at Toraja land, you will be amazed by everything here. The air is very clean, the surrounding hills are still very natural; the villages are still pure, the ceremonial activities are still developing; those things will amaze you.
Some of the reasons tourists come to Toraja, are attracted by its unique culture and rituals, which are centered around graves and death ceremonies. While others prefer to avoid this traditional ceremony and go trekking through the spectacular and almost untouched Toraja villages. They also visit remote villages, or revel in rafting on the Sa’dan River. Tana Toraja does offer some exciting tours such as trekking, cycling and motorbikes that you can do alone through its stunningly beautiful green landscape. Planning a tourist trip to Tana Toraja will be one of the best choices you will ever make. Tana Toraja offers a variety of enchanting views that will definitely make you want to come here again. It also offers a wealth of culture for you to enjoy and learn more about.
Places to Visit
Kete Kesu: The famous Kete Kesu Village is a beautiful destination with beautiful panorama. This place holds an extraordinary history of how the first people of Tana Toraja existed. Their traditions in this village are untouched and still original since ancient times. There are also many historical finds and ancestral remains in this village. It makes this village a perfect cultural tourist spot. On the cliffs behind the village are very old cave burials and hanging graves, some are reported to be 500 years old or more. Broken coffins hung from wooden beams below the overhang, while others fell onto a pile of bones and skulls below. This village is located 4 km southeast of Rantepao and is crowded with tour groups during the high season.
Londa: is a cemetery located in a cave on a hill. There are coffins, bones, and body skulls more than one hundred years old in this place. Greeting you as you arrive in Londa are rows of wooden statues known as Tau-Tau. Tau-Tau itself is a statue of a corpse buried here. The Toraja people believe that passed away people bring them good luck, therefore they had to protect the wealth of their loved ones thus starting this tradition. They also believe that the taller they are, the higher their chances of being accepted easily in the afterlife. This place is rich in culture and will help you understand the beliefs of the Toraja people. To reach this area you can use the Rantepao–Makale bemo. They will drop you at the turnoff 5km south of Rantepao. From there you can walk or take a motorcycle taxi for 2 km from the cave.
Bori Kalimbuang: These are 102 Menhirs from the megalithic era. Menhirs are stones of worship to their ancestors. In the vicinity of these Menhirs, there are various traditional Toraja houses, the perfect setting for beautiful views and learning experiences for you.
Sa’dan River: It is the lifeblood of the Toraja people, as the Sa’dan irrigates the surrounding fertile rice fields and provides water for the people and livestock of this vast agricultural land. This river is one of the longest rivers on Sulawesi Island, flowing for 182 km and 80 meters in width. Rafting across the Sa’dan River offers challenges, passing through beautiful green rice fields, ancient traditional villages, steep gorges and high rocky mountain. Therefore, this is not a river for the meek or the beginner. The Sa’dan River is a river for experienced and adventurous rafters. The rapids at Puru grade three, Seba Rapids grade 4, with the fastest Fitri rapids that offer grade 5 challenges will surely boost your adrenaline. These values mean that rafting on Sa’dan can be tough, has wavy, long, successive and strong currents, and has treacherous rocks. You don’t need to worry about accommodation, because there are many houses along the river for overnight stays.
Batutumonga: Batutumonga is a city located in mountainous area and offers refreshing natural views. Batutumonga located at the foot of Mount Sesean. This city even often titled as the most beautiful place in this district. The best time for you to enjoy a refreshing journey to Batutumonga is when the sun rises from high above the clouds, it will to be the best way to start your wonderful day. Batutumonga is about 24 kilometers from Rantepao. Visitors will be presented with stunning natural scenery during the trip. Then when you arrive at the spot, the expanse of white clouds becomes the main dish. You can also visit Baik Village with a row of tongkonan traditional houses on the hill. Plan one of the best ways to refresh yourself away from the hustle of the city right, here in Batutumonga!
Ma’Nene Ceremony: Is a cleaning corpse Ceremony in Tana Toraja which is held every year in August. The process is to exhume the corpse to be washed, treated, and dressed in new clothes. Damaged boxes are repaired or replaced. The mummies then walked around the village following a straight path. Following this straight line is perhaps the most important part of the ceremony. According to myths, these lines are connected with Hyang, spiritual entities with supernatural powers. Since these entities only move in straight lines, the soul from the body of the deceased must follow Hyang’s path.
According to the ancient Toraja belief system, the spirits of those who die must return to their origin village. So if someone died on the way, the family would go to the place of death and accompany the deceased back home by driving them back to the village. In the past, people were afraid to travel long distances, they afraid if they died on the way and couldn’t return to their village.
Culture and adventure trip? Toraja has it all! Plan your trip to this magical land now!
Toraja Coffee: A long journey to the coffee plantations and it is very memorable to learn that the coffee plantations here grow on the slopes of the mountains. The sloping land definitely drains energy from walking up it, and coffee farmers here have no difficulty getting around. Sapan itself is a small area in North Toraja regency, coffee plants grow on the slopes of Mount Sesean. Knowing how Toraja coffee plants grow, imagining how coffee farmers climb up and down the steep hillsides to care for the coffee plants here, will make you appreciate a cup of coffee more.
– Bemo, the local transportation, is a great way to get around and get to know the locals, besides chartering a vehicle (minibus or Jeep) with or without a driver. Local people usually call bemo as Pete-pete.
– Motorbikes are the best way to explore Tana Toraja. The roads can get muddy in the rainy season. All hotels and guest houses can arrange motorbike or car rentals, complete with a driver as a tour guide.
– Ojek is a motorbike taxi. You can hire a motorbike for a short ride or even for a day tour. Enjoy walking around the village.
How to Get There
To get to Tana Toraja you have to fly to Sultan Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi. As a hub for East Indonesia, many airlines fly to and from Makassar. Arriving at Makassar airport, you will head to Toraja. The only way to get to Toraja from Makassar airport is by land. There are no flights between Makassar and Toraja.
There are also buses to Rantepao that depart from Makassar every day. The journey takes about 8 hours, includes a meal stop. Tickets must be purchased within the town but the actual bus leaves from the bus terminal, about 20 minutes into town by bemo. Several companies in Rantepao run buses back to Makassar. The number of buses per day depends on the number of passengers. The best and easiest way is to contact an experienced travel agent to arrange and take care of your complete itinerary to the Toraja highlands.