The road from Makassar or Ujung Pandang to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130 km's and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja you enter a majestic landscape with giant gray, granites and stones and blue mountains at a distance after passing the market village of Mebali. They form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty read of the tropical laterite soil. This is Tana Toraja, one of the most splendid areas in Indonesia.
Tana Toraja has a specific and unique funeral ceremony which is called Rambu Solo. In Tana Toraja, dead body is not buried, but it is put in Tongkonan for several times, even can be more than ten years until the family have enough money to held the ceremony. After ceremony, the dead body is brought to the cave or to the wall of the mountain. The skulls show us that the dead body is not buried but just put on stone or ground, or put in the hole.The funeral festival season begins when the last rice has been harvested, usually in late June or July, and lasts through to September.
Directly from Hasanuddin airport, Makassar or Ujung Pandang, proceed to TANA TORAJA (twice a week on tuesday and friday) through the airport of Rantetayo, near Makle, 24 km south of Rantepao and there is a bus service to town.
By AirBy Lands
Buses to Rantepao from Ujung Pandang leave daily from Ujung Pandang. The journey takes 8 hours and includes a meal stop. Tickets should be bought in town but coaches actually leave from DAYA bus terminal, 20 minutes out of town by bemo. Coaches typically leave in the morning ( 7 am ), noon ( 1 pm ) and at night ( 7 pm).
Several companies in Rantepao run buses back to Ujung Pandang with the departure time and prices. The number of buses each day depends on the number of passengers.
Tourist who wants to stay in the heart of the city has many choices since there is lot of hotels available. Or if you had an adventurous soul, you can sleep in villages on the way.
Bemo is the best way to get to know the locals, besides chartered vehicles (minibuses and Jeeps) with or without driver. While you are in the village you can take a walk to move around.
* Exploring the market; You should not to be missed going to the traditional market. Here you can get the top end of Toraja coffee beans [like Robusta and Arabica]. And several local veggies, fruits Tamarella or Terong Belanda and gold fish [ikan mas].
* Visit Batu Tumonga Plateu; It means stone that facing to the sky. From here can be seen many volcanic stones comes up in between padi fields. And, several giant stones became cave graveyard. The views is pretty awesome. The huge of Tana Toraja [Toraja land] looks so lush and greenery. Like a patchwork in gradation hue of green color
* Palawa is an excellent village to visit a Tongkonan, or a burial place still swarming with celebrations and festivals.
* Take a side trip from Rantepao to Kete, a traditional village with excellent handicraft shops. Behind the village on a hillside is a grave site with lifesize statues guarding over old coffins
Most of the times, you can't eat at these locations; however more warung and restaurants appear along the road. You can also bring your own foods and drinks.
There is a souvenirs shop where you can buy everything specific from Tana Toraja. There are clothes, bags, wallets and other handicrafts.
* Visitor are expected to adhere to local dress customs and to bring a token present, such as cigarettes or coffee whenever entered Tongkonan.
* As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use a jeep or walk, even when the weather is good (between May and October).
* Beware with your head whenever going inside to Tongkonan, The Torajan traditional house.
* Enrekang, Makale and Toraja Higland are surrounded by astonishing volcanic rocky cliffs. Do not miss it , just stop and take picture for awhile and you will not regret.
4/ 5Oleh Andi Mudji