5 Day Highlands of Sulawesi

Explore the highlands of South Sulawesi, with a unique Toraja tour. Unveiling the ancient customs and traditions of this mountainous ethnic group, visiting their distinct villages, spectacular tombs and natural wonders. Take in the beauty of the highlands while discovering this region’s special cultural heritage on this adventurous multi-day tour.

Destinations included:
Makassar – Ratenpao – Makassar

We pride ourselves in creating personalised travel experiences that suit all your preferences and needs.

With this tour you can:

  • Choose your own departure date
  • Select the comfort level of accommodation
  • Adjust activities to cater to special interests
  • Modify any aspect of the tour as needed
  • Discovering the natural and cultural wonders of the highlands of south Sulawesi on the ultimate Toraja tour
  • Uncovering the alluring cultural customs of Toraja, visiting a variety of traditional buildings and villages
  • Learning about the importance of the afterlife for Troraja, visiting a variety of fascinating grave and tombs that illuminate Torajan beliefs
  • Marvelling at the spectacular viewpoints of the highlands, taking in tranquil yet dazzling panoramas of Gunung Nona, Tinambayo and Batutumonga
  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

Day 1: Makassar – Ratenpao

Arrive in Makassar airport, where you’re guide and driver will be waiting. Begin you Toraja tour by sitting back and relaxing as you drive up into the hilly region of Tana Toraja, for a day long transfer through the picturesque countryside. Drive along traditional Buginese villages, before a lunch-stop in the coastal city of Pare-Pare. Tuck into a fresh lunch at a seafood restaurant, savouring your crustaceans as you look out onto the beautiful bay view.

Continue to drive into the highlands this afternoon, stopping to take in spectacular panoramas of Gunung Nona’s stunning hillside. Arrive in the mountainous town of Rantepao in the late afternoon, the centre of your Toraja tour. Rantepao is considered the cultural centre of the Toraja ethnic group, so check into your hotel before enjoying a relaxing free evening before your exploration of the region tomorrow.

Day 2: Rantepao

This morning tuck into a delicious breakfast at your hotel before exploring the fascinating cultural and historical sights of Toraja. Start with a visit to Lemo, a hauntingly beautiful burial cliff. Marvel at the sections of the rock that have been carved out and filled with colourful wooden effigies of the dead, referred to as Tau Tau statues. Learn more about its interesting history, before continuing on to Kambira. Another mesmerizing site, witness Toraja beliefs materialized, at these truly unique graves amongst the trees. In Torajan tradition, a deceased infant must be buried uprights as it is said they will continue to grow with the tree.

After visiting this shady and tranquil grove, discover the ancient tombs of Londa, a burial cave and archaeological wonder. Return to Rantepao for lunch before setting off towards Ke’te Ke’su, one of the most traditional and well-preserved Toraja villages. Wander along the traditional ancestral homes, known as a Tongkonan, with their distinctive saddle like appearance. Absorb the unique and colourfully detailed woodcarvings of some structures, and learn more about the traditional rites and daily customs of the Toraja before transferring back to your hotel.

 Day 3: Rantepao

Unveil more of the majestic beauty and captivating culture of Toraja, as you head off after breakfast deeper into the highlands. Stop at Tinambayo for jaw-dropping views of the valley and rice terraces from over a thousand metres above sea level. Snap a few photos before continuing on to Lokomata, another fascinating grave site. What sets Lokomata apart is its sheer size, the immense scale of the gigantic boulder, covered in colourfully decorated wooden doors that house final resting places of departed Torajans. It is simply breathtaking.

Next, carry on to the scenic village of Batutumonga perched on the ridge of Gunung Sesean. Featuring some of the most stunning and alluring views of the region, take in the enchanting terraced rice paddies, cliffs, forests’ and rolling hills. Wonder at the natural majesty on a short trek through this lush area, working up your appetite for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, see the Bori megalith up close, learning more about the impressive rituals of the Toraja people, such as their menhirs (standing stones). Next, explore some Torajan villages as well as a weaving centre before returning to your accommodation for the night.

Day 4: Rantepao -  Makassar

Savour your final breakfast in the highlands, enjoying the fresh mountain air and scenery before transferring back to the coast. Enjoy the mountainous views and quaint villages passing along the drive. Stop for coffee with a view at Gunung Nona and gaze upon the mountains one last time. Continue on your drive before stopping for lunch as you reach the cost. Finally, arrive at your hotel in Makassar for the rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 5: Depart Makassar

Once you’ve had breakfast and checked out, enjoy a quick tour of the city. First, head to Losari Beach, a bustling local hub. As a major port city, you won’t be able to swim here, but taking part in the rhythm of the city makes for an interesting stop. Learn more about the four different ethnicities of South Sulawesi, passing landmarks and statues with your local guide. Next, visit to Fort Rotterdam a 17th century Dutch outpost, which also houses the Lagaligo Museum. Afterwards to Paotere traditional harbour and see a Phinisi boat up close, before having lunch at a local restaurant. Now it’s time to transfer to the airport to catch your flight onwards.  

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