Makassar, the Pivotal Hub of Eastern Indonesia

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Makassar is the main hub of East Indonesia. It is the biggest city in the eastern part of the country that also become a hub to the remote parts of the nation. As a hub, Makassar has very busy airport and seaport, making it one of the well-travelled city in Indonesia.

Underpass Simpang Lima in Mandai Makassar at night. The structure is located near Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and crucial to prevent traffic jam to and from the airport. (c) Shutterstock
Underpass Simpang Lima in Mandai Makassar at night. The structure is located near Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and crucial to prevent traffic jam to and from the airport. (c) Shutterstock

However, Makassar is more than just a stepping stone to the other cities. This city, once known as Ujung Panjang, is also a tourist magnet on its own right. Within the reach of Makassar, you can see many great tourist attractions in all South Sulawesi.

From white sandy beaches, spectacular dicing sites, secluded island, wonderful waterfalls, to exotic culture of Toraja people, you can set all your visit from Makassar. This city is truly the gateway of eastern Indonesia.

Losari Beach

Losari Beach the Icon for the City of Makassar - South Sulawesi - Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
Losari Beach the Icon for the City of Makassar – South Sulawesi – Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

Losari is the waterfront of the city of Makassar. It is stretching several kilometers in the west coast on the city. The beach has become the icon of Makassar and it is actually located at the heart of the city. While the beach itself is not the most interesting one, the fact that the beach is located in the heart of the city is the factor that made Losari is loved by people there.

Bantimurung Bulusaurung National Park

Bantimurung waterfall is the one of famous place in Indonesia
Bantimurung waterfall is the one of famous place in Indonesia

50 kilometers north of Makassar, Bantimurung Bulusaurung is a haven for butterflies. This park is the habitat of endemic and rare butterflies, birds, and insects. There is even butterfly museum that display thousands of butterfly species that inhabit this national park.

There is also the grand Bantimurung waterfall, with 15 meters drop and 20 meter wide. Some believes that Bantimurung comes from Bugis language meaning roaring water.

Rammang-rammang National Park

Ramang-Rammang forest of rock or known as Hutan Batu in Bahasa Indonesia. A unique place near Makassar where the Karst rocks formed millions of years earlier and has been a shelter for earlier human. (c) Shutterstock
Ramang-Rammang forest of rock or known as Hutan Batu in Bahasa Indonesia. A unique place near Makassar where the Karst rocks formed millions of years earlier and has been a shelter for earlier human. (c) Shutterstock

Rammang-rammang is a complex in a karst area that has a lake, caves, rivers, and ‘stone forests’. You can explore this area on small boat along the river. You can also explore the caves (Bulu’ Barakka’, Telapak Tangan, and Pasaung caves) on foot but with a permit from the park ranger. The Bidadari Lake with the backdrop of green hills are accessible by boat. The stone forests are divided into the southern and Northern part.

Tanjung Bira Beach

Boats anchored by the Bara Beach, a beautiful white sand beach in Tanjung Bira, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
Boats anchored by the Bara Beach, a beautiful white sand beach in Tanjung Bira, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

Tanjung Bira Beach is located in Bulukumba Regency, approximately 200 kilometers from Makassar. This spots has a complete natural attractions like wonderful white beach, great diving spots, and snorkeling sites. The healthy and colorful reef in the area is one of the main attractions. From Tanjung Bira, you can visit two nearby islands; Kambing and Liukan Loe Islands.

Tana Toraja

Traditional Tana Toraja village, tongkonan houses and buildings. Sunny, blue sky with clouds. Kete Kesu, Rantepao, Sulawesi, Indonesia (c) Shutterstcok
Traditional Tana Toraja village, tongkonan houses and buildings. Sunny, blue sky with clouds. Kete Kesu, Rantepao, Sulawesi, Indonesia (c) Shutterstcok

Tana Toraja is a unique place, about 8 hours’ drive from Makassar. Here, you will see the iconic Tongkonan traditional houses. Tana Toraja is a highland rich with unique culture that mesmerize even some of its neighbours. One of the best attractions is actually Londa Burial Site and Ke’te Kesu. Toraja people has a death feast ceremony when the re-dress their ancestor’s dead body.

Makassar International Eight Festival and Forum

The evening atmosphere of the F8 activity was held at the Losari Beach Pavilion in Makassar City. This annual activity involves various countries (c) Shutterstock
The evening atmosphere of the F8 activity was held at the Losari Beach Pavilion in Makassar City. This annual activity involves various countries (c) Shutterstock

This festival is commonly called Eight Festival (F8), this is an annual agenda of the city. The festival aims to showcase the fashion, film, folk, flora & fauna, fine art, fusion music, and fiction writer and font from various circles in Makassar. In 2018, this festival has attracted two million people. The transaction during the festival week reached up to billions of rupiah.

Phinisi Festival

Traditional Indonesian Phinisi Schooner. The pinisi or phinisi is a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. These boats are made to ply the waters of the Indonesian archipelago. (c) Shutterstock
Traditional Indonesian Phinisi Schooner. The pinisi or phinisi is a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. These boats are made to ply the waters of the Indonesian archipelago. (c) Shutterstock

This festival aims to preserve the Phinisi Schooners, one of the traditional ships of Indonesia. Phinisi is one of the icons of South Sulawesi, showing their sea-faring heritage and skills in making great ships.

Held in Bulukumba, one of the vent in the festival is sailing expeditionsof Phinisi and other sailing ships. There are also fishing competition in Tanjung Bira, with the winner is chosen based on the weight if their catch.

Lovely Toraja Festival

The leadership of Toraja and South Sulawesi province gathered during the closing ceremony of Toraja Lovely December event in Rantepao. (c) Shutterstock
The leadership of Toraja and South Sulawesi province gathered during the closing ceremony of Toraja Lovely December event in Rantepao. (c) Shutterstock

This festival is held in Makale City at the end of the year. There are several agendas included in this event. There will be coffee festival, International Barista Competition, Tourism Photography Festival, Toraja Night Run, culinary expo, and art and culture exhibition. In 2017, this festival increased the vacation to Tana Toraja up to 35 percent!

Coto Makassar

traditional food from makassar indonesia named coto with hrebs and spices (c) Shutterstock
traditional food from makassar indonesia named coto with hrebs and spices (c) Shutterstock

As with soto from any other place in Indonesia, Coto Makassar is basically soup composed from meat, broth, and vegetables. Coto Makassar is unique because it is basically beef and offal stew. The soup is made with broth and ground peanuts and spices. The main meat is usually beef with innards as complementary. Coto Makassar is commonly served with ketupat.

Best place to enjoy Coto Makassar:

  • RM Ranggong Coto Makassar – l. Ranggong No.13, Maloku, Ujung Pandang.
  • Coto Makassar H daeng Tayang – Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No.27, Sawerigading, Ujung Pandang.
  • Coto Nusantara Merpati – Jl. Merpati No.2, Kunjung Mae, Mariso.

Konro

Sop Konro. via Instagram
Sop Konro. via Instagram/rsvs.harmonitour

Konro is a soup made with ribs or beef as main ingredient. The brown soup is spicy with strong and unique taste. The spices used in making Konro soup are Keluwak, bayleaf, clove, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, nutmeg, and tamarind.

Best Place to enjoy Konro:

  • Konro Karebosi – Jl. Gunung Lompo Battang No.41-43, Pisang Utara, Ujung Pandang.
  • Sop Konro Bawakaraeng – Jl. G. Bawakaraeng No.105, Wajo Baru.
  • Sop Saudara Konro Kikil – A.P Pettarani Kompleks Ruko Zamrud No. A1, Bua Kana, Rappocini.

Pallu Mara

Pallu Mara. via Instagram
Pallu Mara. via Instagram/macce_sedappunya

Pallu Mara is a fish soup, similar to yellow spice fish ion many part of east Indonesia. The yellow color of the soup comes naturally from turmeric. The main spices to make Pallu Mara are shallot, chili, garlic, lemongrass, lemon, and tamarind. Several sepecies of fish can be used to make Pallu Mara, the most popular one is snappers.

Best place to enjoy Pallu Mara

  • Rajanya Pallu Mara ‘Kepala Ikan’ – l. Cendrawasih III No.20, Panambungan, Mariso
  • Warung Makan Pallu Mara – Jalan Penghibur, Bulo Gading, Ujung Pandang
  • Pallumara Samalona – Jl. Samalona No.17, Pattunuang, Wajo.

How to get to Makassar

Panorama of Makassar City (c) Shutterstock
Panorama of Makassar City (c) Shutterstock

Makassar is an important hub, it has one of the busiest airports in Indonesia.

By Air. Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport is served with many domestic flight all over Indonesia, from big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, or Denpasar to smaller cities like Ternate, Sorong, and Jayapura. Most big airlines in Indonesia serve flight to Makassar. International flights are available to several neighboring countries.

By Sea. Port of Makassar (also known as Port of Soekarno Hatta) is the highest passenger traffic port in Indonesia. It is also the largest cargo traffic port in Sulawesi. It is one of the four main ports of Indonesia, along with Belawan, Tanjung Priok, and Tanjung Perak. This port is linked with many harbors in all over Indonesia and is served with many Pelni ships.

By Land. Makassar is accessible by land is you are traveling from other parts of Sulawesi. Otherwise, boat and plane is the way to go.

Getting around Makassar

sunset at losari beach, makassar south sulawesi, indonesia (c) Shutterstock
sunset at losari beach, makassar south sulawesi, indonesia (c) Shutterstock

This city has an organized public transportation mode. You can get around the city with petepete (a passenger car with certain route only). Becak (trishaw) is also possible for short distance. For longer travel, you’d probably need a taxi or ojek.

Getting around to the tourist destination can be a little bit tricky. The easiest one is by renting a car to go to places you want to visit. You can start at the city in Losari Beach, Fort Rotterdam, and several small islands in the coast of Makassar.

If you want to go to Bantimurung Bulusaurung National Park or Rammang-rammang, you need to rent a car for the comfort in the way. Going there by bus is possible but you probably need to get to other public transport before entering the park. The easiest way to reach Tana Toraja from Makassar is by place. A short flight is served in Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport to Toraja. Tanjung Bira in Bulukumba is reacable either by land or boats.

Best Hotels in Makassar

The Rinra Makassar. via Instagram/
The Rinra Makassar. via Instagram/andihartina_thyna
  • Myko Hotel &Convention Center – Mall Panakkukang, Jl. Boulevard, Masale, Panakkukang – Starts from IDR1,018,871.
  • The Rinra – Jl. Metro Tj. Bunga No.2, Panambungan, Mariso – Starts from IDR886,000.
  • Aryaduta Makassar – Jalan Somba OPU No.297, Losari, Ujung Pandang, Losari, Ujung Pandang – Starts from IDR791,467.
  • Aston Makassar Hotel & Convention Center – Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No.10, Baru, Kec. Makassar – Starts from IDR631,680.
  • Melia Makassar – Jl. A. Mappanyukki No.17, Kunjung Mae, Mariso – Starts from IDR702,170.
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Bantimurung Makassar Sulawesi Selatan Tana Toraja
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