Tuesday, February 3, 2009


MONDAY 12th JAN 2009

Today, we welcomed Hatim and his Indonesian driver Saiful to our group. Pre-arranged prior to our departure, Hatim arrived Makassar on 9th Jan when we were in Sinjai. He stayed a night in Bira on 10th Jan and yesterday he checked in to Sengkang. In a motorised vehicle, he made the journey in double quick time. He would later re-think his touring style!

From today though, we would give our bikes a rest, packed into the van and head for Tana Toraja, 170kms away. But before we leave, we planned to sight-see a bit.

Sengkang boasts of two attractions.. One is Danau Tempe, a freshwater lake. We planned to take a boat and explore Danau Tempe and visit the floating village found in this lake. Do the folks here produce "tempe" hence the name of the lake? No.

As pre-arranged, the boatman came very early to the hotel. He told us that the heavy rain last-night had raised the water level very high and strong wind was blowing. It would be dangerous. We thanked the boatman and decided against venturing into Danau Tempe.

The other attraction in Sengkang as reported is their silk-weaving industry. On our ride yesterday, we saw a few silk-weaving activities under the houses of some Bugis dwellings. We did not stop as the activities were similar to that found in Kelantan.

But this morning, we decided to visit the market. Acid wanted to buy some gifts to bring home to his family. Ladies would probably spend more time in this market. Men will always be men. Shopping is not our cup of tea.

We also wanted to try Coto Kuda, a delicacy of Sulawesi. Unfortunately, the shop we patronised only have Coto Sapi. Coto is similar to Soto.

With nothing else to do, we left Sengkang and proceeded on towards Tana Toraja. Our first stop was in Sidengreng, where Saiful the Indonesian driver was born. He brought us to his uncle's house. Saiful was obviously proud of this uncle. The house is now occupied by the uncle's aged parents. The uncle lived in Jakarta to manage his numerous businesses. The uncle must surely be a succesful businessman.

This is an example of a rich Bugis family. The house is big, with polished timber flooring and fine furniture.

All Bugis houses are built on stilts, similar to those found in our villages. The free-flow of air beneath the house helped cool the building. The elderly couple was happy to have some visitors. On other days, they would probably have very little activity, just like any other old folks.
After coffee, we proceeded on our journey. The road began to snake and climb as we headed for the highlands where Tana Toraja is located. On our bicycles, we would therefore prefer to start from Tana Toraja and free-wheeled down.
The landscape also changed. There were numerous mountains on both sides of the road and the weather was cooler and fresher. We travelled with window screens down.
We stopped for lunch at a scenic spot. There were several eateries but the more popular was this eatery with this signboard "WELCOME TO EROTIC MOUNTAIN".

I tried to discover what was so erotic about the peaks of these mountains but could not see nor visualize anything. Naive?

We moved on and as we descended down towards Tana Toraja, we saw this padi-field in the valley that caught out attention. We just had to stop to photograph it. Sadly, I can't do much justice to this valley with my shots.

When we finally reached the "batas" or boundary of Tana Toraja, we were welcomed by this arch. Called "tongokonan", this peculiar shaped house is the feature of the Torajas. There are many articles on the internet about the Torajas and therefore it is not my intention to duplicate such information.

Tana Toraja is a tourist destination in Sulawesi. It was therefore not surprising to see a Tourist Police vehicle here. This was the one and only tourist police vehicle that we spotted during our entire trip.

I was also attracted to this banner, boldly written for every visitor to read. We never had any such occassion to be confronted with such possibilities either. As I said earlier, everyone we met on our journey had been very friendly and accomodating.

Our destination for the night was Makale and we lodged in Hotel Marannu for IR250,000. It was the most expensive hotel in our entire journey.
Tomorrow, we planned to explore Tana Toraja and depending upon what we discover, we may stay an extra day or proceed back towards Makassar. We have reached the furthest end of our journey.


aofuad said...

Nice picture of the sawah padi.

ARZ said...


U got to go there yourself, on your bike of-course to soak in the experience

acid said...

Toraja,.. tongkonan... yeah If ever I go to this place again, I will attempt to sleep in the tongkonan,.. an experience of a lifetime, with the bicycle as well lah, yes no? Lol

ARZ said...


U sure you want to sleep in the tongkonan? I sure won't join U.