special feature

Tana Toraja

The Highlanders

Tana Toraja is safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi and the home of the Toraja people. ‘Discovered’ and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many of her people are modernized or have embraced Christianity.

Life & Death

One of the uniqueness of Toraja people is their view about life and death. Talking, or even thinking about the subject may be considered taboo for many of us, but for the Toraja, death is a lifelong preoccupation. From a young age they learn to accept death as part of life’s journey, and when a family member passes away, in accordance with their traditional religion – Aluk To Dolo (“way of the ancestors”), which sits surprisingly comfortably alongside Christianity – they are treated as if they are sick (toma kula).

The Toraja people mummify the bodies of the deceased and care for their preserved bodies as though they are still living. There are around one million Torajan people, most of whom live in the South Sulawesi region, who believe that after death the soul remains in the house.

Their skin and flesh are preserved from decaying and rotting – which begins within days of death – by a coating of a chemical solution called formalin, which is a mixture of formaldehyde and water.

The stench is strong, so the family will store lots of dried plants beside the body to mask the odour.

The  food, water and even cigarettes are offered to the toma kula on a daily basis, because it is believed the spirit remains near the body and craves care.

And they talk to the dead too. If you happen to visit a Toraja who has a deceased member of the family kept in the house, they will introduce you, mention your name, tell the dead that you are in the house visiting them.

Funeral

Yes, there are funerals too, but a lengthy one, which is actually a festivity, and can take up to 2 weeks depending on the status of the deceased. The body is placed in ceremonial palaquin, which is the shape of a traditional house – Tongkonan, and carried by many men – and accompanied by members of the village – to the burial site behind a procession known as Ma’Palao/Ma’Pasonglo. This so called burial site is a cliff, where the deceased is traditionally buried in a hollowed out cliffside grave that sometimes are as high as 30 meters off the ground. Generally, the higher up the body is buried, the higher the deceased status in society, and whom had been buried with symbols of their wealth such as gold. The bodies were deliberately placed in hard to reach places to discourage grave robbing.

Location

Toraja regencies lies within the South Sulawesi Province. Since 2008, the Tana Toraja Regency was divided into North Toraja Regency, with Rantepao as capital city, and the southern part maintaining its name, the Tana Toraja Regency, with Makale as capital city.

For simplicity’s sake, from the tourism point of view, the name of  Tana Toraja or Toraja refers to both Regencies (before it was split in two).

Makassar, the provincial capital city of South Sulawesi Province, is the gateway to Toraja:

  • Road distance from Makassar to Makale: 296km.
  • Road distance from Makassar to Rantepao: 314km.

Getting There

Fly to Makassar first, sightseeing around Makassar, and then :

  • from Makassar proceed by car or bus to Makale and Rantepao (6-8 hours), or
  • from Makassar (UPG) fly to Palopo (LLO) first, and proceed by car (2 hours, 59km) from Palopo to Rantepao and Makale

There are direct international and dommestic flights to Makassar, such as from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, and Bali.

The Land Above The Clouds

Even though the landscape is not manicured as in Bali, Toraja offers stunning views, green and lush rice terraces, traditional Tongkonan houses, besides their unusual tradition. Breathtaking views in the early morning can be witnessed from Lolai Hill, overlooking the white clouds below. Meanwhile, Batutumonga Village offers view over the clouds too, and when its clear, the fantastic view towards rice terraces. For coffee addicts, Toraja highlands are home to coffee trees growing wild on cliffs, considered as one of the best coffee origin in the world.

 

Lake Toba

Lake Toba is one of the awesome natural wonders of the world. This enormous crater lake has an island, Samosir, almost the size of Singapore in its centre. At over 1,145 square km, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. This is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world.

Feel the wind in your hair and do as the locals do by cycling or hiring a motorbike to explore this beautiful part of the world. If you’re on Samosir Island, take the day to explore by taking a drive on the road running around the edge of the island. Although rough and unpaved in places, this road offers some spectacular views of the lake from the highest points on the island. If you’re staying in the popular village of Tuk Tuk on Samosir, the best way to get around is to walk, or wander, down the main street at a leisurely pace.


DAY 01
KUALANAMU ⇒ LAKE TOBA (Lunch, Dinner)

  • Meet and greet with our guide, direct to Lake Toba.
  • On the way we will stop at Paten Shop ( dried food ), Kwan Im Temple, Siantar City, then reach Parapat by the Lake Toba.
  • Check in to the hotel and overnight at Parapat.
DAY 02 PARAPAT ⇒ SAMOSIR ⇒ BERASTAGI ⇒ MEDAN (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Breakfast at the hotel, today we start our tour to Samosir Island for Tomok Village, Simarjarunjung for a nice panorama from the hill,Simalungun Batak Long Houses, Sipisopiso Waterfall with Mt.Sinabung view, Fruit Market, then Vihara Pagoda Lumbini. Check in and overnight in Medan..
DAY 03 MEDAN ⇒ SHOPPING ⇒ AIRPORT (Breakfast)

  • Breakfast at the hotel, shopping at Markisa Noerlen & Souvenir, Bika Ambon Cake, Teri (Dried Fish) Medan, transfer to Airport.

Komodo

Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards in the world. They are identified by their massive size, flat heads, bowed legs and long, thick tails. The name comes from rumors that a dragon-like creature lived on the Indonesian island of Komodo. No Western scientists had seen a Komodo dragon until 1912, according to the San Diego Zoo. Local people call them “ora,” or “land crocodile.”

Getting There

Labuan Bajo is accessible by air, land, and sea. Its favorable location on the Island of Flores and entry port to the Komodo islands make Labuan Bajo a potential growing destination, aside to its rich agricultural potentials. Flying to Labuan Bajo is possible for the Komodo Airport is open for operation. Transnusa Airlines are directly connecting Labuan Bajo with several cities in Indonesia, such as: Denpasar, Kupang, Ende, and Mataram. With connecting flights, Labuan Bajo is also connected with Kalabahi in Alor. It also connects with Bajawa, Sikka, Manggarai, and Larantuka via Ende, Kupang, Maumere, Ruteng, and Tambolaka.

Labuan Bajo Trip | 3D2N

Day 01: AIRPORT • LABUAN BAJO (D)
Meet and greet with our guide, direct transfer to Bukit Shiva and Batu Cermin Cave. Check-in to Cajoma Guest House, dinner at local restaurant, overnight.

Day 02: KELOR • RINCA • KALONG ISLAND (B,L,D)
Breakfast at Guest House, today we start sailing to Kelor Island and Rinca Island the 2nd largest Island in Komodo National Park and the best place to see Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. Kalong island or bat island is a small beautiful island situated in Komodo National Park dwelt by thousands of bats.

Day 03: PADAR • PINK BEACH • MANTA POINT • AIRPORT (B,L,D)
Breakfast at Cottage, today we visit Padar Island to see Pink Beach and Manta Point (or Karang Makassar) a spot where manta rays often encountered. It is one of the popular place for diving and also snorkeling for those who love to see the manta rays, a huge marine creature that can grow up to 4 meters wide. Transfer to Airport for next destination, end of services.

Bali

You want it? Bali’s got it.

For relaxation, simply stay put at your resort of choice, which will most likely boast a beautiful beach, an exotic spa and an array of dining options. For adventure, traverse this magical island in search of hidden shrines and ancient temples – Tirta Empul Temple is a traveler favorite. For the animal lover, the Elephant Safari Park hosts rescued Sumatran elephants that paint and give rides to visitors. And for families, Waterbom offers exhilarating rides. Here is your Ultimate 5 Days and 4 Nights Bali Experience:



How is Bali ?

To put it simple, Bali belongs to tourists, and there are many tourists all year round. Some stays a couple of days, some stays for a month or two, or even ten months, and some forever. Foreigners in Bali feel at home, become more Bali than the Balinese themselves. Bali today is crowded with tourists, or even too crowded, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting this unique, charming, magical, island.

Bali today is evolving. The new younger generations are replacing their parents, working in hospitality business, as travel agents, hoteliers, tour guides, receptionists, and unlike they predecessors, they are real professionals and understand on how to cater tourists needs.

Once you get there, it’s hard to part with Bali. Therefore, many tourists extend their stay. Not only solo travelers, but also couples, even with their babies.


Bali for First Timers

The nearest beach spots from the airport and the City of Denpasar is Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian, facing the west coast, Sanur and Nusa Dua facing the east coast. In the early days it used to be categorized based on preferences, Kuta for youngsters, and Sanur for elders. But today, everybody is everywhere. Even in the heart of cultural Bali, Ubud, which used to be a preferred destination for arts enthusiasts only.

Package Tours

Our Bali Package Tours are genuine and carefully crafted based on latest condition and situation. Based on our latest, up-to-date, on-the-spot observation, and lengthy discussion with experienced hoteliers and service providers, to understand each and every customer’s unique needs and preferences, and come up with the best offer to our valued customers.


Cruise

Full-day experience in Bali that everyone should try is cruising to Nusa Lembongan Island.


If a romantic-and-pirate-style dinner is your choice, get on board an original wooden phinisi boat at sunset in Benoa Harbor.



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