Moving Around in Tana Toraja
(And Its Neighboring Towns)
Public Transport in Tana Toraja
There are a few types of public transportation in Tana Toraja especially in Rantepao and Makale, such as “pete-pete” (yellow-license plate minivans), mini bus, bus, "sitor”, and “ojek”. Sometimes pete-pete or mini bus agrees to detour from their original route following passenger's request (particularly for pete-pete) whereas other transport have a defined fix path.
The small minivan or pete-pete fits 10 to 11 persons, without big bags. Toraja’s pete-pete is similar to “angkot” (in Bandung) or “mikrolet” (in Manado). However, unlike in Bandung, here in Tana Toraja people will find pete-pete in many different colours but they all serve the same routes or tracks, and normally pete-pete goes to deep inside small villages.
People can take pete-pete at Bolu Terminal in Rantepao or at Jalan Mappanyukki or at any “terminal bayangan” (unofficial terminal) in Rantepao city. They can also be stopped at any time or at any location along the streets. Pete-pete s fare is Rp. 3,000 for a single trip (regardless of distance travelled). Note: expect to pay more because of a recent fuel price hike.
Public busses are available mostly for inter-state destinations. Bus operators or companies can be easily found along Jalan Mapanyukki. Arriving from Makassar or other cities, these busses will go directly to their company bases. However, passengers can request to be dropped off at certain hotels or streets. Please refer to Bus Companies for more detail.
The other methods of public transportation: “ojek” or “sitor”, which are similar in terms of how they operate. “Ojek” almost can be found everywhere in Indonesia. It is an unlicensed motorcycle/motorbike taxi, where passenger tells the driver where to go, then negotiate for the fare, and payment is made at destination. They can be found along Tana Toraja main streets. Usually their motorbikes are parked in groups and sometimes they greet visitors by saying “Ojek”. While “sitor” is actually a motorbike-pedicabs that works quite similar to ojek but it fits one more person in its passenger compartment. These public transports are commonly used by the locals and both ojek and sitor normally cost Rp. 3,000 for a short ride (a few minutes ride).
Ojek is a common method used by tourists to tour around Tana Toraja. Reasons for this is because road conditions to some places of interest may be difficult for minivans/cars to access and not every place is within pete-pete coverage or people may have to wait for ages to find one. The all inclusive rental of ojek for a day (about 10 hours or during day time only) is about Rp. 100,000 or Rp. 150,000 for a longer charter (till evening).
Terminals in Tana Toraja
There are two main terminals in Tana Toraja, Bolu and Makale terminals.
Bolu Terminal is located right next to Rantepao’s traditional market, which is situated about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from the city center of Rantepao. Bolu Terminal operating hours starts from approximately 6am to around 9pm. As the official terminal in Rantepao, there are many minibuses or busses, which serve mostly destinations in the northern Toraja. There are also ojek, sitor and pete-pete. To reach downtown Rantepao from this terminal costs Rp. 3,000 by pete-pete.
Distances from Bolu terminal to some villages by buses, minibuses or minivans: Buntao’ (approximately 10 kilometers/6.22miles), Bokin (27 km/17 mi), La’bo (10 km/6 mi), Pangala’ (32 km/20 mi), Baruppu (45 km/28 mi), Lolai (12 km/7 mi), Tikala (5 km/3 mi), Barana’ (5 km/3 mi), Pangli (8 km/5 mi), Sa’adan (14 km/8.6 mi), Bori’ (8 km/5 mi), Tampanbonga (13 km/8 mi), Tondon (6 km/3.7 mi), Lempo (20 km/12 mi), Batutumonga (20 km/12 mi), etc. Fares vary from Rp. 5,000 to Rp. 25,000.
There is no signboard showing bus destinations, hence passengers need to ask the locals or bus drivers/assistants. They will be happy to show you which one to take, as they are used to find foreign tourists asking for directions.
Small terminals are well spread in some parts of Rantepao or Tana Toraja, which is locally known as “terminal bayangan” (“unofficial” or “illegal” terminal). A few locations, such as in front of Indra Hotel, “Pasar”, and so on.
The other official terminal is located in Tana Toraja district’s capital city Makale. Makale Terminal mostly serve destinations in the southern area (within Tana Toraja), such as Sangalla’ (12 kilometers/7.5 miles), Makula’ (17 km/10.5 mi), Marinding (10 km/6 mi), Bittuang (45 km/28 mi), Rantetayo (9 km/5.6 mi), Tondon (3 km/1.9 mi). Fares also depend on distances, just like Bolu terminal.
There is minivan service between Bolu terminal and Makale terminal (approximately 20 kilometers/12 miles away). One way fare costs Rp. 10,000/person.
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