Tana Toraja can be reached from many cities within Indonesia or the island of Sulawesi, though mostly visitors come via Makassar by inter-state buses. There is a small airport called Pongtiku in Rantetayo village (near Makale, the capital city of Tana Toraja district). However there is no regular service linking Toraja with other cities in Indonesia for the time being.
Should you arrive at Pongtiku Airport by air from Makassar (the flight normally takes around 55 minutes on a 20s-seater plane), getting public transportation to go to either Rantepao or Makale is not an issue.
Going to Tana Toraja from Makassar by land is a good, easy option and the most common way. Road conditions are mostly good with beautiful sceneries along the way (land, sea and a tortuous route with stunning mountainous views at the last part of the journey). Car rentals or inter-state bus services are the two common methods and taking the bus is the most economical option. Trip to Rantepao from Makassar or vise versa usually takes about 8 to 9 hours.
Bus tickets are purchased at the bus operators’ offices, where are usually located at “Daya” terminal or at their own “terminal” or departure points. Passengers will be given a seat number. Normally each seat is comfortable,though unfortunately some passengers may get “broken” seats.
All bus services will stop 2 or 3 times at some restaurants or “rumah makan” during the journey. The trip usually starts at about 9am from each company’s base terminal in Makassar, however, usually the bus often departs after the load is full or nearly full. Just be ready to wait for an extra hour.
Arriving at Hasanuddin Airport of Makassar
Travel Agents Service
If you prefer to take a pre-arranged trip, there are plenty of travel agents located at Hasanuddin Airport. Though it is easier and simple, it will cost travellers more. Their counters can be found easily in the departure area of the airport. For examples Himeji, Maha Mega, Orient Celebes, and Celebes Adventure, which sell tour packages to Tana Toraja, provide tour guides, hotel reservation, trip arrangements, and so forth. These agents are available daily from 9am to 8pm. Mostly they accept cash payment only.
Getting out of Hasanuddin Airport
There are a few options to get out of Hasanuddin Airport, either to Daya terminal (in downtown Makassar) or other bus stations, by the airport bus services called “Damri”, airport taxi, “Pete-pete” (a minivan) or by “ojek” (an unlicensed motorbike taxi). Click the pictures on the right for more and bigger images of the counters.
For those who prefer taxis, there are taxi counters available, such as Primkopau, Bosowa, Bandari Avia Mandiri, Herson, and Kopsidara. The travelling time between Hasanuddin Airport and Daya terminal or downtown Makassar is about 20 minutes (by taxi) and costs approximately Rp. 36,000.
A few taxi companies, such as Herson, also provide car rental services to Tana Toraja. It costs Rp. 1,100,000/day. If a minivan is used, it can comfortably fit between 5-6 passengers with their bags.
Click the pictures on the left for more and bigger images of Hasanuddin Airport .
A cheaper way to go to Makassar downtown is by the “Damri” airport shuttle bus, which costs Rp. 15,000 one way to Daya terminal. Passengers can see the airport shuttle bus signboard at the airport pick up zone, where they can hop on.
If you’d like to try Makassar’s Pete-pete (Click the pictures on the right for more and bigger images of Makassar's Pete-pete), you have to walk out of Hasanuddin Airport terminal to reach the main road. This might not be a good idea for those with big bags or for those who cannot bear the tropical heat, since the distance between the terminal to the main road is about 3 kilometers (1.85 miles). However, Pete-pete costs only Rp. 4,000 to go to Daya terminal (take the one that shuttles between “Maros-Pankep” and goes in the Daya terminal direction).
Next page: Land Transportation to Tana Toraja...