Tana Toraja can be reached from many cities within Sulawesi island, though mostly traffics come from Makassar, by buses. There is a small airport called Pongtiku located Rantetayo village (near Makale, the capital city of Tana Toraja district). However lately there is no regular service linking Toraja with another cities in Indonesia.
Should you arrive on a plane from Makassar, which normally takes around 55 minutes by a 20s-seater plane, getting public transportation to go to either Rantepao or Makale is not an issue.
Starting the journey to Tana Toraja from Makassar by land is a good, easy option and the most common way. Road conditions are mostly good, decorated with different sceneries (land, sea and a tortuous route with stunning mountainous views at the last part of the journey). Car rental or buses are the two common methods, and of course bus services are the most economical option. Trip to Rantepao from Makassar or vise versa takes about 8 to 9 hours.
Bus tickets are purchased at the bus operators’ offices, where usually located at “Daya” terminal or at their own “terminal” or departure points. Usually passengers will be given a seat number. Commonly each seat, except at the aft row, in every bus is set in a comfortable condition to sleep. Unfortunately some passengers may get “broken” seats, ie. less comfortable for them to sleep.
The bus 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 will depart 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 the Hasanuddin Airport. Though it is easier and simple, it might cost more. Their counters can be found easily in the departure area of the airport. Some of them are Himeji, Maha Mega, Orient Celebes, and Celebes Adventure, which sell tour packages to Tana Toraja, provide 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 the airport, either to Daya terminal (downtown Makassar) or other bus stations, by airport bus called “Damri”, airport taxi, “Pete-pete” (a minivan) or by “ojek” (a unlicensed motorbike taxi).
For those who prefer taxis, there are some taxi counters available, such as Primkopau, Bosowa, Bandari Avia Mandiri, Herson, and Kopsidara The travelling time between the airport and Daya terminal or downtown Makassar takes about 20 minutes by taxi and costs approximately Rp. 36,000.
Click pictures above for more images of Hasanuddin Airport and related images. Some taxi companies, such as Herson, also provide car rental services to Tana Toraja. It costs Rp. 1,100,000/day or just to drop the passengers off at their destination in Tana Toraja. If a minivan is used, it can comfortably fit between 5-6 passengers with their bags.
A cheaper way 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, you have to walk out of the 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 kilometer (1.85 miles). However, Pete-pete costs only Rp. 4,000 to reach Daya terminal (take the one that shuttles between “Maros-Pankep” and goes in the Daya terminal direction.
Arriving at Daya Terminal in Makassar
This is the main terminal of inter-state bus services and there is an entrance fee of Rp. 500 per person. However, there is only one company that goes to Rantepao (Tana Toraja) from this terminal, which is Litha. Other bus companies depart from their own terminal (see below).
Click picture above for more photos of Daya Terminal.
Arriving at this terminal, do not be surprised to see people coming towards you and starting to offer “helps” to carry your bags, especially if you are coming in a taxi. You might need their help if you have many bags. The “help” should cost you Rp. 10,000 for a short walk.
One of Bus Company like Litha is located in Daya terminal station and you need to pay Rp 500/person as the contribution to enter the station.Litha bus to Rantepao, Tana Toraja at 10am with cost Rp 80,000.
|Location||:||Jl. Pelita No. 97 Makale or Jl. Mappanyukki Rantepao or Daya terminal Makassar|
|Telephone||:||+62 423 22009 (Makale), +62 423 21204 (Rantepao), +62 411 442263 (Makassar)|
|Remarks||:||the bus leaves from Makassar to Makale or Rantepao at 10am. All bus services with AC cost Rp 80,000. On Sunday, bus leave at night from Rantepao. Make a reservation at least one day before departure date.|
|Location||:||Jl. Mappanyukki, Rantepao|
|Telephone||:||+62 423 23767 (Rantepao), +62 411 458404 (Makassar)|
|Operating hours||:||daily, 9am-9.30pm|
|Remarks||:||all buses are with AC and the ticket costs Rp. 80,000 from Rantepao to Makassar or the other way around. The bus leaves at 9am and 9pm from Rantepao or Makassar. Please make a reservation in advance at least 1 day before the departure date.|
|Telephone||:||+62 423 21142 (Rantepao), +62 411 4772888, 581305 (Makassar)|
|Remarks||:||bus (non AC/air cond) costs Rp. 80,000.|
|Location||:||Jl. Mappanyukki No. 42, Rantepao|
|Telephone||:||+62 423 21305|
|Operating hours||:||daily, 6am-9.30pm|
|Remarks||:||all buses are equipped with AC. The first bus leaves from Rantepao or Makassar at 8.30am and the ticket costs Rp. 75,000.|
|Location||:||in Rantepao and Makale|
|Telephone||:||+62 423 22226 (Makale)|
|Remarks||:||they also serve Toraja-Makasar route and depart in the morning and at night time.|
A few taxi counters at the airport also provide car rental service. Below is a list of car rentals in Makassar.
Herson Rent Car
|Location||:||Bumi Permata Sudiang Blok K1 No. 11, Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan Km 19, Makassar|
|Telephone||:||+62 411 5052245, +62 813 5568 8608 (Ms. Mira), +62 813 5515 8777 (Mrs. Herawati)|
|Remarks||:||they also have counter in the arrival hall at the Hasanuddin Airport.|
|Location||:||Jl. Danau Mahalona No. 17, Perum Taman Toraja (Tanjung Bunga), Makassar|
|Telephone||:||+62 411 9280999, +62 813 4361999|
|Fax||:||+62 411 838299|
|Location||:||Jl. G. Lompobattang No. 56, Makassar|
|Telephone||:||+62 411 3651446, 3651447, 2595951|
|Fax||:||+62 411 3651447|
Public Transportation 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, mini bus or bus can meet their passengers’ demand, such as to drop them off at specific places. This happens more frequently to pete-pete, where a passenger can “detour” his/her pete-pete official track in order to drop him/her off at a certain street (usually not far off the official route/track). However, this also depends on the driver’s generosity.
The small minivan for pete-pete fits 10 to 11 persons, without big bags. Toraja’s pete-pete is similar to “angkot” (in Bandung) or “mikrolet” (in Manado) – click the words to find more information about angkot or mikrolet. However, unlike in Bandung, 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 some points in Rantepao city. They can also be stopped at any time or any point along the streets. Fare is Rp. 3,000 for a single trip (regardless of distance travelled).
Public busses are available mostly for interstate services. 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 demand to be dropped off at certain hotel or street. Please refer to Bus Company for more detail.
The other methods of public transportation, “ojek” or “sitor” 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, payment is given at destination. They can be found along Tana Toraja main streets. Usually they park their motorbikes in a group 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 at 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, road conditions to some places of interest may be difficult for minivans/cars, not every place is within pete-pete coverage or people may have to wait for ages to find one, pete-pete driver can wait and bring his passenger to other places faster, and so forth. The all inclusive rental for a day (about 10 hours or during day time only) costs Rp. 100,000 or Rp. 150,000 for a longer charter (till evening).
There are two main terminals in Tana Toraja, Bolu terminal and Makale terminal.
Bolu terminal is located right next to Rantepao’s traditional market, which is situated about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from 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 of some villages from Bolu terminal that normally serve 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. Their 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 drives/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 the town, 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 kilometer/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.