Searching Box

Monday 6 August 2012

One Week in Toraja Land with Laurie and Bruce

In the mid of July, last month. I've been travelled into Toraja Land, in the South Sulawesi. Due I had college vacation time and invitation from Laurie and Bruce*a couple traveller from America. I have decided to postpone my long travelling into Java Island and i made my mind to try Toraja Land first.
From Banjarmasin ;South Borneo, I've took the Bus to Balikpapan ;East Borneo. Its 24 hours trip, I must go to Balikpapan first because I have ordered Pelni ship that would depart from the city to Makassar, South Sulawesi city capital.

After staying for 1 days half in the ship, I've arrived finally in the Makassar. Its 14th july, I've came earlier because using ship was the cheapest way to get this region. And Laurie would come at 21th July so that I had many times to walk around Makassar city for one week.

Who is Laurie, in the short explanation she is traveller from America with her husband. She is my language exchange partner, she takes interest to study Bahasa Indonesia because she and her husband want to travel Indonesia for several month, and because she has been watched my Indonesian learning videos, she asked me to join in the one of  their trip in Indonesia, Toraja Land which could be their last place to explore in the country. And then I am interested with the plan, and thousands thank for them, they said that they would treat me during in the Toraja such as transportation, accommodation, and food. Whoa.. what a nice person, huh?

After spending my time for a week in the Makassar city, and I've been stayed in the one of  backpacker and couchsurfer place anyway. Finally, in the 21th July we had met up and then they took me to the bus station. Its not hard for me to talk with them, because we were close before in the Skype. I asked a lot of things with them about their travelling and did Laurie use Bahasa Indonesia?

And then, Laurie told me about what we would do in the Toraja later. She said we would see Torajan people and culture. And there was annual ceremony about someones burial and then we would see unique cemetery places, after that, trekking in the Torajan rice fields and villages would be interesting to do.

We have drove by an executive Air bus;, its 10.00 am before we left Makassar, and this trip would take for 8 hours to reach Toraja, during in the bus we talk a lot of things about politics...seriously.

Finally, we had reached Rantepao city, Toraja. Fresh air and the cool temperature greet us calmly in the night about 08.30 P.M, tonight we would stay in the wisma or Home stay. Its first day of fasting month, so after putting our bag, we had went to cafe that have traditional looking, I was ordering rice only to breakfast and Mrs. Laurie with her husband ordering different dishes. We were going to meet with our local guide, Pak Yuhanis. In the end, during our dinner session, they had talked about our plan during in the Toraja for almost a week.

In the first day, we had drove two hired motorcycle to visit unique burial places in the Toraja Land from morning untill afternoon. At least, there were three places that we had saw. All of the burial places were located in the rocky hill, there are holes to put dead body inside, and Torajan put statues outside give images of the person. In the another place, we had saw a baby grave in a tree. Its interesting to me because though almost all of Torajan people are christian, they still run their ancestor tradition, that what I heard from our guide.

Rocky Hill Burial

Baby Grave; they bury babies here :O

Left-over to the spirit
On the cave burial
 In the second day, An annual ceremony has been celebrated, and we had saw a celebration about an honour old woman which died from Torajan kingdom family recently. All of Torajan gathered in a public place that they call Temple to attend the ceremony that only exist once in a year. The celebration itself would run for a week, but we had saw in the first day of procession only, because tomorrow we would go trekking in another city in Batutumonga.

We had came in 10.00 A.M, the celebration was started, there a lot of local and foreign tourists there. The interesting point of this event that Torajan would do their ancestor burial procession though they are Christian. And I heard that there would be buffalo fighting and they would cut buffaloes massively and then they would give to their relatives.

The lithurgy
Dead body inside

The statue of dead body
Into the throne
Buffalo fighting

Our guide; Yuhanis explaining a lot

Axe effect

Waiting the procession

The crowd

We were here!

During the procession, we had met a traveller from Switzerland, Sylvia. She actually has same bus during our trip to Toraja. She was interested to join us in the trekking Tomorrow.

In the last three days, we had went to Batutumonga region, there were many beautiful rice fields and hills. The air was more fresher than in the Rantepao city. In the third day, we had slept in the resort that looks like Torajan traditional house last night. It was misty and rainy condition, Laurie has suggested me to not join due I was fasting and she knows that trekking would break the fasting due its hard condition, but I had refused and convinced her that I would be fine because I had trained to walk around for several kilometer without drinking. Besides, the air condition had made to feel full and not to be thirsty fast. And then I had followed them.

During our trekking, we had a lot of times to talk about anything, sometimes we had to to stop to take interesting pictures of rice field and took a rest in local houses for half hour. Hills by hills we had crossed, in the simple way: I seldom do trekking, but when I do, I make sure that I was so fucked in improper condition. :)

The first night and the second, we had stayed at local houses, its interesting to stay, in the night, we had tasted delicious food from our guide and see how Torajan people work as farmers and their tradition living . He talked a lot of Torajan culture and the people, he is one of experienced guide in Toraja for twelve years and he got of many experiences with the tourist.

with Sylvia

After trekking for two days in Batutumonga, we had to get back to Rantepao city, we were gonna to stay in the one of Rantepao homestay for two night, in the third day, Laurie and Bruce would do trekking again in our guide village. But I didn't follow due I want to take a rest after trekking while I was fasting. Besides, there was Internet connection to use free. After the last trekking in that day, we had separated with Sylvia because she might go back to Makassar.

In our last night, I had our last dinner with Laurie, we had a lot another things to talk, and one of it was about my Indonesian video project on Youtube, the main reason why did I go to Toraja because her invitation. I was so happy because she said that she would treat me for accommodation and transportation during in Toraja. Ok, back in the night, I said about my next project and ask her suggestions what should I do next? And besides i said that I am interested with journalism as my career. She has suggested me to concentrate for the next one and might finish my video project. And she has also shared about English writing trick to improve my writing instead giving subject that I want to show on youtube next.

After discussing my project, I have asked about their next plan. What would they do? She has said that they would go to the Northern Sulawesi in Togian Island to do snorkeling there for their last place spot to visit in Indonesia, and then they would continue their trip in to Spain. After doing long trip, they would stay in America. I have said to her I would to come to America as successful person, and Laurie had replied... you are a dreamer, Qori! And then she laughed.

In the morning, we would left and separate, I was gonna back to Makassar and they would go to Togian.Apparently, Laurie had bought a ticket to back for me,  we had intense discussion before we left. The only thong I would remember, they always regard me as their second family, and so I am.

This is our guide phone number if you are interested to hire him: 

Yohanis Uttu
                          tour and trekking guide.
email  :
Adress ; Wisma irama.
rantepao -toraja utara. south sulawesi -Indonesia.