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Makassar Sulawesi, Parepare and Watampone (Bone)


Makassar Sulawesi, Parepare and Watampone (Bone) are some cities in south Sulawesi. Makassar is a big city, full of activity and it has been like this for many centuries. Parepare and Watampone (Bone) are small towns where life seems to have stand still.

Makassar

Grilled fish in MakassarMakassar (Ujung Pandang) is for many centuries the entrance to Sulawesi (Celebes as it was called by the Portuguese and the Dutch). The Dutch used Makassar as a port on their Spice routes. So it's not surprising that the industry of Makassar is still partly based on the sea.

Transport around the city (just over 1 million citizens) goes by pete-pete (in other parts of Indonesia called bemo) which is a minibus for local transport.

There are some good hotels in the city like the Sahid Jaya Hotel Makassar, KG (Kanaka Giana) Hotel or Swiss-Belinn Panakkukang Makassar.

With prices around US $50 and up you have a western styled hotel. However, cheaper is possible. All over the city you can find cheap guesthouses for prices around US $5-10 but don't expect luxury or even very clean rooms. Check Tripadvisor or Agoda.com for more cheaper options

museum Lagaligo in Fort Rotterdam

Sulawesi has it's own local cuisine and Makassar is a great place to explore. The most famous is Coto Makassar. It is a stew made from the mixture of nuts and spices with beef parts which include beef brain, tongue and intestine.

Another is the pisang epe, pressed bananas. This sweet dish is made of grilled bananas with palm sugar sauce. A good place to explore is the local foods is the boulevard.

Museum Lagaligo in Fort Rotterdam, Makassar
Museum Lagaligo in Fort Rotterdam, Makassar

Worth a visit is the museum Lagaligo in Fort Rotterdam (Penghibur Street). It has a good quality collection of Sulawesi's history, archaeological finds and other curiosa showing the rich past of Sulawesi.

The remains of the Fort are nowadays in the center of the museum area.

The only other place that might be worth a visit is the Tomb of Prince Diponegoro, a prince who lived in the 18th century.

Parapare

There's not a lot to tell about Parepare. It's a sleepy town on the west coast and a nice overnight stop if you don't want to do the journey to Tana Toraja in one day.

Local ladies at the street in Parepare
Local ladies at the street in Parepare

Watampone (Bone)

In Parapare I changed my original and decided to go first to Watampone (Bone). I was told I would be able to see hundreds, if not thousands of bats hanging in the trees in the town center. I was intrigued enough to chance my plan.

When I arrived in Watampone, I saw the bats. several trees full of them. In the evening it was quite noisy as the bats were flying out on their hunt for food only to return in the early morning.

The bats in Watampone (Bone) Children in Watampone, Bone
Watampone or Bone

There's an interesting museum: Lapawaoi, located in the middle of town, with an extensive collection of local historic artifacts.

Watampone (Bone)Around town there are some nice hikes to make to some minor local villages and a few km east of town there's a nice beach area.

Watampone or Bone is worth a visit but only if you have plenty of time.

After this short intermezzo, I continue traveling north passing Singkang with it's silk weaving industry.

I get a short view of Lake Tempe and then the mountains. The road is surprisingly good, despite all the horror stories I have heard.

The mountains on this road are quite wild. The road swindles through the mountains towards Makale but this is not were you want to stay.

You will pass Mount Latimojong, with just over 3200 meters one of the highest mountain in this area (Mt Rantemario is with just over 3400 meters a bit higher). The mountains are part of a huge national park. In Rantepao you can organize a tour into the national park.

On the road from Makassar

And it is Rantepao where all the excitement is. And that is Tana Toraja

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