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Off the Beaten Path: Tana Toraja, Indonesia | Trip of Wonders

Bali immediately comes to mind when most people think of Indonesia,  but If you’ve been to Bali before and are looking for something beyond this popular island, consider making your way to Tana Toraja, a region of South Sulawesi. Toraja will hands down become one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever collect during your travels. We had the opportunity to join the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism on an adventure to this beautiful place, rich in culture and it was full of wonder, knowledge and mystery.

How to get there:
Traveling from Yogykarta, you’ll have to connect in the city of Makassar before landing on the island of Palopo by propeller plane. You will then begin a three hour drive up into the highlands of South Sulawesi before arriving to Toraja. Note: the long, narrow winding roads may cause motion sickness so be prepared beforehand.

What to expect:
Home to the indigenous people known as the Torajans, you’ll be surrounded by stunning nature and the most unique architecture you’ll ever see. The homes are inspired by the boats from China that the Torajans used to travel with and the people of Toraja have one of the most complex funeral traditions in the world, giving this destination in Indonesia a bit of an eerie vibe.

The Ma’nene ceremony that only happens every three years was going on in the Sareale Village while we were there. I personally did not feel comfortable witnessing this so I cannot speak on my experience but for the Torajans, life doesn’t end after death. The tradition involves digging up the dead, cleaning and grooming them as a mark of respect between life and death. An interesting experience to say the least. If you’d like a more in-depth perspective, one of my travel partners on the trip describes the traditions perfectly here.

Things to do:
Visit Londa
Londa is where you’ll witness the ancient burial cave where thousands of Torajan families are honored. Lanterns are offered for guests who’d like to explore the caves.

Traditional village of Ke’te Kesu
Immerse yourself in Torajan culture by witnessing the art form of the Manganda dance and connect with locals at the Kete Kesu village. The dance’s main purpose is to show gratitude after war, to Mother Earth and the Gods.

Where to stay: Toraja Heritage Hotel
Boasting some of the most beautiful views, the Toraja Heritage Hotel is considered one of the best places to stay in Toraja. The rooms are replicas of traditional Torajan homes. The hotel also offers a spa, outdoor pool, restaurants, bar and coffee shop.

This #TripOfWonders trip has very much expanded my mind even more and has proved over and over again that the beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people and cultures.

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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. I was invited as guest by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. As always, all opinions are my own.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Day 277: Toraja and it's rituals | Alex Block October 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    […] If this kind of experience feels a bit too much for you to see it by yourself, check this post my my travel buddy Nastasia to learn what else you can do in Toraja. […]

  • Reply Lucy Mui October 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I was in this area a few years ago and was invited to a wealthy man’s funeral. It was quite the brutal spectacle. Since this man was wealthy he had lots of family members and friends offering him bulls to be sacrificed during his funeral. In total 27 bulls had their necks slit that afternoon. Some did not die at once and the executioner had to slice them again as blood poured all over the field area we sat in. I was traumatized and couldn’t eat beef for a year after that trip. But this was part of the experience of going to Tana Toraja. I’m glad I went.

  • Reply inromagna October 6, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for information.

  • Reply Ma’nene, Sebuah Ritual Mempercantik Jenazah di Toraja Utara November 5, 2017 at 4:05 am

    […] Off the Beaten Path: Tana Toraja, Indonesia | Trip of Wonders by Dame Traveler […]

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