North Sulawesi, Sangihe-Talaud Islands

North Sulawesi, Sangihe-Talaud Islands

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A flotilla of overloaded boats like these spent hours bringing supplies out to our ferry, to be loaded piece by piece through windows. These ferries are the only means of supplying all the islands of Sangir-Talaud, and they carry everything – fruit & produce, baby chicks, headless mannequins, TVs, bibles…

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Sanggihe, Thalaud, Map, siau, tahulandang, biaro, salebabu, kabaruang, krakelong, kawilo,

6 more maps detailed, you will find on :

The Sangihe Talaud Archipelago

Travellers with plenty of time should not miss the chance to go to this seldom visited group of islands. As there is hardly any tourist infrastructure you should be a bit adventurous. Some words of Bahasa Indonesia are also very helpful. What you will find is: virtually untouched white sandy beaches, uninhabited small paradise islands, excellent spots for snorkeling, active volcanos (one under water!) and friendly, very interested people. At Siau Island you have a chance to see one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Be aware the weather conditions during the monsoon season (end of October – early April) can be a lot worse than around Manado – rough seas and large amounts of rain are common. Especially during this time there is also a higher Malaria risk than elsewhere in North Sulawesi.

Please note:
All updates on this page that were made in November 2009 have been provided to me by Nirwan Lahopa who works in the Tourism Office of Tahuna and will be happy to be your personal guide during your stay in Sangihe.
I know Nirwan personally since a long time from the years when he was working at Manado’s Smiling Hostel. During this time he has always proven to be an extremely reliable, dedicated and honest person, so you can fully rely on him.

Nirwan Lahopa

Contact Details:

Jl. Baru Tona – Tahuna
Sangihe – North Sulawesi
Mobile: +62 821 96 497 723

Accommodation in Tahuna:


1. Nasional Hotel : – Suite Room → Single Rp. 565.000,-
→ Double Rp. 610.000,-
– VIP Room → Single Rp. 315.000,-
→ Double Rp. 360.000,-
– Superior Room → Single Rp. 265.000,-
→ Double Rp. 310.000,-
– Deluxe Room → Single Rp. 215.000,-
→ Double Rp. 260.000,-
– Medium Room → Single Rp. 165.000,-
→ Double Rp. 210.000,-
– Standard Room → Single Rp. 115.000,-
→ Double Rp. 160.000,-
2. Bintang Utara Hotel : – VIP Room → Single or Double Rp. 195.000,-
– Medium Room → Single or Double Rp. 170.000,-
– Deluxe Room → Single or Double Rp. 140.000,-
– Superior Room → Single Rp. 110.000,-
– Standard Room → Single or Double Rp. 80.000,-
3. Tahuna Hotel : All Rooms Single or Double Rp. 280.000,-
4. Melia Losmen : Standard Room Large Single or Double Rp.250.000
Medium Single or Double Rp.175.000
Small Single or Double Rp.150.000
Economy Room Single or Double Rp.100.000
5. Penginapan Vania : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
6. Penginapan Setia : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
7. Penginapan Anggrek : Standard Room → Rp.75.000,-
8. Penginapan Sederhana : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
9. Penginapan Beringin : Standard Room → Rp.50.000,-
Not included: 10% Government Tax

The Bintang Utara Hotelhas been specifically recommended to me. It is located about halfway between the harbour and the city center. Address: Jl. Pahlawan Lama No. 46, Tahuna; Phone (+62) 432-21375. Rooms are said to be in good condition and clean, and the hotel has a large, friendly lobby and helpful staff.

The Rainbow Losmen near Tamako
The Rainbow Losmen in Tamako on Sangihe Besar is a basic, but from my own experiences (in the 90’s though) pleasant and clean guesthouse, with good food and a very nice family. Its owner Frets Pangimangen and guide Wesley, who are running the guesthouse, will be glad to guide you around during your stay there.
3 double rooms, all with mosquito nets. 2 rooms with fans. Basic shared toilet and washing facilities. Communal area.
How to get there: One hour bus drive from Tahuna (Rp. 10,000), then 10 minutes drive by bentor (motorbike driven vehicle) to Rainbow Losmen (Rp. 3,000).
» Information sheet Rainbow Losmen and birdwatching tours (October 2009)

Elsewhere you will have no problem to find people renting out rooms in their private homes. Even if communication is difficult you will easily find locals helping you to get a place to sleep and with other things. As western tourists are still a rare sight on these islands it might be a good idea to report to the local police or village chief, especially in small villages.

Transportation to Sangihe-Talaud is quite easy though not often too comfortable: from Manado harbour there is a number of boats going to various islands in the Sangihe Talaud Archipelago, like Tahulandang, Siau, Sangihe Besar (Tahuna), Makalehi, Talaud and others.
PELNI has a big vessel going from Bitung to both places every four weeks.

Schedule Manado – Tahuna – Manado

Boat Names: Mekar Teratai, Tera Santa, Queen Marry, Ratu Maria, Theodora, Sunlia
Manado dep    Tahuna arr    Tahuna dep    Manado arr    Frequency
7pm    5am    7pm    5am    daily
Price: Rp. 105,000 per Person (October 2009)

Manado dep    Tahuna arr    Tahuna dep    Manado arr    Frequency
7pm    5am    7pm    5am    daily
Price: Rp. 105,000 per Person (October 2009)

A more comfortable option is the fast boat “Express Bahari”:

Frequency    Manado dep    Tahuna arr
Mon, Wed, Fri    9am    4pm
     Tahuna dep    Manado arr
Tue, Thu, Sat    9am    4pm
Prices (September 2010):

    VIP Class Rp. 224,000/person
    Executive Class Rp. 169,000/person
    Economy Class Rp. 124,000/person

And then there is a new fast boat, the “KM. Prima Oasis”:

Frequency    Manado dep    Tahuna arr
Tue, Thu, Sat    9am    4pm
     Tahuna dep    Manado arr
Mon, Wed, Fri    9am    4pm
Prices (January 2011):

    VVIP Class Rp.400.000/person
    Superclass Rp.265.000/person
    Business Class Rp.195.000/person
    Economy Class Rp.145.000/person

The PELNI (Indonesia’s National Shipping Company) ship “KM Sangiang” operates the route Bitung – Ulu Siau – Tahuna – Lirung – Karatung – Miangas and back every two weeks. Unfortunately no schedules available – PELNI’s website had its last update in December 2007… 🙁

Lion Air’s subsidiary Wings Air operates flights from Manado to Naha Airport/Tahuna (Sangihe) and back twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check the Lion Air website for timings and rates, and notice that the website uses the old spelling “Menado”.

Scuba diving: There are no dive operations on these islands. The only way to explore the underwater world is by liveaboard from Manado.

Bird watching: Especially the Talaud Archipelago is a paradise for bird lovers. New species are still discovered regularly: Bird Watching in Sangihe-Talaud

Other Links:
Mt Karangetang (Siau) – Volcanic Activity Report

  • Birding

Tuesday 5th November – Saturday 30th November 2013
(26 days)

Leader: Craig Robson

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to Moderate for the most part, occasionally fairly Demanding

The huge archipelago of Indonesia has the richest avifauna in the old world (over 1530 species!) and holds more endemic birds (no fewer than 381 at the present time) than any other country. Birdquest already offers six different exciting tours to this magical but still relatively under-birded country, and on this thrilling new venture we will explore several rarely visited island groups, flirting with Weber’s biogeographical line in some very remote corners of the Celebes and Molucca Seas.

Tour Description : Adventure and Ecotourism on North Sulawesi

Tour Highlights  : Jungle Trekking, Underwater Volcano, Snorkeling, Ecotourism, History and Culture, Dolphin, Fishing, Endemic Species, Mount Awu, Mount Karangetang, Dugong
Tour Area : Sangihe Island and Minahasa Highland
Starting Point : Manado
Ending Point : Manado

Sangihe and Talaud Islands

This district consists of 77 islands, of which 56 islands are inhabited. The population is 335.000 people (2006). Most of the people are involved in agriculture, which include coconut, vanilla, nutmeg, clove and fishing. The islands are located north of the Sulawesi Peninsula, and south of the Philippines the islands are divided into two main groups; Sangihe, consisting of the islands Sangir Besar, Siau, Tagulandang and Biaro; and Talaud consists of the  island of Karakelang, Salibabu, Kaburuan, Nanusa, Miangas plus many other small island. The capital of Sangihe Talaud is Tahuna; which is located on Sanger Besar. The airport located about 21 km from Tahuna is serviced by domestic airlines on an irregular basis.

There are seaports in Tahuna, Siau, Tagulandang and Biau which are serviced by various ferries and local boats.

Sangihe Talaud is renowned for its magnificent white sandy beaches with amazing coral gardens as well as an underwater active volcano.

The cultural ceremonies, dances, and folksongs from this group of island are many.

The most outstanding traditional ceremonies are:

Menahulending: a ceremony to expressing gratitude and pray for someone who renders a useful service.

Menulude: a ceremony thanks giving, which is celebrated annually at the end of January.

Mangundang Banua (Mesundeng) is a dedication ceremony for a new boat, house, or garden. Sangihe Talaud is known for its beautiful dances such as:

Maane’e: a traditional fish catching in Intata Island, which always celebrate every once in a year on the month of May.

Maharo Island

This beautiful tiny island is located on the eastern side of Siau Island. Justly proud of the beauty of its own, touring to this island is wonderful to observe Portuguese ruin fortress in the gentle see breeze. Only a few minute by a motorized outrigger canoe from Siau harbour

Mount Awu Crater Lake
Situated on Sanger Besar Island, mount Awu (1320 m) is still active and it last erupted on 12 August 1966. The Crater Lake is considerably beauty; dark green, light green and white colors are contrast. Climbing it inquire at the Volcanologist Office in Tahuna.

Nutmeg Plantation in Siau

Blessed by fertile land, caused by volcanic ash of volcano Karangetang, some of village used their shifting land into nutmeg plantations. Indeed, most of grounds are covered by green and thick nutmeg trees, makes a breathtaking view of spice forest. Siau is an ideal place to enjoy nutmeg plantation.

Mahangetang Undewater Volcano
Lies 4–8 meters underwater, about 300 m only off the Island of Mahangetang, this underwater volcano showing magnificent underwater view of the crystal of boiling water under the sea. Located 18 miles away of Tahuna, it is easily reached by hiring a motorizes outrigger canoe from Tahuna harbour.

Sara Island
Heavily forested with lush verdant tropical vegetation, this tiny island bustled with the activity of Maleo birds, cockatoos, etc. It is surrounded by white sandy beaches and there is an extensive coral reef nearby. Take a motorized outrigger canoe from Lirung harbour (45 minutes) or from Melangguane Airport (60 minutes) to this splendor island.

Volcano Karangetang Towering 1.800 m in Siau, this volcano is still active and it last erupted in 1974. Volcano Karangetang appears so scenically from the sea while entering Siau harbour.

Santago Mousoleum

Lying among towering coconut palms and flowery garden, overlooking a beautiful stretch of forested mountains and sea view, it is a King Santiago Mausoleum. He ruled Manganitu Kingdom from 1670 – 1677

Day 01: Airport – Manado – Tahuna

  1. Arrival at Sam Ratulangi International Airport
  2. Welcome Drink
  3. Meeting Service
  4. Full Payment
  5. Sightseeing around Manado City
  6. Transfer to Manado Harbour
  7. By Ship sailing to Sangihe, It take 6-7 Hours
  8. Overnight stay on the ship (L, D)

Day 02: Tahuna City – Tamako Village

  1. Early morning arrive in Tahuna, capital of Sangihe regency
  2. Drive along the coast and passing beautiful typical fisherman villages for two hours to Tamako
  3. Visit the King Palace, Is the old royal residence used during the period of the Tahuna Kingdoms, Manganitu and Tamako. Inside the building you can still see relics of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Tagalog episodes
  4. The Old Church: This church is located in Manganitu, Sangihe Besar Island. It was built by Ernst Traugott Steller, a German missionary, in the last century. There is nothing left inside, however the building is still intact. There is a family gravesite on the property
  5. Check in at the hotel and you will enjoy yourself by swimming or snorkeling around the coral area nearby
  6. Dinner
  7. Overnight stay (B, L, D)

Day 03-04: Trekking to Mt.  Sahengbalira & Mt. Sahendarumang

The Gunung Sahengbalira Protection Forest covers an area of 5,000 ha and is nominated as a nature reserve in Indonesia’s National Conservation Plan. The site holds the last remaining area with reasonably extensive forest on Sangihe Island. Forests range from primary lowland tropical rainforest to sub-montane forests at the higher altitudes. The site is named after the highest peak in the area: the Gunung Sahengbalira (1015m).  Mammals and Birds are expected to be seen:

  1. 5-6 hours trekking each day – for 2 days.  Overnight at locals or homestay)
  2. On day 4th, after trekking, a visit to a beautiful waterfall near Lelipang

Day 05: Snorkeling to Mahangetang Underwater Volcano 2 Hours Boat Trip (each way) from Tamako (Depends of how big the engines used)

Mahangetang Underwater Volcano:

Lies at 4-8 meters underwater, only about 300 m off the island of Mahangetang, this underwater volcano offers a magnificent view of water boiling under the sea

  1. Breakfast
  2. By a local motorized small boat, sail to Mahangetang island
  3. Arrive on the Island
  4. We will pay a visit to the “OPO LAO” village head for permission
  5. Enjoy yourself on the crystal clear water, hot water and beautiful coral of the Mahangetang

Mahangetang Islands Area

Underwater volcano, Schools of fish everywhere, Magnificent corals, See shape of volcano, Bubbles and hot water from volcano, Parrot, scorpion, fish, sharks, jack

  1. Lunch will be serve on Beach
  2. We’ll take time to explore this small fisherman village
  3. Late in the afternoon return to Tamako for overnight (B, L, D)

Day 06: Tamako – Lapango – Manganitu – Tahuna

  1. Breakfast
  2. Check out, then we drive you to Lapango (old gold mining complex)
  3. Driving along the coastal roads and villages then to Manganitu village
  4. Lunch enroute
  5. A short trek to the nearby waterfall called Laine at Manganitu village
  6. Arrive in Tahuna, stay overnight at local people house

Day 07: Climb to Mount Awu Crater (whole day activity)

  1. Situated on Sanger Besar Island, mount Awu (1320 m) is still active and it last erupted on 12 August 1966. The Crater Lake is considerably beauty; dark green, light green and white colors are contrast and here we need to report to the Volcanologist Office in Tahuna before climbing
  2. In the afternoon driving down to Enemawira
  3. Stay overnight at the locals

Day 08: Dugong and Snorkeling Trip

  1. A whole day boat trip for swimming, snorkeling , fishing, dolphin and to search the famous Dugong Fish around on the satellite islands of Tahuna
  2. Spend your time also on the beautiful beach of Pananualeng
  3. Overnight at locals at Enemawira village.  (Beach farewell  party)

Day 09: Enemawira – Tahuna – Manado

  1. Leaving Enemawira to Tahuna
  2. Touring around Tahuna, to Kolongan Beach, snorkeling at the harbor site (There is no boat provided)
  3. Late in the afternoon, return to Manado by evening ferry
  4. On the way, enjoy the spectacular plume of Mt. Karangetang with its larva activity

Day 10: Arrive in Manado – Ilo-Ilo jungle trekking

  1. Early in the morning arrive in Manado
  2. Go direct to Ilo-Ilo
  3. Jungle trekking it takes 5-6 hours
  4. Set up the tent
  5. Overnight stay at the tent

Day 11: Ilo-Ilo – Waterfall – Tomohon

  1. Wake up early morning and enjoy the spectacular sunrise and view of Manado Bay and Bunaken Marine Park from the top
  2. Going down to Manado and direct to Kali waterfall
  3. Visit papaya wine home industry at Lota
  4. Tinoor waterfall adventure
  5. Lunch box are provided
  6. Check in at Onong Palace Resort
  7. Dinner
  8. Overnight stay

Day 12: Minahasa Highland

  1. Early morning trekking Mountain Mahawu 1311m above sea level to see spectacular sunrise
  2. We will see the Pitcher Plan Flower/Carnivore Orchid on the top
  3. Visit Local Market at Tomohon where Rats, Dogs, Snakes, Bats are sold as a food
  4. Back to Onong Palace Resort
  5. Breakfast
  6. Visit Bukit Kasih
  7. Natural Hot Spring in Toraget surrounding by the rice field and mountain
  8. Back to Onong Resort
  9. Dinner
  10. Overnight stay

Day 13: Minahasa – Manado

  1. Breakfast
  2. Visit Pagoda
  3. Visit Minahasa traditional house
  4. Lake Linow
  5. Kaaten coconut wood industry
  6. Lake Tondano
  7. Lunch at the lake site of Tondano Lake
  8. Pulutan Traditional ceramics home industry
  9. Visit tofu production at Kinilow
  10. Go direct to Manado
  11. Check in at Minahasa hotel
  12. Farewell Dinner
  13. Overnight stay

Day 14: Manado – Airport

  1. Breakfast
  2. Tour evaluation
  3. Leisure time until transfer to airport
  4. Transfer to airport for your next destination
  5. End of our services

Sulawesi Map, Info and Musea

Sulawesi Map, Info and Musea

Click to Enlarge !

Sulawesi Map, sulawesi, map, celebes,


Car license numbers:
DB: North Sulawesi.
DL: Sangihe Islands, Talaud Islands.
DM: Gorontalo.
DN: Central Sulawesi.
DT: South East Sulawesi.
DD: South Sulawesi.
DC: West Sulawesi.

Sulawesi Tribes

Andio Aralle-Tabulahan  Bahonsuai Bajau, Indonesian Balaesang Balantak Bambam Banggai Bantik Baras Bentong Bintauna  Bobongko Bolango Bonerate Budong-Budong Bugis Bungku Buol Busoa Campalagian Cia-Cia Dakka Dampelas Dondo Duri Enrekang Gorontalo Kaidipang Kaili, Da’a Kaili, Ledo Kaili, Unde Kaimbulawa Kalao Kalumpang Kamaru Kioko Kodeoha Konjo, Coastal Konjo, Highland Koroni Kulisusu Kumbewaha Laiyolo Lasalimu Lauje Lemolang Liabuku Lindu Lolak Maiwa Makasar Malay, Makassar Malay, Manado Malimpung Mamasa Mamuju Mandar Moma Mongondow Mori Atas Mori Bawah Moronene Muna Napu Padoe Pamona Panasuan Pancana Pannei Pendau Ponosakan Rahambuu Rampi Ratahan Saluan, Coastal Saluan, Kahumamahon Sangir Sarudu Sedoa Seko Padang Seko Tengah Selayar Suwawa Tae’ Taje Tajio Talaud Taloki Talondo’ Toala’ Tolaki Tomadino Tombelala Tombulu Tomini Tondano Tonsawang Tonsea Tontemboan Topoiyo Toraja-Sa’dan Totoli Tukang Besi North Tukang Besi South Ulumanda’ Uma Waru Wawonii Wolio Wotu

Sulawesi Info

As the leaves of an orchid in the win – that’s how the fierce peninsula’s of Sulawesi stretch from the Celebes Sea, Moluccan Sea, Banda Sea and Flores Sea. Inside it’s bizarre borders – formed by collisions of ancient continents -, extraordinary landscapes can be found.
The inlands are dominated by the rough, fog covered mountains, tropical rainforests, green rice fields and deep, mysterious lakes. Along the coast, beautiful coral reefs surround the sleeping vulcanoes, which rise from the sea. Remote white sand beaches surrounded by coconut trees and scattered fishery villages are flanked by rough limestone rock layers, which could have been taken directly from a Chinese painting.
On Sulawesi – formerly known as Celebes – lives an astonishing diversity of populations. Along the coasts live fishermen which hunt for sharks, tuna, flying fish, mackerel, squids and another dozen of species. Sailoring and trading populations, mainly the Buginese, Makassarese and Mandarese in the south, are known for their wooden ships with which they even sail as far as Singapore and Australia. The inhabitants of the lowlands cultivate wet and dry rice fields, grow corn, manionk, sago, vegetables, coffee, cacao and clove. Dozens of small groups of inhabitants of the highlands are specialists in ladang-cultivation. Scattered along the coast live the Bajau, which originally lived on boats of which many of them nowadays live on land.
On Sulawesi live Moslems, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and confucianists, as well as supporters of the local religions of which the names are unknown. There are dancers and drummers; weavers of silk sarongs and wealthy ikat; people which process tree bark; ironworkers and construction masters which design houses and ships.
Due to the very long coastal area, Sulawesi never has been an isolated place. For centuries, sailors have maintained connections to the island, through which not only goods, but also ideas, habits and people were transported from India, China, the Middle-East and Europe.
In the 1970’s the foreign tourists ‘discovered’ the colorful ritual life of the Toraja on Sulawesi. But this remarkable culture only contains one part – an important part however – of the complex, always changing mosaic on Sulawesi. This island has a lot to offer for those whith enough time and enthusiasm: from the mysterious megaliths in the Bada Valley to the beautiful coral gardens near Manado.
Saddle roofs and houses on piles
Traditional architecture from Sulawesi share several classical brands, which can also be found in other places in the archipelago. Pile dwellings with saddle-shaped roofs and outward tips, and mural decorations in the form of crossed horns, are widespread over the islands of Southeast-Asia. The imposant form of the Toraja-houses, with their bamboo roofs with wave upward, are clearly related to the constructions of the Toba Batak and Minangkabau on Sumatera.
Inscriptions on Dongson drums from the Bronze Age (around 500 B.C. until 100 A.D.) made on mainland Southeast-Asia and Indonesia, show similar houses and roofs. This are the earliest known images of this kind of buildings, but the style is probably a lot older. But the influence of the Dongson culture, which got much attention from architects earlier, was probably to fragmentary and to scattered to declare the spread of an architectonic construction.
The same style of building can be found further away in Micronesia, an area that didn’t get contact with the Dongson culture during the Bronze Age. New Guinea also has it’s own design of the saddle roof. This all leads to the conclusion that this unique style of building houses came from the early austronesian colonists. Their migration over the islands of Indonesia and the Pacific from the mainland of Southeast Asia started about 6,000 years ago.
Pile dwellings
Almost everywhere in Indonesia pile dwellings can be found: the walls of the Borobudur, dating from the 8th century, shows houses on piles, however a shortage of wood on Jawa and Bali caused houses to be built directly on the ground in the following centuries. On Sulawesi however, this way of construction is preferred, however masonry houses in Javanese style start to appear. Pile dwellings are remarkably cool because of the very good ventilation under the floor and offer protection against heavy rains, animals and robberies.
The second kind of fundamental structure, in which heavy logs support each other in a corner, was characteristic to Central-Sulawesi and was also used in an older and almost gone style of the Sa’dan Toraja houses. This style seems to be classic: it’s imaged on a South-Chinese drum from the Bronze Age. The instrument shows people which store wheat in two sheds with crossed logs.
The Buginese house as microcosmos
Little is kept from the older Buginese architectonical style, mainly because many houses were destroyed in the rumourous 1950’s. Older houses were associated with pagan habits by the then islamic fundamentalists. Formerly there used to be at least three styles, each with it’s own roof-shape: straight, round or saddle. Nowadays a typical Buginese house has a straight roof, which often ends in two raised tips. This can be extensions of the normal roof, sometimes with decorations.
Like elsewhere in Indonesia the house is symbolically divided into three levels: the space under the house – for animals and kitchen-trash – , the floor where the people live and the room of the roof, where the heirlooms are kept. These three levels correspondent with the three levels in Austronesian cosmologies.
Communal houses in the north
Many populations of Sulawesi used to live in huge houses, in which several families lives. They were built on heavy piles and had steep roofs to arrange the irrigation of the downpours. The typical communal house consisted of a wide central room, which gave access to two to up to as much as five separate rooms. Up to ten families could live there, each with their own fire and rice storage. This typical house has long since disappeared however; the style which is ‘traditional’ in Minahasa nowadays, was only developed in the 19th century.
Spectacular Toraja houses
In the highlands of Sulawesi, north of Tana Toraja, some populations built also houses for several families. The To Maki still do it. In Central-Sulawesi there were several styles in the first decades of the 20th century, mostly with steep roof; the tips of the roof were often decorated with woodcarvings. East of Poso you could find several types of temples (lobo) from a traditional religion. The arrival of the Salvation Army did bring much change; none of these constructions has been left.
The most vital and spectacular architectural tradition which is still much used is without doubt that of the Sa’dan Toraja. The nobility still builds magnificent saddle roofs, covered with panels which are painted red, white, black and yellow and are decorated with woodcarvings. New houses have an even bigger extension of the tip of the roof, in which the edge ends in a sharp point. This style, which is now common, used to be characteristic only fot the area around Rantepao. The still kept houses have much more short tip and are also much smaller. Lumberjacks which build these houses nowadays mainly live in Rantepao. This has also lead to a certain standardization in the patterns of the woodcarving on the wall-panels.
At the end of the 1960’s the economical growth in Tana Toraja seems to have turned around the downfall of these buildings. They are seen as an important indication of the social level of a family and as the essential place for performing ceremonies. The new wealth starts to break down the traditional social hierarchies; people that were not allowed to build big houses, can now, due to all regulations, build impressive houses themselves. Much of the money that is used for rebuilding houses, comes from wealthy migrants, which want to raise the prestige of their family.
Silk, iron, bamboo and gold
Sulawesi’s pieces of art are almost all made by hand: from the huge wooden ships, which look like Noah’s Arc, to the very refined earrings which can be found in the Makassar street of gold; from the classically designed ikat fabrics from Galumpang to the simple rattan ricebaskets in Toraja. Just like elsewhere in Indonesia are fabric, metal, wood and bamboo the most important materials.
Refined silk
Sulawesi is known for it’s two very different fabrics: the fine silk from the south – sometimes so fine that you can get it through a golden ring – and the magnificent, heavy ikats from Rongkong and Galumpang.
Silk is made into sarongs by the woman from South-Sulawesi for centuries. Nowadays Sopeng is the center of the silk-culture, due to a project which was started by Japanese help in the 1970’s. Much of the most fine silk threat is still being imported.
The bright colors of the modern Buginese fabrics are very remarkable: organizations of dark colors, blue, green, purple, yellow, in fact every imaginable color. Sometimes you will find a remarkable silk fabric, with ivory-colored squares with thin lines.
In Mandar, which produces the most refined silk in the archipelago, have characteristic designs in small squares, and colors are often more sober than the work of the Buginese: dark red, brown and indigo. As well as among the Buginese the natural dyes have been replaced by aniline, which are much more easy to produce. The Buginese as well as the Mandarese society doesn’t only see sarongs as desired clothing for man and woman, but also as sign for wealth and status. In the last, special designs were reserved to nobility.
Silk is not the fabric for the daily life; silk sarongs are normally only worn at weddings, Islamic days and sometimes during the Friday prayer in the mosque. It’s not uncommon in South-Sulawesi to see a well-dressed couple passing by on a motorbike, dressed in astonishing silk which is in one way or another insensitive for the dust on the road.
All fabrics are made by women. The process is complicated, and the work is heavy. At the other hand, it can be done at home, and people can stop at any moment; weaving is put away in a few seconds. In parts of Mandar, almost every woman wove silk and cotton a century ago. Nowadays it’s more rare: other work brings in more money. Above all it’s, like elsewhere in Indonesia, possible to buy clothes, ready to wear.
Wealthy ikats
In contrary to silk, mainly used for clothing, the cotton ikat-fabrics were made for ceremonial carpets and death cloths. Ikat, ‘teeing together’, means that the pattern in put in the threads before they are being painted. The knitted parts are covered with a fiber which resists pains and the design of the fabric becomes visible.
The magnificent ikats from the river valleys of Rongkong and Galumpang, also traded in in other parts of Sulawesi, were originally used as death cloths. They were used as funeral banners in southern Tana Toraja. Ronkong as well as Galumpang were destroyed in the guerrilla-war from 1951 until 1964, but many of the fabrics were kept in other areas. Nowadays you can see those kind of fabrics in shops in Rantepao and Makassar because the local residents, encouraged by the high prices, sell their once precious family heirlooms. A number of spectacular examples of 19th century fabrics is still kept: this textile ‘radiates power’ by it’s monumental is ion, refined work and it’s ‘warm, orange glow, which looks like that of slacks on a ironworks fire’.
In the Indonesian rituals, fabrics and metal are often related; fabrics are associated with women, metal with men. In the part decoration, amulets and little statues of copper were made in Central-Sulawesi. Nowadays the people don’t know this art anymore. Metal processing still happens in Tana Toraja, where a number of ironsmiths still performs the job with the help of the traditional ‘Malay bellows’. A pair of connected bamboo pipes is ignited from the bottom; the smith is on top and blows the pair of bellows with several valves, which have chicken feathers at the end. Iron has a special historical meaning in this area: nickel-rich iron ore from Malili probably was the base for the scale of the kingdom of Luwu’.
Elegant silver sirih-boxes from the 18th and 19th century and the fine silver caming which are worn by young girls, are still available to buy in the gold-and silver shops along Jl. Somba Opu in Makassar, aThe craftsmanship is excellent.
Gold, most valued of all metals, is used in poems as the highest product. Village women wear it whenever it’s possible; in the past this was only for the nobility. Earlier, gold was often mixed with equal parts of silver. Modern copies in silver from Kendari can be bought in Jl. Somba Opu; refined earrings, hair pins and bracelets in gold or silver.
Bamboo and making baskets
Bamboo is used for storage and transport everywhere. They vary from a just chopped green piece of bamboo full with foaming tuak to a blackened tobacco pot, decorated with fine bamboo works and a hand-cut wooden top.
Baskets are made everywhere, but the best come from Tana Toraja. Women wear the traditional Toraja-basket, the bamboo-baka, with a woven belt around the head; the basket is supported by the back. Another ‘classical thing’ is the cone-shaped bamboo hat of the Toraja woman. Very fine woven and a wanted souvenir as well.
Islam, Christianity and adat
However the majority of the population is currently Moslem, the Portuguese and Spanish spice traders – and their catholic priests – had important relations with the states at the western coast and in the north in the 16th century. In the second half of that century, several local rulers in Siang (at the western coast), Siau, Manado and Kaidipan were baptized together with thousands of followers. In most areas such conversions were short-lived, especially after the Portuguese captain from Ternate (on neighboring Maluku) had killed the sultan there in 1570. The anti-Portuguese crusade, started by the son of the sultan, caused Gorontalo, Buton, Banggai and other parts of Sulawesi were converted to Islam.
According to legends, Islam was introduced on South-Sulawesi in 1603 by three holy mand from Minangkabau on Sumatera. After they had converted the ruling elite of the Luwu’ and Makassar, they went ahead in the southern Buginese kingdoms, among them Bone. In 1611 they had moved all the rulers of South-Sulawesi to support Islam, accept those of Toraja. Islam was (as well as Christianity) known much earlier in the south. Malaysian Islamic traders lived in the south ever since the 15th century, however South-Sulawesi was one of the few meeting points in the trade network between the islands where Islam wasn’t officially supported.
Islamic conversions in the early 17th century were radical, but didn’t always happen peacefully. A report describes the obligation of the first royal mosque in South-Sulawesi: on the evening before the first Friday prayer (the most holy time of the week) the prince of Gowa slaughtered a pig and spread blood all over the mosque. This deed is seen as sacrilege of the worst kind and was ironically done to get back to pre-Islamic dedicational rites, in which blood of bigs is put on people and objects. In Bone and Sopeng there was a strong opposition from the royals against the new religion; Islam finally entered Gowa with the tip of the sword.
Nowadays, 80 percent of the population is Islamic. It’s the islam of the Sunnite tradition with some sji’itic remains, like the festivities around Maulud, the birthday of the prophet. In all Buginese, Makassarese and Mandarese areas in the south, Kaili, Donggala, Palu and Tolitoli along the western coast, Gorontalo in the north and Buton in the southeast, the domes of mosques can be seen everywhere. The monotone call for prayer wakes every villager and city worker before dawn every single day.
Islam on Sulawesi was and is still remarkably flexible. This doesn’t mean that it’s not very serious, or that the followers aren’t strict; even the revolt which started in the 1950’s, was put in fierce islamic words. But the muslems on Sulawesi have found ways to combinate their Islamic devotion with local habits, related to ancestors and the spirits of the earth, the rice and sea, a long time ago. These combinations can be seen in numerous actions: from the boat blessings to the esotherian recitals of transvestite bissu-priests; from the magical power of the Thursday evening (malam Jum’at) and formula’s for witchcraft, to the use of ask for favors at the graves of Islamic holy persons or ancestors.
Church towers
The substantial Christian population on Sulawesi (17 percent is protestant, two percent is catholic) is concentrated in the North (Minahasa and the archipelago’s of Talaud and Sangihe), in the district of Poso, and in the southern highlands of Tana Toraja, where a fast conversion process took place soon after the independence of Indonesia. Most cities know Christian minorities.
The north, where the European presence has a long history, only came under complete Dutch rule after 1800, at that time, the big conversions to protestantism took place. This conversion was strengthened by the spread of schools: at the end of the century there was a school for every 1,000 people in Minahasa, while on Jawa, there was a school for every 50,000 schools. However the protestant church has the majority, there are nowadays dozens of other sects and churches. Not all of the north is Christian: the population of Gorontalo and Mongondow is almost entirely Islamic; the last has only adopted Islam in the 19th century.
Many missionaries, varying from the reformed church to the Salvation Army have been active in Central-Sulawesi since the 19th century. Christianity later came to Tana Toraja, where the first reformed missionary was killed in 1917; his followers showed more passion with the traditional rituals. While the ritual live nowadays still blooms and has public attention, the protestant and catholic church are still working on discussions about their relation with local religion and habits.
Sea Gypsies
One of Sulawesi’s interesting groups are the Bajau, formerly known as ‘sea gypsies’. For centuries they have had a nomadic life on board of little, wide boats. The Bajau are in fact one of the groups which have settled on the coasts of the Riau- and Lingga archipelago, along the coasts of Borneo and the eastern coast of Sulawesi. The origin of this sailing population is still unknown. Since the time that the history about Sulawesi is written down, the Bajau were always somewhere related to the Makassarese and Buginese centers of power. The name Bajau (‘Bojo’ in Buginese) probably originated from ajo, one of the semi-independent stated in the neighborhood of Bone and Luwu’.
As profound sailors and gatherers of sea products – especially sea cucumber (tripang) and turtle shields -, the Bajau managed to supply many of Sulawesi’s export products for trade with China. Traditionally they spent their entire lives on boats, looking down on the people who lived on the mainland. They traded with them for fabrics, food and other elementary goods.
Like many formerly nomadic populations, the Bajau are currently curfewed by the government, competition of big industries and international agreements on fishery. Many of them have merged with the populations on the mainland, but several groups still live on and around the Banggai Islands like the about 1,000 people which are moored off the coast of the islands outside Teluk Kendari in South-Sulawesi. Fishing and collecting are still their source of existence for these last semi-nomadic Bajau. Their beautiful ships are just off the coast.
East of the Line of Wallace
The well-known 19th century ecologist Alfred Russell Wallace discovered that the Indonesian archipelago is inhabited by two different groups of animals. ‘Wallace Line’ (1876), as this border is still called, runs from between Bali and Lombok and Borneo and Sulawesi. Birds and mammals on these island are remarkably different, however they are not separated by an important natural border. For botanist the line is less clear: the plants on Sulawesi seem to be closely related with those on other dry parts in the archipelago.
The little that is known from the prehistoric animal life comes from fossils, excavated in river sediments in South-Sulawesi. The findings conclude a huge turtle, a small elephant and a giant wild pig. They look like elephants, but have bent teeth which grow close to each other. TIt is suggested that they swam from the Lesser Sunda Islands to Sulawesi.
These animals have extinct several thousands of years ago, but nowadays Sulawesi is still known for it’s special fauna. Of the 127 local species of mammals, 79 can only be found on this island. The score gets even more remarkable (98 percent) when you don’t count the 45 species of bats. In comparison: only 18 percent of Borneo’s mammals is endemic. The birds on Sulawesi are less characteristic, but still very exceptional: 34 percent of the species cannot be found elsewhere; after New-Guinee this is the highest percentage in Asia.
Special mamals
The biggest mammal on Sulawesi is the dwarl buffalo or anoa. There are two species: one in the mountains with smooth horns (Bubalus quarleri), and a lowlander with rough horns (Bubalus depressicornis). Some villages have dwarf buffalo’s in captivity, but you can better stay away from them. However they look like a small version of the friendly water buffalo, they are aggressive and unpredictable; they are feared by the local population. Anoa’s usually live a solitary life, but do share their source of water.
The most odd mammal of Sulawesi is probably the mysterious babiroesa (Babyrousa babyrussa): the deer pig. The upper corner teeth of the male start growing normal, but later turn upwards, until they pierce the skin and curl towards the skull. These teeth are used in fights with other males. Babiroesa’s were used to be kept by former rulers and were maybe given as a gift. Probably the Buginese traders brought it to Bali, where they have probably enspired the demonic raksasa-masks. Interesting is that the Babiroesa, which doesn’t have split feet, is seen as halal by the local muslems, and can be eaten.
Nice birds and giant reptiles
The most remarkable of the 88 species of birds which only exsist on Sulawesi are the dark green bee-eater (Meropogon forsteni), the brightly colored Rhyticeros cassidix, the Celebes sparrow (basilornis celebensis), the whitenecket sparrow (Streptocitta albicollis) with it’s long tail, the black and white Celebes crow (Scissirostrum dubium) which nests in the holes which are picked in dead trees. Several spiecies are rare. The blue ayutrichomyas rowleyi from the Sangihe Islands could have been extinct recently because forest, it’s habitat, has almost completely vanished in favour of coconut plantations. The most remarkable bird is the maleo-bird (Macrocephalon maleo). He breeds his eggs in small mountains heated by the sun, warm sources or volcanic cracks. The biggest snake in the world can also be found on Sulawesi: the ten meter long python. Seacrocodiles used to be common along the entire coast, as well as in rivers and lakes. Only several decades ago the river villages had to be protected from these scavengers by firm pillaging. In local stories the crocodiles are often connected with the ancestors and are treated with respect because of this.
Threatened fish and cave-residents
Several of the most remarkable animals live around the high lakes, like Danau Matana, Danau Towuti, Danau Mahalona and Danau Wawontoa. From the sixty kinds of snails, lobster-like and fish, which are unique in these waters, there is only one, a shrimp, which lives in all four of them. Each lake seems to have developed it’s own fauna. Danau Poso and Danau Lindu both have representatives in a group of fish which is unknown outside Sulawesi. Unfortunately fish from other parts of Indonesia are introduced because of fishery, without calculating the risks to the local varieties of fish. Some of them have become rare or have even extinct by now.
Sulawesi has big limestone areas in the environment of Bantimurung (near Maros), between Danau Matana and Danau Towuti and southeast of Danau Towuti. Most of these areas have many caves, of with some of them are the longest in Indonesia. Most can be visited without special equipment until a certain depth. The cave residents which you encounter are swallows and salanganes (Collocalia esculenta), and a diversity of bats; there are also cockroaches, nightmare-like spiders, great scorpions and crickets with giant antennae. Not too long ago, an unknown spiecies of blind shrimp has been found in the caves of Bantimurung, which should have been there long enough to adapt to the dark.
Coconut thieves and sea turtles
The sandbeaches of Sulawesi are used as breeding place by four different seaturtles. The biggest is the leather turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). It has a dark brown, rugged shield of sometimes 2,5 meters long and can weight up to 1000 kilograms. It’s a powerful swimmer, which can maintain a body temperature which is 18 degrees higher than the water temperature. Individual animals move over great distances; however their action radius is limited to tropical regions, some of them have been found at the north pole.
A report of Sulawesi’s exotics would not be complete without a description of the famous coconut thieve (Birgus latro). This animal used to be widespread, but only lives on Sulawesi on small – preferably untouched – islands. What is remarkable about this lobster is the legendary inventively of collecting food. The stories go that the animal runs into a coconut tree with speed, cuts of the juicy fruit and throws it on the ground so it breaks.
Spiced rat and buffalo cheese
Travelers probably arrive in the capital of South-Sulawesi, Makassar, a city which is known throughout entire Indonesia for it’s fish and seafood. Lobsters, shrimps, octopus and crabs are roasted on charcoal here and served with rice and a sauce of fresh hot Spanish peppers. Bandeng (milkfish) or baronang (rabbit fish) – loved by foreigners because it doesn’t have much fishbone – is freshly grilled and dipped into a sweet-hot sauce, an unforgettable meal. Poaching, called pallumara in Makassarese, is another delicious method of preparing fish.
Makassar is also known for it’s dish that’s named coto Mankasara: a spicy boiled dish of shopped buffalo intestines with a tip of fresh lemon and pepper sauce. It’s normally only eaten in the morning with steamed rice.
The unique specialty of the district Enrekang is dangke, a cheese from buffalo milk, which is sometimes eaten fried. East- and Southeast-Asian cultures don’t use much diary products; buffalo milk cheese is an exception.
Hot rat
The mostly Christian Minahasa people from North-Sulawesi don’t seem to like any dish without much additional cabe or Spanish peppers. Each dish with the words rica-rica in it’s name is probably overloaded with a mixture of hot peppers, tomato, onions, garlicky and ginger. What brands the local kitchen is dishes that aren’t completely ‘clean’, among them wild rat, bats and of course pork. “RW” is a nickname for dog.
There are dishes for all kinds of tasted. Try the very nice pork sate, roasted on charcoal, or baked ikan mas, which is eaten with a sauce of pepper, onion and lemon; this dish is locally known as dabu-dabu. Even more nice (though uncommon in restaurants) is the boiled tuna (cakalang fufu), baked or boiled in coconut milk.
Another popular dish in Manado is tinutuan or bubur Manado, a thick spicy rice porridge with vegetables and pieces of fried fish. Milu, a very clear, somewhat sour soup made from corn, small shrimps, Spanish peppers, lemon and other tasteful additives, comes from Gorontalo west of Manado.
Tropical fruit paradise
On Sulawesi you can find banana’s in all kinds of shapes and sized, varying from the small pisang lilin (candle banana) to the big pisang tunduk (baking banana), which are consumed in different ways: raw, baked in pastry, boiled in a sweet coconut mix or like chips.
There are many fruit: the sweet jeruk siompu from Buton and limung cina from Manado are very nice. Jeruk panas (air jeruk, jeruk peres or jeruk nipis), mixed with boiled water and a lot of sugar is a nice drink even on a warm day. Markisa or passionfruit juice, available in bottles tastes wonderfull with gin.
Other local specialties are manggis, the huge nangka with it’s rough skin, and the hairy red rambutan (related to the lychee). Exotic creations like the palmyra fruit (lontar), the salak, papaya, mango, starfruit and guave fill this impressive series. And then there is the durian. In April, the climax of the durian-season, you will find stands along the road, all selling them. The odor and looks are hard to miss. You should approach it without prejustice and don’t stop too soon, you should learn to eat it.
Sulawesi’s imposing armada
The Buginese prahu probably formed the most impressive fleet of wooden trading ships in the world. Nowadays an estimated 800 of these ships are involved in the trade of wood from Kalimantan to Jawa, varying in weight from 120 to 200 tons. In the seaport of Sunda Kelapa in Jakarta, you can find as many as 200 pinisi, while Peotere, the seaport of Makassar, is full with smaller boats: ambo-boats from Buton which transport copra; pinisi with one mast which can unload timber wood from Kalimantan; motorboats from neighboring islands, loaded with passengers and vegetables and boats from remote islands which transport dried fish.
The days that the big sail-schooners transported their merchandize all over the archipelago and even stopped at small harbors have gone. Most pinisi nowadays travel between Kalimantan and Kawa with lumber as their freight. It’s still possible to see several of these ships loaded with petroleum, cement and some household products, although these boats are usually going to the outer islands. With several exceptions all boats have been motorized: the last of the real prahu pinisi of Surabaya, which only sailed, sank in 1987.
The century of the trade
When western pioneers and merchants contacted the archipelago in the 16th century, the prahu from South-Sulawesi sailed all the way to Malacca at the coast of West-Malaysia. The Portuguese apothecary Tome Pires wrote in 1515 in Malacca that the Buginese-Makassarese merchants ‘come in their well-built pajalas. They bring a lot of food: very white rice, they bring some gold. They take back fabrics from Cambay and big amounts of black raisin and incense’.
Sea maps from the 18th and 19th century show routes as far as Indo-China and Birma. Allowance to sail and other rights from kingdoms of South-Sulawesi, dating from the early 18th century, give fixed cost for freight and passengers to Malacca in the west, Cambodia in the north, and even far to the east: Papua New-Guinea.
In 1792 the English merchant captain Forrest told:’I saw fifteen pinisi at the same time in Bengkulu (along the western coast of Sumatera) 25 years ago, loaded with a mixed freight of spices, wax, cassia, sandel-wood and fabrics from Celebes’. Early European colonists at the northern coast of Australis were astonished when they saw Buginese and Makassarese prahu, which gathered seacucumber around the coasts of Australia, often with the help of the robust Bajau, the ‘sea nomads’. These goods were sold to Chinese merchants in Makassar. Even now several boats are cought which fish in Australian waters illegally. The men maintain a centuries-old tradition of hunting down seas on the coastal plateau of Australia. In the 19th century a fleet of 800 prahu padewakeng sailed from Bodu on the Moluccan Aru Islands to Singapore and returned with a wealth of goods, among them cotton fabrics, gold dust, birds nests, turtle shields, feathers, tripang, sandel-wood, coffee and rice. The future raja of Sarawak, James Brooke, wrote in his diary: ‘The profits for the Buginese are usually made on the return trip; it mainly consists of weapons, gunpowder, opium and cotton’.
The trade routes from the past centuries were decided by monsoons. In March, ad the end of the wet season, the ships used the decreasing western winds to sail to the eastern part of the archipelago, where they picked up local products. In April, when the eastern monsoon started to build up, these goods were brought to places along the coast of Jawa, Kalimantan and Sumatera and traded for other goods. Upon return of the western monsoon in September, the sailors went home, to moor their ships during the stormy months of December and January.

Sulawesi 7 Musea

North Sulawesi
* Manado Wanua Paksinata North Sulawesi Provincial Museum
Central Sulawesi
* Palu Central Sulawesi Provincial Museum
* Kaili Souraja Museum
West Sulawesi
South Sulawesi
* Luwu Batara Guru Museum
* Sungguminasa Balla Lompoa Museum
* Makkasar Museum La Galigo Fort Rotterdam
South East Sulawesi
* Buton Palace Museum

Manado Wanua Paksinata North Sulawesi Provincial Museum

Museum Negeri Manado

There are several replica waruga (ancient burial tombs used by early Minahasan tribes), in the entranceway and in the garden area in front of the museum. If you don’t get a chance to see the real tombs located in Airmadidi, then this surely would be a good opportunity to view these unusual shaped stone sarcophagi.

The building itself is spread out and involves a bit of stair climbing, but is easiest tackled by heading left once you enter then up to the 2nd and 3rd floors, across, and then back down again. The displays are scattered amongst each floor in no particular pattern or chronological order so it’s best to scout around to find something that is of interest to you.

Our children particularly liked the Marriage costumes from the various regions of North Sulawesi with their colorful backdrops.

The displays that caught my attention were the small Dutch and Portuguese cannons on the top floor, along with some very striking ceramic pots and plates dug up in the Sulawesi region. Most are of Chinese origin, which pays testament to the communities of Chinese who made North Sulawesi their home over the ages.

Unfortunately nothing is dated so it is difficult to get a grasp of how old any of the pieces in the Museum may be.

Just before reaching the entranceway again, a display of weaving is eye catching. The vivid colours of the ikats are striking and the banana tree bark clothing was also interesting.

The entrance fee for the Museum is 1,000 rupiah per adult and 250 rupiah per child but donations are also encouraged. Given that other forms of funding for the Museum seems limited, any spare rupiah you might have, would probably be appreciated.

Submitted by: Louise Lane

Palu Central Sulawesi Provincial Museum

The Central Sulawesi Museum which has a collection of items of historic and cultural interest. Models and samples illustrate the way of life of the peoples inhabiting the province. The Museum also displays the traditional style of architecture of Central Sulawesi. It is located on Jalan Safari, about
two kilometers from Palu’s center.

Kaili Souraja Museum

The Souraja Museum is located in Kaili. This Museum is a former king’s palace and contains the royal heir looms.Souraja are the big houses of the nobility. Such houses were usually built on the beach and were inhabited by descendants of Bugis nobility from South Sulawesi. The Bugis people, being sailors and merchants, settled along the beaches and their descendants followed their examples. The houses are built on platforms. Their pillars are made of ulin iron wood. The front and back parts are covered with beautiful painted wooden board. In front of the stairs, a water pot is always put to wash the feet before entering the houses.

Lonta Karafana,is the front room of a souraja house. This is where guests are received. Lonta Tatangana is the middle room, the back room is called Lonta Larana. These spaces are separated by walls and are used as sleeping quarters for the family. The women are given the back room.

A Tambi house, is a typical mountain dwelling and belongs to the to Bada people, living in South Lore.
Its roof is made of dopi, split bamboo. Palu fiber or thatch are put on top of it.
A Tambi house must face the sun. The stairs must be short. The granary is called Gampiri or Buho .

Makkasar Museum La Galigo Fort Rotterdam

One of the eleven fortresses of the kingdom, it was built in 1545 during the reign of Tuni Pallanga, the 10th sultan of Gowa. When Gowa capitulated to the colonial forces under the treaty of Bungaya in 1667, the fort was renamed Rotterdam by Admiral Speelman who constructed bastions and buildings of typical Dutch architecture making it the center of the civilian government, including a church on its premises. One of the best preserved forts of that area, only the thick walls of earth and stones remain of the original complex, now occupied by educational and cultural offices of the provincial government. The two buildings house the Ujung Pandang State Museum, exhibiting archaeological and historical objects, manuscripts, numismatics, ceramics and ethnic costumes and ornaments. Visiting hours of the museum are from 8.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m. daily except on Mondays and public holidays. The fort itself is open daily till 17.00 p.m. Dedicated as a center of culture, the Conservatory of Dance and Music is located here and on the open stage in the center of the fort, dance classes for children can be seen in progress.

Sungguminasa Balla Lompoa Museum

Formerly the seat of the kings of Gowa, about 11 km. from Ujung Pandang is the old palace of wood, standing on stilts facing the town square across the administration office. Now the Ballalompoa Museum, weapons and costumes of royalty are on display in glass cases. The royal regalia which includes a stone studded gold crown weighing 1769 grams can be seen only on special request.

Luwu Batara Guru Museum

Founded at the Luwu king palace so called Andi Djemma. This museum keep the number of description and collections which will be able to add your knowledge about of Luwu empire and also South Sulawesi.
Location : Batupasi Countryside

Buton Palace Museum

Baubau, on Buton Island, is the most attractive town in Southeast Sulawesi. Baubau is set on the water’s edge at the southern entrance of the Buton Strait. 2 kilometres from the city, on the hill sits the former fortress and palace of the ruler of Buton. Here you can see Wolio battle fort, Wolio museum, war equipment, 17th century mosque, the Sultan Murhum grave.

– Toraja Maps and Pictures

Toraja Maps and Pictures

Click to Enlarge !


Toraja Map, toraja, makassar, tanah toraja, rantepao, pare pare, lake tempe,

 Click to Enlarge !

Toraja Map, toraja, makassar, tanah toraja, rantepao, pare pare, lake tempe, makaletraditional village, burial, tonkonan, tau tau,

Toraja Info

The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja (“Land of Toraja”). Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk (“the way”). The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as Aluk To Dolo (“Way of the Ancestors”).
The word toraja comes from the Bugis language’s to riaja, meaning “people of the uplands”. The Dutch colonial government named the people Toraja in 1909.Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days.
Before the 20th century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity.
Religions: Protestant: 65%, Catholic: 177%, Islam: 6% and Torajan Hindu (Aluk To Dolo): 6%.
When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had changed significantly, from an agrarian model — in which social life and customs were outgrowths of the Aluk To Dolo—to a largely Christian society.
Funeral rites
In Toraja society, the funeral ritual is the most elaborate and expensive event. The richer and more powerful the individual, the more expensive is the funeral. In the aluk religion, only nobles have the right to have an extensive death feast. The death feast of a nobleman is usually attended by thousands and lasts for several days. A ceremonial site, called rante, is usually prepared in a large, grassy field where shelters for audiences, rice barns, and other ceremonial funeral structures are specially made by the deceased family. Flute music, funeral chants, songs and poems, and crying and wailing are traditional Toraja expressions of grief with the exceptions of funerals for young children, and poor, low-status adults.
The ceremony is often held weeks, months, or years after the death so that the deceased’s family can raise the significant funds needed to cover funeral expenses.Torajans traditionally believe that death is not a sudden, abrupt event, but a gradual process toward Puya (the land of souls, or afterlife). During the waiting period, the body of the deceased is wrapped in several layers of cloth and kept under the tongkonan. The soul of the deceased is thought to linger around the village until the funeral ceremony is completed, after which it begins its journey to Puya.
Another component of the ritual is the slaughter of water buffalo. The more powerful the person who died, the more buffalo are slaughtered at the death feast. Buffalo carcasses, including their heads, are usually lined up on a field waiting for their owner, who is in the “sleeping stage”. Torajans believe that the deceased will need the buffalo to make the journey and that they will be quicker to arrive at Puya if they have many buffalo. Slaughtering tens of water buffalo and hundred of pigs using a machete is the climax of the elaborate death feast, with dancing and music and young boys who catch spurting blood in long bamboo tubes. Some of the slaughtered animals are given by guests as “gifts”, which are carefully noted because they will be considered debts of the deceased’s family.
There are three methods of burial: the coffin may be laid in a cave or in a carved stone grave, or hung on a cliff. It contains any possessions that the deceased will need in the afterlife. The wealthy are often buried in a stone grave carved out of a rocky cliff. The grave is usually expensive and takes a few months to complete. In some areas, a stone cave may be found that is large enough to accommodate a whole family. A wood-carved effigy, called tau tau, is usually placed in the cave looking out over the land. The coffin of a baby or child may be hung from ropes on a cliff face or from a tree. This hanging grave usually lasts for years, until the ropes rot and the coffin falls to the ground.
There are three main types of affiliation in Toraja society: family, class and religion.
Family is the primary social and political grouping in Torajan society. Each village is one extended family, the seat of which is a traditional Torajan house. Each tongkonan has a name, which becomes the name of the village. The familial dons maintain village unity. Marriage between distant cousins (fourth cousins and beyond) is a common practice that strengthens kinship. Toraja society prohibits marriage between close cousins (up to and including the third cousin)—except for nobles, to prevent the dispersal of property.
Kinship is actively reciprocal, meaning that the extended family helps each other farm, share buffalo rituals, and pay off debts.
Each person belongs to both the mother’s and the father’s families, children, therefore, inherit household affiliation from both mother and father, including land and even family debts. Children’s names are given on the basis of kinship, and are usually chosen after dead relatives.
Before the start of the formal administration of Toraja villages by the Tana Toraja Regency, each Toraja village was autonomous. Relationship between families was expressed through blood, marriage, and shared ancestral houses (tongkonan), practically signed by the exchange of buffalo and pigs on ritual occasions.
Class affiliation
In early Toraja society, family relationships were tied closely to social class. There were three strata: nobles, commoners, and slaves (slavery was abolished in 1909 by the Dutch East Indies government). Class was inherited through the mother. It was taboo, therefore, to marry “down” with a woman of lower class. On the other hand, marrying a woman of higher class could improve the status of the next generation.
Nobles, who were believed to be direct descendants of the descended person from heaven, lived in tongkonans, while commoners lived in less lavish houses (bamboo shacks called banua). Slaves lived in small huts, which had to be built around their owner’s tongkonan. Commoners might marry anyone, but nobles preferred to marry in-family to maintain their status. Commoners and slaves were prohibited from having death feasts. Wealth was counted by the ownership of water buffaloes.
Slaves in Toraja society were family property. Sometimes Torajans decided to become slaves when they incurred a debt, pledging to work as payment. Slaves could be taken during wars, and slave trading was common. Slaves could buy their freedom, but their children still inherited slave status. Slaves were prohibited from wearing bronze or gold, carving their houses, eating from the same dishes as their owners, or having sex with free women—a crime punishable by death.

Tongkonan Layuk Lion Eco Resort

At an altitude of 300 meters with views across to a huge mountain range, the Tongkonan Layuk Lion eco accommodation is a real traditional Torajanese clan house with a massive roof shaped like a ship’s prow, which belongs to a rural, but cozy village. Inside however, the traditional Tongkonan has been furnished to the highest standards to provide the perfect blend of tradition and comfort.

The orchid-shaped island of Sulawesi (Celebes) has a dramatic and rugged landscape with shimmering blue mountains, limestone hills and deep blue bays. At the crossroads of several historical sea lanes, the island was formerly a strategic trading port with the seafaring Bugies dominating the southern tip and the Toraja – with a culture based on animism – guarding the mountains to the north.

This ancient culture has been little affected by modern tourism and today Tana Toraja offers the visitor fascinating glimpses of a people whose unique customs and rituals have survived for centuries, and who, according to their mythology, are descendants of celestial beings from heaven.

The Tongkonan Layuk Lion eco lodge is the first first-class traditional house in Toraja. The two suites have Balinese style bathrooms and balconies facing the traditional Tongkonan village. Toraja handicrafts have been used to great effect in the suite, and it has international standard amenities.

There is a trekking in the surrounding hills, wild-water rafting on the nearby Sa’dan River and nice tours in Torajaland, which you can book directly at the Tongkonan.

Set high in the mountains amid rice fields, rolling hills and forest, Tongkonan Layuk Lion offers a heaven of retreat from city life – a perfect blend of tradition and comfort during your holiday in wonderful Torajaland.

Tongkonan-Layuk-Lion-01On the 


Road from Makassar to Toraja



Imperial Hotel in Makassar
“The best Europian food in the world”

Traditional boatbuilding near Pare Pare



Lots of shells to buy on the coastroad

Nearly all the houses are on stilts(Buginese style

The Landscape look as Bali,
but than on one thousand meter above sealevel,
Sawa’s in the mountains…








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Toraja Toraja

Tau Tau

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Toraja houses,called Tonkonan



From Toraja back to Makassar




Proposed World Heritage

Toraja South Sulawesi

nature reserve, proposed world heritage, tanah toraja

nature reserve, proposed world heritage, tanah toraja


Date of Submission: 19/10/1995
Category: Cultural
Submission prepared by:
Directorate General for Culture
South Sulawesi
Ref.: 290

The Tana Toraja Traditional Village is located in the Tana Toraja Regency in South Sulawesi. The traditional settlement consists of the Traditional Houses of Kete Kesu, Pala Toke, Buntu Kana, and Buntu Pune.

The Tana Torajan People can be traced to the great migration of population and belong to the Proto Malays, like the Batak Tribe in North Sumatra, and the Dayaks in Kalimantan.

The Toraja area was surveyed by Dutch Jesuits, namely Kruyt and Adriani at the end of the nineteenth century, mainly in terms of anthropology and linguistics. It was these researchers who first called the tribe the Torajans.

For the Torajans themselves, the word comes from “Toraa” or “Toraya”. The syllable “To” means ‘people’, and “raa” means ‘inexpensive’ so as a word, “Toraa” means people who are Generous or Loving. The syllable “raya” means ‘great’, and thus the word “Toraya” means Great or Respected people.

Meanwhile, the Dutch called the tribe “Toriaja” which means the Mountain Tribe. The word Toriaja survives as the current incarnation of “Toraja” and the indigenous names are not widely known.

The property meets following criteria for inscription onto the World Heritage List:
1. As an outstanding example of traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture, especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
2. Has exerted a great influence over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world on developments in architecture, monumental arts or town planning and landscape design.
3. Is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding significance.
4. Meet the test of authenticity in its design, material, workmanship or setting and in the case of cultural landscapes their distinctive character and components.

In July 2000, it was nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List by the Government of Indonesia. The site has already been evaluated by an ICOMOS representative and the final decision will be made at the next World Heritage Committee Meeting in December 2001.

During the 23rd to the 28th of April 2001, a Regional Global Strategy Meeting on World Heritage Nomination will also be held in Tana Toraja with 8 South East Asian Countries participating. Discussions will be held on a more coherent regional policy towards the nominations of sites and how new categories such as serial nominations, mixed sites and cultural landscapes can be utilized.