Tana Toraja has a specific and unique funeral ceremony which is called Rambu Solo. In Tana Toraja, dead body is not buried, but it is put in Tongkonan for several times, even can be more than ten years until the family have enough money to held the ceremony. After ceremony, the dead body is brought to the cave or to the wall of the mountain. The skulls show us that the dead body is not buried but just put on stone or ground, or put in the hole.The funeral festival season begins when the last rice has been harvested, usually in late June or July, and lasts through to September.
- By Air
Directly from Hasanuddin airport, Makassar or Ujung Pandang, proceed to TANA TORAJA through the airport of Rantetayo, near Makle, 24 km south of Rantepao and there is a bus service to town.
- By Land
Buses to Rantepao from Ujung Pandang leave daily from Ujung Pandang. The journey takes 8 hours and includes a meal stop. Tickets should be bought in town but coaches actually leave from Panaikan bus terminal, 20 minutes out of town by bemo. Coaches typically leave in the morning ( 7 am ), noon ( 1 pm ) and at night ( 7 pm).
Several companies in Rantepao run buses back to Ujung Pandang with the departure time and prices. The number of buses each day depends on the number of passengers.
Where to Stay
who wants to stay in the heart of the city has many choices since there
is lot of hotels available. Or if you had an adventurous soul, you can
sleep in villages on the way.
Bemo is the best way to get to know the locals, besides chartered vehicles (minibuses and Jeeps) with or without driver. While you are in the village you can take a walk to move around.
Other Things to See or Do
- Exploring the market; You should not to be missed going to the traditional market. Here you can get the top end of Torajan coffee beans [like Robusta and Arabica]. And several local veggies, fruits [Tamarella or Terong Belanda and gold fish [ikan mas].
- Visit Batu Tumonga Plateu; It means stone that facing to the sky. From here can be seen many volcanic stones comes up in between padi fields. And, several giant stones became cave graveyard. The views is pretty awesome. The huge of Tana Toraja [Toraja land] looks so lush and greenery. Like a patchwork in gradation hue of green color
- Palawa is an excellent village to visit a Tongkonan, or a burial place still swarming with celebrations and festivals.
- Take a side trip from Rantepao to Kete, a traditional village with excellent handicraft shops. Behind the village on a hillside is a grave site with lifesize statues guarding over old coffins
Most of the times, you can't eat at these locations; however more warung and restaurants appear along the road. You can also bring your own foods and drinks.
There is a souvenirs shop where you can buy everything specific from Tana Toraja. There are clothes, bags, wallets and other handicrafts.
- Visitor are expected to adhere to local dress customs and to bring a token present, such as cigarettes or coffee whenever entered Tongkonan.
- As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use a jeep or walk, even when the weather is good (between May and October).
- Beware with your head whenever going inside to Tongkonan, The Torajan traditional house.
- Enrekang, Makale and Toraja Higland are surrounded by astonishing volcanic rocky cliffs. Do not miss it , just stop and take picture for awhile and you will not regret.