Saturday, January 3, 2015

Makassar, South Sulawesi

I arrived in Makassar on a gloomy day after a flight from Jakarta which took 2 hours. It was a smooth flight considering that it was days after that devastating disappearance of an Airasia flight in Java sea due to bad weather condition. The whole country was mourning as the whole world watches. But despite of the scary thing that happened, everything still goes on so I continued to my destination even with a little apprehension. After arriving, I was greeted by non-stop drizzling on my way to my first destination. I stopped by at Taman Nasional Bantimurung just at the same time when the drizzling stopped. I had sometime to walk around the park and look at the stream that leads to a sort of rapids down to were the part of the stream were people could swim. There was a small museum about butterflies and two other butterfly sanctuaries where you can walk in to see caterpillars and butterflies.
Hello from 38,000 feet aboard Garuda Indonesia

The rain started to pour while I was on my way to Lean Lean, it's a cave filled with artifact engraved on its walls. I had to skip this place because of the non stop rain so instead I headed to the city so I could check in to my hotel. I stayed at Hotel Aryaduta which is strategically located near Pantai Losari and the shopping district. (Do take note that their shopping district meant stores that sells jewelries and a few souvenir shops).
Taman Nasional Bantimurung, Makassar

Along Pantai Losari, you will see a mosque located just right on the coastline in the area. The park itself has a lot of the letter statues such as MAKASSAR, Bugis and PANTAI LOSARI which has become an attraction there. Along the streets, you will find sellers of a banana dish called Pisang Epe (Grilled Banana). It is dipped in brown sugar syrup mixed with either chocolate, condensed milk or grated cheese. Trying this food was probably the highlight of my Day 1. Absolutely delicious.

On the next day I travelled to Malino, it's a 2.5-hour drive from Makassar and is situated on the highlands which gives the place its cool weather. It was raining when I left Makassar until I reached the town of Malino. There were three places I visited in Malino, the Takapala Waterfalls, the horse riding park and Malino Highlands, a tea plantation co-owned by a Japanese company and the local government. But since it was raining the entire day, I did not get to see much except rain and fog. The plan of staying for a night in Malino was abrupted and I had to return to Makassar. Upon reaching Makassar, it was time to reward myself with a local dish called Mie Titi. Any Filipino who reads Mie Titi will definitely give a smirk and probably laugh hysterically as titi in Tagalog mean penis. Although it's not really funny but the Filipino humor will definitely get to you upon reading it. Later on I checked in at a different hotel called Hotel Santika and it is still within the city center. I fell asleep raining and the next day I woke up on a bright morning around 8:00. I was fooled by that bright morning as it started to rain just minutes later after opening the curtains in my hotel room. And later on I will find out that the rain will continue through the entire day. So I got up, showered, ate my buffet breakfast and then wandered around the nearby shops while I got soak in the rain. After some attempt of finding good souvenirs and bargains, I left empty handed and decided to start another city tour inspite of the pouring rain. This time, I got a poncho with me to keep me from getting wet. I visited Fort Rotterdam, an old fortress built by the Dutch Indies and has been inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage Site. In most of the fortresses I have visited, they are usually converted into museums and Fort Rotterdam has two. It basically displays all about the history of Sulawesi, their language, culture and people. Another museum I visited was an old place called Museum Balla Lompoa. Everything in it were about the people and clothes used in the olden days in Sulawesi. The house looked incredibly different but there was nothing much to see inside.




Malino Highlands

Rainy Fort Rotterdam

Fort Rotterdam

Museum Balla Lompoa, Makassar

My flight back to Jakarta is at 8pm and it was only 3pm when I finished all the places I wanted to see. All the stops were shortened because of the continuous rain so I had to go to the airport and stay there until my flight. It was 4 hours of waiting inside the airport which is fortunately a nice airport complete with many restaurants and seats. The rain hampered everything I was hoping to enjoy in Makassar for 3 full days. But nevertheless I may comeback in April or July during the dry season to visit Malino again and to also see the far flung but cultural Tana Toraja which is about 8 hours drive from Makassar.

Added info:

One important thing I learned in this trip was finding out what Bugis meant. When I was living in Singapore, I just know Bugis as an MRT station with nearby shopping malls and street markets. Coming here made me learn that Bugis is a tribe here in South Sulawesi and they also call their language Bugis.

3 January 2015
Bandar Udar Hasanuddin, International Airport, Makassar, South Sulawesi

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