If you wish to explore Tana Toraja, there are two things you can do. One base yourself at Rantepao and explore the area as day trips from Rantepao or keep moving base between different areas of Toraja. If you want some basic luxuries, good food, internet, et al, you should stay at Rantepao. If you feel like a rustic environment, you can stay in one of the many homestays in Toraja. I preferred to stay in Rantepao and ended up spending 9 days and 8 nights at Hotel Pison. Below review is based on this recent experience of mine.
1) Hotel Pison, run by a Torajan family offers a variety of rooms from basic fan rooms to fully loaded air conditioned rooms with TV, running hot water, et al. The cost starts at 100,000 rupiah and goes upwards to 300,000 rupiah for their best room.
2) They have a very nice in-house restaurant that delivers some lip smacking fare. You should also try out their home made palm wine, locally referred to as ‘balo’.
3) They are just 5 minutes south of the market and hence it is close to the supermarkets, the bank ATMs and the warungs.
4) A lot of Torajan guides are regulars of this hotel and hence one need not go around looking for a guide.
5) They offer motorcycles and vehicles on hire at good prices.
6) They offer free wi-fi, but it can be accessed only in their restaurant area.
7) The family running this place are very helpful and try and address all your questions with a smile on their faces.
8) Service can be a bit slow at times, but that is part of the laidback lifestyle of Toraja land.
Personally, I really liked staying here and I am sure I will return here in the future. This place is ideal for backpackers, budget travelers, couples and families.