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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Tana Toraja: Scenic Countryside Of Sulawesi

In my earlier article about Tana Toraja, I had spoken about their unique culture and how they celebrate death. In this post, I want to show you how kind mother nature has been to this region of Indonesia’s South-Central Sulawesi.

Scenic Tana Toraja Countryside
Like most of Sulawesi island, Tana Toraja too is blessed with rich volcanic soil and great equatorial weather, which means that greenery is absolutely everywhere and in abundance. It rains almost every day. Hence, there are lovely mountain streams and waterfalls. Some of these waterfalls are deep inside the forests and make for great treks. Some of them are right beside roads and make for great picnic spots.

Terraced Rice Terraces of Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia
A lot of tourists who visit Tana Toraja indulge in nature therapy here before or after understanding their culture. Typically, tourists prefer to stay with the locals in their houses amidst lush green paddy fields and surrounded by equatorial and tropical rainforests. A lot of people simply prefer to put their feet up and enjoy a hut cup of Torajan coffee, while the adventurous few decide to explore the region.

A Tana Toraja paddyfield landscape at Lemo
If you are one of the adventurous bunch, you can explore the terrain by foot, bicycle or motorcycle. You can chart a route depending on your interest. If you were to ask me, I would build a route that is a mix n match of culture and nature. This means that I would visit remote burial sites, smaller villages, great view points, rice terraces, waterfalls and much more.

Beautiful view of Rantepao from Batutumonga
If you are exploring the region by motorcycle, keep Rantepao as a base and explore the area to the north on one day, the south on the other and keep juggling. If you are exploring by bicycle, you will need to stay in villages. This will be more interesting as you will get to see the true rural countryside and spend the night with the locals, who are very friendly and helpful. If you are exploring on foot, you will take the lesser known trails over mountains and crossing streams to the remotest and most beautiful corners of Tana Toraja. This will require you to have at least a week if not more and you should find a Torajan local to guide you as you might get lost.

Rice fields of Tana Toraja
Irrespective of the mode of exploration, do make sure that you carry a good pair of shoes, a rain cover, torches or headlamps and some warm wear with you at all times. Torajan weather is pretty unpredictable and the last thing you want is to fall sick in the middle of pristine nature.



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