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See South Sulawesi
Places of interest in South Sulawesi

On this page is a list of tourist attractions in the province of South Sulawesi.


The provincial capital of Makassar has in its history played an important role as the gateway to the former kingdom of Gowa and now to the whole province because of its natural harbor.

The center of business and administration, the city has expanded outwards from its most important landmark, that of Benteng Makassar which faces the sea front. 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 Rotter dam 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 Makassar 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.

Though unmarked, but of historical interest is the dungeon where one of Indonesia's most prominent heroes in the struggle for freedom, Prince Diponegoro was imprisoned for 27 years. Prince Diponegoro was buried in a family plot in the middle of the city on a street named after him: Jalan Diponegoro. The family tree displayed on the wall indicated that none of his descendants returned to the courts of Yogyakarta, instead they settled in Makassar and their custodian is a great-grandson.

Sunsets in the Makassar Strait can be viewed from a promenade at Jalan Penghibur or the Paotere anchorage in the north end of the city where the pinisi schooners are berthed. Across the harbor is Kayangan Island which can be reached in 15 minutes by ferry. A popular recreational resort for the people of the city, there is entertainment in the evening and on Sundays.

Paotere Anchorage

On the outskirts of Makassar, Paotere is where sailing boats and other small vessels anchor to unload their cargo. The setting casts a glow over the sea with the silhouettes of the boats and this scenery is most often photographed.

Samalona Island

Across the harbour of Makassar is Samalona Island which has been developed into a pleasant recreational resort. It can be reached by boat in 45 minutes and has simple accommodation Recreational sports include diving, snorkeling, water skiing and fishing. Best months to visit are from February to October.


Formerly the seat of the kings of Gowa, about 11 kilometers from Makassar 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.

Tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin

Sultan Hasanuddin (1629-1690) was famous for his exceptional bravery in his struggle against colonial encroachment in South Sulawesi. His tomb and those of other kings of Gowa are located in a secluded cemetery not far from Sungguminasa, about 8 kilometers from Makassar. The huge crypts are gray with age and just outside the walls of the cemetery, a small fenced-off plot contains the Tomanurung stone on which the kings of Gowa were crowned in a show of pomp and splendor, Not far from the tombs is the oldest mosque in the area, built in 1603.


Formerly the holiday resort of the kings. Malino, which is 70 kilometers from Makassar offers a haven from city-life. Located on the slopes of Mount Bawakaraeng it has a cool climate with forests of pine trees making it picturesque. Deer hunting on horseback was a royal sport in the days gone by.


You will find white sandy beaches at Bira, 178 kilometers from Makassar to the south. Traditional ship building is also located in this area. Not far from this area visitors can cross to the island of Selayar.

Goa Mampu

The largest cave in South Sulawesi, the legendary cave of Mampu is about 140 kilometers from the capital. Besides stalagmites and stalactites, rock formations resemble human figures and animals to which legends are attached. The cave is inhabited by bats who shriek and flutter around when bright lights pierce the darkness.


To the north of Makassar and driving east along the mountain range, is the Bantimurung waterfalls, about 41 kilometers from the capital. A cascade of sparkling water gushes out between rocky cliffs into a stream shaded by tall trees. Here the air is filled with butterflies which fly from shrub to shrub over the water. These rare brightly colored butterflies are considered the most beautiful in the world.


Now declared an archaeological site, these prehistoric caves have strange rock carvings of hands and a wild pig, believed to be 5.000 year old. The road leads from Maros through the cave-riddled limestone hills to the site about half an hour's drive from the airport.

H Pare-pare

Pare-pare is a lunch stop along the road from Makassar to Toraja, through paddy-fields and typical Bugis houses made of wood and bamboo, built on stilts. Here we can find the museum Labangenge, located at Jalan Bau Massepe No. 82 Pare-pare.


The capital town of Wajo Regency is well-known for its silk weaving and is the center of Buginese silk. This area is populated by the Buginese ethnic group, famous for their crossing to other islands as traders of silk, sarongs and other material. Here we can find lake Tempe, one of the tourist resorts. Sailing and boating can be enjoyed on this lake.


Center of the silk industry, a spinning mill produces thread from silk worms. Weaving can be seen in many private homes along this route which is 240 kilometers to the northeast of Makassar. The finest silk is hand-loomed by village women who individually need a whole month to produce two meters of silk. Visitors are welcome to stop and watch, or make a purchase if there is any readily available.

In a small Village, Batu-Batu Visitor will find a collection of royal regalia, consisting of many kind of kris keeping a Buginese traditional house called Sao Mario.

Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja, (Toraja Land) which lies in the north of the province is known for its unique culture and ancient traditions. The center of tourism is Rantepao 328 kilometers from Makassar by road. There are several small bungalow hotels at Rantepao, and Makale, the district capital.

The entry to Tana Toraja is marked by a gate built in traditional boat-shaped architecture. The road passes through the mountains of Kandora and Gandang on which, according to Toraja mythology, the first ancestors of celestial beings descended from heaven.

The majority of the people still follows an ancestral cult called "Aluk Todolo" which governs all traditional ceremonies. From Rantepao, side trips can be made to Kete, a traditional village where there are handicraft and unique shops. Behind the village there is a grave site on a hillside. Lifesize statues guard over old coffins.

As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use a jeep or walk if the weather is good (between May and October). Two cliff graves easy to each are Lemo and Londa. Londa is one of the oldest hanging graves belonging to the nobility. A large balcony is filled with effigies of the dead.

Kerosene lamps with young village guides, can be hired to enter the caves to see skeletons and old coffins. At Lemo, burial chambers are cut out of the rock and several balconies filled with effigies look out while new caves are being dug to serve as family graves.

There are several grave sites and traditional villages of which Palawa is a classic example of a village on a small hill with tongkonan or a burial place with celebrations and festivals. Visitors are welcome but they are expected to adhere to local customs of dress, seating and bringing a token present.


236 kilometers to the north of Makassar, you can see beautiful landscapes at Bambapuang, located 20 kilometers from Enrekang to the north on the way to Tanah Toraja. Here can be seen an erotic mountain called: Batu Kabobong, by its shaped formed by the valley and slopes. A rest house is built on an elevation, giving a clear view of the countryside.

Polewali - Mamasa (Polmas)

Polewali is the capital town of Polmas Regency located 246 kilometers north of Makassar. It is inhabited by Mandarnese, Buginese, Torajans and Javanese ethnic groups. This town is well-known for its silk sarongs which is called "Sarung Mandar" and rattan furniture and crafts. There are several small islands to be reached by fishing boats in 10-16 minutes. All these islands have white sandy beaches.

Last revised on October 22, 2009
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