Makassar – Starting point of our Sulawesi Trip

Makassar – Starting point of our Sulawesi Trip

Makassar, with a population of more than 1 million, is one of Indonesia’s largest cities. This city is located in the South of the island, making it the perfect place to start your amazing journey through Sulawesi.

Makassar may not deserve a beauty prize, but it certainly should not be skipped. Indeed, the area around Makassar is beautiful. For example, an hour’s drive away you will find the dazzling Rammang Rammang National Park. And you can eat great food there.

Makassar, piece of undiscovered Indonesia

Sulawesi is still relatively undiscovered, especially when compared to popular destinations such as Java and Bali. We decided to visit Sulawesi just off-season and noticed quite a few strange looks as we got out of our cab. We soon turned out to be one of the few tourists. And with a guy nearly 2 meters by my side, we stood out quite a bit, too. But as we are used to from Indonesia, we were welcomed with much laughter (and even several serenades) and open arms. Do prepare for the requisite selfies and screaming teenagers.

What to do in Sulawesi

Rammang Rammang

Absolutely number one must visit in Makassar is to visit Rammang Rammang. This area is absolutely breathtaking. It is unimaginable that after an hour’s drive you are in such a beautiful green environment. By boat, you sail up through the mangrove past giant karst mountains before docking at an idyllic village. More on Rammang Rammang soon.

Fort Rotterdam

The port of Makassar used to be one of the most important trading places of the VOC. It was once the the Makassar defense work Ujung Pandang, but was taken over during the occupation of the Netherlands and took its original form during this time.

A walk along the Boulevard

Every evening the boulevard is incredibly busy. Young and old come here for a pisang goreng (with cheese and chocolate), sweet drinks, but mostly for fun.

Hotspots & food in Makassar

88 Noodle house

The food here is truly FANTASTIC. You really must try the fried fish and dumplings. So they come by with a cart, from which you can choose fresh dumplings. We really ate our way around here. And the people were so friendly. We found this really a top place.

Coffee at POD house hostel

Coffee addicted? Then head to POD House Hostel. In fact, here you can get the best coffees in Makassar.

Start the day with COTO

Coto is similar to Soto, but slightly different. You can get it in any warung. It is often eaten by locals in the morning, but you can order it throughout the day. Walk into any warung and you will find Coto. Right past POD House Hostel you will find a warung where they serve delicious Coto. You really don’t have to sit there for the fun, but you just have to see through that a little bit.

Best time to travel to Makassar

Most rain falls in the winter months, from January to March. July through October is the best travel time for Sulawesi.

Transportation in Makassar

Uber of course! Or Grab. Both apps work perfectly here. So nice and easy. Local cabs also run everywhere. Tip! Take the night bus to Tana Toraja. That one is really great. Especially Prima Donna. You pay a little more, but then you have something.

Which budget do i need in Makassar?

Sulawesi is not really a backpacking island “yet”. Because of this, there are few hostels and transportation is sometimes more difficult to arrange. On the other hand, homestays are plentiful and hotels cost relatively little. For 20 euros you already have a luxury overnight stay. Food and drinks there are spotty. Especially at the warungs you can eat delicious food for very little money.

Although Sulawesi is good for your budget, sometimes it’s a bit of a puzzle where to eat, where to rent a scooter and how to get to your next destination. In fact, most tourists hire a private driver for a few days. Although this is still very cheap, it is not affordable for most backpackers. Unfortunately, the cheap mini vans don’t run here, so you often spend a bit more for transportation.

Practical information about Makassar

  • Grab & Uber: If they’re not on your phone yet, download them now! They’re your best friends in Makassar—reliable, easy, and incredibly affordable. Bring some small change for those spontaneous purchases at local stalls and for entrance fees at attractions.
  • Credit cards: Have a VISA in your wallet. Mastercard and Maestro aren’t always the best buddies with local ATMs.
  • Travel insurance: Make sure you have good travel insurance. You’d rather not be caught off guard if something happens.
  • Water: Don’t drink tap water.
  • Respect for nature: If you’re enjoying nature, make sure to leave it as you found it. Leaving no trash behind is the golden rule.
  • Stay hydrated: With Makassar’s delightful tropical climate, staying hydrated is crucial. Always carry a water bottle!
  • Be prepared for rain: We’re in the tropics, so a bit of rain is part of the deal. A light raincoat or umbrella can be a game changer.
  • Learn a bit of Bahasa: A few words in Bahasa Indonesia can go a long way. A simple ‘Terima Kasih’ (thank you) can open many doors!

What are nice places to stay in Makassar?

Looking for a nice hostel in Makassar, then POD house Makassar is really for you! Super hip, clean and delicious coffee in the morning. Not recommended for couples, as you only have men’s and women’s dorms. However, this is not listed on Booking. Unfortunately, we found this out a little too late.

Since we still found it a little cozier to be in the room together, we decided to book a room at Expressia Hotel. Rooms are modern and clean and the location is very central. For 20 euros a night, highly recommended.

How to get to Makassar?

We began our journey in Makassar. We flew from Amsterdam to Denpasar and then traveled on to Makassar after 1 night in Bali. We found this to be a very nice start. Moreover, tickets to Bali are often much cheaper.

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Our verdict

By : We Wander Why 7 / 10

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