Rammang Rammang: Sulawesi’s hidden natural paradise
It is almost impossible to imagine, but about an hour’s drive from chaotic Makassar, Sulawesi‘s largest city, you are in the middle of the Rammang Rammang nature reserve. Beautiful mangroves, giant limestone cliffs and heul veul greenery. A fairytale setting absolutely worth visiting if you decide to backpack in Sulawesi.
Rammang Rammang, a hidden gem in Sulawesi, is part of the Batimurung National Park. It is a small village which is best known for its breathtaking scenery. The village, reached by boat, is surrounded by gigantic karst mountains. Here you will find traditional cottages (often on stilts on the water), many fishing ponds and caves. The area is huge, so big that it is among one of the largest limestone areas in the world.
Visiting Rammang Rammang
For us, Rammang Rammang was the beginning of our Sulawesi itinerary and we were immediately surprised by its beauty. Sulawesi is still a piece of undiscovered Indonesia. Many areas are still untouched and pure. Even at Rammang Rammang, one of Sulawesi’s busiest sights, we were almost the only tourists. We have had the opportunity to visit many beautiful places around the world, but sometimes national parks feel more like a museum than a livable area. That was absolutely not the case here. Daily life just went on quietly, and the locals actually cared pretty little about the few crazy tourists walking around here in the sobbing heat. Children playing, whole groups who were fishing and families seeking shade with little ones. Life in Rammang Rammang.
It is also possible to book a tour online or through the hotel. Sites we use a lot are: Withlocals, Get your Guide and Viator.
How to get to Rammang Rammang
In Makassar, the starting point for many backpackers in Sulawesi, there are numerous people who are happy to take you to the area and also tell you a bit about the area. Super convenient and still very affordable. You don’t have to worry about anything then. You agree on a time and they pick you up in front of your hotel. You will spend about 20 euros for this.
If you prefer to save some money, you can also grab a Grab for a few euros. You will then be dropped off at the port, where you can arrange a boat ride. Once you arrive at the park, you can explore the area yourself. It’s all pretty simple. Transportation is very easy to arrange in the Makassar area. And if there are no cabs there is always someone nearby who again knows someone to take you away.
Taking a boat to the park
Once you have arrived at “the port” of the national park, you will be taken to the village by a small traditional boat. The boat ride down the Pute River is an experience in itself. The beautiful surroundings and gigantic limestone mountains make these a special experience. The boat ride takes about half an hour.
Attention! Rammang Rammang is open every day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for tourists.
Caves, beautiful rice fields and viewpoints
Visiting Rammang Rammang is actually quite simple. When you have arrived in the village you find your own way. There are some small makeshift signs pointing to one of the caves. You can follow the narrow paths and enjoy nature. A must is to go to a viewpoint where you can admire the whole area. Although I’m not really the world’s biggest cave fan, the caves here are very unique. In fact, handprints and drawings dating back thousands of years have been found here. Fancy a kopi coffee or a tasty snack, a number of traditional cottages are available for a snack and a drink.
What does it cost to visit Rammang Rammang
We decided to take a cab to the area ourselves. Renting a scooter is of course also an option and often a little cheaper, but the roads are quite busy so a little experience is desirable.
For the cab were between 10-20 euros. Then you have to catch another boat to the village. For this you will pay between 15 – 25 euros. So the cost depends on how many people you visit Rammang Rammang with and how.
Best travel time to visit Rammang Rammang
Rammang Rammang can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During these months, there is less chance of rain and temperatures are more pleasant for outdoor activities. Although the rainy season (October to April) also has its own charm, with lush greenery and vibrant flora, trails can get muddy and slippery, and boat rides can be affected by water levels.
- Water is your best friend, especially in the sweltering afternoon heat of Rammang Rammang. So make sure you bring enough water to quench that thirst!
- Leave your fancy shoes at home, because this adventure calls for comfortable and sturdy footwear. Indeed, the terrain can be challenging at times.
- Yes, it is beautifully green here, but those mosquitoes can be quite annoying. So be sure to bring your mosquito spray to protect yourself from the bites of these little rascals.
- The sun is not always in your favor. So protect yourself with a stylish hat and smear yourself with a generous layer of sunscreen. Prevention is better than cure!
- In this remote paradise, there are no supermarkets around the corner. So pack some snacks for those times when your stomach starts grumbling.
- The weather can be treacherous at times. A raincoat or umbrella can be a lifesaver when the heavens open unexpectedly.
- Bring plenty of cash, since you can’t use debit cards there
Culture & traditions
The people of Rammang Rammang are proud of their culture and traditions. The village largely consists of the Buginese community, known for their maritime history and traditional houses, called “Panggung” houses. They are on stilts to prevent flooding. The locals are generally very friendly and open to interacting with visitors, providing a great opportunity to learn more about their way of life. Remember to show respect for local customs – for example, always ask permission before taking pictures of people or their property.