Tana Toraja Guide – everything you need to know | Indonesia

Tana Toraja Guide: a waterbuffle is waiting for the slaughter ceremony

Tana Toraja Guide


Are you tired of relaxing at the beach? Do you want to learn more about local culture and some hardcore traditions which you haven’t seen before? Then this Tana Toraja Guide for the same named region in the southern part of Sulawesi in Indonesia is for you.


What to see and do –  Tana Toraja Guide


The traditional Toraja funeral *Warning*

This is nothing for people with a weak stomach or little kids (but we saw some tourist kids there).

As a sign of respect of the deceased person, animal slaughtering and sacrificing of buffaloes and pigs is a big part of the funeral.

Especially the buffaloes are important because they are considered to be capable to deliver the soul of the dead person to the next world.

The procedure of the slaughtering is that the animals get tied one by one to a tree and get stabbed in the throat where they suffer a long time until they die.

Tourists are welcome to observe this ritual and the families don’t mind the visitors. They even are happy and curious when tourists are joining.

If you want to watch this ceremony, you should bring a pack of cigarettes as a present to the family. <- But don’t make the same mistake like us and don’t buy the cheap ones. 😀

In our opinion it was hard to watch but we liked it to get to know a culture which is so different to ours.


Traditional Villages

In the Tana Toraja areas there are many traditional villages with the distinguished saddle shaped roofs.

Some charge entry fee (about 1€) and some are free to visit.


Cave and cliff graves

There are multiple cave and cliff burials sites that can be visited in the Tana Toraja region.

Every year there is a Cleaning of the Dead *Warning*.

If you are interested, maybe you are lucky to attend this event.



You have enough of the funerals and death?

Enjoy some really nice hikes trough rice fields, mountains and small villages.


Do you need a guide?


You can visit all the sights by your own but especially for the funeral we would suggest a guide.

A guide with a jeep where 4 – 6 people fit in charges about 1kk IDR (about 60€) which includes guiding and gasoline. This price is for the whole car, not per person for the full day.

A guide with a motorbike charges about 200k IDR for the full day.


How to get there


Your gateway to this region will be most likely Makassar where the nearest airport is located.

From there you can either organize a private transport or you can take one of the many super comfortable night buses.

There are different companies with multiple buses each day which have seats with different comfort classes.

The ticket will cost around 8 – 10€, depending which seat you book.

All the night buses leave at around 7 – 8pm and arrive in Rantepao, the biggest town in the Tana Toraja region, at around 6am.

We can highly recommend the bus company Primadona.


Where to stay


There are many options to choose from.

You can stay at home stay in a small local village or you can stay in the town of Rantepao where the most tourists are staying.

We chose the second option because there is more accommodation to find and it was easier to leave the region from there.

Our hotel was the following, which we really liked:

Hotel Pison*

We were really happy with our room. The price for a double room with private bathroom was 10€ and it even had hot water (which is rare in this area).



Would you like to have more tips for Indonesia?

If yes, have a look at our other Indonesia guides.


* = Affiliate-Link Info: No extra costs for you.





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