Toraja Women in the rice field

Flexible Tour Lets You Travel Sulawesi Island *Your* Way

Toraja tongkonan - traditional clan houses
Toraja tongkonan – traditional clan houses

I’ve been to Indonesia about 6 times in the same number of years – and it never feels like it’s enough. Sulawesi Island, in particular, calls for a return visit (and I’ve already been there twice).

Despite my repeat Sulawesi visits, I’ve only barely scratched the surface: several days in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi; a few days too in Toraja, several hours’ drive north; and an hour or so in Maros, somewhere in between.

Now, if I’d had Khiri Travel Indonesia’s flexible Sulawesi tour package available to me at that time, I’d have done more than just focus on those two areas (as storied and beautiful as they are).

Khiri Travel’s new package lets you plan a Sulawesi trip lasting between one to three weeks, opening up one of Indonesia’s most promising off-the-beaten-path islands to brave travelers.

Bantimurung waterfall, Makassar
Bantimurung waterfall, Makassar

The breadth and depth of your Khiri-curated Sulawesi tour depends on how much time you have. One week? Do the Makassar-Toraja run, completely within South Sulawesi. Two weeks? Venture out from South Sulawesi to either the central or northern parts of the island.

And for travelers with three weeks or more weeks to spare – Khiri offers the option to travel to all three regions of the island.

However long you decide to stay, you can design (with Khiri’s help, of course) a minutely-customized trip that combines grand adventure with your choice of trip add-ons: comfortable transportation and hotel choices, delicious local meals, and expert insider insights from local Khiri-trained guides.

Toraja Women in the rice field
Toraja Women in the rice field. Image courtesy of Khiri Travel

One week focusing on South Sulawesi already gets you plenty. Start with the capital, Makassar, a former kingdom and Dutch colonial capital, where the structures and street food kick off a magnificent local adventure. Read about my Makassar encounters – including their culinary options and their island-hopping options – on Tripsavvy.

You’ll proceed to the Toraja Highlands, several hours’ drive to the north. Here, the local funerary culture combines Christian ritual with traditional rites, where the dead do not go quietly into the good night. Read about my Toraja adventure on Tripsavvy.

Coming back to Makassar, you’ll avoid the hours-long bus ride for the quicker one-hour flight between Palopo and Makassar.

Morning cloudy view from Lolai viewpoint
Morning cloudy view from Lolai viewpoint

With two weeks, you can expand your journey, continuing from Toraja north to central Sulawesi’s attractions – among them Post Lake, Tentana, waterfalls, a local homestay, and the mysterious and still unexplained Bada (Napu) Valley megalithic site, only discovered in 1908.

You’ll also take a side trip to the Togean Islands – discover its secret beaches; encounter a jellyfish-filled lake; and meet the local Bajo people, who live in stilt houses at sea.

You can choose this as an alternative to the Bada (Napu) Valley encounter, or add this on to your itinerary if you have time to spare.

Toraja funeral through rice paddies
Toraja funeral through rice paddies. Image courtesy of Khiri Travel

With three weeks, you can take on the full Sulawesi nature experience, with northern Sulawesi’s Bunaken and its world-class snorkeling and diving; Mahawu volcano’s scenic drive and hiking trails leading up to its colored sulfur lake; and Tangkoko National Park’s immersive rainforest journey, where tiny tarsiers hide in the tree branches.

“The Sulawesi experience is a world within a world in Indonesia,” says Herman Hoven, Khiri Travel Indonesia’s general manager. “In most places there are very few tourists. Our guests tell us they feel a real sense of discovery in Sulawesi.”

Hoven tells us that the three Sulawesi options from Khiri are designed to be modular. They can be done alone or in any combination or sequence to fit in with the guests’ needs.

Tau-tau effigies in Lemo burial cliff, Toraja
Tau-tau effigies in Lemo burial cliff, Toraja

That’s plenty of territory to cover – particularly impressive for a Khiri Travel office that’s only been open since January. Sulawesi represents Khiri’s fifth operational office in Indonesia, joining other offices already open in Lombok, Bali, Labuan Bajo (Flores), and Yogyakarta (Java).

Sulawesi is easy to reach via Makassar, which is connected by direct flights from Jakarta, Singapore and Bali. But cracking the rest of the island, by comparison, is a magnificent challenge that relatively few travelers have taken on – until now.

For further information on Khiri Travel Indonesia’s Sulawesi trip and its other adventures across Southeast Asia, call Khiri Travel’s Sulawesi office: (+62) 811 413 1711, email:, or visit their official site.

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Add Your Comment
    • Mayuri
    • May 8, 2018

    Wow 6 times, that’s incredible
    Looks like you are an expert in SE Asia and you really did a great job in sharing different itineraries with so much enthusiasm
    Happy travels my friend

    • Followingtherivera
    • May 8, 2018

    Sulawesi looks incredible! I’ve not been to this part of Indonesia, only Bali! Looks like that needs to change as there are so many amazing places to see and photograph.

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