Makassar!

First Day (March 29, 2013)

It’s my 9th trip of traveling duo with Alif after Singapore (August 2010), Bali (December 2011), Yogyakarta-Magelang (April 2012), Palembang (August 2012), Singapore-Malaysia (October 2012), Thousand Island at North Jakarta (November 2012), Thailand (December 2012), Hong Kong-China-Macau (January 2013). There were other trips of ours, joined with our family and/or friends, but travel as duo just me and him would always be the ones which I enjoy most.

This trip to Makassar (first time for us to go to Sulawesi Island) began from my office, Alif (came from home after school and few hours nap) and I left at 5:10 PM, 20 minutes slow walk (with our luggages) from Menara BCA to Thamrin City.

I opted to take DAMRI Minibus, Rp.30,000/person from Thamrin City to airport. Going by taxi normally costs around Rp.80,000 when less traffic, but might be as much as Rp.150,000 on heavy traffic (fare includes toll fee).

At other DAMRI Airport Bus stations, 42 seater bus departs every 15 minutes. From Thamrin City, its 12 seater minibus departs every hour from 4:00 AM until 7:00 PM.

Our minibus departed at 6:00 PM. Only five passengers including both of us then Alif could get the back seat all for himself to lay down comfortably.

After 2 hours trip, we arrived at airport, met Ferdi (CS Pontianak). Waited 2.5 hours, we got onto the plane and took off as scheduled, 10:50 PM. The flight was smooth and landed at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport after 2 hours 25 minutes flight.

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After enjoyed avocado juice, noodle soup, and ice cream (at 3:00 AM!) then Ferdi, Alif and I went to pray room (mushola) where he slept until 6:30 AM.

Anwar (CS Makassar) and our driver arrived at airport then we left to Maros at 6:40 AM. After 35 minutes trip (including one stop for gasoline refill, Rp.100,000 on Rp.4,500/liter), then we arrived at Bantimurung (http://www.indonesia.travel/en/destination/643/bantimurung-bulusaraung-national-park-roaring-waterfall-kingdom-of-butterflies).

We stayed for 2 hours, Ferdi and Alif played in the waterfalls, climbed up to the caves, and rafted the river. It was a very nice place to get some fun and relax.

Alif and I also visited the butterfly museum. It was a bit disappointing (small and unkept) but the conservatory was educative enough to learn about how worm changes to cocoon changes to beautiful butterfly.

Later we went to visit Leang Leang Caves (http://www.wisatamelayu.com/en/tour/296-Leang-leang-Prehistoric-Park/navcat) which has hand prints from people who lived in the caves 5000 years ago), only 15 minutes trip from Bantimurung waterfalls.

The next destination was Rammang Rammang Village, the location of awesome karst mountain, world’s second largest (http://travenesia.com/karst-maros-the-second-largest-karst-in-the-world/).

At 11:45 AM, we left Maros to enter Makassar City. The first stop was the biggest mosque in Eastern Indonesia: Al Markaz Al Islami (http://www.indonesiawonder.com/en/tour/religious-tourism/AlMarkaz-alIslami-Mosque).

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At a restaurant across the mosque, then we ate our first authentic Makassar cuisine for lunch: Sop Saudara.

Later we went to Sungguminasa to visit Balla Lompoa (http://www.wisatamelayu.com/en/tour/70-The-Museum-of-Balla-Lompoa/navgeo).

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Unique local writing system:

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Lineage of kings in South Sulawesi:

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A display of various colors of Baju Bodo (local style of dress for women):
– Orange = for little girls until 10 years old, called as “baju palla-palla”.
– Dark red = young virgin girls, 10-14 years old (same color for older ones, 14-25 years old, but should be double layers), called as “baju tawang”.
– Black = 25-40 years old ladies.
– White = nursemaid.
– Green = noble girls.
– Purple = widows.

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It was lucky day for us, we got the access into a room where they stored royal crown which made from 2 kg of pure solid gold. The door only opened every Friday noon for visitors.

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The next destination (only few minutes drive from Balla Lompoa) was Tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin (http://www.wisatamelayu.com/en/tour/30-Sultan-Hasanuddin-Tomb/navcat).

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Only few meters away, we made a stop at Masjid Katangka, the oldest mosque in South Sulawesi (more than 500 years old) with graves of royal family on the yard.

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The mosque was located on Jalan Syekh Yusuf, a street which got the name from the great Makassar resistance leader during Dutch colonialist who became important figure in South Africa too (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh_Yusuf). We also made a quick stop at the grave of the highly respected Muslim hero.

On the way leaving Sungguminasa to the city center, we passed Benteng Somba Opu (http://www.bubblews.com/news/357999-fort-somba-opu-makassar-south-sulawesi-the-strongest-fortress-ever-built-in-indonesia). The ruins were destroyed by the Bugis-Dutch forces in 1669 after defeating the powerful Makassar kingdom but still hold historical and archaeological importance. Located about seven kilometres from Makassar in the Jeneberang River delta, a good portion of this once great fort is no more, but some parts still remain and the western wall has been restored.

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Located in the fort complex is an archaeological museum which houses artifacts and other objects recovered after excavations of the fort and nearby areas. The open air museum of traditional houses from south-west Sulawesi located adjacent to the fort is also a big attraction.

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After checked in to Grand Populer Hotel, dropped our luggage also took some rest, Alif and I left our room at 5:45 PM to see sunset at Masjid Amirul Mukminin (beautiful “floating” mosque).

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We ended the night by enjoying the rest of the evening at Pantai Losari, had Konro Bakar and Sop Konro for dinner at Jln Datuk Museng (Kawasan Kuliner Makassar), bought souvenirs at Panorama Gift Shop (https://foursquare.com/v/panorama-oleholeh-khas-makassar/4c5e685b94fd0f471d53ce45) before back to our room at 9:15 PM to get a good night rest.

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Second Day (March 30, 2013)

We left our room at 7:10 AM for breakfast buffet at the hotel. They served rice with vegetables, potato chicken soup, sambal tempe other than chicken porridge and bread toast with cold plain water or hot tea/coffee. A bit disappointing because they don’t serve juice for free, also no fruit or cereal.

Met Ferdi again at 8:10 AM, together we took a taxi from Jalan Sulawesi to Paotere Harbour (http://www.viasingapore.com/explore-asia/destinations-guide/makassar/the-fishermans-wharf-of-asia-paotere-harbor/). It was only 3.5 km, 15 minutes including a little traffic jam, taxi fare = Rp.17,000 (I like taxi in Makassar, they always put meter then no need negotiate like in Malaysia).

There was entrance fee = Rp.2000 for local, Rp.5000 for tourist/foreigners. Chockablock with charming traditional Buginese sailing boats or phinisi as they are locally known, this harbour at the north of Makassar got scene looks like a picture post card. These days the boats are motorized and have shorter masts but they still make a pretty picture. Bustling with men carrying loads of cargo across narrow wooden planks that act as bridges from the boats to the dock, the harbour is always a lively place.

After half an hour at the harbour, we took another taxi from Paotere to Fort Rotterdam. Arrived at the famous fort at 9:10 AM then we strolled around inside the thick walls. Not to be missed is small building where Pangeran Diponegoro (hero prince from Central Java) was being prisoner of Dutch colonialist for last 23 years of his life.

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No entrance tickets to enter Fort Rotterdam, but security guard asked politely for donation (I gave Rp.10,000 on behalf of three of us).

There was an art gallery, La Galigo Museum (displays of South Sulawesi culture, history and heritage, also an exhibition of traditional weaponry). Entrance ticket to the museum was Rp.5,000 for adult and Rp.3,000 for kids.

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We bought lots of souvenirs at the gift shop: Necklaces (@Rp.10,000), bracelets (@Rp.10,000), keychains (@Rp.5,000), fridge magnets (Rp.10,000).  Alif also climbed up the high wall of Bastion Bone atop the souvenir shop.

After 75 minutes inside the ex-military complex, after Ferdi said goodbye to meet his friend (they were going to Samalona Island). Alif and I took taxi to Trans Studio Mall (6 km from Fort Rotterdam, 15 minutes without traffic jam, Rp.25,000 including entrance fee for vehicle).

It took 10 minutes walk from mall entrance to the theme park, which dubbed as one of world’s biggest indoor theme park (http://projectingindonesia.com/companies/trans-studio-makassar-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-theme-parks/). Not much queue probably because we were early, or perhaps because the ticket price was Rp.200,000 (plus Rp.10,000 for the access card) which must be quite expensive for local resident then mostly visitors were Indonesian tourist from other provinces (perhaps some South East Asians from Malaysia etc because they would look like Indonesians, few South Asians, even fewer western-looking foreigners).

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The theme park was relatively huge (as indoor amusement facility, although smaller than Universal Studio or Disneyland) but not preferable because of two reasons: (1) visitors cannot enter again without re-purchase entrance ticket once leave, and (2) visitors are not allowed to bring own meal/beverage (must purchase inside the park on price much higher than regular market price).

Within 3.5 hours (11:00 AM-2:30 PM) then Alif enjoyed 11 attractions: Train ride through “haunted area” (Dunia Lain – twice), jumping seats (Putar Petir – twice), roller coaster (Magic Thunder), kiddie train ride (Rimba Express), auto car (Safari Track), mirror haze trap (House of Fun), ferris wheel (Grand Studio View), flying bicycle (Sepeda Terbang – twice), bumper car (Mini Boom Boom Car – six times), swinging boat (Rockin’ Tug), and 4D movie.

The 4D movie was supposed to be played at 12:00 PM. People started queue but the show was not started until 40 minutes later the gate keeper informed us that projector was broken and need 15 minutes more to fix. What a painful experience (especially for elderly people and children). Yeah at least it’s indoor then weather wouldn’t cause any trouble in the fully air conditioned theme park. Well, glad that it did worth the wait. Through the eyes of a black cat named Felix, in that 13-minutes movie then we explored a frightening haunted house and a jungle which host lots of scary animals and carnivore vegetation. The sound/lighting/wind effect and moving seats was good then most of the viewers were scared enough to scream during the show.

Our lunch was a plate of fried rice with few slices of omelette, a bowl of meat balls, two bottles of plain water 330 ml, total = Rp.67,000. They must gained so much profit because everything was sold three times more expensive than regular price at regular restaurants. Same meal package should cost around Rp.22,000 at hawker’s. Later I had to buy 3 bottles more of plain water, Rp.8,000 for 330 ml (while gasoline is only Rp.4,500 per liter).

The loss was compensated by super friendly and helpful staffs also lots of entertainment. Starting from 2:00 PM there were live music performances, also musical theater acts. At 3:00 PM, the staffs gathered for flashmob dance with Gangnam Style song and some others, joined by some visitors.

After one hour break for lunch and pray (Shalat Zuhr, lots of mushola inside the theme park), for next 2 hours then Alif played at Science Center, water-splashing coaster (Jelajah), Bolang Tree House, watched 4D movie once more, enjoyed street parade and flash mob dance by some theme park’s characters (Count Dracula, Marilyn Monroe, zombie, witch, suster ngesot etc).

I think they have tried hard enough, but below Indonesian versions of Count Dracula and Marilyn Monroe was not convincing. :D

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What Alif liked most was the Science Center for fun chemical/physics laboratory where he spent time for various scientific activities until 5:30 PM, also later at the end of the night.

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There were some other attractions but we didn’t try it because Alif said it was “baby thing, I’m a big boy already” (e.g. carousel) or broken (e.g. flying swing) or his height was below 135 cm (e.g. Dragon’s Tower).

I think that 6-7 hours should be enough for Trans Studio theme park, nothing left to try by Alif then he was just playing, running and chatting around with a new friend (a boy named Leto whom he met at bumper car games area) to kill time. I wanted to leave at 5:30 PM but he desperately wanted to see the boyband live show, SMASH, scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

The show was good, lasted for 45 minutes with hysterical teenager fans watched the boys (one of them was just celebrating 19th birthday) singing dan dancing, combined with DJ performance mixing their songs and attractive background dancers.

We left Trans Studio Mall at 8:10 PM, after end of SMASH show and few more minutes at Science Center, then took taxi to Losari Beach (15 minutes, Rp.19,000). After enjoyed small plates of Pisang Epe, roasted banana with chocolate sauce (Rp.6,000), Alif got one with durian sauce (Rp.7,000) – at one hawker across legendary Kios Semarang. He didn’t like it, then I ate both plates.

At the end, he and I took taxi to hotel (5 minutes, Rp.6,000) finally arrived at our room, 9:10 PM, for shower. Alif was still hungry then I boiled water for him to eat a cup of instant noodle before he went to bed for sleep.

Third Day (March 31, 2013)

Alif and I had Nasi Kuning (another local unique cuisine) for breakfast at the hotel on the last day of our vacation.

Departed from hotel at 7:10 AM, 20 minutes walk to Kayu Bangkoa Harbour to meet Anwar (CS Makassar) and his friends (Adi, Amin, Dian). It took long time before we got a boat that would get us to Kodingareng Keke Island, 13 km from Makassar (30 minutes by boat).

Eventually we got one boat that accept Rp.400,000 (others wouldn’t bring it down lower than Rp.450,000 when initial offer was Rp.600,000-Rp.800,000), departed from POPSA Harbour across Fort Rotterdam. Actually that was port for boats to Kayangan Island but the owner agreed to take us to Kodingareng Keke.

Actually I planned to to go to Samalona Island (only 7 km, 15 minutes from Makassar) but Anwar said that Kodingareng Keke would be much more beautiful.

I packed 5 bottles of drinking water because Kodingareng Keke is inhabitant, unlike Samalona which already touristic then lots of accommodation and refreshment facilities available (many local Makassar resident go there on weekend or holiday).

Departed from POPSA Harbour at 8:50 AM, it was 9:20 AM already when we arrived at Kodingareng Keke (including one quick stop for gasoline refill at Kayangan Island).

The island was so small only 30-40 m wide, 80-100 m long. But snorkeling spots were good, just few meters from the sea shore then we could find beautiful fishes and corals.

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Unluckily Alif got accident, a scratch on his abdoment when he jumped down from a tree, then we left earlier than planned, departed at 11:05 AM from Kodingareng Keke to POPSA Harbour..

On our walking way from port to hotel, Alif and I stopped for Es Pisang Ijo (Rp.10,000 per portion).

After shower, changed dress and packed our luggages, Alif and I departed from the hotel (after checked out but still keft our luggages) at 1:20 PM, then go to Tomb of Pangeran Diponegoro by taxi (2 km, less than 10 minutes, Rp.9,000). Around his grave were the graves of his beloved wife, their children and grandchildren. It’s so heart touching to see that family could be still united even after all of them passed away.

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From the area (the street was named after him, Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro), Alif and I walked our way to MTC Karebosi. He wanted to buy toys but we didn’t find any toy store until a young lady told us to go to Maha Agung, a store located at Jalan Nusakambangan No.4-6.

He and I had lunch at Laris Manis Restaurant nearby, only Rp.37,500 for a plate of fried rice mixed with noodle (Nasi Goreng Mawut), meatball soup, two cups of Es Campur, and a glass of iced sweet lemon tea. So cheap compared to our lunch on previous day at Trans Studio. #sigh#

Later we walked around Karebosi Soccer Field to reach Mandala Monument (http://www.mymakassar.com/en/places-to-go/history-tour/item/86-makassar-from-the-height). Alif had no interest to learn history of Irian Jaya (now Papua Province), and getting onto the top to see city view from 75 m height might be not interesting for him (because he can see Jakarta city view from 230 m above ground level at my workplace, 55th floor Menara BCA), then we didn’t enter it.

He and I then walked back to our hotel at Jalan Sulawesi. When we arrived at 4:20 PM, I wanted to take airport bus but hotel staff said that we would have to wait for long time (no fix departure schedule because no dedicated bus terminal, unlike DAMRI Airport Bus in Jakarta). So we were just getting rest at the hotel’s lobby for one hour after bought some snacks and bottled drink (there was Alfamart only few meters from the hotel which opens 24/7), Alif was playing with his newly purchased toys, until we took taxi at 5:25 PM.

It was only 25 minutes from our hotel to airport via highway (18 km, taxi fare = Rp.81,000 including toll and airport park entrance fee).

The airport was quite modern. Almost looked like Changi Airport – Singapore, with a character (there was a big display of phinisi boat) like Indira Gandhi Airport – New Delhi.

Since there was a lot of time before our flight ETD 7:45 PM, then I took Alif to wait at Blue Sky Executive Lounge (free facility from my platinum credit card service provider) and got dinner.

The lounge was nice, they served various choice of main course, desert, drink (cold/hot including the famous Toraja coffee), spacious with en suite bathroom (the door was broken, though) and mushola (pray room). There was an LCD monitor displaying all of departure schedule then visitors should not miss their flight.

Arrived at Jakarta as scheduled 9:10 PM (Citilink has good on-time record like Garuda), later I took DAMRI Bus from airport (direction to Rawamangun Bus Terminal, Rp.25,000/person, service is available until 11:30 PM) until Jalan Pemuda then bajay to home (Rp.15,000 – should be only Rp.3,000 by angkot).

What an awesome holiday! I wish to visit Makassar again, next time with additional trip to Tana Toraja (http://www.indonesia.travel/en/destination/477/tana-toraja), Tanjung Bira (http://www.wisatamelayu.com/en/tour/106-Tanjung-Bira-Beach/navgeo), Malino (http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/21fcca/), insya Allah.

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