Have you been to Makassar before?
I did but that was just a short trip and this city was only for my transit when travelling to Tana Toraja, located approximately 7 hours from Makassar. That time I only managed to try pisang epe (grilled banana with cheese on top. Nyummy!) and fly back to Kuala Lumpur.
Never thought of exploring this city and doesn’t have any idea about what it has to offer. So, i’m here again to explore few interesting places in Makassar that some of it might never crossed in your mind before this. Off we go!
Makassar at Glance
Makassar, sometimes spelled Macassar or Mangkasara is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi and one of the nation’s busiest ports. Previously known as Ujung Pandang (from 1971 to 1999), Makassar is also a city with largest population on South Sulawesi and the fifth largest in Indonesia after Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Medan.
Makassar is considered important as it serves as Southern Sulawesi’s primary port with domestic and international shipping connections. Currently, as the largest city in the province, its economy depends on service sector (restaurant and hotel services as largest contributor) followed by transportation, communication, trading and finance.
This city has multi-ethnic populations mostly Makassarese and Buginese. The rest are from Toraja, Mandar, China, Java and few other places. It is also divided into 14 kecamatan (districs) Mariso, Mamajang, Tamalate, Rappocini, Makassar, Ujung Padang, Wajo, Bontoala, Ujung Tanah, Tallo, Pannukkukang, Manggala, Biring Kanaya and Tamalanrea.
The main airport connecting Makassar to other domestic and international destinations is Sultan Hassanuddin International Airport. It is located 20 km northeast of Makassar’s city centre.
During this trip, I took Garuda Indonesia approximately 2 hours flight from Jakarta.
Where to stay?
Since Makassar is considered a developing city, I suppose it is possible to find a good accommodation. If you ask me, I could only suggest Aston Hotel Makassar that is located in the heart of the city.
Below are some of the highlights:
1. 4-star city hotel.
2. Located 30 minutes from Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport.
3. Close to local goverment offices, shopping center and other tourism destinations.
4. I got a good rest after a tiring and fun day exploring the city!
Visit Aston Makassar to find out more about it.
GPS: -5.137123, 119.408775
Where to go?
There are few places to explore! What can I expect to see when in Makassar? That was a question that I had in mind at first and apparently this place is indeed has so much to offer – be it culinary, history, sightseeing and even island.
These are few things to check out in and nearby Makassar:
Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park
Did you know that you can find the world’s second largest known karst area in this national park? Yes, a visit to Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park gives you a great opportunity to see Rammang-Rammang karst area. The karst area is approximately 43,000 hectares and has 286 caves (including 16 regency’s pre-historic caves). How cool is that?!
Located in Maros Regency, which is 50 km from Makassar (one hour drive), this park is a symbol of beauty and tranquility on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island also has been one of the reasons people travelling to South Sulawesi, precisely Makassar. Besides karst area, there is a waterfall with two caves that I believe a perfect place to immerse in its wealthy nature, picnic and much more.
On top of that, expect to see some beautiful butterflies roaming freely around the waterfall and that is why Bantimurung Waterfall is known as a ‘Kingdom of Butterfly’.
Things to do here: Explore the nearby caves which took approximately 30 minutes from the waterfall (You may rent a flashlight cost IDR 20,000 or bring your own), check out Toakala and Kassi Kebo lake and take a cool adventure riding on the water with inner tube. Uh! And buy cool souvenir merchants along the entrance to the waterfall.
Things to bring: Lunch box or snack (there are gazebos for you to enjoy your meal), extra clothes if you wish to do water activities.
Best time and day to visit: Weekdays (try to avoid weekend crowd) around 9.00 a.m to 1.00 p.m.
How to get there: You may ride a local mini-bus called pete-pete from several stops at Makassar if you wish to indulge with the locals. Else, by following tour or taxi are another alternatives to visit this park (GPS: -5.015780, 119.684789).
Kodingareng Keke Island
Among all places I went in Makassar, I must say this definitely be on top of my list. Probably because I love island. You trip to Makassar is not complete if you don’t go to Kodingareng Keke Island, one of the islands that offer white sandy beaches in South Sulawesi.
It is one of 11 islands making up the Spermonde Archipelago in Makassar. But wait! Spermonde? I know, it sounds quite strange. Some said it is because the archipelago looks like sperm formation. Funny and interesting info to know. LOL
Though Kodingareng Keke is just a small island that has limited building or infrastructure, still it is worth to be visited because of the crystal clear water – best snorkeling opportunity to see some adorable marine creatures including blue starfish (some of us saw it).
Oh, did I missed it? This island also an Instagram-worthy place for you to take tons of effortless pictures and I can guarantee that you will feel like posting 80% of the pictures taken. Trust me! 😉
Things to do here: Chilling by the beach, get your skin tanned, snorkeling (you may rent snorkeling gear from Samalona Island for IDR 50,000 – try ask the boat owner).
Things to bring: Do bring your own snorkeling gear (highly recommended to use wear fins if you wish to go further from the beach), bring own drinks/foods as there is no shop/store available on the island, sunscreen (if you really need it).
Best time and day to visit: Weekdays (try to avoid weekend crowd) around 9.00 a.m to 2.00 p.m. Get there early so that you can have ample time to explore this small island and enjoy snorkeling.
How to get there: In order to access Kodingareng Keke, you need to rent a boat from Kayu Bangkoa Port to take you to the island. The journey will take approximately 45 minutes.
The boat trip (return) from Kayu Bangkoa Port to Kodingareng Keke costs around IDR 600,000. But again, it depends on the boat owner. You might be lucky to get a cheaper return trip. Just don’t be afraid to ask.
Kayu Bangkoa: -3.969209, 122.577275
Kodingareng Keke Island: -5.103396, 119.289102
Makassar also offers breathtaking sea views as it is located on the Southwest coast of Sulawesi and facing the Makassar Strait. Pantai Losari, a beach that can be found on the west part of the city, has become a popular spot for the local and foreign visitors to witness stunning sunset/sunrise views, tasting delightful local foods and participate random festivals happening around there.
Things to do here: Taste some of local dishes like coto (a stew), pisang epe (grilled banana) and more. Besides that, you can also catch good sunset/sunrise view from here.
Things to bring: Yourself and camera, for sure.
Best time and day to visit: Weekend, around 5.00 p.m to 7.00 p.m. That is the best time for sunset view and try out local foods.
How to get there: Pantai Losari is located at -5.141488, 119.407171. You can just walk or take pete-pete if you stay in the city centre.
Located at the western coast of Makassar, Fort Rotterdam is claimed as city’s iconic landmark and been one of the well-preserved Dutch architecture in Indonesia. Fort Rotterdam was originally called Benteng or Fort Jumpandang and some of its building was made with the karst from Bantimurung Bulusaraung National park and also a mixture of stone and burnt clay. It is the best place to learn about the episodes in Makassar’s history, back to the Kingdom of Gowa during the colonisation of Dutch in 16th century.
I didn’t get much time to explore this historical landmark but definitely gonna pay my visit again here if i’m in Makassar.
Things to do here: Check out the Museum Negeri La Galigo that has various exhibits – rice bowls from Tana Toraja, ethnic costumes, musical instruments and more.
Things to bring: Your great mind to learn about the histories.
Best time and day to visit: Weekdays, 8.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m
How to get there: It is not difficult to go to Fort Rotterdam as it is located in the city centre. You may take public transport like pete-pete or take a taxi from wherever you are.
GPS: -5.133013, 119.405052
Where to eat?
Makassar offers wide array of foods especially the local cuisines. Hence, you may found many stalls or restaurants available around the city for you to choose from. I haven’t get the chance to try it but some said trying out Coto Makassar (A soup with seasoning broth and usually served with ketupat) is a must. Not only that, below are few places to try local dishes and desserts:
Rumah Makan Bahari (Seafood)
Looking for a place to have dinner in Makassar? Try Rumah Makan Bahari. It is a seafood restaurant located in the city that serve mouth-watering seafood dishes. We savoured grilled kaneka fish with parape paste, morning glory, spicy tomato sauce, bean sprout served with salted fish and fried butter prawn (favourite!).
Rumah Makan Bahari
JL. Monginsidi, No. 60, Kec. Makassar, Indonesia
GPS: -5.147530, 119.421908
I had the chance to speak with the local about their local foods.
I asked them “What is pallubasa and where to find the famous pallubasa here?”
They said “Pallubasa is one of Makassar’s famous foods. And you can get the best one at Pallubasa Serigala.”
So yeah, on our last day in Makassar, we had a chance to taste the culinary here. First stop was a restaurant located in Jalan Serigala that serve pallubasa. What is pallubasa? It is made from offal of cattle and buffalo served in a bowl with a tasty seasoning.
Jl. Serigala No. 54, Kec. Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan 90132, Indonesia
GPS: -5.159033, 119.421292
Rumah Makan Muda Mudi
I must admit that Indonesia has so many kind of foods and most of it is lip-smacking good. When in Makassar, I sampled two local foods which is jalangkote and es pisang ijo at Rumah Makan Muda Mudi.
Jalangkote? Yes, it is jalangkote. Some Malaysians will find its name quite strange and funny because when we split the name into two words, it will be jalang and kote. Go google these two words if you are curious to know its meaning in Malay LOL
Actually, it is well-known in Makassar. Almost the same with pastel that can be found in Java. Jalangkote is actually a fried pastry filled with vegetables like potato, minced beef and slices of boiled egg. It is best to eat with a spicy tomato sauce.
Second one is es pisang ijo. Those who love ice and anything sweet will like it. Es pisang ijo is one of the famous desserts in Makassar. It is a shaved ice served with banana in green dough and coconut milk. I kinda love the aroma of fragrant pandan leaf. Perfect to quench our thirst. Try it!
Rumah Makan Muda Mudi
Jalan Rusa No. 45A, Makassar, South Sulawesi
GPS: -5.150515, 119.421937
That’s all for my Makassar’s experiences. If you have any enquiry, kindly comment on the box below or drop a note to my e-mail address. Happy travelling!