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Makassar, Indonesia

Makassar is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is the largest city on Sulawesi Island in terms of population, and fifth-largest city in the Indonesian Archipelago after Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Medan. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a pre-Colonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably. The port city is located on the southwest coast of the island of Sulawesi, facing the Makassar Strait. The city's area is 67.87 square miles (175.77 square kilometres). Its official metropolitan area, known as 'Mamminasata', covers an area of 955 square miles (2,473 square kilometres). The city is southern Sulawesi's primary port, with regular domestic and international shipping connections. It is nationally renowned as an important port of call for phinisi boats, traditional sailing vessels which are among the last in use for regular long-distance trade.

Much of South Sulawesi's early history was written in old texts that can be traced back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Trading in spices figured prominently in the history of Sulawesi, which involved frequent struggles between rival native and foreign powers during the pre-Colonial and Colonial periods, when spices from the region were in high demand in the West. Beginning in the 16th century, Makassar was the dominant trading center of eastern Indonesia, and soon became Sulawesi's major port and centre of the powerful Gowa and Tallo sultanates, which had a series of 11 fortresses and strongholds, and a fortified sea wall which extended along the coast. Portuguese, Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Siamese, Javanese, Australians, and Malays came here to trade their manufactured metal goods and textiles for pearls, gold, copper, camphor and spices. From the early-17th century until the 20th-century, Makassar fell under Dutch occupation, and the Dutch converted many Toraja people to Christianity. Even after the Japanese invasion during World War II and Indonesian National Revolution in 1950, tolerant religious attitudes by the Muslim majority made Makassar a key centre for Malays working in the spice trade, as well as a valuable base for European and Arab traders from much further afield.  

Today, as the largest city on Sulawesi Island and Eastern Indonesia, Makassar's economy depends heavily on its services sectors and fishing industry. However, with the rapid development of its infrastructure, facilities and airport, along with its stunning coast, exquisite countryside and amazing cultural diversity, it's easy to understand why Makassar's tourism industry is rapidly becoming an increasingly important component of the local economy. This lovely and inviting port city serves as a convenient gateway for exploring some of the most breath-taking beaches, islands and national parks in Southeast Asia. Included are the former kingdom of Gowa, the beaches of Losari, Bira and Akkarena, national parks of Lore Lindu and Bantimurung Bulusaraung, Tana Toraja, Malino Tea Plantation, Watan Soppeng, islands of Barrang Lompo, Khayangan, Samaloma and Keke, and Air Terjun Parangloe, with its beautiful, three-storey Parangloe Waterfall.

The diverse cultures and legacy of Makassar can be explored during visits to some of its most traditional and historic landmarks and locales. The evolution of the city and its environs can be explored at the renowned Leang Petta Kere archaeological site, Negeri La Galigo and Bella Lompoa museums, former kingdom of Gowa, Rotterdam Fort, Makam Sultan Hasanuddin, and the 14th-century Paotere Port. Makassar's rich traditions and cultural diversity can be observed at Benteng Somba Opu, the Maulid Nabi Festival, Tana Toraja, and unique Mesjid Agung, the 'Floating Mosque' of Makassar, which is located off Losari Beach.

Makassar's inland and coastal beauty is highlighted by a wide array of picturesque and memorable sightseeing venues for outdoor enthusiasts. Land-based excursions include picturesque nature and walking trails at Tana Taraja, Air Terjun Parangloe and Watan Soppeng, jungle and rainforest trekking at the national parks of Lore Lindu and Bantimurung Bulusaraung, off-road exploring, bicycling, caving at the Leang Petta Kere archaeological site and Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, bird-watching at the Gowa Discovery Park, and fun-filled rides and attractions at Benteng Somba Opu, Trans Studio Makassar and the Bugis Waterpark. Makassar's harbour, beaches and offshore islands abound with exotic flora and fauna, diverse bird species, and abundant coral beds, fish species, marine life and wildlife. Scenic and fun-filled water-based excursions include swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wind- and kitesurfing, jet- and water-skiing, fishing, and snorkelling and scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Bira Beach, Khayangan Island, Pulau Khayangan, Pulau Samalona, Keke Island, Barrang Lompo, and Akkarena Beach.

Due to its compact size, Makassar can be easily explored in just a single day.

Going Ashore in Makassar

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to dock at the Soekarno-Hatta Pier, a 15-minute, 1.2-mile (two-kilometre) walk to Makassar's city centre. A limited number of private cars may be available outside of the port entrance.  Please make sure to establish a price before starting any journey.


Makassar is renowned for its handicrafts, clothing, accessories, fabrics, silk items, Bugis caps, jewellery, food, nuts, passion fruit syrup, spices, holistic items, electronics, miniature phinisi ships and tongkonan house models, and other souvenirs, which can be found at various stalls and shops throughout the city. Popular local shopping destinations include Pasar Butung, the Karebosi Link, Somba Opu Street, Toko Cahaya, Aneka Sutra and the Indonesia Handicrafts Centre. In addition, a wide array of locally-sourced and internationally-branded products can also be found in shopping malls throughout Makassar, including the Trans Studio Mall, located approximately five miles (eight kilometres) from the city centre, Mari Mall, located approximately 2.5 miles (four kilometres) from the city centre, along with MTC Karebosi, Ratu Indah Mall, Panakkukang Mall, and Minyak Tawon. Most stores are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).


Makassar is home to a wide array of delectable Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and International cuisine, along with a host of seafood, meat, pork and noodle-based dishes. Local specialities include: konro, a rib dish; coto, a stew made from the mixture of nuts, spices, and a selection of offal which may include beef brain, tongue and intestine; pisang epe, a banana that is pressed, grilled, covered with palm sugar sauce and sometimes eaten with durian; pisang ijo, a banana covered with green-coloured flour, coconut milk and syrup, and sometimes served over ice; buroncong, an early-morning breakfast cake made from grated coconut and flour; nyk nyang, or Chinese-style pork meatballs served in a pork broth with chili sauce; sop saudara, a traditional South Sulawesi soup with meat, liver and lung; abon ikan bandeng assyifa, a shredded fish dish made with milk; pangsit mie, a noodle dish served with barbecue pork, chicken and wontons; mie Canton, or Cantonese-style fried noodles served with a condensed soup containing vegetables, fried meatball and pork meat; pallubasa, a spicy meat soup with grated coconut; nasi kuning, a yellow rice dish; and songkolo, or stirred glutinous rice served with fried, grated coconut, salted fish and chili sauce.

Popular local restaurants include Surya, Coto Nusantara, Rumah Makan Kayangan, Seafood Apong, Lae Lae, Kios Lombok, Kios Semarang, Shogun, Pizza Ria, Konro Karebossi, R.M. Nelayan, Bistropolis, Garorica HOP, Ayam Goreng Sulawesi, Djuku, Sentosa, RM Ratu Gurih Makassar, New Dinar Seafood, Sup Ubi Datuk Museng Dalam Lorong, RM Ulu Juku, Nelayan, Sop Konro Karebosi, Café Mama, R.M. Ramayana, Krispi Kriuk, Rumah Makan Makassar Kuliner, Makassar Suki, Konro Ma'minasata, and the restaurant in the Clarion Hotel.

Other Sites

Fort Rotterdam

Fort Rotterdam is a 16th-century Dutch Colonial fort built in Makassar on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It was captured by the Dutch in 1667, and became a centre of Dutch Colonial power in Sulawesi. Following the Java War (1825-1830), Javanese prince and now national hero, Diponegoro, was imprisoned in the fort following his exile to Makassar in 1830 and until his death in 1855. The fort also served as a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The Negeri La Galigo Museum, located inside Fort Rotterdam, displays exhibits in various rooms. Various local publications about South Sulawesi may also be purchased from the bookstore in the fort.

Negeri La Galigo Museum

Located inside Fort Rotterdam, the Negeri La Galigo Museum displays artefacts and exhibits in various rooms, including rice bowls from Tana Toraja, kitchen tools, musical instruments and various costumes.

Kampoeng Popsa

Located on the water across the street from Fort Rotterdam, this clean, modern, waterfront food court features plush seating, breezes, plenty of hip clientele and lots of food choices, from mei titi to Japanese food, and pizza to ice cream. In addition, Kampoeng Popsa often features live music at night.

Old Gowa

Remnants of the former kingdom of Gowa, located 4.3 miles (seven kilometres) from town on the south-eastern outskirts of Makassar, include Makam Sultan Hasanuddin, which memorialises the ruler of Gowa from the mid-17th century. Outside the tomb compound is the Pelantikan Stone, on which the kings of Gowa were crowned.

Balla Lompoa Museum

The former Palace of the Sultan of Gowa, also known as the Sungguminasa Palace, the Ballalompoa Museum is a large wooden structure built on stilts and has an imposing roofed staircase that leads to the reception room. It has five wooden panels in the gable of the roof, which denotes royalty and may be used only by the Sultan. Built in 1936, the Ballalompoa Museum today houses the resplendent treasure and regalia of the former Sultan of Gowa, including the Gowa gold crown, believed to have been inherited from the first female ruler of Gowa, I Tanisamanga, as well as gifts from the Australian Aborigines of Elcho Island, who have a history of trade with the Bugis, bracelets with precious stones, royal swords, keris, and gold jewellery. Although the royal regalia can be only be seen upon request, the wooden Bugis-style palace itself is the real attraction. A new attraction, the impressive 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony, has recently been added at the Ballalompoa Museum. Wearing resplendent bright red costumes, 'soldiers' perform the 'Changing of the Guard' drill every morning at 9 a.m.

Benteng Somba Opu

The history of the Gowa Kingdom unfolds at this unique historical fort. Located 7.4 miles (12 kilometres) south of Makassar's town centre at Sungguminasa, Benteng Somba Opu is definitely worth the journey during your visit. Highlights include a fun-filled waterpark, dancing and music classes, traditional Toraja, Manar, Makassar, and Bugis houses and buildings, and a scenic walking path along the Jeneberang River.

Gowa Discovery Park

The Gowa Discovery Park is a fun-filled waterpark that combines exhilarating water slides with a beautiful forest, and a bird park featuring an abundance of bird species and assorted wildlife. 'Melantunnkan', or typical Balinese traditional music, can be heard playing in the background.

Losari Beach

The icon of Makassar City, Losary Beach is the place to be for locals and tourist to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset, whilst taking a stroll and stopping for quick snacks or seafood dining along the way. In the past, the food-and-drink stalls were located along the coastline, until the government relocated all vendors to one area near the beach. One of the favourite snacks at Losari Beach is pisang epe, a grilled banana with brown sugar sauce on top. Losari Beach is located about 15 minutes from Makassar Port, or about a 45-minute drive from Sultan Hasanuddin Airport. The floating mosque, Mesjid Agung, is also located here.

Paotere Port

Located in the northern port city of Makassar, Paotere Port dates from the 14th century and was part of the kingdom of Gowa-Tallo. Traditional boats, or phinisi, are still employed here to this day by commercial fishermen. This old harbour offers wonderful vistas and photo opportunities, especially in the early-evening hours.

Lore Lindu National Park

Lore Lindu National Park is a forested protected area on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in the province of Central Sulawesi. The national park has an area of 23,465 square feet (2,180 square metres) covering both lowland and montane forests, and is approximately 656-8,563 feet (200-2,610 meters) above sea level. It provides a habitat to numerous rare species, including 77 bird species endemic to Sulawesi. The national park is designated as part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. In addition to its rich wildlife, the park also contains megaliths dating from before 1300 A.D.

Barrang Lompo

Barrang Lompo is one of coral islands off the beach bordering the Makassar Bone, Gusung Battang. The island is highlighted by a beautiful, 121-acre (49-hectare) marine-park. The island has a fresh water source, and is thus inhabited by many fishermen, sailors and some families of traditional silver craftsmen who sell their artwork to the city of Makassar.

Bira Beach

Bira is a beach paradise, a haven of peace and tranquillity featuring an expansive, white-sand beach filled with coconut trees and surrounded by crystal-clear water. Every evening at sunset, fishermen depart aboard their traditional boats to fish not far from the sand. Here, all of the fishermen are 'Bugis', considered some of the best builders of wooden boats, which are constructed almost entirely by hand.

Maulid Nabi Festival

This traditional Muslim event, called the 'Maudu Warning' is held annual to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on 12 Rabi 'al-Awal. 'Warning' conforms in various parts of the world with a variety of traditions. In Indonesia, especially in the Bugis-Makassar society in South Sulawesi, there are unique traditions that cannot be found in other Muslim societies, both in Indonesia and abroad. Here, the memorial Maudu Birthday Lompoa is massive, and typically held by families who claim to be of Arab descent.

Masjid Apung

The beautiful Mesjid Agung, or 'Great Mosque', of Makassar is located off Losari Beach in South Sulawesi. It is also known as the 'Floating Mosque', due to the fact that it is surrounded by water and accessible via a pathway leading from the beach.

Pelabuhan Paotere

A 15-minute becak-ride north of the city centre, Pelabuhan Paotere is where the Bugis sailing ships berth and arguably the most atmospheric part of the city. There is usually lots of activity on the dock, and in the busy fish market a few streets south of Pelabuhan Paotere.

Trans Studio Makassar

At 215,278 square feet (20,000 (square metres) and 65.6 feet (20 metres) in height, Trans Studio Makassar is the world's third-largest indoor theme park. Opened in 2009, this expansive, 31.4-acre (12.7-hectare) site is part of the Trans Studio World Project, which includes Trans Walk, Rodeo Drive, Trans Studio, Trans hotels, the offices of Mega Bank, a shopping mall, supermarket, office area, recreational beach area, residential area, upscale and fast-food restaurants, a great gym with an ocean view, an air-conditioned cinema, Fireflies lounge, and a multitude of luxury brand shopping venues.  

Karebosi Link

Karebosi Link is the first and largest underground shopping centre in Indonesia, Karebosi Link is located just below the Karebosi Sports Field, the town square that is the pride of the citizens of Makassar. Opened since September 2008, Karebosi Link is a one-stop shopping area for everyone, and a popular place to gather with friends and family. It features everything from basic necessities to fashion and books to gadgets, as well as a host of restaurants. Karebosi Link is connected to the Makassar Trade Center (MTC) via an underground tunnel.

Pasar Butung

Built in 1918, Pasar Butung is the first and oldest market in Makassar. Pasar Butung later grew as the biggest wholesale centre of ready-to-wear clothing and textiles in eastern Indonesia. Accommodating more than 700 kiosks, Pasar Butung also has sections for food vendors, and fresh daily supplies of vegetables and fruits. The market has undergone two renovations, one in 1995 to accommodate more sellers and one in 2010 after a severe fire burned down parts of its building.

Somba Opu (Shopping Street)

Rows of shops selling gold jewellery and traditional souvenir and handicraft from South Sulawesi line Somba Opu Street. Souvenirs and handicrafts found here includes t-shirts, sarongs, woven cloth, butterflies, miniature phinisi ship and tongkonan house models, and other sculptures. For gold jewellery, several Somba Opu's shops have artistic collection from well-known gold craftsmen of Makassar and Sidrap. Traditional snacks such as otak-otak, or grilled fish cake, packaged 'disco' peanuts, Kalosi Coffee and passion-fruit syrup are sold at some shops on Somba Opu Street.

Khayangan Island

Khayangan Island is a small coral island that had been opened as a recreational area since 1964. In 2003, the island was renovated to include additional resort facilities such as guesthouses, water sports, a fishing bridge and multifunction building for gathering. Visitors can embark a motorboat at the port in front of Makassar's Rotterdam Fort for the approximately 15-minute ride to Khayangan Island.

Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park

Bantimurung Bulusaraung is a national park in South Sulawesi. The park is located in Maros Regency, 31 miles (50 kilometres) north of Makassar, and home to the Maros Pangkep limestone hill, the world's second-largest karst area. Most of the Karst formations are tall and steep, and line both sides of the road from Maros City to Bantimurung, continuing on up to the Pangkajene Islands Regency. The park's 108,108-acre (43,750-hectare) karst area is renowned for its remarkable butterfly collection and features 286 caves, including 16 prehistoric caves in Maros Regency and 17 pre-historic caves in Pangkep, the Bone Regency. There is waterfall with two caves at the national park; the 0.6-mile (one-kilometre) cave on the left side is known as the 'Dream Cave', and the one on the right is known as the 'Stone Cave'. Riding on the water on inflatable inner tubes is a popular activity for children at the site.

Pulau Khayangan

Formerly known as 'Marrouw' or 'Meraux', Pulau Khayangan is a small island with a 2.5-acre (one-hectare) white-sand beach. Located approximately 20 minutes away by boat from central Makassar, this island features holiday and water sports facilities, fishing platforms, and a number of aquariums housing a wide variety of fish and marine life.

Pulau Samalona

Accessible via a 30-minute boat-ride from Makassar, Pulau Samalona is a beautiful island with a white-sand beach, crystal-clear water and lovely coral beds on the east-side of the island. Excellent diving and snorkelling can be found out past the Old Pier, approximately 1,968 feet (600 metres) from the shoreline.  

Tana Toraja

Located approximately 204 miles (about 328 kilometres) north of Makassar in the central highlands of South Sulawesi, Tana Toraja is the famed 'Land of The Heavenly Kings' and capital of South Sulawesi Province. Bright green rice terraces, tall limestone outcrops, traditional Tongkonan houses and bamboo graves are set against a backdrop of blue misty mountains. This sleepy rural region cultivates rice, cacao, Arabica coffee and clove most of the year. However, following the harvest and during the dry season, from June until September, a complex and rather gruesome funeral ceremony known as 'rambu solo' takes place. After a person's death, the body is kept, often for several years, whilst money is saved to pay for the actual funeral ceremony, known as 'tomate'. During this festival, which may last up to a week, ritual dances and buffalo fights are held, and buffaloes and pigs are slaughtered to ferry the soul of the deceased to the afterlife, or 'puya'. The deceased is then finally buried either in a small cave, often with a tau-tau effigy placed in front, inside a hollow tree or even left exposed to the elements in a bamboo frame hanging from a cliff.

Keke Island

Not far from Makassar is the small island of Keke. Depending on the tides, both sides of the island are worth exploring with a mask and snorkel. Large drop-offs, idyllic, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water filled with beautiful virgin coral reefs, anemones and fish combine to create a memorable island experience.  

Makam Sultan Hasanuddin

Remnants of the former kingdom of Gowa, located 4.3 miles (seven kilometres) from town on the south-eastern outskirts of Makassar, include Makam Sultan Hasanuddin, which memorialises the ruler of Gowa in the mid-17th century. Outside the tomb compound is the Pelantikan Stone, on which the kings of Gowa were crowned.

Makam Pangeran Diponegoro

This small cemetery is home to the tomb and monument of Prince Diponegoro of Yogyakarta. The prince led the Java War (1825-30), but his career as a rebel leader came to a sudden halt when he was tricked into going to the Dutch headquarters to negotiate peace, taken prisoner and then exiled to Sulawesi. He spent the last 26 years of his life imprisoned in Fort Rotterdam.

Air Terjun Parangloe

Air Terjun Parangloe is home to the beautiful, three-storey Parangloe Waterfall. Hidden in the middle of a forest in Kecamatan, Parangloe, a sub-district of Kabupaten Gowa, South Sulawesi, the waterfall is rather difficult to access, but is well worth the trek as its beauty is often compared to that of Niagara Falls.

Bugis Waterpark

The Bugis Waterpark combines the local charm of Bugis with a wide array of fun-filled and thrilling rides and attractions. Glide along the Lazy River, speed down the exhilarating water slides and romp in the Kids' Pool. The water is very clean and fresh, and the venue is a must-visit for families.

Malino Tea Plantation

Nestled amidst the verdant mountains and a cool escape from the heat even during the day, the picturesque Malino Tea Plantation is famous for its tea gardens featuring a wide array of teas, flowers and fruit, along with dams, the Bili-Bili Waterfalls and lovely villas.

Leang Petta Kere

This incredibly scenic and ancient archaeological site was once thought to be the origin of the oceans, as evidenced by the presence of coral, and features paintings on cave walls depicting images of palms and animals.

Watan Soppeng (Bat City)

Located in the Indonesian lowlands, Watan Soppeng, also known as 'Bat City', is surrounded by beautiful, scenic hills with hot springs and a park with large trees inhabited by thousands of bats. A well-maintained, hilltop Dutch Colonial building now serves as a museum, and displays collections of historical relics. This venue also offers splendid panoramic vistas overlooking the city and surrounding rice paddies.

Akkarena Beach

Located in front of the Makassar Mall GTC, beautiful Akkarena Beach is beautiful and charming, especially during the morning hours. The beach is very clean, and dotted with shady trees. A wide array of food vendors can be found in the vicinity.

Outdoor Activities

Makassar's offers a wide array of memorable outdoor activities, including picturesque nature and walking trails at Tana Taraja, Air Terjun Parangloe and Watan Soppeng, jungle and rainforest trekking at the national parks of Lore Lindu and Bantimurung Bulusaraung, off-road exploring, bicycling, caving at the Leang Petta Kere archaeological site and Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, bird-watching at the Gowa Discovery Park, and fun-filled rides and attractions at Benteng Somba Opu, Trans Studio Makassar and the Bugis Waterpark. The idyllic beaches of Bira and Akkarena, along with offshore islands that include Khayangan Island, Pulau Khayangan, Pulau Samalona, Keke Island, and Barrang Lompo, are ideally-suited for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wind- and kitesurfing, jet- and waterskiing, fishing, and snorkelling and scuba diving.  

Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.

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