Makassar is a bit like a tortured artist – troubled, mad even, yet with an undeniable charm. Amongst the lights dangling from makeshift power lines and massive trucks spilling rice as they rumble down narrow streets, there’s magic to be found. Makassar is also placed perfectly for accessing other smaller Indonesian islands to the east and south, so if its disconcerting façade doesn’t tempt you to leave early (and you really shouldn’t let that happen), its handy location might.
Much of Makassar’s magic is manmade, including Trans Studio Makassar, once the largest indoor theme parks in the world, and Karebosi Link, the first underground shopping centre in Indonesia. However, Makassar has lost none of its natural, tropical Southeast Asian charm, with hidden snorkelling spots like the small island of Pulau Kayangan only 20 minutes away.
Makassar’s Top 10
10. Kayangan Island Across from Makassar Harbour, this coral island is home to postcard-perfect cottages and restaurants.
5. Kingdom of Butterflies This National Park-enclosed valley was once home to floating clouds of butterflies.
9. Paotere Harbour Only in Makassar could an old shipping dock be so colourful.
4. Pulau Samalona One of the most beautiful snorkelling spots in the whole of Indonesia.
8. Cave of Dreams The beautiful hanging rocks are so vibrant, locals thought they were dreaming when they discovered them.
3. Diponegoro Tomb A popular memorial to an Indonesian rebel leader who fought against the invading Dutch.
7. Bantimurung Waterfall This beautiful 15m (49ft) fall leads to a warm swimming spot. A real hidden gem.
2. Losari Beach Home to a nightly food market – and one of the most ravishing sunsets anywhere.
6. Bantimurung National Park If you want to find rest, respite and relaxation in Makassar, this is the place to come.
1. Fort Rotterdam This stately old fortress is one of the best examples of Dutch architecture in Indonesia.
- Fort Rotterdam – This fort was built in the 16th century and shows the heavy Dutch influence on Makassar.
- Paotere Harbor – The wooden ships illustrate how such work has been done for centuries in Makassar.
- Opu Fortress – This fortress was once known as the strongest fortress in all of Indonesia.
- Palaces of the Gowa Kingdom – These ancient palaces in Makassar have now been turned into a museum.
- Cathedral Makassar – This historic monument serves to illustrate the rich history of religious tolerance in Makassar.
Makassar Art & Culture
- Trans Studio Makasssar – This indoor theme park has become part of the modern cultural experience of visiting Makassar.
- Museum of Makassar – The unique history of Makassar unfolds in the historical artefacts collected in this museum.
- Tana Toraja – One can view the unique rituals of the Toraja people while seeing breathtaking views of Makassar.
- Bira – A great place to see the traditional ship building dockyards and how they operate near Makassar.
- Festival Taman Macan – Held in November, this festival celebrates the culinary diversity of Makassar.
- Karebosi Link – This unique shopping centre can be found under the ground in Makassar.
- Trans Studio Mall – This gigantic Makassar shopping mall features many of the most famous brands from around the world.
- Indah Mall – This Makassar shopping malls caters mostly to families and offers some great places for clothes and snacks.
- Panakkukang Mall – Containing several large supermarkets, this is a great place in Makassar to shop for local food.
- Tanjung Bunga Mall – Because of its proximity to the beaches of Makassar, this mall is a great place to spend the day.
Gay & Lesbian Makassar
- Gaya Celebs – This gay and lesbian organization in Makassar promotes tolerance.
- Botol – Caters to the gay and lesbian crowd in Makassar.
- M Club – A popular place for the gay and lesbian community to dance the night away.
- Makassar Theatre – This Makassar theatre is a great place to meet new people.
- Donald’s Canteen – This gay-friendly restaurant is known for its great food.
- Losari Beach – Those looking for lively beach crowds should not miss this Makassar beach.
- Maros Pangkep Rocky Hill – Adventurers will love hiking this Makassar hill.
- Tallo River – This river splits the city of Makassar and offers natural beauty within the city.
- Lakkang Island – This island in the middle of the city of Makassar offers a look at the untouched nature of the area.
- Puntondo Beach – The pristine sand is the perfect place for a relaxing day by the sea.
- Go diving at Bantimurang Bulusaraung National Park.
- Hike the pine forests of the Malino Highland while in Makassar.
- Take a refreshing swim near Makassar at Bantimurung Falls.
- Snorkel just off the coast of Lanjukang Island.
- Dive and see the coral and sea life at Kapoposand Island, just off the coast of Makassar.
The international sailing community (and local fishermen) gather in Makassar Harbour in August to test their sea legs in the Sandeq Race.
Since Indonesia is almost entirely Muslim, the month of Ramadan brings fasting in August and glorious feasting in September.
To mark the end of Ramadan, the Indonesians celebrate Eid-ul-fitr (September) in traditional style with days of feasting and partying in the streets.
Although a Christian holiday, the Indonesians celebrate Christmas with a public holiday and a generous spirit.
When To Go
Makassar enjoys a warm and tropical climate, with average temperatures ranging from 25 to 32°C (77-90°F).
The best time to visit is the dry season, between May and October. The weather is a little warmer, but ocean breezes will help you out.
The high season (December and January) is not as daunting as it was before tourism in Indonesia took a dip.
Using a becak is fast, although perhaps not the safest form of transport.
Taxis are cheap and will always get you where you need to go. Just be sure to know your destination in both English and Indonesian.
Bemos are popular on the island. These small utility trucks have bench seating in the back. You may feel like a farm animal, but you’ll get to your destination safely.
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