Cemetery, hills, forest, river in Tana Toraja: Jun 2010
After spending two nights in Makassar and Palopo, I joined my friends Tira and Riky in Tana Toraja. The two hour journey from Palopo to Tana Toraja itself was a great and a bit adventurous one. It was great due to the mountainous terrain with its forest view and a bit of adventurous due to the landslide effect that happened last year in the area. Along most of the road, you will find the ravine on the right side and the water flowing between the big rocks stumbling from the cliff due to the landslide on the left side. You don not want to be on this road on the dark on in the middle of the rain. Hence, the driver made sure that he could go back to Palopo before the dusk falling. I arrived in Tana Toraja at noon and visited Lemo, Londa and Ketekesu where you could be indulged by the skulls, bones, and coffins everywhere inside and outside the caves without having spooky feeling. I went there with Tira, Riky, and Imel my little cousin as our guide. Those places are must visit places for a first time traveler in Toraja like Tira. It was my second visit. The last time I visited Toraja was 10 years ago to celebrate Christmas with my relatives. Yup, some of my relatives are Torajan and they live in Toraja and Palopo.
While my friend Tira was excited to see a Torajan funeral ceremony, I did not feel that way. By the way, there was no funeral ceremony on that day. I had seen it before. It was a magnificent ritual. Still, I also thought it as very costly culture. When a relative pass away, a Torajan family should hold a party, have a lot of buffaloes and pigs to be feed to the guess, build shacks often above the rice field for the guess to sit and eat, and else. The more buffaloes you sacrifice and the longer the party takes time, then the higher the family pride. However, it is a culture that is strongly believed by the Torajan and cannot be measured by the material things such as money. Tira and me stayed at my uncle’s house, while Riky stayed at Wisma Maria I, a hostel run by my relatives.
The next day, we went for white water rafting on Maiting River. I have never done rafting in Toraja before and so exciting to have this experience. Tira, Riky and me used IndoSella Eco Expedition as our rafting operator. My cousins also join the rafting but with different operator: Toranggo Buya, a subsidiary of Sobek Expedition. Agus Lamba from IndoSella took us to Bolu market in the morning before going to Maiting River. Yup, it was a market day in Rantepao when people from Toraja and other regions/islands come to sell their buffaloes and pigs. Some buffaloes in Toraja are fabulous as their price can reach as high as hundred millions rupiah. This is the place where buffaloes have a high value due to the culture. This is the place where seeing a buffalo can be a breathtaking view due to its beauty. After spending around 30 minutes in Bolu market, we were ready to go for rafting. We had to go by car for two hours from Rantepao and had a 40-60 minutes trekking down the hills before having a three hours rafting on Maiting River. Every inch and second of it was an astonishing journey. It also includes the part when we had to pull and push the car also made the pathway become more friendly for the car tires. Well, actually most of the time I only took pictures of my friends and the crews did all of the car pushing and pulling. When I had to stop and off from the car due to the terrible muddy road, I could enjoy the fabuluous view up on the hill. I spotted the red and white shool building surrounded by brown square area in the middle of green forest and rice field. The students were playing on the square with their red and white uniform. And here I was having a holiday...yay!!! Some villagers just passed by to do their activities, made Tongkonan, a Torajan traditional house, pushed a car. Hohoho it's my friends pushing the car not the villagers. While enjoying the gorgeous view, including the car pushing, by my eyes, my ears catched the voice of sprinkling water down from the hill. Yup...we could use it to clean up or muddy hands and feet before getting back on the car to continue the journey to the river.
As we arrived on the nearest village to the river, we met some local people with their joyful children greeting us and giving their best smile and laughter especially when posing in front of the camera. They were keep smiling as we put on our safelife vest, helmet and carried our paddle. Ok...where's the river? Then we went for the 40-60 minutes trekking down the steep hill to reach the river. The pathway was steep and getting steeper as we went down further. I really recommended to have a serious breakfast before having this trip. I could feel my legs trembling as we went down the hill. I hate the descending part. However, my hatred on the descending always fade away as the impressive scene down there can instantly soothe my trembling legs, pleased my eyes, and touched my heart. It is an overwhelming statement on a view, huh? :) The clear green river inside the swath green forest which make a beautiful boundary with the bright blue sky scenery is worth seeing. Up until now, it is the best view I ever seen. It was because I could not only see its beauty but also felt it as I was on the raft and got splash of the fresh water river on the first rapid as the rafting started.
Maiting river has grade II-III rapids. Mostly, it has grade II rapids. Hence, it's not challenging enough. The positive side of it was that I could optimally enjoy its stunning beauty as we're flowing through the canyon with its beautiful ubiquitous waterfalls. Also, there are a lot of birds, teals, and some kind of iguanas. We had our lunch on the river shore and met the team from Toranggo Buya. From that point, we had our rafting trip together. As the canyon with its waterfalls disappear, the view along the river changed into the rice field scenery with the buffaloes taking a bath on the river-bank or just having their lazy sun-bathing. The three hour rating ended. Nooo... I want it more. Could I repeat it again?? When my feet touch the ground again, I know that I'll go back here again for rafting..maybe trying another river: Sadan. Thanks a lot to Tira, Riky, my families in Palopo & Toraja, and Indosella Eco Expedition team.
This is a story from 7 years ago, the river & trekking path is much better now. Further updated information of the river kindly visit this article : Rafting in Toraja - How's the river?
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