Usually, people recommend you traditional Torajanese houses in Ke'te' Kesu', ancient burial sites of Londa and Lokomata, beautiful areal of Batutumonga, then funerals or adventurous trekking around Limbong or else. Many domestic visitors or locals frequently coming to Buntu Burake hills. Buntu Burake hills are known for the religious objects, but let me explain to you there are many things to see in this famous hills.
Even you need to pay for entrance, people are still coming to spend the evening looking out to great panorama whether with their spouses, love mates, or friends. Prepare some personal stuffs to bring as the place isn't fully facilitated yet. The entrance fee is IDR 10,000 for domestic visitors and it's IDR 20,000 for foreign visitors. So here are 5 things you can see in Buntu Burake Hills:
Jesus blesses Toraja.
1. Highest Jesus Statue in the World
It's no brainer, the Jesus Statue is the most famous feature in Buntu Burake hills. And it's no kidding, they got the label right as the highest statue in the world. One shouldn't compare this with the one in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, even though both look alike, but this statue in Tana Toraja beats off the statue in Brazil. Inaugurated in 2015, the statue of 45 meters high is standing 1,100 meters above sea level. Made out from bronze, the statue was created piece by piece in the sculptor's studio in Yogyakarta and assembled on site, with a blessing hand gesture on the city of Makale.
From the parking lot, you may need to walk a bit to reach the platform or Jesus Statue. Up there, you will find large gathering space where people crowding the railing to have close look-out point of Makale city. They also build a watch tower under the statue, even though no one operates it as the construction isn't finished yet (August 2017).
Going down to visit Mother Mary cave.
2. Mother Mary cave
Aside from Jesus statue, you will find the statue of Marie hidden in a cave at the other side of Buntu Burake hills. This allows people who professed as Catholics to go visit this religious site and pray with their belief. But of course, this site opens for everyone regardless their beliefs. The size of the cave is definitely smaller than the Jesus statue, but it's indeed interesting on how they add more functions and to the caves.
Like the famous circular glass bridge in Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie or in Grand Canyon, where people would slowly walk around to see the great views under their feet, separated with high-pressured glass! Tana Toraja eagerly would like to put the visitors into some adrenaline thrills in Buntu Burake hills, where they could explore the tropical trees and deep valleys around. Although they're still constructing, but it would be a smash it once it's finished!
Great views and crystal-clear water splurge you to take a dip!
4. Swimming at Burake Hills
Looking to the panorama, then taking pictures while observing the city's landscape may leave active people a bit bored, but then they also have several activities to do in the hills. You can swim in the hanging pool! Arising for 1,700 meters above the sea level, located in housings complex of Burake Hills around 3 km from Makale Pool Square, the owner recently built the swimming pool in 2017, so the condition and facilities are all new. With the size of 40 x 12 m, you could go for a quick deep or a round lap, just make sure you don't go during the weekend as families, children, and young adults living in the complex may go for a swim too.
The swimming opens at 08.00 and 09.00 (Mid-east Indonesian time) and closes around 18.00. As they're still promoting this facility, the entrance fee is affordable too, going from IDR 10,000 for students to IDR 15,000 for adults. If you're hungry, they also have small cafe offering snacks, food, and drinks with prices raging from IDR 10,000 - IDR 25,000. You could reach Burake Hills complex by motorcycle or cars from the main road, just be careful with the bumpy road as they haven't paved with asphalt yet. You can pay IDR 10,000 if you choose to go with 'ojek' from Poros Makale-Rantepao road.
Makale in smaller scale.
5. Breathtaking Landscape Views of Tana Toraja
You could guess it clearly, the landscape of Buntu Burake hills provide you the opportunity of hiking to different look-out points, allowing you to catch views from different angles. We arrived around 16.30 where the weather was cloudy so it blocked the sunset, but a melancholic blue tone rendering the trees and mountains. Above is the picture where you can see an area with several gazebos of a restaurant, overlooking the bigger picture of Makale city. From the Poros Rantepao-Makale road, Makale Pool Square, governor offices of Tana Toraja regency to big and small buildings, they're all look like magnificent collectives of living puzzles. Breathtaking views indeed!
If you're visiting Toraja, especially when Lovely December 2017 is opening its event on December 9th (you can go here if you haven't read the previous article about Lovely December 2017), then you should pay a visit to Buntu Burake Hills! It's highly recommended to spend your morning or afternoon time in this great hills.
From Makassar's airport, Makale can be reached in 8 - 9 hours by car, taxi or by bus. Although today there are also flights from Makassar to Tana Toraja (Rantetayo Airport). From Rantepao, Makale can be reached in less than 40 minutes by public transportation 'pete-pete' or less than 30 minutes by motorcycles. Prepare your stamina, because it's going to be a phenomenal hike-up with spectacular views!