ITINERARY - Trans Sulawesi Cycle Tour

Overview
Trip dates 04 - 19 December 2011
Cycle distance 878 km
No of days 16 days
No of cycle days 11 days

DECEMBER 2011


Day 1
Sunday 04
Makassar
We’ll pick you up from Hasanuddin (Makassar) International Airport and take you to our hotel by the sea that overlooks the famous Losari Promenade and adjacent to the old Chinese quarter in Jalan Sumbo Opu, also near historic Fort Rotterdam and close to the traditional port Paotere with its colourful pinisi inter-island wooden sailing sschooners. Swimming and yoga by the sea. Meet up for a Javanese dinner in a nearby warung (cafe) and trip briefing.
Accommodation: Makassar Golden Hotel


Day 2
Monday 05
Makassar – 225 km- Enrekang (minibus)
The route takes us directly north past look alike Hailun Bay limestone outcrops at Maros along the coast to the pretty little port town of Pare-Pare where we’ll have a seafood lunch at (Chinese) Restoran Asia. We then head inland into scenery reminiscent of northern Australia before crossing the rice plains of Rappang, Sidrap and Maroangin then into the foothills of the Torajan highlands. Just before Enrekang we’ll enjoy local yoghurt and refreshing sugar palm squash at Mama Putri’s warung and have a pre-dinner village stroll and frolic in Lewaja waterfall. Back in town the trip mechanic will assemble the bikes and we’ll test ride them before dinner which will be nasi padang (West Sumatran style) at Warung Padang just across the road from our commercial travellers’ guesthouse in the middle of town.
Accommodation: Hotel Rasita.


Day 3
Tuesday 06
Cycle day 1
62 km
Enrekang - Makale
The route takes us directly north past look alike Hailun Bay limestone outcrops at Maros along the coast to the pretty little port town of Pare-Pare where we’ll have a seafood lunch at (Chinese) Restoran Asia. We then head inland into scenery reminiscent of northern Australia before crossing the rice plains of Rappang, Sidrap and Maroangin then into the foothills of the Torajan highlands. Just before Enrekang we’ll enjoy local yoghurt and refreshing sugar palm squash at Mama Putri’s warung and have a pre-dinner village stroll and frolic in Lewaja waterfall. Back in town the trip mechanic will assemble the bikes and we’ll test ride them before dinner which will be nasi padang (West Sumatran style) at Warung Padang just across the road from our commercial travellers’ guesthouse in the middle of town.
Accommodation: Hotel Sahid Toraja


Day 4
Wednesday 07
Cycle day 2
60 km
Makale - Batutumonga
The route descends from the Hotel Sahid down into the sizable centre of Makale with its local hero Pongtiku statue by a lake in the centre of town. It will be a pig and vegetable market day in Makale. We take back roads past the seldom used (very often there is low cloud) airport at Rantetayo onto the market village of Madandan, over the bridge at Alang-Alang and into Rantepao where we’ll have a Torajan style lunch of buffalo casserole (Coto kerbau) in warung coto.
We cycle through town then climb 24 km passing traditional villages with boat shaped houses, ancient grave sites chiselled into huge boulders and terraced hillsides. Accomodation in Batutumongga will be in converted Torajaan house rice granaries. It’ll be cold so you’ll need warm clothes here.
Accommodation: Mentirotiku Guest House


Day 5
Thursday 08
Cycle day 3
24 km
Batutumonga – Rantepao
Today we’ll return to Rantepao taking a different route this time passing Lokomata with its cliff graves, terrific mountain views at Sariale (warung kopi), Tikala with its megalithic pillars and Tallunglipu on the edge of town. We’ll lunch at the ‘with it’ Mars Cafe and then check into our inernational level hotel located near the middle of town and opposite a reflexology parlour.
Swimming and Yoga
Accommodation: modern Hotel Luwu Toraja in the middle of town.


Day 6
Friday 09
Cycle day 4
52 km
Circumnavigate Toraja
By this time we’ll have developed a really healthy lifestyle based on regular cycling & yoga, simple nutritious food and plenty of sleep. We’ll take the undulating main road from Rantepao to Makale then onto some sharp ascents at Suaya where we’ll see cliff-side royal graves. We’ll refresh in the thermal pools at Makula where we’ll lunch also. Then to the baby tree graves at Kambira after which we’ll drop into a local orphanage at Sangala’ and then pedal to the craft village of Randanbatu. We’ll have afternoon tea at Labo - Sallebayu and then drop into the classical Torajan village of Ke’te Kesu with its famous Tongkonan coming back into Rantepao at Patung Kerbau (the Buffalo Statue).
Swimming and yoga. There are lots of chic cafes in Rantepao and we’ll try different ones each night.
Accommodation: Hotel Luta


Day 7
Saturday 10
No cycle day
Rantepao
We’ll give the bikes a rest today and take the minibus 6 km to Pasar Bolu livestock market (which opens once a week only), a Torajan cultural museum run by Ibu Beatrix and Todi’s textiles artshop.
Swimming and yoga
Accommodation: Hotel Luta


Day 8
Sunday 11
Cycle day 5
124 km
Rantepao - Masamba
The route leads us past the Bolu livestock markets then descending through the magnificent scenery of Puncak Pass followed by Bambalu waterfall. We’ll continue gliding downhill to the port city of Palopo known for its salty fish. We ride along a narrow rice plain squeezed between the blue hued inland Torajan mountains and coastal fishing villages hiding among clumps of towering coconut and sugar palms. We’ll lunch in a roadside village warung (cafe) and ride through sago palms along a mostly flat well-kept sealed road. Communities here are a mixture of Christian Toraja and Muslim Luwu evidenced by churches with crosses and mosques with minarettes, as well as Javanese transmigrants.
We cycle to our family guesthouse located on a high hill affording panoramic views of the town below.
Accommodation: Hotel Bukit Indah


Day 9
Monday 12
Cycle day 6
78 km
Masamba - Mangkutana
As in most places we’ll begin the day with nasi goreng and Torajan coffee or Java tea. Today we continue to cycle northwards along the coastal plain, past wet rice fields, coconut and cacao plantations in the hills with the locals drying chocolate beans, corn and other local produce on the roadside.
Lunch will be at a roadside warung.
We overnight at a Minangkabau (West Sumatran) style hotel with its horn shaped roof - in the centre of Mangkutana. Dinner will be in a restaurant next door.
Accommodation: Hotel Sikumbang


Day 10
Tuesday 13
Cycle day 7
82 km
Mangkutana - Pendol
We continue north and into the mountains of Central Sulawesi province and end at Pendolo on the southern edge of scenic Lake Poso, Indonesia's third largest lake. We’ll refresh at Kayulangi waterfall and then lunch in a warung overlooking a magnificent valley.
We'll ride through mountainous terrain, with some serious ascents and end at 600 m above sea level. The waters of Lake Poso are crystal clear and the forests surrounding the lake still provide rare sightings of dwarf buffalo and babirusa, a ruminant pig, two endangered species that are found only on the island of Sulawesi.
Accommodation: Hotel Mulia lakeside cottages.


Day 11
Wednesday 14
Cycle day 8
64 km
Pendolo - Siuri
Today we'll cycle the mountainous village road along the western edge of Lake Poso passing by picturesque little bays, white sand beaches and a wild orchid lakeside reserve near Bancea village.
We’ll stop off at a local school, talk with the kids and their teachers. The road is rough in places and there are some mean ascents. For the most part the road winds through forest and small cacao growing villages with many of the locals using bikes from bygone eras.
We’ll lunch by the lake and overnight in tranquil lakeside cottages.
Accommodation: Hotel Siuri Cottage


Day 12
Thursday 15
No cycle day
Siuri
We’ll walk through pretty Balinese villages, visit a palm sugar factory and then enjoy the magnificent Salopa cascades where we’ll lunch. We’ll overnight by the side of the lake again.
Accommodation: Soiro


Day 13
Friday 16
Cycle day 9
85 km
Siuri – Poso
The first 18 km will follow the edge of the lake leading into the pretty little lakeside town of Tentena, formerly a church centre for Dutch missionaries, where we’ll stop for a cuppa at Warung Putri Wangi. We’ll descend gloriously through forested hillsides, across bridged river gullies and terraced valleys to coastal and mostly Muslim Poso. As we descend 600 m there is a noticeable increase in temperature as we get closer to the coast. This harbour town in the south-western corner of the Bay of Tomini is famous for its grilled fish which we’ll have for dinner and its kue kampung or village cakes which we’ll have for breakfast. We overnight right on the water.
Accommodation: Kartika Beach Hotel


Day 14
Saturday 17
Cycle day 10
136 km
Poso - Parigi
Today will be an epic day and for some riders will present an opportunity to acquire a new Personal Best, but there are only gentle undulations as we cycle along the palm-fringed coast. If the riding is too much, there'll be the option to hop into the van.
You’ll be excused if you think you’re in Bali because the road is lined with distinctive Balinese houses and temples - built by transmigrants from Bali. Its quite possible that we’ll come across a Balinese funeral ceremony with their elaborate sarcophgus’.
We yoga and overnight at a family guesthouse by a little beach. Water is clean and clear.
Accommodation: Lebo Beach Hotel


Day 15
Sunday 18
Cycle day 11
120 km
Parigi - Palu - Prince John Dive Resort
Another big day. The first 12 km of today's ride are flat and then we ascend into the thickly forested central mountain range to Kebun Kopi (Coffee Garden) where there’s a small fruit ‘n’ vegetable market and then glide down to scenic Palu Bay and port of Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi province. In Palu we’ll enjoy a nasi padang (West Sumatran) lunch with its rendang and balado dishes. We’ll follow the coast out along the bay to the former port of Donggala with its old narrow streets and old Dutch buildings and onto the idyllic beach at Tanjung Karang (Coral Cape). Here we’ll sleep in rustic cliff-side cottages and have time to swim in crystal clear waters.
Accommodation: Prince John Dive Resort


Day 16
Monday 19
Prince John - airport transfers – Mutiara (Palu) Airport
We’ll wake to the sound of waves breaking on the cliff sides below our cottages. There’ll be time to swim, do some snorkling and otherwise enjoy this idyllic little gem.
Finish of trip