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If you ever wanted to find yourself in a cultural documentary brought to life, Tana Toraja should be high on your list of places to visit. Vast terraced hills of rice support a culture that is based on death. Lifetimes are spent tilling the fields to pay for family members' elaborate funerals. During these week-long events, buffalo and pigs are sacrificed, traditional dances in bright traditional dress are performed and everyone, including tourists, is invited to feast on pa'piong (meat, vegetables and coconut cooked in bamboo) and drink balok (palm wine). Funerals are often scheduled from June through August when family living abroad will ...

If you ever wanted to find yourself in a cultural documentary brought to life, Tana Toraja should be high on your list of places to visit. Vast terraced hills of rice support a culture that is based on death. Lifetimes are spent tilling the fields to pay for family members' elaborate funerals. During these week-long events, buffalo and pigs are sacrificed, traditional dances in bright traditional dress are performed and everyone, including tourists, is invited to feast on pa'piong (meat, vegetables and coconut cooked in bamboo) and drink balok (palm wine). Funerals are often scheduled from June through August when family living abroad will be more likely to be able to attend. Aside from observing funerals, visit villages of Tongkonan, with towering boat-shaped roofs fronted by buffalo horns and intricately carved and painted walls. Tombs of the deceased are found in various forms from carved-out cliff faces guarded by wooden effigies of those passed away, to infant tombs inside tree trunks.

Celeste Brash
About the Expert

Celeste Brash has contributed to more than 30 Lonely Planet guidebooks mostly on the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Her travel writing has appeared in publications from Travelers' Tales anthologies to Islands magazine and Gadling.com.

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Celeste Brash for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Tana Toraja is located in the central highland region in Southern Sulawesi province, about 328 km from the provincial capital, Makassar.
  • Language: Indonesian, Toraja-Sa'dan, Kalumpang
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Research: Wikitravel | Toraja | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July and August