Secluded beyond lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs, decorated by vast stretching green rice paddies, and guarded by myths and well preserved ancient traditions, the Toraja Highlands in South Sulawesi Province is truly a land blessed with breathtaking beauty.
Re-introducing its magnificent wonders to the rest of the world, the Toraja Destination Management (DMO) in collaboration with Swisscontact Wisata and the Regencies of Tana Toraja and North Toraja unveiled some of the land’s most amazing wonders during the media familiarization trip held from 25th to 30th April 2016.
The Toraja Highlands have been a well-known international tourist destination for quite some time. However, the terror attack on Bali in the early 2000’s which affected the entire country’s tourism seemed to have had a prolonged impact on this region. Although Bali made a relatively quick recovery, the magnificent wonders of Toraja seemed to have slowly faded from the international tourist scene. For this reason, through the Toraja DMO, all tourism stakeholders in the region have actively joined hands to reintroduce its fascinating wonders and restore the highland to its former glory and beyond.
To boost the tourist industry in Toraja, the DMO worked closely with several other parties in a number of elaborate activities that include planning, coordinating, and promotions management. Although the area today administratively comprises two regencies: Tana Toraja and North Toraja, yet promotion and management of the Toraja Highlands are conducted as one single destination. Among programs managed by the DMO is the development of a Community Based Tourism (CBT) currently conducted at the Sesean Suloara Village involving participation of the local village community.
The DMO has also reinvented the brand of Toraja as a destination under the tagline: “Discover the Sacred Highlands” along with its official logo. As a further effort to consistently promote the region, Toraja participates in a number of national and international travel fairs including the upcoming Bali and Beyond Travel Fair which is scheduled to take place in July. ”We will be co-hosting this year’s Bali and Beyond Travel Fair in Bali and bring the wondrous beauty of Toraja to the event” said Chairman of the Toraja DMO, Luther Barrung at the media welcoming event.
Aside from Indonesia.travel, the media famtrip was participated by journalists from Indonesia’s major television and press including CNN Indonesia, Kompas.com, The Jakarta Post, Metro TV, Supir Pete-Pete, Fatris MF (Travel Writer), Agustinus Wibowo (Travel Writer), and Valentino Luis (Travel Blogger). For a full 5 days, the travel journalists and writers experienced firsthand some of the most amazing wonders of Toraja.
Besides the already popular cultural attractions such as the Kete’ Kesu Village and Londa, the trip unveiled some of Toraja’s “hidden splendors”. This included the Menhirs Field of Bori Village, the Loko’ Mata Burial Site, the Tumpang Alo ancient Burial Site, Sa’dan Village for traditional hand woven fabrics , the Batutumonga rice fields, the Silanan Village, Sesean Suloara Traditional Village, and the Sulotco Coffee Plantation. Showcasing that there is more to Toraja than the Tongkonan traditional houses and burial sites, the trip also took participants on a spectacular trek across rice paddies, as well as a tour inside a coffee plantation with an opportunity to see the civets that produce the world’s most expensive Kopi Luwak. As a special treat, journalists and writers were given the chance to watch the “Tedong Silaga” or the fight of the water buffaloes, which is truly thrilling.
"Discovered" and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja people today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many have modernized or have become Christians. When one travels to the Tana Toraja highlands, therefore, expect to be awed by the spectacular beauty of nature, at the same time experience how communities have through the ages sustained their beliefs and traditions in splendid isolation in order to live in harmony in this eternal cycle of life and death on earth.
More Information on Toraja Highland available at: www.visittoraja.com