Hi. We have just finished a 3 week trip through parts of Sulawesi, together with our 1-year old boy. The period of travel was march 2018.
Since I wanted to know if this was a good idea, beforehand I googled for information about this, but didn’t get much. That’s why I’d like to post this blog about our experiences.
Arriving at Makassar Airport
First, we travelled from Denpasar Bali to Makassar in Sulawesi. Makassar being the capital of Sulawesi. The flight only takes around 1 hour so that’s no problem. What is a bit of a problem is getting a taxi at the airport of Makassar (actually anywhere in Indonesia). Since companies like Grab and Uber are taking over the business of the local taxi drivers, the locals are very keen on anyone using the Grab-app. As soon as they spot you using it, they will almost haunt you down with questions and such, making it impossible for you to find your Grab-ride. The Grab-drivers are afraid or forbidden to enter the pick-up area at the airport so you have to first get rid of the local taxi-drivers and then carry your luggage (the trollies have to stay at the pick-up points) and try to find your Grab-ride between hundreds of other cars.
If you want the cheaper rate, then this is what you will have to go through. If you don’t want this trouble (because you’re with a child) and don’t mind to pay almost double, then get the local taxi-driver to take you to your destination.
Budget hotel or not?
We booked our hotel through a booking site. We will not do this again…! We stayed at what looked on the website like a decent budget-hotel, called ‘Red Roomz’, situated near the harbor and Fort Rotterdam. Unfortunately the room was very filthy, had no windows or fresh air, with an airconditioning that had never been cleaned this it started operating 10 years ago…! The staff, like everywhere, was very nice, but that didn’t make up for the very bad accommodation. So, don’t book this hotel, but look for a bit more expensive but healthy hotel.
In March the rainy season is still active, although it seems very difficult to predict the weather or season due to the climate change. We were in Makassar for 2 days and saw nothing more then extremely heavy rainstorms. So, getting a good poncho and umbrella is a necessity! We bought ours at the local mall, and were paying 500% more then the locals would pay… If you’re a hard negotiator you will get the actual price, but otherwise… You might say that everything is so cheap in Indonesia; why bother? Just because at the end of the day it adds up. At the end of 3 weeks it definitely adds up.
Getting diapers and such
Getting diapers and baby milk (powder) is not a problem anywhere in Indonesia. Any 24-hours supermarket (Circle-K, Indomaret, Coco Market) has a surprisingly wide veriaty in baby-items. (Tip: the mashed fruit sacks you can buy at Indomaret and Coco Market, very handy as a back-up; if you find them, buy a lot! They are sometimes hard to find).
The description on the baby milk powder boxes are in Indonesian only, but the brands are well known world-wide (Nutricia, Frisian Flag, etc) so I guess you can’t go very wrong there.
As the temperature can rise well beyond 30 degrees with high humidity, finding a place where you and your child can cool down was a must for us. Just having a fan at night will not be sufficient. Our child woke up constantly in tears because he couldn’t handle the heat. We had a very nice family wanting to host us during our stay in Raha, but since they didn’t have any airconditioning, after trying one night we politely told them we really need an airco room to survive the heat.
Staying for a week in Toraja at a very nice family guesthouse, the amount of rain and somewhat lower temperature at night was just enough to get trough the nights without airco. Our host, Meyske, was an absolute delight. She absolutely loves small children and both she and her mom loves to spend time with the babies. A very good tip for homestay in Toraja. The family house is situated very near to Rantepau: Ne’ Pakku Manja Family house. The link to airbnb: click here.
Muna Island, Raha
Our stay in Raha was again completely different. After the stay at a family, we decided to move to a hotel. Also here the host, mrs. Radna, loves children, music and food! We were the only (and perhaps first) guests after she and her husband bought and renovated the place 3 months ago. When I pointed at an old guitar and said I loved music, the same night she arranged live music…just for us..! We spend a lovely time together, singing and bringing back memories with those golden oldies hits. Again here, the airco was a must. So, another tip if you want to explore more of Indonesian island Muna: Hotel Ardessa. They don’t have a website yet, or options like airbnb, but since the whole city knows each other or is somehow related, anyone will guide you to them! They are members of the famous family who once ruled the island as kings!
More info will follow. Stay tuned