As soon as we arrived in Rantepao in Tana Toraja, we knew the 10 hour bus ride from Makassar was worth the hassle. Beautifully painted houses in the typical architecture surrounded by incredible green rice fields make it a lush escape from the busy city.
Tana Toraja is famous for it's burial cultus. The people here live and work to save up for their funeral. Most sights in the area are in one way or the other connected to this cultus. It's an interesting mix of Christianity and the more ancient Torajan belief. You can visit the cave graves, weaving villages and off course the funerals.
The best way to see the pittoresque villages and burial sites is to rent out a motorbike and start driving. The signage is good and the traffic not too crazy. You can make short loops that will bring you along streched rice fields and small villages.
We really wanted to see a funeral, so we got a guide for one day who took us around and explained the local customs. Always go with a guide if you want to visit a funeral, remember that it's important to act respectfully.
The funeral was quite bloody and impressive to say at least. When we arrived three pigs were just being slaughtered, during the ceremonie 12 buffaloes. It's not for the faint-hearted. But it's safe to say one of the most memorable moments of our trip.
The market in Rantepao is fun, check out the freshly roasted famous coffee and if you can, buy some Balok, it's the loal palm wine. We bought a plastic bag(seriously) full of wine from an old lady next to our guesthouse and mixed it with cold beer. Really good!