Makassar is the largest city in Sulawesi and a major hub for travel in Indonesia. I flew into Makassar for onward travel to Tana Toraja and Bira Beach. These are my notes of things to see, where to stay, cafes, and food to try.
Makassar travel map
I have marked a map with cafes, food options, sights, and places to stay.
[View the link on Google Maps: Makassar Travel Guide Map]
The middle of Indonesia?
While it might not technically be the true centre of Indonesia (if that is even possible to determine with over 17000 islands) Makassar is the biggest city nearest the middle of Indonesia. The airport reflects that with flights from all over Indonesia flying here.
In my travel research I found a project called the The Equilibrium Centerpoint Park, which which would be a monument to being the centre of Indonesia. It looks like the project has stalled so watch this space for future developments.
Where to stay
For casual visitors the best place to stay is around the historic Fort Rotterdam area. Just south of the fort is the Chinatown area which has a good selection of budget hotels, and north of the fort is Losari Beach, which is a good area for mid-range hotels.
There are lots of budget hotels and guesthouses in the Chinatown area, south of Fort Rotterdam.
There are no hostels, so backpackers looking for the cheapest room try Wisma Jampea.
For mid-range hotels pick something around Losari Beach, which is the the waterfront promenade north of Fort Rotterdam.
Makassar Golden Hotel is a landmark hotel with a prime location on Losari Beach.
Aston Makassar Hotel & Convention Center is the best rated 4 Star hotel in the city.
Things to see
Fort Rotterdam – Makassar was the capital of Dutch Celebes but little remains of that era. Fort Rotterdam is the best historical site from that era.
Paotere Harbor – The old harbour of Makassar is where you can see phinisi boats, the traditional sailing ship of the Bugis-Makassar people. The boats are still used comercially so you can see them in action here.
[Phinisi boats at Paotere Harbor.]
Losari Beach – Not a beach but the name of the waterfront promenade which comes alive at sunset.
For eating ideas read my post on food to try in Makassar.
eZpresso koffie – Rock-themed cafe is where all the cool kids are hanging out. Feel at home working on your laptop with locals. Be aware that smoking is allowed (because Indonesia) so sit the the front for fresh air. Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin 93.
Rotterdam Coffee – Opposite the fort is the cozy cafe with espresso coffee and wifi.
Black Canyon – This Thai cafe chain is a good option to work from.
Bistropolis – Western breakfasts, an ice cream bar, and cafe, a nice environment to have coffee. Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin 18 A-B. bistropolis.net
Dapoer Sulawesi – Cafe with nice outdoor seating near the fort. Jl. Pattimura No C1.
kopiteori – no c, Jl. Beruang Raya No.20
Starbucks – There are two Starbucks at the airport, one near departures and one airside. Free wifi.
Coconut stalls – On Jalan Ujung Pandang near the fort is a row of coconut stalls, with piles of coconuts on the footpath. (10,000 IDR for a coconut).
Gelael Supermarket – A decent western-style supermarket. Next to KFC at JL. Sultan Hasanuddin No.16.
Getting to Makassar
Getting from the airport
A prepaid taxi from the airport is 150,000 IDR for the 30 minute drive to the old port area using the tollway.
Lonely Planet Indonesia (Travel Guide) – Covers Makassar and how to travel to the most interesting spots in Sulawesi from here.
Makassar Photo Gallery – Photo gallery of my trip to Makassar.