Indonesia’s 10th largest city – Makassar - is the capital of South Sulawesi province, and the largest city in the eastern part of Indonesia.
Makassar has always been the prominent economic and transit hub it is today. Going back 700 years, it was called Ujung Padang. At that time Makassar’s sea port was a beehive of activity – serving vessels from distant parts of Asia who sailed here regularly to trade for the cloves, nutmeg, pearls, gold, and lumber that this region held in abundance.
Then, a couple of hundred years later, the Spanish and the Portuguese discovered Makassar and her treasure trove of spices and other trade goods – thus beginning hundreds of years of European colonial influence in this part of Southeast Asia.
Makassar must have truly been a sight to behold in the pre-colonial era, with its 17 fortresses of the powerful Gowa kingdom, securing the South Sulawesi coastline. As grand as these forts were, they were no match for the Dutch cannons when they invaded in 1667.
Today, Makassar serves as the air and shipping hub for eastern Indonesia.
Because of its location in major international transportation routes, Makassar has developed into a cosmopolitan, culturally diverse city. The original inhabitants were the tribal Bugis, Makassar, and the Mandar, who developed powerful sea faring kingdoms that help to establish Makassar as the important international shipping hub it is today. Over the years, they have been joined by Europeans, Balinese, Javanese, Chinese, and many others to create the ethnic diversity Makassar currently enjoys.
For the tourist, Makassar has a lot to offer.
For many, taking in the majestic sunsets from the promenade on Penghibur Street or at Paotere Harbor is the highlight of their visit to Makassar – especially when it’s combined with the sea food that Makassar is famous for.
Others enjoy the simple pleasure of Kayangan Island, which can be reached in 15 minutes by ferry. A popular recreational resort for the people of the city, there is entertainment in the evenings and weekends.
Once you finish indulging in some of the best seafood in Indonesia, and possibly enjoying Makassar’s vibrant nightlife, you may want to check out some of Makassar’s other attractions.
Losari Beach (Pantai Losari)
Stroll along the water front at night and select your dinner form the endless chain of the food vendors that made Makassar famous for its food. It’s also the place to catch a spectacular sunset and a romantic view of the city lights across the bay. If you’re into people watching, Losari Beach is where the locals go to relax. It’s especially crowded on weekends.
Fort Rotterdam is built on the site of the once great Benteng Ujung Pandang (Fortress of Ujung Pandang), the defensive centerpiece of the Gowa kingdom. This fortress, as well as 16 others, was destroyed by the Dutch when they invaded in 1667. This is the only one that the Dutch invaders preserved. There is a museum inside the fort that has some interesting artifacts.
The remains of the old Gowa kingdom are just south of Makassar. The tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin, who was instrumental in leading the resistance of colonial invasion, and the Pelantikan Stone where the kings of Gowa were crowned is about all that remain. Further south is the former royal residence- a traditional wooden stilted palace - now the Ballalompoa Museum.
Clara Bundt Orchid Garden
A private project in the home of a Dutch resident. the garden is the largest private tropical garden in Indonesia. The address is Jl. Mukhtar Lutfi No. 15.
Featuring traditional Bugis ships, Paotere Harbor is a working harbor, so come and see the classic ships being loaded and unloaded in the traditional fashion.
Samalona Island is a recreation center across the harbor from Makassar that has scuba diving, snorkeling, and white sandy beaches. It can be reached in about 45 minutes by boat