One of the biggest challenges to visiting Tana Toraja is getting there. While there is a small airport near Makale, it is as yet only served at most by twice weekly flights from Makassar. Unless you time your visit to coincide with these flights, your only other alternative is to make the trip by road. Makassar is the nearest airport with connections to other parts of Indonesia. By private car, the trip from Makassar to Rantepao takes about seven hours, including a rest break in the seaside town of Pare-Pare.
Most of the hotels in the Tana Toraja area can arrange for a transfer to and from Makassar. Expect to pay around 500,000 Rupiah (30.00 USD) each way.
Getting Around Tana Toraja
Of course, getting there is only part of the challenge. Once you reach your hotel, you still need transportation out to the surrounding countryside. The sights described here are spread out around the countryside up to 23 kilometers from Rantepao. Seeing things on foot is not practical unless you really, really like walking and have weeks to see the sights. If you want to confine yourself to two or three days, which is entirely reasonable, then you'll need transport.
Naturally, the hotels are only too happy to rent you a car, driver and maybe a guide, but you have no way of knowing what you'll get if going this route. The alternative is to use a professional tour company to plan and organize your trip. We were quite happy with Emerald Indonesia, which is based in Tana Toraja. The guide spoke excellent English and was born and raised in Toraja. He displayed an excellent knowledge of the people and customs.