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There’s so much more to Indonesia than Bali, Bintan and Batam. One such example is the port city, Makassar! The capital of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, did you know that it is Indonesia’s sixth largest city?

Here are 15 reasons why Makassar should be your next weekend getaway destination:

1) They Have Beaches

floating mosque makassar indonesia
Floating Mosque Amirul Mukmin at Losari Beach

Makassar is dotted with beautiful beaches, the most popular being the Losari Beach. While this beach is not so much about swimming, there you will find locals letting their hair down as they immerse themselves in the heaps of activities!

Many Makassans spend their time people-watching and enjoying the sea breeze. You won’t miss the Losari beach, especially when it comes alive at night, as plenty of little stalls are lined up along the streets. They operate after the sun sets, with most of them selling the traditional Makassar snack “Pisang Epe”.

From medicine sellers to snake charmers, I enjoyed strolling along the coast as there was a tonne of things to see! Also just around the corner, you will find Indonesia’s first floating mosque that stands on wooden pillars.

2) Go Island-Hopping

Samalona Makassar Indonesia
Samalona Island

Many breathtaking islands that offer white, powder-fine sand and crystal-clear seawater surround Makassar. A mere 20-minutes away by traditional boat, my favourite was the pristine Samalona Island!!!

Pulau Samalona wasn’t in the initial itinerary, but boy was I glad that time permitted me to make it here. The tiny island is a paradise spot for snorkelling or just enjoying the panoramic ocean view! *.* Accommodations are also available in one of the homes there.

Another island option to drop by is the smaller Kayangan Island. Located near Samalona Island, that isle is nearer to the city. However, do take note that an entrance fee applies to get on the island.

3) The People Are Friendly

Locals in Makassar Indonesia
Pictured here with Makassar University students

I went to Makassar with the idea that locals would shy away from me due to the language barrier. Contrary to my perceptions, most of the time it was the locals who smiled and struck up conversations with me first! I was surprised by the effort they made to speak in English, mostly curious about this mysterious girl with weird hair and asking about her adventures.

Even when I asked for help, they were more than willing to offer their best. Our interactions were definitely one of my greatest takeaways from this trip!

4) It Doesn’t Cost An Arm And A Leg

aston hotel and convention centre makassar indonesia
Infinity Pool at the Aston Makassar Hotel & Convention Centre

My 4* hotel was one of the best in Makassar - rooms were clean, spacious and modern. On top of that, they had this beautiful infinity pool overlooking the city. Other recreational facilities at the hotel include a Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and spa. Similar hotels of this standard would easily go up to more than 3 times the price in Singapore!

Although this poor student here had a tight budget, there was more than enough money left after paying for transportation, food, attractions, local guides and souveniers. *thumbs up*

5) Bask In Nature’s Beauty

bantimurung waterfall makassar indonesia
Bantimurung Waterfall

Nature lovers, you may want to pay the Bantimurung National Park a visit. Dubbed as “the Kingdom of Butterflies”, the park is situated one hour away by car. The spotlight was, of course, on the stunning waterfall! Girls, don’t bother curling your hair if you’re heading there. The strong current from the water got me drenched, flushing down my efforts. Lesson learnt, hahaha!

If you have the time to spend a day there, take the opportunity to explore the place because it’s HUGE! You will be astonished by the charm of the park with greenery surrounding you.

6) Marvel In Their Rich History

fort rotterdam makassar indonesia
Going down the stairs at Fort Rotterdam

One of Indonesia’s best-preserved landmarks, Fort Rotterdam is a 16th-century relic that served as the centre of Dutch colonial power in Sulawesi. While there was no set admission fee, you are expected to give a donation to enter the grounds.

This top tourist destination is a must-visit for history buffs, housing two museums that showcases Makassar’s rich past. Locals told me that Pangeran Diponegoro, a Javanese prince regarded as one of Indonesia’s heroes, was caught and imprisoned for 26 years in the dungeon until he died.

When I was there on a Sunday, I was amazed to learn that dedicated students gather every week to learn English there!

7) Shop And Play Under One Roof

Trans Studio Makassar Indonesia
Outside Trans Studio Mall

Trans Studio Mall from the outside was MASSIVE! There was a traffic jam as everyone eagerly waited for their turn to get in. Honestly, I didn’t expect such an upmarket place to exist in Makassar. Inside, you can find the Trans Studio Theme Park. It is one of the biggest indoor theme parks in the world!

They also have a cinema, hotels, arcades and many more under one roof! Fantastic place to spend time together as a family or go dating as a couple.

8) The Culinary Options Are Aplenty

Makassar Indonesia Cuisine
I can never stick to one type of food. Makassar got me thrilled with the diversity of culinary options I could choose from, ranging from Indonesian food, Chinese food, seafood, desserts, snacks, drinks, etc.!

9) They Are Known For Their Seafood

Seafood Makassar Indonesia
Known as the fisherman city, you HAVE to try their famous seafood! The most popular ones are their fishes and crabs.

10) Set Foot In Maritime Heritage

Paotere Harbour Makassar Indonesia
One of the shipping docks at Paotere Harbour

Speaking of seafood; you need to drop by the Fisherman’s Wharf of Makassar. Makassar is surrounded by ample of marine life, and the local fishermen are still using the harbour since the 14th century!

Here, you can find a mix of small boats to big ships. I was exposed to a day as a local fisherman, watching as they transferred their cargo and proudly presented their prized catch of the day.

11) The Picturesque View Is Instagram-Worthy

Malino Highlands Makassar Indonesia
Malino Highlands

It was a two-hour journey up to the narrow roads of Malino Highlands, however, the view that welcomed made it so well worth the trip! There’s a reason why Malino was given the nickname “Flower City”. Other than the stunning visuals of tea plantation and flowers, the cool and fresh air will leave you wondering why you haven’t discovered such a peaceful place sooner.

The best way to further appreciate the view is sipping a warm pot of tea as you watch time pass at the café in the highlands.

12) They Have Animals That We Don’t

cuscus malino zoo makassar indonesia
Cuscus at Malino Zoo

On your way down, in addition to the waterfalls, you will also find a mini zoo. One animal that caught my attention was the bear-like Cuscus! They also have falcons, monkeys and the luwak.

13) It Is Off The Beaten Path

Malino Market Makassar Indonesia
Malino Market - you can’t even find its existence on search engines

Not the usual tourist destination, this ulu fishing town is one you can brag your adventures about to your friends. With no tour groups from Singapore coming to this little-known secret, you will be guaranteed of an ideal remote destination to explore and escape to.

During my time in Makassar, there were neither unreasonably long queues (I’m looking at you, Vatican Museum in Rome) nor rowdy tourists screaming at the top of their voices. You will be surprised that the absence of tourists makes the Makassar experience much richer and fulfilling!

In conclusion, summon that adventurous spirit of yours and get lost - that’s what travelling should be about, isn’t it?

14) There’s So Much More To Explore

makassar indonesia
Makassar from above

Of course, there’s so much more to Makassar than the ones listed above. I was there for a mere 3 days! Maybe you might uncover the next big attraction in this developing city. Pack your bags, grab your passport and prepare for the big escapade.

I will share more in-depth details about the attractions I’d visited in my next series of blog posts!

15) It Is Only 3 Hours Away

Makassar Indonesia Airport
Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin Airport

Singapore’s Changi Airport brings you to Makassar with 3 flights per week, operated by SilkAir.

changi airport singapore weekend escapade
Are you researching for your next weekend travel getaway? Why not download Changi Airport’s Weekend Escapades app, your best weekend getaway guide!

Available in the App Store and Google Play, you can browse through the travel tips and information for 52 destinations. #dontsaynevershare :)


I had the opportunity to go on this trip thanks to the Unravel Travel Team and Changi Airport Group!

If you remember from my previous blog post for the Unravel Travel challenge, I mentioned that finalists have to submit an entry for the destination at the end of their trip.

Well… Their travel entries are up! Click here.

bantimurung waterfall makassar indonesia
Please take time to view each one! A lot of hard work and thought was put into them. Remember to vote for your favourite as lucky voters will walk away with Changi Dollar vouchers!

*hint* Vote for Samantha Branson who went to Makassar with me! *cough*