Sengkang is a small town with the scenic Lake Danau Tempe and a traditional hand-woven silk industry. It’s a convenient place to break the journey between Makassar and Rantepao.
Our Sulawesi trip started in Makassar. Coming from Bali we flew here with Lion Air for about € 35,- p.p. We stayed in Makassar for a few days so Marije’s parents could take some time to restore from the long flight and get used to the heat. In Makassar we visited Fort Rotterdam, and had really good steak, but there is nothing else to do. Our advise is to leave Makassar as soon as possible and go to Sengkang.
We are traveling Sulawesi in luxury, with a private driver (Jemi from Orient Celebes Tours) and a van for 18 days. At first, we wanted to rent a car/van and drive ourselves, but they strongly advised not to. Not only can the roads be in bad shape, driving here is different and some locals are able to cause a small accident when they see a tourist driving a car, just to get money of them. So it is best and safest to go with a driver. It also ables you to enjoy the beautiful surroundings during the long days of traveling.
After a short talk about the route we left Makassar to Sengkang and had a short stop at Leang Leang to visit the cave with ancient hand paintings (nothing really special so you can skip this). And we skipped Banti Murung, which isn’t what is used to be, there are no more big butterflies. After 6 hours of driving, we reached the town Sengkang.
In front of our hotel in Sengkang was a catering & resto but it wasn’t possible to sit and eat there. Our receptionist told us that we could order with her, and she would get it for us. We had some really good Ayam Kecap and the Fried Rice and Noodles were pretty good as well. The only thing is that you don’t need to be in a hurry because they are quite slow..
A great choice for eating out is Amira. The owner speaks really good English and especially likes to talk about football. Looking at the menu he interfered and suggested that the kitchen would prepare a mix of some different small sized dishes of chicken and fish for us to try. We went along with that suggestion and we did not regret it. We had fried fish in a really nice red sauce, vegetables, Chicken Kecap and some fried rice and noodles. A really good meal for a fair price.
We stayed at hotel Pondok Eka and it costs 350.000 Rupiah, including breakfast. The rooms are spacious and quite clean. There only is a big change that you will have at least one cockroach in the bathroom, but they hide under the shower cabin. There is a pool, but the water was so unclear, we did not use it.
After breakfast we left the hotel at 9.30 am to visit the traditional market and silk weaving. You can hear the ticking of the weaving-loom from far away. They make beautiful and colorful scarfs and sarongs. We also tried to visit a silkworm farm, but no worms here because of the season. At around 4 pm we chartered a small boat for 200.000 Rupiah for 2 persons, which took us up a river to Lake Danau Tempe. Floating trough the villages you can see the locals fishing, washing, cleaning and eating near the river. Entrance fee for the lake is 5.000 Rupiah per person. At the lake you can enjoy a beautiful sunset while eating Pisang Goreng and a hot tea at a floating house on the lake. Living in one of this houses must be quite lonely and it is very basic but the people look happy. This lake is heaven for bird watchers and a must see while visiting Sengkang.