Standing at 1.6 million in population, Makassar is Indonesia’s fifth largest city and the capital of South Sulawesi. Up until 1999, it was named Ujung Pandang and you still frequently hear the locals using the names Makassar and Ujung Pandang interchangeably. Makassar has a long and rich history, dating all the way back to the Majapahit Kingdom (approximately 1293-1500). Its rulers frequently changed hands, until Indonesia gained independence.
Today, Makassar’s main revenue is brought in through the service sector. However, fishing and port activities remain a large part of Makassar’s economy. The temperatures in Makassar are almost always warm, with an average of 27.5 °C (81.5 F). Makassar is best visited in May and June, when temperatures are not as high and the rainy season has yet to start.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Makassar, Indonesia:
1. Amirul Mukminin Mosque
Built in 2009, the Amirul Mukminin Mosque, also known as the “floating” mosque, rests on the water of Losari Beach. Best photographic opportunities happen at high tide, when the water, giving the illusion of a floating mosque, hides the piles supporting the structure of the mosque.
Visitors of all faiths are welcome here and if you’re in the area during the period of Ramadhan, this is definitely the place to break your fast. If you manage to get here in time, you might get to enjoy hearing the call to prayer and experience sunset at the same time. The mosque holds 500 people, so unless you’re there at peak periods, such as Eid mornings, you will definitely find yourself a spot to pray.
Amirul Mukminin Mosque
Address: Jalan Penghibur No.289, Losari, Ujung Pandang, Kota Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan 90112, Indonesia
2. Pantai Losari
Pantai Losari, also known as Losari Beach, is not really a traditional beach as its name suggests. Most of it is reclaimed land and the best place to hang out at the beach is on the promenade, instead of on the sand. However, it is a popular hangout for the locals and the food market opens in the afternoon. Locals recommend getting some Pisang Epek (roasted banana with toppings) if you happen to be in the area. The Indonesian government has recently made a great effort to clean up the beaches in Makassar, so you can comfortably stroll along.
Address: Jl. Penghibur, Makassar, Indonesia
3. Fort Rotterdam
Fort Rotterdam was built on the grounds of another fort, named Ujung Pandang, and was a central structure in Makassar’s development. Built in the 17th century, Fort Rotterdam was built by the Dutch Admiral Cornelius Speelman and it was meant to be the center of Dutch colonial power, in Sulawesi. Rotterdam became an important entrepot, where the Dutch stockpiled spices for trade. Makassar thus became the center of Dutch rule in the region. As such, this is the place to learn about Indonesian history, during Dutch colonial rule.
Address: Ujung Pandang Street, Makassar, Indonesia
4. Malino Tea Plantation
Visit a plantation and drink your tea in the clouds – literally. Once a hill resort for the Dutch, Malino still remains an attraction for many locals and visitors, alike. Located in the highlands, on Mount Malino, the tea plantation comes accompanied by a menagerie, cafes and a mini zoo. The view from the plantation and the clouds are definitely stunning and the cool surrounding mountain breeze is a plus.
Malino Tea Plantation (Kebun Tea Malino)
Address: Malino, Kecamatan Tinggimoncong, Gowa, Makassar, Indonesia
5. Trans Studio Makassar
This integrated mall comes with an indoor theme park, which makes it an exciting place to dine, shop and have lots of fun with the family, without having to deal with the scorching heat! Trans Studio Makassar is probably one of the most modern malls in Makassar and it’s definitely where you will find bigger brand names and franchises. The indoor theme park is also the world’s third-largest indoor theme park, with a lot of interesting rides and activities, so it’s definitely the place to bring your kids along.
Trans Studio Makassar
Address: Jl. H. M Dg. Patompo, Metro - Tanjung Bunga, Makassar 90134, Indonesia
Website: Trans Studio
6. Pulau Samalona
Run by a local community, Pulau Samalona is a frequented island, a 45-minute boat ride from land. Most people go to this island to practice their snorkeling and diving, due to the clear blue water that surrounds the island and Pulau Samalona is popular with the locals as a weekend destination.
Snorkeling here is ideal, due to the assortment of coral and fish. Local beachfront restaurants offer live seafood dishes, cooked in local Makassar style. If you’re not here with a local, do remember to always bargain for cheaper prices!
Address: Jln. Lae-lae, Makassar 90172, Indonesia
7. Bugis Waterpark
Bugis Waterpark features amazing water slides, numerous pools for different ages, a bird park and other cultural attractions. The park is very well maintained and the water is clean and suitable for swim and play. It is also adequately staffed, to guarantee your safety in the pools. The waterpark is definitely the place to bring your family to, especially in the hotter months.
It is also known for putting on music festivals, which draws in crowds to see live bands in action and be in the cool water at the same time!
Address: Perumahan Bukit Baruga Antang, Jl. Sektor Mahamero No. 1, Makassar, Antang, Manggala, Sulawesi Selatan, 90231, Indonesia
Website: Bugis Waterpark
The city of Makassar
Deeply steeped in history, culture, religion and entertainment, Makassar is a city that you will definitely want to visit. Makassar might not be as busy as places such as Jakarta, but it still has the charm of a very large city, with many attractions and activities, so you will never be bored. If you intend to stay for a while, take a few hours to explore another island and you’ll come back refreshed for sure! Whatever it is that you choose to do, Makassar is a place that will make you wish you could come back again.
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