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a VirtualTourist member asked on Jan 6, 2016


Self driving from Makassar to Palu Up the East Coast & back Down the West Coast - POSSIBLE??

Howdy folks, Hope everyone has had a wonderfull NYE and started the new year with a bang:)

Am chasing some insight and local experiences from the Makassar to Palu regions.. Hoping you can help:)

Will be flying into Makassar on the 28th February....
From here im searching local truck companies to rent/lease a truck (6-12tonne flat bed tray truck) and self drive up the east coast to Palu.

1) Ive done a fair bit of research already and have decided on the stops:
Makassar - ParePare - Rantepao -Tentena and Palu.... Firstly if anyone could inform me if this is the best route and most scenic?? Any MUST DO stops to view, waterfalls, local traditional ceremonies in hidden villages or landmarks id be very keen to hear about along this route..

2)And then we plan to drive back to Makassar but along the west coast this time. Now is this possible and again if there are Any MUST DO stops to view, waterfalls, local traditional ceremonies in hidden villages or landmarks id be very keen to hear about along this route..

All information woud be welcomed.

Also ive heard a few different stories but what is the go with international licences?? I will be driving with a friend and we are both from Australia. Do i need to go to the local Mekassar Police station and apply for a international license??

One last thing, i have already had a few offers from local companies around the port of makassar but if anyone else knows of where to find trucks to rent/hire than please the more the merrier. Even if its an uncle or family friend that owns a truck and wants to make a pretty penny and lease his truck to me for 2 weeks thn id be happy to chat:)

Thank you all in advance...


6 Answers

answered on 1/6/16 by
a VT member from Vienna

A international licence is only a translation usually done be a automobile club from the country where your licence was made (Australia ?) and you will need that in Indonesia.
Makassar>ParePare>Tentana>Palu would be the normal way, Danau (lake) Poso is on both sides possible, but between that lake and Poso are sometimes problems, be careful and watch the local news.
If the road between Pendolo and Bira is big enough for a truck? Unless you have a real reason for a truck I would get a Kijang (7 seater Toyota Landcruiser) or similar with a driver (will be a similar price and no worry, streets are sometime very narrow and in bad shape or bridges disappeared because of flood)

answered on 1/6/16 by
a VT member

Thank you very much for the quick response Lotharscheer. Much appreciated:)
Ill be driving a 8 tonne flat bed tray truck. Ill be transporting house hld furniture, so nothing to heavy but maybe 2.4 meters wide. Standard vehicle width... Are the roads 2 lanes in the area you mentioned or 1 lane? Are the roads ***umen or are they not sealed? I thought the roads were highway roads?



answered on 1/6/16 by
a VT member from Vienna

The road between Makassar and Palu is sealed and used by big (but not very big) buses, west coast of Danau Poso was narrow (was there some years ago), but damage by flood/landslide is not uncommon. Highway has in Indonesia not the same meaning then in Australia.
Some of the local drivers drive like mad, but in case of accident you might be on the loosing end as justice is sometimes a bit bending (and locals take it sometimes in there own hands, I remember a overnight bus killing a villager and not stopping, the villagers stopping the next bus of that company and burning it with the passengers still inside, did read it in Jakarta Post about 10 years ago). In any way don't drive at night, stay at the main road and if I remember well there is a bypass for Poso town, use it. You can stay overnight at the lake or in Tentana, drive then until you are well past Poso (the conflict there is on and off since many years, most of the time it's quiet but better be safe).
Labor cost is next to zero in Indonesia it will be not more expensive to hire the truck with a driver.

answered on 1/9/16 by
a VT member

No worries then, thank you Lotharscheer. I have organised an international licence and also as a precaution i will be heading to the bureau of transport and a local police station in Makassar to get a letter of referal as well. Everything that will help i suppose cant hurt. Do trucks normally transport cargo from Bira to Palu?? Do you know if this is possible for me or even a local to drive an 8 tonne truck this route?? Is Birra Makassar??

answered on 1/9/16 by
a VT member from Vienna

Haven't been to Mandalle, Bira is on the south east corner of the peninsula, famous for traditional boat building, also a nice beach, 8 ton trucks should be able to go from there to Makassar but the road was not all the time 2 lanes (10 years ago, mentioned Bira for your wanting to go one way east coast and the other west coast).
Makassar Pare Pare Rantepao Lake Poso Palu most of time 2 lanes, road was surfaced sometimes in quite bad condition (4 years ago, did it by bus). Any other way will be more difficult.
Be careful

answered on 1/22/16 by
a VT member from Melbourne

On the way to Pare Pare, take a short detour and see Gua Leang Leang. The cave paintings are similar to Australian Aborigine art so very interesting.
On the way back along the west coast , take a boat ride on Danau Tempe, a beautiful, peaceful landscape.
If you have time while in Bira, do a day trip to Pulau Lihukan for snorkelling and to see traditional weaving. The boat building villages around Bira are also interesting.
Have a great trip, Sulawesi is an amazing place.

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