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The choices for breakfast in the Santika Hotel here in Makassar are overwhelmingly Indonesian, which is hardly surprising considering we are the only Westerners here this morning.

Kway Teoh Goreng

Tahu Goreng Renyah

Tumis Sayuran

Ayam Goreng Wijem

Lamuru Woku

Nasi Goreng Merah

I have never understood the notion that certain foods should only be enjoyed at certain times of day – or more to the point, that certain foods are not suitable for breakfast. The number of times I have heard comments such as “I like curry, but not for breakfast”. Does it taste different at different times of the day?

With just the local name for the dish, I have no idea what any of them contain, so I just choose a few that look appetising.


In addition to the buffet, there is a chef who is making omelettes and fried eggs.

Love the luminous chilli sauce

We meet our guide Nadja and driver Acho in the lobby and head out to the fish market to purchase some ingredients for our cooking lesson later on.

The spacious vehicle we were provided with for the duration of the tour

Makassar Fish Market

We can smell it before we see it, with the muddy approach from the road giving us a preview of the condition of the market itself.


With frequent calls of “Mister!” “Photo”, the vendors are mostly very keen to be photographed, unlike some markets elsewhere in the world.


While the fish and seafood look fresh (it will have come out of the sea earlier this morning), the sanitary conditions are a long way from our Western standards.

Ice being brought in to keep the seafood cool



Being used to a small selection of fish in the local British supermarkets, most of which are of a very dull colour, I am amazed at the many colourful species found here.


We are surprised and a little horrified to see that a number of the vendors are smoking while handling the food.


Nadja closely inspects the produce before selecting some suitable fish for us.


Some of the fishing boats that brought today's catch

Fruit and Vegetable Market

The next stop is to buy some vegetables to go with the seafood, as well as some fruit for dessert.


The traders here are as friendly as those in the fish market; we see a number of women stall holders here too, whereas in the fish market it was exclusively men.



Dragon Fruit



Snake Fruit

Nadja shopping

Vegetables to go with our fish

Tallo River Ferry

Making our way down rough dirt tracks to the ferry point, we get ‘geographically misplaced’ a couple of times. As this is a new addition to the local programme, Acho has never been here before, so Nadja consults his phone, stops and asks directions from some kids on motorbikes, turns around, gets lost again on a university campus, and holds up his phone and asks a student if he “recognises this”.

Finally, we arrive at the edge of the river where the ferry departs from. ‘Ferry’ is perhaps too a grandiose word for the craft that connects the villages along the riverbank – two canoes joined together with some wooden planks for flooring, and a structure providing protection against inclement weather, plus some rudimentary seating (not to mention the 'gangplank' providing access to the boat. Health and safety anyone?)


The ferry is powered by a small, but incredibly noisy, outboard engine, helped by an assistant with a long stake.


The ferries do not have set departure times, they leave when they have enough passengers to make it worth their while. As we are on a private tour, we get the ferry to ourselves.

Another ferry on the river

Nadja and Acho with our food

Javan Pond Heron on the river bank

Lakkang Island

Located in a delta slightly away from Makassar City, Lakkang Island is surrounded by Tallo and Pampang rivers. The majority of the 300 or so inhabitants here belong to the Bugis ethnic group, and are mostly farmers or fishermen, with their own traditions and language.


The arrival jetty on Lakkang Island

Walking on paths along rice fields, we soon reach a small settlement, where we continue along brick paved shaded paths, between traditional Bugis houses and fruit trees, before reaching the home of our lunchtime host.



Custard apple


The home of our host

Upon arrival, we are immediately given cups of strong, sweet. black tea, and some traditional sweet snacks.


Roko Roko Unti - sticky banana cake

Putu Cangkir - rice cookies filled with coconut

Cookery Lesson

The kitchen is fairly basic but with a few nice mod cons, such as a large American-style fridge.


The cook adds some chillies to the mix for making corn patties. They are delicious, but David manages to catch a piece of chilli at the back of the throat, making him cough, which Nadja seems to find extremely funny and it results in no more chillies being added to the food.

The patty mix

The finished patties

Fried shallots, garlic and sugar are added to a pot with chepa fish.


Prawns being cooked

Kangkung - water spinach

All the finished dishes.


Traditionally, food would be eaten while sitting on the floor, but as old and decrepit Western tourists, we are offered seats at the table.

Nadja and Acho eat the traditional way

For dessert, we are offered a selection of fruits.

Red Dragon Fruit - my first experience with the red variety, the ones I have had before, and that are (occasionally) on sale in the UK, have a white centre with black seeds


Small finger bananas - they are sweeter than the traditionally bigger variety

After saying goodbye to our gracious host, we make our way back to the river, where our ferryman is waiting to take us across to Makassar.

Fisherman on the river

Another ferry

Paotere Harbour

Dating from the 14th century, Paotere Harbour is said to be the oldest in the country and used to be a thriving hub in its heyday.


Old fishing boats never die, they come to Makassar to live out their lives in Paotere Harbour

Fishermen's huts


Traditionally, the term Phinisi (or pinisi) referred to a type of rig, masts, sails, and configuration of ropes in Indonesian sailing vessels, with seven or eight sails over two masts - such as the ship we sailed on in Nusa Tenggara in 2006 when we visited Komodo Island.


As is the case with many Indonesian sailing craft, the word 'pinisi' only refers to a type of rig, and does not describe the shape of the hull of a vessel that uses such sails. Phinisi-rigged ships were built by the Konjo, a sub-ethnic tribe of the Bugis, and are very typical of this region.

These days the word is often used to describe any type of small to mid-sized wooden sailing ship.


Trucks on the quayside waiting to receive goods from the boats

Three young girls playing to my camera

Asmaul Husna 99 Dome Mosque

Our last stop of the day is the spectacular 99 Dome Mosque on the edge of Losari Beach. Completed in 2022, it is constructed on reclaimed land in an area full of stunning new-build houses, the like of which you might find in the Middle East rather than in Sulawesi.


Why 99 domes? It refers to the 99 Names of Allah – Asmaul Husna in Arabic. It’s a unique and beautiful building, for sure.


By the time we get back to the hotel, I am in a lot of pain with my back, and do not feel up to walking the two blocks down to Losari Boulevard to find a restaurant. As the hotel only serves food at breakfast, we resort to getting another MacDonald's this evening, which David goes to fetch while I relax in a comfortable chair.

Thank you so much to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this amazing bespoke private tour for us.


Posted by Grete Howard 11:50 Archived in Indonesia Tagged fish indonesia kitchen cooking fishermen ferry crabs sulawesi bugis chillies smoking papaya prawns dragon_fruit fish_market muddy mangoes south_east_asia custard_apple pinisi makassar private_tour unhygienic undiscovered_destinations unsanitary cucumber bespoke_tour santika_hotel macdonalds chayote snake_fruit tallo_river lakkang_island cooking_lesson roko_roko_unti puti_cangkir corn_patties chepa_fish chepa red_dragon_fruit finger_bananas paotere_harbour phinisi seal_boats konjo ethnic_tribes asmaul_husna 99_names_of_allah losari

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What a fascinating day! I enjoyed the market photos, especially those of the traders (how lovely to find them so happy to pose for you!) The ferry looks like quite an experience but I'd be nervous about eating the fish from that market although the fruit looks delicious (I love those finger bananas, so much better than the big ones we get here). The mosque looks pretty amazing too 😮

by ToonSarah

Thank you, Sarah, it was a great day! I too prefer those little bananas, so much sweeter. Have you ever come across the little red ones?

by Grete Howard

Thanks for the red arrow otherwise I would have never found it and what a place it is. I had never heard of it, but after reading this I am eager to go and see it myself. Your pictures are so beautiful and may I say ... OMG (or is it Allah in this case??) that mosque is super beautiful!!! I guess it is the most beautiful one in colors I have ever seen on pictures!!! You got me intrigued, that's for sure!!! :) :)

by Ils1976

Thanks for your comments Ils, and I agree, the mosque is sooooo beautiful. ♥ Most people would not have heard of Makassar, and as I love to draw maps.....
Glad you enjoyed it :)

by Grete Howard

great photos, wonderful to see the finished mosque, was there in 2018, but it was still under construction...

by joffre

Thanks for your comment Joffre, and your kind comment about my photos. The mosque really was stunning and very different to anything else I have ever seen.

by Grete Howard

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