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the route
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What are the roads like?

All of the roads we’ll be travelling on are fully bituminized. Comments route segments follow.



Makassar - Malino Generally in good condition
Malino - Sinjai The road is susceptible to landslides but in March 2009 it was clear and in good shape.
Sinjai - Bulukumba Usually smooth and in good shape
Bulukumba - Bira - Bulukumba This 40 km segment might be classified as potholed but easy to negotiate.
Bulukumba - Bantaeng - Makassar Good

What’s the traffic like?

Generally light. Makassar city and immediate environs is an exception. Also as you move into towns on the route traffic tends to thicken but nowhere does it reach problematic levels. And it thins as you move out of town. Comments on trip segments follow.

What are Sulawesi drivers like?

Very generally they are far more tolerant than Sydney and Australian drivers. In Sulawesi I have never ever experienced road rage or angry drivers. If they need to over-take they politely bip their horns to let you know they’re passing. You never have the sense that they’re telling you to ‘get outa me way’. I’ve never experienced angry horn honking in Sulawesi.


Do we need to bring our own bikes?


Is hiring a bike an option?

Not at this stage.

Is buying (and re-sellig) a bike an option?

Yes. Very much so. It needs to be organized beforehand.

Which style of bike would you recommend?

Hybrid. I would not bring a road bike. If you bring a mountain bike, go for 1.3”-1.7” slick tyres rather than nobby ones. However you may like to bring nobby tyres (and the right sized tubes) for the mountain biking that is available in Tana Toraja. Bike Fridays should be fine.

What do we do about spare parts?

Bring parts that you could need. Our suggested list of parts and tooks is: multi tool, lights, pump patch kit , quick link in case of broken chain, chain lube. The bike shops in Sulawesi have very limited ranges of stock, so, if in doubt bring it.

Tyres and tubes?

We will have a pump that handles presta and schraeder (car) valves.

Can we put our bags in the support vehicle?


What sort of cycle shoes do you recommend?

I’ve worn regular cleated cycle shoes and found them to be okay. However if I could get a pair of really well aerated cycle sandals I’d take those.

How many spare tubes etc should we bring?

Bring two spare tubes.

What sort of cycle shoes do you recommend?

I’ve worn regular cleated cycle shoes and found them to be okay. However if I could get a pair of really well aerated cycle shoes/sandals I’d take those.

What cycling clothes should we bring?

Cycle shorts, long sleeved top, cycle sox, cycle sandals, Osama head scarf, helmet and sunnies.

Should we bring bike lights?


Is there facility for re-charging bike lights?

Yes. They will be able to be recharged in most places. The power points take two pronged circular plugs. AA or AAA batteries are available in most places.

Bike locks?

No You will never be far from your bike and if you are it will be locked away or support staff will be looking after it.

What are the bike shops like?

There won’t be any outside of Makassar and we’ll only be there for a day.

What technical skills will the support personnel have?

1. Changing and patching tubes
2. Adjusting brakes and gears
3. Adjusting and greasing bearings
4. Wheel true-ing
5. Replacing brake pads
6. Bleeding hydraulic brakes
7. Adjusting handlebars, stem and seat
8. Bike cleaning
9. Chain repair and replacing
10. Headset adjustment.


What non-bike stuff should we bring?

We’ll provide a WTBL (what to bring list) in early MAY.


What clothing do you suggest we ride in?

Helmet, sunnies, cycle shorts, long sleeve shirt, cycle sox, cycle sandals.

What clothing should we bring for after riding?

Long baggy shorts, t-shirt, sandals, cap. Ladies are advised to wear long sleeves rather than short sleeves.

What are the “dress codes” that women, in particular, need to cater for?

Very generally Indonesians are more concerned with dress codes than Westerners are. However tourists are not expected to abide by all their dress code. The most formal gear that you’ll need will be slacks / modest dress and a shirt with a collar and long sleeves.

Should we bring rain gear?

No. If we get wet when cycling after the rain has stopped we’ll dry out in a short time. If we’re not cycling umbrellas are usually available.

Should we bring a swimsuit?

Yes. But you can always swim in your cycle gear.

Should we bring lightweight, quick drying, bug-proof clothing?

That's the go.


What is the weather like in July?

Low 30's, dry.

Will there be mosquitoes?

Yes. Bring mosquito repellant, mosquito nets and you will be supplied with mosquito coils..

Will there be cooler weather anywhere (that we need to pack for)?

It will be cool in Malino.


What sort of food will we be eating?

In Makassar the breakfasts will be international and the dinners will be a variety of Indonesian food.

Outside of Makassar the breakfasts will be nasi goreng (fried rice) or sweet breads with tea and coffee.

Lunches will be at warungs (small cafes) along the way. They will be rice or noodle based. Dinners will generally be fish or chicken dishes.

Will we get snacks along the way?

The support crew will be scouring the countryside for local fruits and local village snacks (kue kampung).

Will there be any Western food?

There will be very little or no western food. Fresh dairy produce will be available only in Makassar but tinned milk is usually available. It will always be possible to get clean water.

What extras should we bring?

I never take any ‘extras’ but if you expect you’ll have cravings for this or that then bring them.

What’s the drinking water like?

You can get bottled water just about everywhere. It’ll be available on the support vehicles. Drinking water is always supplied in hotel rooms. As a rule Indonesians boil water before drinking it.

What nutritional supplements should we bring?

Possibly vitamins. Electrolytic drinking powders are available in Indonesia (Pocari sweat).

Will there be places to buy nuts or high protein snacking food?

Most likely not. We’ll be making an effort to provide the group with kue kampung or village cakes. These are usually made from cassava, or sticky rice, palm sugar and coconut flesh. Easy to pig out on. Lots of carbs, pretty low on protein.

Should we bring our own protein bars?

If you think you’ll miss them or need them...bring them ‘cause you most probably won’t be able to get them on the way.

Will I be able to get boiled eggs?

By the kilo.


What inoculations do you recommend?

My only recommendation is that you consult your GP (as soon as you can because some of the vaccinations need to be taken months before departure) who in turn should consult the most recent Health Department recommendations. Be aware that these change from time to time.

Has anyone gotten sick on any of your trips?

Yes. The two most common complaints are diarohea and the common cold. Everyone should be prepared to have a short bout of diarohea as our foreign digestive systems need to get used to the Indonesian environment.

What medicines do you suggest we bring?

My recommendation is to not forget to bring medications for diarohea, cold and flu. If you forget to bring them there are plenty of these medications available in Indonesia.


How should we prepare ourselves physically for the trip?

First, make sure you get necessary vaccinations several months before departure. Second, have a dental check up. Third, start your build up sooner rather than later. Build your strength and endurance slowly over the months before the trip. Whatever you do you should include good doses of hilly terrain in your preparation. As a target I’d suggest that sometime early in July select a one week period when you do a sequence of a 40km, 60km and 80km day rides. If you can do these 3 day rides without rest days in between you should manage well in Sulawesi. If you need rest days in between the actual ride will be just that much more of a challenge. In your preparation don’t forget to do lots of stretching, and swimming, to relax the muscles.


What is the best way to get to Makassar?

This depends on where you’re coming from. But regardless of your start point you will need to go Jakarta, Denpasar or Surabaya. You cannot fly direct to Makassar from either Sydney or Singapore. For more detail contact Diane at Lorraine’s House of Travel

Can we do any better than the 20 kg limit on our baggage?

For excess baggage Garuda is currently the best. They have a 15 kg bike allowance meaning that with your bike you can take 35 kg FOC. Qantas allows you 23 kg. both allow

7 kg carry on luggage is allowed by both airlines.


How useful is Bahasa Indonesia in Sulawesi?

Very useful. As useful as French in France. Bahasa Indonesia is the official national language of the country. It is spoken throughout Sulawesi. There are many other languages spoken in Sulawesi but none are as useful as Indonesian. Indonesians warm quickly to foreigners who make the effort to learn Bahasa Indonesia.

How can we learn about the culture of Indonesia?

Several things 1. I’d like to ask group members to share websites, book titles etc that they’ve found useful. I’ll be setting up a mechanism to do this. 2. The Lonely Planet guidebook on Indonesia is good and I’ve received reliable recommendations for their phrasebook as well.

How can we learn some basic phrases?

The Lonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook.


Do we need to take out our own insurance?

Yes. Participants will need to provide ICC with a copy of their insurance policy before starting the trip.

What sort of insurance should we have?

Comprehensive travel and medical insurance.


Is there any civil strife anywhere near our route?

No. In the late 90’s, early 2000s there was some civil strife in Central Sulawesi. This no longer exists and in any case it was several hundreds of kilometres away from our route.

How safe is it to leave our things in our rooms?

Very safte. I’ve never had anything stolen from any hotel room in Sulawesi. However, make sure your room is locked.

Is it necessary to lock our bikes when we stop for a drink etc?

No. Out of Makassar most restaurants are open air and hence afford a view of where bikes are left. In any case ‘street security’ is usually available to look after parked vehicles (including bikes).

Can we leave surplus cases and baggage in a secure place in Makassar?

Yes. Our hotel will allow us to leve bike boxes etc there, for no charge.


What currency should we bring in cash?

You should get Indonesian rupiah as soon as you can at the last international airport. Outside of Makassar it is not likely that vendors will accept anything else.

How much cash do you recommend?

I would not change more than USD 200. I’d get anything more from the ATM.

Would you bring travellers’ cheques?


Do they have ATMs?

Yes. All of the towns that we stay in will have ATM facilities. I’ve never had a problem with any of my VISA cards.


If we make purchases on the trip, can they be transported back to Makassar for us?

Yes. By using Tiki courier / parcel service.

Is it difficult to arrange shipment home via post or some other way?

There is a courier service in Indonesia called TIKI. I’ve fond them to be most reliable for shipping both inside Sulawesi and internationally.

Do you have any hints for shipping bikes to avoid extremely high excess baggage charges?

Given the limited amount of time that we have and the lack of familiarity with Indonesia I would advise avoiding anything to do with shipping bikes: Too complicated. Travelling light in the non-bike department is probably the most reliable approach. Most bikes weight 10-15kg, plus the shipping box, close to the 20kg limit. If you are light, use the argument that you are lighter than the average traveller so you should be allowed to carry some excess at no extra charge.

Is there a chance of losing my bike in transit?

My experience is that international luggage gets better treatment than local luggage. I’d strongly suggest that you do not send your bike as unaccompanied luggage.

How do I pack my bike for shipping?

I strongly suggest you get a bike box from your from local bike shop. You will need to take the pedals and front wheels off, as well as deflating both tyres.


Is the internet available on our tour?

In Makassar, yes. In other places, most probably no, but internet services are expanding as I write.

Can I buy an Indonesian cell phone sim card?


Will there be landlines where we’re going?

Yes. Look for ‘wartel’ or telephone warungs.


Will accommodation for the first night of the tour be booked?


Is accommodation booked for the final day of the tour?



Do we need visas?

Yes. You will pick up 10 day visas on arrival at the airport. If you are planning to stay more than 30 days you should arrange a two month visa before beginning the trip.


What’s the accommodation like?



Makassar Modern international standard.
Malino Former colonial hotel
Sinjai Comfortable Indonesian guesthouse
Bira Stilted, wooden beach cottage
Jeneponto Seaside resort
Makassar Modern international

What are the toilets like?

In most of the accommodation the toilets are of the sit down variety. In most places along the way they will be of the squat variety. Some of the toilets will have automatic flushing facilities. In most places along the way the toilets will need to be manually flushed. In Makassar toilet paper will be supplied. In most of the other places water will be the cleansing agent.

What are Indonesian toileting procedures?

In essence water is used instead of paper. The traditional toilet is a squat toilet with a small tub of water and ladle beside it. The ladle is held in the right hand and water is poured into the cupped left hand. The left hand is then used for cleaning. The operation is finished off with a soaping and rinsing. There’ll be further explanation at the orientation before we start cycling. In the meantime you should get VERY used to squating because in many (most) places sit down toilets will not be available. Those who have hip and knee flexibility will find squatting easier than those who don’t.

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