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Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Medan
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Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

I am planning on traveling to Sulawesi for three weeks next month. I have been living in Sumatra for eight months and speak Indonesian well enough. The Lonely Planet says that it's not hard to walk through Toraja without a guide and possibly stay with Indonesian families along the way in exchange for oleh oleh. Since I'm on a budget, this sounds perfect. . . . and really fun. But if I am traveling by myself, is this safe? And has anybody actually stayed or known of somebody who slept in a local Indonesian family's house while passing through Toraja?

Thanks!

Kete Kesu Village
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Australia
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1. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Hi,

For someone who has been living in Sumatra for 8 months you seem to be very very unaware of laws and customs.

You are not permitted to stay in any family homes unless they get permission from the leader of the village and the police.

You are meant to stay at registered homestays and they are meant to have a form that takes down all your details name, passport etc and etc and this is passed onto the police.

Pamela.

Chattanooga...
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2. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Actually, pPamela, you're not quite right. It's not so much permission as notification, which happens with a simple phone call. And foreigners visit Indonesian friends all the time and stay in their homes, not to mention Couch Surfing. There isn't much difference except the family gets a little extra money - something many could certainly use. She's perfectly within her right to pursue this form of travel.

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3. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Hi,

I never said she was wrong I was just telling her the rules as I know them and have experienced them in Indonesia.

And from my experience it has been more than a phone call on many occaisons when I have stayed with friends in Bogor, Padang, and so on.

One time in Muara Labuh when I was only on my second trip to Indonesia the owner of the homestay did not get me to fill out the form and I got picked up by the police and made to come down to their station every morning for the whole time I spent in the village.

Nowadays when I go to that particular village I always go and register myself with the police.

I think I might knoww what I am talking about. I have had other occaisions when the police have made it very clear about registering to stay in Indonesia but I do not wish to go into this on the forum.

Pamela

4. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

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Java, Indonesia
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5. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Hi,

I must say that the law requires any visitor (foreigner or local) to register if you are staying somewhere for more than 24 hours.

The problem is that the sharp end of the stick is applied only if the police think you can be scammed into paying them something for your "transgressions".

Simply remind your homestay owner to let he Kepala Desa know. If, and this is a big if, if the police do arrive, smile broadly and then let nature take its course.

I cant imagine what PPamela must have said to require her to go to the police station every morning. It might be as simple as wanting to see the bule girl come in every morning. I am sure it must have been inconvenient and perhaps even frightening for you. The police here will move their lazy bones only if there is an opportunity to make some coffee money.Poor you.

In any case,the kepala desa should always be the first stop. Besides, he will point you to a homestay in the small villages. I usually pay between 60 to 100k for the two of us including meals. Once the Kepdes (kepala desa) is making some money, you will be welcome into the fold and by golly, not even the fat greasy policeman is going to get his oily hands on your rupiah.

Cheers and have a great trek.

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6. Re: Woman Traveling Through Tana Toraja Without Guide

Hi craneboywill,

As I said it was my only second time in Indonesia and I did not know the rules.

Now I do - always make sure I have filled in a form at the homestay or if I stay in Maura Labuh in West Sumatra I go down to the police station and register with them. Or elsewhere get my friend to go to the Kepala Desa as you mentioned.

I never said anything wrong to the police - I cannot speak Indonesian and my friend Bobby translated for me when I was questioned.

And I did not pay anyone anything, though I omitted to say in my original post I had left the homestay after a night and went to stay with my friend Bobby's family friends in the village - ( similar to how the OP wants to do in Sulawesi) so maybe that is WHY I was asked to go to the police station with Bobby every day.

When I went to stay in a family home in Ambulu East Java in 2006, my Dutch friend said I could only stay one night because I was not allowed to stay longer.

So I accepted that and only stayed one night with my friend and his Javanese wife.

Pamela.

Edited: 6:32 pm, June 16, 2011
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