Bus journey from Tana Toraja (Rantepao) to Tentena: final destination are the Togean Islands


After four nights in Tana Toraja, the next destination was the Togean Islands. It is a long journey by bus and boat to the Togean Islands.

First, we travelled by bus from Rantepao, the town where we stayed in Tana Toraja, to Tentena.

The journey from Tana Toraja to the Togean Islands

Tana Toraja is a mountainous area in central Sulawesi. We stayed in Rantepao, a town within it.

From here, we headed north to the Togean Islands.

To get to the Togean Islands, we first took a bus to Tentena, then a bus to Poso and then a bus to Ampana before crossing to the Togean Islands by boat.

This time, we will talk about the bus journey from Tana Toraja Rantepao to Tentena.

Bus from Tana Toraja to Tentena

Rantepao roundabout

The journey from Tana Toraja to Tentena is by bus. Other transport options besides buses include chartering a car, but this was way beyond our budget.

Three bus companies seem to operate from Tanatraja to Tentena. We decided to take a bus with the company Rappan Marannu.

Buying a bus ticket from Tana Toraja to Tentena

Rappan Marannu bus ticket office

The Rappan Marannu bus ticket office is located at the main street intersection north of the Rantepao roundabout. It has a small sign and looks like a laundry, with clothes hanging outside (and inside). But you can also buy bus tickets from them.

The fare to Tentena is Rp 250,000 per person, which means you can board at the intersection in front of the guesthouse where you are staying. We were told that the bus would be in front of the guesthouse at 7.30 am.

There is one bus to Tentena every day, leaving Makale at 7am. It is likely to arrive in Rantepao at around 7:30-8:00am.

It is possible to arrange bus tickets at the guesthouse. In that case, the ticket price would be Rp 300,000 per person.

Boarding the bus from Tana Toraja to Tentena: 8:30 am

Buses to Tentena

We were told to be in front of the guesthouse at 07:30, so we waited, but the bus did not come. The bus finally arrived at 8.30am, an hour late.

Inside the bus

The bus to Tentena was a small bus with a clean interior, but the bus itself was quite old. There were two other foreign travellers going from the same guesthouse to Tentena with us. There were a few other passengers and the bus rattled out of town.

Bus journey from Tana Toraja to Tentena

View from the bus window

The distance from Tana Toraja to Tentena is about 350 km. When purchasing tickets, we were told that buses leaving Makale at 7am would arrive in Tentena at around 10pm. It takes approximately 12-15 hours, depending on the road conditions.

The buses go up and down the mountain. The road is narrow with many trucks with a lot of cargo, so the bus has to slow down all the time. To be honest, it was unable to go very fast even on the flat!

The bus stopped at a restaurant before noon and at around 7.30pm.

Nasi Ikan 45,000 rupiah for dinner.

The air conditioning generally worked well, but the seats were normal bus seats with a smallish leg space. We were asked to put our backpacks in the boot, but even so, the 14-hour bus journey was a little tough.

Arrival in Tentena: 10:30 pm

Tentena crossing

The bus arrived in Tentena at 10.30pm, well after dark. The bus continued on to next town, so we were dropped off at the junction before the bridge over the lake. The town was already quiet.

In Tentena, we had booked a homestay 3 km away from this crossing, but there was no transport available after we got off the bus, so we finally called someone to come and pick us up.