Central Sulawesi: Bada Valley’s Magical Megaliths
Central Sulawesi is now back on the travel itinerary as a safe place to visit following a period of religious violence that first began in 1998 and then flared up again in 2006 – taking the destination off the tourist map.
However, today Central Sulawesi is a quiet and relatively unexplored backwater, with friendly people and a stunning topography of mountains and rainforest, waterfalls and deep inland lakes that make it a truly alluring destination for keen adventure travelers.
Bordered by the provinces of Gorontalo to the north, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi to the south, Central Sulawesi is also home to the magical Bada Valley, a region that almost appears to be frozen in time.
Part of the Lore Lindu National Park, a 2,180 km² area of protected lowland and mountain forests, the valley, also known as Napu, is a beautiful expanse of rice plains, furrowed with small streams and surrounded by soft rolling hills, which eventually gives way to dense forest and mountains.
Dozens of finely carved megaliths that range in age from 1,000 to 5,000 years old are scattered across the valley, a mysterious yet magnificent testament to the skills of an ancient civilization we still know very little about.
Getting to Bada Valley itself could be considered an adventure as you follow a long, winding, scenic trail. It’s possible to trek throughout this region, although many of the trails require several days to complete with the help of a local guide. This also means that you will need to camp out overnight as part of a trek – an experience that many visitors find is the highlight the trip.
Because of the elevation visitors can enjoy sweeping views overlooking the surrounding area. Those with a love of nature will find the Bada Valley a particularly rewarding experience with many opportunities to observe the abundant wildlife, including colorful butterflies, majestic hornbills, and curious monkeys.
The national park and valley can sometimes provide some rare sightings of the anoa, or dwarf buffalo, and the babirusa, which means literally, ‘pigdeer’ – a ruminant pig. These endangered species are just a few of the amazing animals to be found in this region.
Khiri Travel Indonesia can organize trekking and camping adventures to the Bada Valley and other parts of Central Sulawesi, including Poso Lake. When traveling to Central Sulawesi a local guide is essential, not only to help you find the megaliths, but to communicate with local people. Local guides will know the best places to camp, as well as places to stay in the homes of local people.
The closest airport is Mutiara Airport, near Palu which serves flight from Jakarta, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Makassar and Manado. Alternatively, you can depart from Toraja in South Sulawesi and travel to Tentena town on Lake Poso. From Tentena, the best way to the Bada Valley is by 4WD car, or jeep.
For more information about Bada Valley or other interesting destination in Sulawesi, please contact [email protected] or Herman — see information below.