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Makassar (Ujung Pandang) Travel Tips

3.0 stars

Insider advice for your Makassar (Ujung Pandang) vacation

Seafood in Makassar 4 stars
One thing that I love about Indonesia is that each geographic location and culture is known for some kind of food specialty. If you haven’t tasted a particular well-known food from an area that you’ve visited, it’s almost like you haven’t visited that place. In the case of Makassar in South Sulawesi, trying the seafood is a must. Fortunately, the seafood is fresh, tasty, and really affordable. Ask locals for recommendations for food stalls and restaurants since locations can change, schedules are not always fixed, and a place that is popular one day may change in standing the next. As a point of reference, though, you can try the warung (food stalls) or restaurants near the Losari Beach, the Hotel Makassar Golden which is further down that area, or head to the Fort Rotterdam part of town in the evenings. As an FYI, the Losari Beach area is known as the “Longest Dining Table in the World” for all of its food stalls. The best meal is “ikan bakar.” “Ikan bakar” essentially means “grilled fish” in Indonesian. It is cooked on a grill of sorts over hot coals or wood. The meal usually comes with white rice, chili sauce (known as “sambal”), and uncooked slices of cucumbers or other fresh veggies. The most popular, and in my opinion the tastiest, fish is called “Baronang.” There are other seafood options such as shrimp, crab, eel, lobster, calamari/squid, and even shark. “Goreng” means “fried,” which is an alternative to grilled food. For drinks, I suggest fresh coconut juice or a fruit smoothie such as mango, banana, or avocado. Hot tea and ice tea are also common. Good food and drink can be affordable. For example, I have had quality meals that cost less than US$3.00 before, but it is very important to check the menu prices first if they are available and/or ask the staff for exact prices. The last thing you want to do is pick a nice fish, eat the nice fish, and then pay an arm and a leg for that nice fish because the vendor wants to take advantage of you.


Taxi Drivers in Makassar 2 stars
Unfortunately, I did not have good experiences with taxi drivers while visiting Makassar, South Sulawesi. I have heard from fellow travelers that this is typical, but I was still hoping for something better. First, it is important that visitors request that the meter be used before entering the taxi. Second, if you prefer to bargain, bargain hard and early. Third, be polite as much as possible as I found that some drivers are sensitive and even have hot tempers. That being said, if you find that you feel uncomfortable in any way or are getting harassed, request to get out of the vehicle earlier than planned. For example, I had one driver cross the line in terms of personal questions and teasing, so I exited the vehicle at a mall I saw up ahead instead of at the boarding house where I was staying. Fourth, have an idea of where you are going and how long it will take you to get there so you quite literally and figuratively don’t get taken for a ride. Fifth, politely request that the driver slow down if he is driving too fast for your liking. Where possible, it may be more convenient and easier to hire a driver, rent a motorbike or bicycle, or walk, though these options come with their own set of pros and cons of course.


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