Located deep into a lush jungle in central Sulawesi, Lore Lindu National Park is a must-see if you’re in Indonesia. It is well known for its impressive scenery, diverse wildlife, and most of all, for its 700 years old megaliths, some of them are dated as far as 3000 BC. This UNESCO biosphere reserve sees few tourists and is definitively an off the beaten track adventure.
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About 400 granite megaliths, giant freestanding statues, are scattered in and around Lore Lindu National Park, they’re mostly located in Bada, Besoa, and Napu valleys. They used to be considered as Gods or spirits by the locals, each having a particular role, they would gather around the statues, pray and hold ceremonies there. Some resemble humans and other animals.
These megaliths are said to be very mysterious because there isn’t a lot of information about them. The locals have a lot of legends to tell and are highly superstitious. Some think the statues can move and others that they are humans turned into stone. The weirdest part is that the type of rock used to build the megaliths is found nowhere near the area. Researchers are not sure of when they were built and neither by whom or why.
You’ll need a guide to find the megaliths, there are no indications of where they are, and they are pretty far from each other. The area is really nice, with a lot of nature, there are only small villages around. The megaliths are usually in the middle of the fields, you’ll probably have to go through wet rice fields, bring a change of shoes. You can arrange a day trip from Tentena or Palu, or decide to stay in one of the homestays for a local experience.
You can also organize trekking more into the rainforest. Try to avoid going after rainfalls as it can get pretty muddy. As for the wildlife, expect to see animals such as Tarsiers, the smallest monkey in the world, a shy and super cute animal; babirusas, a type of boar; bears cuscus, a marsupial… Birdwatcher will also be pleased with many bird species, such as the impressive hornbill and the rare geomalia. Lore Lindu National Park is home to 77 bird and ten mammal species endemic to Sulawesi. You’ll also see a rich flora with many exotic plants and flowers.
Lore Lindu is not your typical national park, it’s more of a protected area. You won’t find an entrance with the headquarter and a map of the trail. you’ll need to hire a local guide or go through a travel agency.
The best places to observe birds are near Danau Tambing, Danau Lindu, Wuasa village, and on the Anaso track.
You can start at the park tourist office to check out what they offer. If you want to go trekking for more than a short walk, you’ll need to hire a guide, it’s compulsory. Day hike and 2 to 3 days hike are available, you can choose to focus more on wildlife or megaliths. You can hire a guide at the park’s tourist office for about 400k a day, make sure he speaks English. You’ll also need to buy the park permit for 150k. If you just go see the megaliths, you won’t have to pass by the park office, and you won’t have to pay.
How to get there:
From Tentena there is a daily bus to Bomba, then you’ll have to take an ojek.
From Palu, there are daily buses to Wuasa and Doda, departing from Petobu terminal.
You can also rent a motorbike, and come on your own, you’ll need one anyway to explore the area if you don’t hire a guide with his own transportation.
If you’re planning to take a day trip, you better arrange it with a guide from Palu or Tentena. I recommend Alfian, who speaks perfect English and can take you on his motorbike. Here is his Facebook.
Where to stay near Lore Lindu National Park:
You can find many homestays in the villages around the park. Wuasu being the largest one, its central location makes it the better option. Know that there is not yet electricity during the day.
Useful information about visiting Lore Lindu National Park
- The best time to visit is during the driest months, from July to September.
- There are around 400 megaliths spread around the area.
- The park is located at around 6,600 ft above seawater (be careful if you suffer from altitude sickness)
- In the highland areas, the temperature can drop as low as 44° F
What you’ll need to bring to visit Lore Lindu National Park
- Comfortable shoes that dry fast, maybe consider packing a pair of wet shoes if you have to walk through mud or paddy fields.
- Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
- A hat or cap.
- Mosquito repellent.
- A power bank as there’s no electricity during the day in most villages.
- A pair of binoculars if you go bird watching.
- Plenty of water and snacks.
In Sulawesi? Check out Danau Tempe, a huge lake home to many nomads for a couple of months each year.
2-day itinerary in Lore Lindu National Park
Considering the park is not that easy to reach, I would advise spending at least a night in one of the villages. This way, in addition to visiting the area, you’ll also get a cultural experience and get to discover the local way of life. You won’t find hotels, only basic homestays with villagers. The rate usually includes two meals and accommodation. It’s a great opportunity to discover their communal lifestyle.
On the first day, you can go around the see the main megaliths, and on the second day, you can arrange for a trek to see some wildlife, especially birds.
Related article to help you plan your trip to Sulawesi:
- Sulawesi – Must visit places
- Indonesia – Everything you need to know before going
- Essential oils you should bring with you when you travel
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