Tempe Lake is the icon of Sengkang, the capital of Wajo, a regency in South Sulawesi. Although there’s no correspond of that name with tempeh – Javanese food, Lake Tempe is known as producer of the biggest freshwater fish species in the world. This 13,000 acres lake is also one of Indonesia’s tectonic lake where in the continent of Asia and Australia plates.
Another thing that makes Tempe Lake unique and interesting to visit is a village known as Salotangah Village, it is in the middle of the lake, and houses are floating! Generally, people who stay there are fishermen who catch fish in Tempe Lake as their main livelihood. To build a floating house they need about 15 days to finish the construction.
Different from Bajo’s settlements in Southeast Sulawesi (Wakatobi Islands) where the houses built on stilts over the water by using a pole planted in the rock as a pedestal, houses in Salotangah Village was built on floating rafts which made from bamboo as the foundation and tied to a bamboo pegs as the holder.
Because of the condition which doesn’t have a foothold in the bottom of the lake, the houses in Salotangah Village always spinning to follow the wind blows. Therefore, the houses here are built far apart so when the houses spin they don’t hit each other. It’s a common thing that happens when Moslem people are praying then the direction suddenly changed or when you wake up in the morning and opened the house in front of you is different than last night. Hello, new neighbors!
Tempe Lake can be reached through using traditional boat (katinting) across Walanae River and it takes about 30 minutes. Walanae River directly continued to Lake Tempe. On your way with katinting, you’ll meet people wash their clothes in the river, taking a bath or child who swam naked. Since it’s located between two continents plates, there’re many migratory birds that pass and slew fishes in this river. And, who would have thought on this river there’re also gas stations and garages for motor boat? You’ll find them on your way!
There’s also Festival Danau Tempe (Tempe Lake Festival) held every August 23, known as Maccera Tappareng, a ceremony to purifying lake every year. The event was enlivened with participants wearing Baju Bodo (Buginese’s typical clothing) and the appearance of the most eagerly awaited is Bissu Dance which performed by transvestites.
[tab title=”Why should be there?“]Tempe Lake is the producer of the biggest freshwater fish species in the world. This lake is also popular with its fisherman’s floating market which known as Salotangah Village.[/tab]
[tab title=”Where?“]Tempe Lake located about 7 kilometers from Sengkang, Kecamatan Tempe, Kabupaten Wajo, South Sulawesi. To reach Sengkang, it takes about 5 hours from Makassar by bus or Kijang. To go to Tempe Lake you have to across Walanae River by traditional boat (katinting) and it takes about 45 minutes.[/tab]
[tab title=”When to visit?“]The best time to visit Tempe Lake is around the end of August, when Festival Danau Tempe or Maccera Tappareng was held, a ceremony to purifying the lake every year.[/tab]
[tab title=”What to do?“]
- Fishing the endemic freshwater fish in the middle of the lake.
- You can stay for one night in Salotangah Village, just ask your boat driver if you interested to. Usually they ask for charge the cost.
[tab title=”Who’s to contact?“]
- Hotel Al-Salam II
The nearest place to stay from Walanae River, just walk for 5 minutes to find the boat-rent spot.
- Pak Kala
Man whose boat to rent to visit Tempe Lake. You can also stay at his family’s home in Salotangah Village at night, he provides you the place and also meal. +6285342462213
- Pak Suryadi
A Kijang driver who back and forth Sengkang-Makassar everyday. If you arrive in Sengkang, you also can ask him to pick you up back to Makassar. +6281355433467
[tab title=”How to get there?“]
- Flights from every city in Indonesia directly to Makassar.
- Bus and Kijang from Daya Terminal in Makassar to Sengkang. It takes about 5 hours.
[tab title=”How much to spend?“]
- Kijang fare: Rp50.000,-/seat, price depend on haggle.
- Bus to Sengkang: Rp40.000/seat.
- Rental boat starts from Rp80.000,-/boat, price depend on haggle.
- For stay one night in Salotangah Village: Rp100.000,- for groups, not including meals.