Far deep in the district of Poso, Province of Central Sulawesi, there is a beautiful valley called Bada Valley or Napa Valley. This valley is a part of Lore Lindu National Park. Bada Valley is an ultimate tourism destination. Not only it has stunning nature around, it also has several ancient megalithic statues scattered around the valley. The history behind the statues is still unknown. Still at this valley, you will have the chance to encounter the local people who still preserving their ancient cultures.
How to Get There
There are two options you can choose to reach the location of this majestic valley. The easiest way is by taking a plane to Mutiara Airport in Palu city. The airport serves domestic flights from Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Balikpapan, and Manado. From Palu, you can continue your trip to the valley by using rented car.
Other option is way more challenging. To get to Bada Valley, you can drive your engine from Toraja to Tentena for several hours. The roads will be like off-road tracks. From Tentena to Bada Valley, the track would be more challenging. It is just 50 kilometers away, but you need to go through several tropical jungles and small rivers. Along the way, chances are you will encounter exotic animals such as deer and macaque. On the half way, there is a shelter point where you can take a rest for a while and fix several problems with your vehicle.
Where to Stay
Several hotels and cottages are available in Tentena with various star quality and facilities. You could simply find one that suits your need best. For your reference, here is a list of accommodation you can book on Tentena:
- Ue Datu Cottages
- Location : Jalan Ue Datu 92, Tentena 94663, Central Sulawesi
- Phone : +62 811 344 159 or +62 4582 1824
- Website : uedatucottages.com
- Rates : US$ 10 – US$ 30 per night
- Tando Bone Bungalow Resort
- Pamona Indah Hotel
- Location : Jalan Kom. Yos Sudarso, Tentena
- Phone : +62 452 21245
- Location : Jalan Trans Sulawesi, Tentena
- Phone : +62 452 21247
- Losmen Moro Seneng
- Location : Jalan Kom L. Yos Sudarso 2, Tentena
- Phone : +62 452 21165
- Hotel Intim Danau Poso
- Location : Jalan Kom. L. Yos Sudarso 22, Tentena
- Phone : +62 452 21345 or +62 452 21489
- Hotel Panorama
- Location : Jalan TVRI, Tentena
- Phone : +62-452-21412 or +62 452 21240
- Losmen Victori
- Location : Jalan Pelabuhan 16, Tentena
- Phone : +62 452 21392
Many people say that the trip to Bada Valley is already a tourism adventure. With vast paddy fields, green plains, and wild jungle around, everything you see on the way and within the valley are scenic panorama. Bada Valley is framed by peaceful hills with rocky mountain standing tall at the background. In the middle of the valley, there is long river of Lairiang, the longest river in Sulawesi. This wonderful river branches into several smaller rivers that irrigate the paddy fields in natural ways. At the river, there are three bridges that you can cross over and enjoy the scenery at.
The most famous thing about Bada Valley is the existence of megalithic statues. There are dozens of those scattered around the valley. Those statues are estimated to be engraved at the ancient megalithic era. It is about 1,000 to 5,000 years ago. Magically, some of the statues are still perfectly engraved.
No one knows who built those statues, let alone the reason of it. Some archaeologists believe that those have the similar history with the Stonehenge’s standing stone in England and the giant heads in Easter Island. But there is no strong evidence that proves that theory.
The statues of Bada Valley were beautifully engraved in the similar artistic form. The general shape is nearly oval and the head is large and round. The statues of Bada resemble the ones in Cheju Island of Korea, Olmec Statues in Mexico, and Giant Head of Easter Islands. Most of the statues are in human or animal shapes such as owl, buffalo, or monkey.
Local people of Bada Valley had their own way to deal with these statues. If you ask them about the history of it, they will simply answer with, “I don’t know. They’ve always been there”. They named each one of the statues by the name of place it is found. Thus, there are Palindo, Maturu, Oba, Torompana, Loga, and Tarae Roe.
Besides the statues, there are also unique artifacts found at this wonderful valley. Kalamba. It is a large stone cistern with unknown purpose. The cistern has a top cover which is also made of stone. Some estimated that this cistern was used as bath for princesses or female highborn. Some other said it was used as burial place for royal family members. Several Kalambas were found at different places throughout the valley as well. Some of them were found nearby a statue.
There is an old community living in Bada Valley. These local people are known to be the descendants of Lore Tribe, a native tribe of Bada. They live far from the modern lifestyle and technology. You can plainly see it by the way the dress. Instead of wearing fabricated clothes, they wear traditional outfits made out of wood skin. To make the fabric out of wood skin, a series of manual process needs to be done. You can see this process by visiting their village.
First, the wood skin is spread on a long wooden table. The women of the village are then lined up at the side of that table, holding a tool called peboba. Peboba is a bat made out of palm tree that will be used to hit the wood skin. The hitting process will cause the wood skin to have softer texture. The next process also includes hitting.
But instead of using peboba, an ike stone is used to make the fabric even softer and comfortable to wear on. The process of making fabric out of wood skin is very interesting to watch as the women are lining up neatly at the side of one long wooden table. While hitting, they intentionally make rhythm that syncs with the song sung by a man in Bada folk language. Judging from the tools used, many archaeologists believe that this ritual was from a real ancient culture. It is estimated that this culture is even older that the megalithic statues.
People of Bada Valley are also still living on traditional house they build using natural materials they gather from the environment. Those houses look pretty comfortable and rhyme with the scenic nature surrounding.
Bada Valley is located very far from the city. It is indeed not easy to access this place. But once you are there, you will feel like founding a new isolated heaven. With beautiful panorama, mysterious statues, and an ancient culture, Bada Valley may give you a unique experience that you will never get from any other places in the world.