Rantepao is a prosperous market town on the rocky banks of Sungai Sadan Valley, home to the Sadan Toraja. A number of key sites lie within walking distance.
Rantepao stretches for 1km along the eastern bank of the Sadan. The central crossroads is marked by a miniature tongkonan on a pedestal: north from here is Jalan Mappanyuki, a short run of souvenir shops, bus agents and restaurants; Jalan Ahmad Yani points south towards Makale before becoming Jalan Pong Tiku; east is Jalan Diponegoro and the Palopo road; while westerly Jalan Landorundun leads to the riverside past a small fresh-produce market.
Rantepao’s main market – the biggest in Tanah Toraja, 2.5km northeast of the centre at Terminal Bolu – is a must: where else could you pick up a bargain buffalo then celebrate your purchase with a litre or two of palm wine? Large markets are held every six days, though you’ll find some traders in the marketplace every day of the week. You can walk there in half an hour by following Jalan Mappanyuki over the river, passing a few impressive tongkonan before crossing the river again to the market.