Makassar has a sizeable ethnic Indonesian-Chinese community, many of them living in Chinatown in the centre, just to the north of the old Dutch fort. On Sundays the fresh, tasty, classic Dim Sum experience is available from 10am until 2pm in the Makassar Theatre restaurant. They have a huge variety of steamed and fried dishes, with specials ordered at the cooking point next to the entrance and the rest from the roaming trollies. The restuarant is spanking clean and comfortable, the staff are attentive and professional and they are used to dealing with foreigners. The food is reasonably priced. Large family groups, all sitting together at one table, are very common, including everybody from the wizened old Grandad to the newly born baby in swaddling clothes. At the peak time, the chatter is almost deafening, seats are hard to find, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Everybody dresses up and the kids run around the big room chasing one another. As well as the tasty DimSum dishes, this upstairs restaurant is a very popular suki style restaurant, with boiling pots and a range of small colour-coded dishes to choose from. Downstairs is another Western-style restaurant with spaghetti and burgers and in the same building is the clean, modern cinema complex with two theatres. One of them is an older barn-style auditorium, worth a visit when it is full and a popular movie is showing. So have Dim Sum upstairs, Makassar Dream coffee/ice downstairs, then go and and watch a movie!
The Makassar Theatre complex is in Chinatown in the city centre near the container port. Turn left off Jalan Irian. There is a large parking lot on the complex, taxi drivers are very familiar with it and it is easy to pick up a taxi afterwards on the busy Jalan Irian, just 100m away.
Makassar, and Sulawesi, are great places to visit and the start and end of your holiday should be a cold drink watching the sunset from the terrace of the Kios Semarang. Makassar recently (1999) reclaimed its historic name after twenty-five years of being called Ujung Pandang. It is a large vibrant city (fifth or sixth in size in Indonesia) but with a village feel. It is a busy port city with a centre right next to the sea. It has a seaside promenade right there where it can be most enjoyed by everybody. Makassar is currently undergoing a boom in development and has lots of bars, cafes and night life (outside of Ramahdan). This is not Jakarta or Bali so there are not too many resident foreigners but their haunt is the Kios Semarang. The place is friendly and welcoming, the beer is cold, the food is excellent and the sunsets are famous. It is a bar/restaurant so you are welcome to just sit for hours with a coke, or whatever, and watch the sunset. From a wall seat you can watch the comings and goings of the locals along the promenade. The third floor is the place to go, partly open terrace and partly roofed over, so it is comfortable in the heat of the day and in both the wet (November to February) and dry seasons. Don't be put off by the record store on the ground floor. Go straight up two flights of stairs to the best sunset bar in Indonesia.
On Jalan Pantai Losari in the centre of town about 100m upstream (traffic wise) from the Makassar Golden Hotel. Taxis are plentiful in Makassar and good value. All taxi drivers know where the Kios Semarang is, or Jalan Pantai Losari on the sea front.The Kios Semarang is within walking distance of all the seafront hotels, bars and restaurants.
This is by far the best and biggest (Olympic-size) pool in Makkassar. It is clean, well-maintained and not usually busy before about 3.30pm. There are clean changing rooms (bring your own towel) and loungers around the pool. It is a comfortable place to spend all day and there is a kids pool, a kids play area and a gym with sauna and steam rooms.The restaurant serves Indonesian, Chinese and Western dishes and even cold beer. The daily entrance fee is around Rp30-40,000 or US$3-4, with separate charges for pool and gym use. Nearby is the biggest and best shopping mall in Makassar, the Mal Panukkang Mas. This has cafes, bars, restaurants and supermarkets as well as the usual shoe, handbag and mobile phone shops.
On Jalan Boulevard Panakkukang Mas opposite the mall, about 4km east of the city centre and the sea front. Taxi drivers all know this place (or at least they know the mall (meter charge around Rp30,000(US$3). Getting back to your hotel is easy with plenty of taxis near the mall.
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