Eastern Indonesia is our backyard
Kampung Expeditions is based in the port city of Makassar on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. We have a branch office in Flores Island and affiliate offices in Bali and Manado, enabling us to handle arrangements for travel throughout eastern Indonesia. We also service Kalimantan and Papua, working with specially selected reputable local partners who align with our values and service standards.
We’ve earned a strong reputation as a reliable, creative, and responsible tour operator. Our wide range of clients includes TV crews, study groups, corporate delegations, clubs and independent travellers. Their feedback helps us to stay in touch with our clients’ needs.
In the beginning
Kampung Expeditions began with an ‘aha’ moment for a young Japanese anthropologist researching in Indonesia. Yoshi Abe’s discovery that expert local tour guides could open doors to new cultures became the foundation of Kampung Expeditions.
The seeds were sown in 1992 when Yoshi arrived by ship in the lively port of Makassar for the first time.
Yoshi had staked his academic success on this solo adventure. A student at Australia’s Melbourne University, this was his first anthropological field research for his Master’s degree.
Making cultural connections
Naïve about his ability to develop links with foreign cultures, Yoshi had expected that he could go it alone. ‘I didn’t know anyone there and I didn’t speak any of the local languages,’ he says. ‘I thought I could manage it all by myself.’ His research hit a brick wall of language, culture and logistics about how to make it all work.
And as part of his anthropologist’s ‘baggage’, he was also carrying prejudices against tourism and tour guides. ‘Anthropologists generally believe tourism pollutes local culture with foreign influences like commercialism. They see tour guides as providing superficial and often misleading knowledge on the culture.’
Learning from local guides
But Yoshi’s views changed when he met Marsel Balik and Hasanuddin Sally, who were then professionally employed as tour guides. Fluent in both English and Japanese, they were friendly, fun and polite. Luckily for Yoshi, they were highly knowledgeable interpreters of local history, social customs and culture, as well as foreign languages. ‘They introduced me to many new people and the vibrant local cultures. After that, my field work progressed dramatically.’
Kampung Expeditions has built this understanding into its business model – that exceptional tour guides can illuminate local culture in ways that benefit both their clients and the local people.
Kampung Expeditions was started in 2002 by Yoshi, Marsel and Sally 10 years after the three business partners first met in Indonesia.
Yoshi says, ‘We’ve grown as a company but stayed true to our dream – to have our talented guides lead our clients to unforgettable experiences.’