Indonesia, North Sumatra – The City of Medan
We start our journey through western Malaysia a bit unusually, by going for three nights to the Indonesian city of Medan in North Sumatra. From the airport located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur several times a day, the low-cost airline Air Asia flies, and in less than an hour you can reach Medan (specifically Kualanamu Airport). It is the largest Sumatran city, the fifth most populous city in Indonesia.
Our first exploration of Sumatra is full of contrasts - on the one hand, a nice airport and its well-groomed wide surroundings, on the other, arriving in Medan along the slums, collapsed houses and strange streets with the mess all around. But even between all of this, a huge modern shopping center or a Dutch-style residential building (as a result of the former Dutch domination) suddenly appears. What is clear at first sight is that the locals are not used to tourists. Throughout our stay in Sumatra we are accompanied by constant eyepieces, photography or filming. Who wants to try a celebrity life and looks at least a little European, this is the perfect place. Unfortunately, it is also necessary to pay great attention to valuables and to be constantly on guard. But people are mostly very kind and accommodating. Owners of accommodation are usually helpful and helpful. The disadvantage here is that the morning (around 5am) Muslim prayer is very loud from the street and earplugs are a must. However, every traveler must get used to this in these countries.
After a quick acclimatization we set out for the city. Originally we wanted to go on our own, but the surrounding broken sidewalks and dusty streets will soon cease to enjoy and use our favorite Grab (taxi, similar to Uber), which will then get anywhere in a moment. We stop at the train station, which is quite scary, but immediately behind it is a modern shopping center.
Prices in classic restaurants are far higher and food less tasty than that in the streets. From the shopping center it is quite easy to walk on foot towards the magnificent Grand Mosque, built in 1907 in Moroccan style. Near the mosque is a nice park with an artificial lake, where you can relax beautifully. On the way to the mosque you will pass another prominent building from the former Dutch rule and the current icon of the city, the Tirtanadi Water Tower from 1908.
For dinner we then head to Chinatown, where it really lives in style every evening and for very decent money we get absolutely delicious food and drink. Despite the initial shock from the outskirts of town, every moment spent on Sumatra is getting better and better.
And next Saturday you will take a look around.
GPS: airport 3°38'02.9"N 98°52'40.1"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
The huge crater lake, the largest in the world, is created by a massive volcanic eruption that occurred more than 100,000 years ago. The volcano subsequently collapsed, and over the next few years, the crater filled with water, creating the world's largest volcanic lake, Lake Toba. In the middle of the lake rises the green island of Samosir, whose shores are surrounded by mountain peaks and forests.
It is almost impossible to go to Indonesia and avoid the masses of tourists today. Most tourists end up on the islands of Bali or Gili, some of them continue to the island of Lombok, Java or Sumatra. Would you like to avoid these places? Are you looking for a bigger adventure? Then go even further and discover the natural beauty of Flores Island and its Komodo National Park.
This time we are heading to the Sumatran jungle. Along the way we stop for lunch, the food is great in Indonesia.
Today you will visit the town of Berastagi and climb the Sibayak volcano. Buses called Murni Expres leave from Medan.
The island of Bali does not have many well-known cities to attract tourists, more visitors are attracted by its picturesque nature and beautiful temples. However, when you arrive in Bali, it would be a pity to omit them completely from your itinerary.
This famous Indonesian island is often referred to as the pearl of Indonesia, a paradise on earth or a place with a magical atmosphere. And rightly so. The local nature is absolutely charming. Bali is especially popular for its rice terraces, but it can offer much more. Let's take a look.
Bali is Indonesia's most interesting island with the capital Denpasar. The air is interwoven with local Hinduism, which differs from classical Hinduism by the added elements of local traditional faith. What certainly Bali cannot deny is the magical nature. Both attract to the island not only a lot of tourists, but also people come here for spiritual renewal, life reboots or just a good rest.
Nusa Penida is situated southeast from very famous Indonesian island of Bali. It features regular ferry lines. Tourist infrastructure there is quite underdeveloped yet it has been improving. Should you prefer less tourist crowded areas and you like amazing vistas and great beaches, I recommend you to spend there three days at least.
Goa Giri Putri cave temple sometimes go by the name of nearby village of Goa Karangsari. High limestone caves are situated on the east coast of Nusa Penida, half way between Sampalan and Suana. As this is a temple, you have to wear a sarog, a piece of cloth wrappend around your waist to cover your lower body. If you don't have one you may rent one for 5 000 IDR (about 10 CZK).
After several hours of trekking in the damp jungle, you will hear a rust, raise your head, and there is an orange furry creature swinging from the liana to the liana. The feeling of pure excitement when you see the orangutan in your natural environment. Orangutan? Yes, orangutan. You do not have to go to the zoo anymore, just connect your visit to the famous Bali with the little village of Ketambe in the middle of the dense forest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
We start our month long trip across Indonesia in its capital city of Jakarta (Java island). We did our best to leave it as soon as possible. Our first stop was on Muria peninsula, central Java (it runs into the Java Sea in the north).
In our last article you learned more about Mt Muria, the holy mountain. We got there accidentally as we had different reasons why we traveled to Muria peninsula. There is a ferry on the northwestern coast (it departs from Jepara town) and it transports passengers to Karimunjawa National Park. We set aside two days because the ferry can cancel its trip due to huge waves. However, even two days extra were not enough.
Trip to Bromo volcano in Bromo Tengger Semer National Park is probable one of the best travel experiences in Indonesia. The trip is highly organized and most touristic. Despite it is very expensive you will long remember it as a wonderful experience.
It is night. We are on the edge of Ijen volcano which is famous for its blue flames. To see everything from up close we descended down the crater. Then we saw the first bearer. It was a slim man having a bamboo bar on his shoulder. On both ends there were two baskets filled up with sulfur rocks. We got out of his way. And he passed buy us. While we were descending, the smell of sulfur was increasing in its intensity.
We left Java for Bali. It is very different from other 17 thousand Indonesian islands. Many holidaymakers chose it as the place for vacation. Nature on the island is diverse and there are many contrasts. The atmosphere is wonderful and extraordinary. But to get such impressions we had to travel across the island first. We intended to travel through and through the central highlands. This would allow us to learn about the terrain and decide on which volcano to climb. Our route ran from the south to the north and back to the south in the tot al length of 200 kilometers (13 hours of ride on a scooter).
We are still on our day-long trip on Bali. We leave Singaraja town in the island’s north. Our next goal is the area surrounding Batur volcano.
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