Thursday, December 02, 2010

Travelogue: Medan & Danau Toba

Finally got the chance to post up my thoughts on my recent backpacking trip to Sumatera i.e. Medan & Toba! It was just for 5 days and I wish I had more time to cover more of the area but one thing I did not regret was to stay in Toba as long as I could! Highly recommended. That place is a dream.

So, here goes. Drum roll, please:

Road to Toba: A Crash Course

Must Do #8: If you're a gal and you love intricate things, then you'll probably go a bit crazy going through the endless selection of kebaya in Medan. THE place to go is, of course, Pajar Ikan. Ain't nothing smelly here, love. Just bring cash & go "What recession?" for the next 2-3 hours. I didn't buy anything but Wendy (points up) did!

Must Do #7: Unless if you're really good with words, nothing seems to be able to summarise your feelings the moment your eyes fell on Toba. We caught the last boat to Samosir and it was apparently a blessing coz the sunset was unbelievable. Left me speechless, and that doesn't happen often. So yeah, enjoy the sunset. Do that.

Must Do #6: Once you're on the island, go for a walk. I believe that is the best way to see a new place. Sure you're pretty much exposed to possibilities of being duped, getting blisters and other circumstances but stop the paranoia & let your feet take you to places no tour guides can do. We walked from Ambarita to Tuk Tuk, took pictures of fierce looking Batak kids (please kid, don't eat us) & soon got picked up for a free bike ride to our desired guest house by good hearted boys, FOC. See? Walk.

Must Do #5: It's hard not to get all spiritual when you're in a place like Toba. If you're into meditation, give it a try the first thing in the morning when you wake up. Sure, it's freezing cold but I did just that. There was no sound in the air except for the soft waves of Toba. This guy was fishing not so far from me and zip.. naadaa... he was as quiet as quiet can be. I finished with a huge smile on my face & my heart did just that as well.

Must Do #4: Go for a bike ride around the island! For 60,000 rupiah, you get to go for a ride on an auto bike (full tank, of coz) and see much more of Samosir for the whole day. Wendy and I pretty much went EVERYWHERE. The people there were really nice, they waved at us & grinned beautifully. Oh, don't forget to stop at one of those small shacks and enjoy a glass of hot tea for around 15 rupiah. Refreshing.

Must Do #3: Toba belongs to the Batak people and if you're lucky, try to catch an authentic cultural/local event when you're there. We were walking around when we realised there was a Batak wedding going on. So what do you do? You sit down and join the festivity, love! It was colourful and there was dancing & laughter. Love it!

Must Do #2: Once you're done getting distracted by the scene around you, next best thing to do is tune in again to the majestic beauty of Toba. There are many guest houses here that offer rooms so close to the water. Get one and just chill. We stayed at Reggae and we could literally jump from our balcony. Literally. The water was clear & sweet tasting. Yummy!

Must Do #1: Last but not least, what would your Sumatera trip be without the food? Come on, it's so wrong on so many levels! When we were there, this is the one thing I didn't mind spending a bit more on. Not that it cost a lot, anyway. The Nasi Padang is so good. Everything is good. These dishes are pretty much the standard ones they pile up our table. Maybe the strategy is to make you think they think you need to eat more, so what do you?
You eat more. Suffer later.

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