R&R in Sumatra

Danau Toba

Much like the roads twisting throughout this dramatic jungle landscape, our experience in Indonesia has been a rollercoaster. We were starting to think that r ‘n r was impossible to come by in Sumatra. Until we arrived Lake Toba. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh (sigh).

At a mere $5 canadian per night we have our own little waterfront hut with a hot shower and western toilet! It’s the perfect place to recover. And to swim. And to listen to the waves and the rains. And Mark has been able to eat bacon again since Toba is a mostly Christian community.

Lake Toba is in North Sumatra and is another volcanic lake. It is much larger than Lake Maninjau, where we were a few weeks ago. It’s actually the largest lake in all of SE Asia. We are staying on a large island, in a touristy village called Tuk Tuk. There are more tourists staying at our homestay/resort than we’ve seen in all of Indonesia so far, yet Tuk Tuk feels like a ghost town. It used to be a popular destination on the ol’ backpacker trail. Every building here is either a quaint Batak guesthouse or a restaurant serving “Western and Cheenese food”. And they are all practically vacant. People just aren’t coming to Indonesia these days, especially to Sumatra. Bali doesn’t count. In the recent past there have been all kinds of natural disasters, government corruption, and terrorism contributing to keeping visitors away.

Batak roof

Admittedly, it hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park for us in Sumatra. It can be a challenging country to get around in, but the rewards are so worth the extra effort, and the people are so appreciative. There is so much more to see and do on this vast island archipelago. We’ve barely scratched the surface of Sumatra and didn’t even see any of the beautiful beaches nor did we see the orangutans, which are the island’s main attractions. Our 30-day visa is up so tomorrow we’re heading back to the mainland via ferry from Medan to Penang, Malaysia. From there we’ll be making a bee-line for Vientianne, Laos, where we’ll be meeting our friend Rachel. At least we think that’s the plan. Keep your fingers crossed for us that the ferry crossing goes smoothly. One last epic Indonesian journey.

Selemat Tinggal Sumatra.


    Have a safe journey on the next leg of your adventure.

    Love, Dad

    You guys deserve the rest and relaxation! I hope your next leg of your journey does not involve people puking beside you!

    I hope your journey to Laos is uneventful (in a good way)! Have you been able to confirm dates with Rachel? At dinner the other night, she mentioned her trip dates and they were a little different from what you guys had mentioned to me in a recent email/Skype convo. I’m sure you’re on top of things, but just thought I’d mention it in case it helps to clear up any confusion.

    Enjoy that lake swimming!! It sounds lovely in comparison to the cold here.

    Thanks. Actually we’re waiting to hear from Rachel on the whole Laos thing. I hope she gets back to us soon…

    I thought a tuk tuk was a ‘golf cart’ taxi in Bangkok. Duh, it’s not easy being blond:-)

    I know you’re my brother when I hear about your missing bacon ‘the magical fruit’.

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