Western Australia (WA) Trip Preparation

Started in Aug ’15 when we browse Air As*a cheap ticket for 2016 holiday (you’ve got to have 2016 estimation holiday date in hand before). If you asked me why Australia? I need cheap ticket for holiday & see what to see from there. So 2016 holiday destination is based on cheap ticket? Yes & options that we can do driving trip as well. I’ve researched before that Australia has 5 best driving trip route, here is the list :

  1. Perth-Busselton-Albany-Esperance-Perth, South WA (2400 km, need min 5 days)
  2. Perth-Geraldton-Exmouth-Newman-Perth, North WA (3200 km, need min 6 days)
  3. Melbourne-Great Ocean Road-Adelaide (900 km, need min 4 days)
  4. Darwin-Alice Springs-Port Augusta-Adelaide (3000 km, need min 6 days)
  5. Brisbane-Cairns-Brisbane (1800 km, need min 6 days)

I assumed driving rate 800 km/day & spent 1 day in destination city. Holiday date that fit 5 days is on 13-17 Aug 2016. The cheapest ticket that I can find is Denpasar-Perth return at IDR 2.2 million. Jakarta-Denpasar by Lio* Air is IDR 1.1 million.

Visa Australia is next! I arranged my visa via VFS in Kuningan City at IDR 1.6 million (bring cash), use form 1419 subclass 600 for tourist, click here. It took max 15 working days til visa approved (mine is 3 days), they will sent visa via email, the requirement are :

  1. Passpor with min 6 month before expiry date & 2 color pic with white background 4*6 cm
  2. Sponsor letter from company that explain you’ll be back to Indonesia to work
  3. Family card copy & ID card, better if you can bring the original document
  4. Last 3 month active bank account statement (better provide min twice of budget trip), ie AUD 100/day, you’ll go 5 days, save min AUD 1000 in bank account. TIPS! I knew later that the more you put in account, will be granted 3 years visa rather than 1 year

Check temperature! For clothing decision. Summer in Australia is between November & February. We’re going to Western Australia in August. Perth – Busselton – Albany temperature 15-17 deg C, Esperance temperature 18-21 deg C, York temperature is 21-23 deg C. Overall temperature is 15-23 deg C. Weather forecast said that few days gonna be rain so we bring waterproof jacket for trekking.

Rent car or public transport? We decide to rent car to explore Busselton – Albany – Esperance & use public transport while in Perth. As for the rent car, I was comfy with Apex Car Rent while in NZ, but they didn’t have the branch in Perth. Then we go to this site to check cheapest & recommended car rent. The sole car rent is at AUD 160 for 4 days but only Hertz that provide reduces lialibity to 0 at cost AUD 32/day. They charged GPS at AUD 11/day, so total car rent became AUD 83/day. Later I knew that Australia has expensive car rent but cheap public transport, on the contrary with NZ). Do research then we found Bayswater car rent in Guilford Rd, click here, but we have to return the car on same place & ride public transport to go here (outside airport). We rent Toyota Corolla Hatch 2011 matic at AUD 83/day for 3 days that cost us AUD 248 (NZD 62/day when we used Apex in NZ), they charged additional AUD 100 as deposit & you’ll get it back after returned the car (the process took approx 3 weeks). That price is included top cover (damage excess AUD 0), extends area of use until > 500 km (because we included Esperance, you can eliminate this cost if you just drive until Albany), & GPS (sole car rent price is AUD 25/day).

10 TIPS for renting car abroad

  1. Wherever you rent car, always choose options top cover (damage excess AUD 0). It  will freed us from damage lialibility that is included in the contract.
  2. Better rent GPS, sometimes signal lost in certain are if using google maps, we experienced it in NZ. As anticipation, we use maps.me, an offline map app.
  3. Do loop route (pick up & return at same place) rather than drop on different place, they prob charge higher, as car provider will need to relocate the car with fee.
  4. The longer you rent the car, usually the rent price drop around AUD 3-5/day.
  5. Try to rent the car outside airport, as prob there are airport fee charged to the car.
  6. There are no significant price if you rent manual or automatic transmission in Australia or NZ, except if you decided to rent from Europcar.
  7. Choose car with age max 7-8 years & has <=1800 cc for fuel price budgeting. I assumed 1500 cc car will need 1 litre to go 15 km, 1800 cc car will need 1 litre to go 12.5 km & 2000 cc car will need 1 litre to go 10 km, CMIIW. Optimized route before departing, count your km based on places you want to visit using google maps, then usually I multiplied it using factor 1.4 (for when we get wrong direction & wanna go to places outside itineraries), divided by 12.5 km (we rent 1800 cc car) multiplied again by fuel price (AUD 1.3/litre) so we get fuel price budget estimation.
  8. Always asked what the petrol they used (ours are unleaded 91, the green handle, in Bayswater car they wrote it on fuel tank), do research / asked how much is the car fuel tank capacity (usually 40-50 litre) & how many it is filled already before departing. If you wanna free from hazzle when picked up the car, you can ask full to full fuel options (they fill the fuel full & you have to return the car with full fuel as well). When we were in NZ, we didn’t used this options & they returned the excess money on fuel.
  9. Checked which area that requires highway fee (South part of Western Australia & NZ didn’t required highway fee).
  10. Except you are very experienced driver, choose wisely which country you want to drive car rent. I would recommend country that obey the traffic rules. Also check in your international driving license (you’ll need to have one), whether it covers the country you choose. For additional driver in NZ & Australia only required your origin country driving license & additional driver fee is depend on car rent provider you choose (in Bayswater & Apex, it’s free).

Driving car in Australia. The steer wheel is on the right side of car & drive on the left side of road. There are no specific tips as the traffic regulations is similar with international.

Operating cost estimation. Australian currency is AUD. AUD to IDR is 9.8k that time. I divided the budget into 3 category, visa & flight (IDR 4.9 million), expense that can be paid using credit card (hotel AUD 120/day for 2 person, car AUD 62/day for 2 person, national park entrance AUD 12/vehicle for each Torndirrup National Park, Fitzgerald National Park, Cape Le Grand National Park), cash expense (fuel AUD 1.3/litre, bus average 4 AUD/one way for 2 zones, eat AUD 50/day, SIM card AUD 25, etc). For resuming :

  1. Visa & flight IDR 4.9 million
  2. Hotel IDR 2.35 million for 4 days per person
  3. Car IDR 1.25 million for 3 days per person
  4. National Park entrance IDR 175k for 3 National park per person
  5. Fuel IDR 1.25 million per person for 2400 km in 3 days need 192 litre or 4 times refill
  6. Eat IDR 2 million per person for 4 days and 8 times eat
  7. Sim Card IDR 250k for 500 MB data for 10 days
  8. Bus IDR 300k for 2 days 8 times trip
  9. Souvenirs IDR 500k
  10. Groceries & snack IDR 200k

Total budget trip estimation is IDR 13 million. Cash needed is IDR  4.3 million. I brought 20% contingency, so total cash I brought is AUD 550. Next we shall see the must visit destination while in South part of Western Australia, ciao!




in Love with North Sumatra, 16-17 Jul ’16, Day 3-4


Hellooo, continued my previous post, we’re gonna visit Toba Lake today, yayy! *excited*

Day 1, Saturday, 16 Jul 2016  Woke up at 6 AM to be picked up at 7 AM then heading to Siantar, our estimation is arrived there at 10.30 AM to enjoy the famous Kok Tong coffee & legendary Ganda bakery. :9 Haha, by now you should’ve noticed that I eat wherever I go. After reached Tanjung Morawa, we had heavy rain, comfortable to sleep. Woke up 1 hour later, arrived in Tebing Tinggi, along the way seen people sold Lemang at IDR 15k (traditional food made of glutinuous rice, coconut milk & salt served in sliced bamboo). It should be tasted a little salty, maybe because served cold the taste bit different. Heard that Pematang Siantar has fried pigeon, we wanna try. It was 11 AM, turned out the restaurant wasn’t open yet, so we had lunch at random cafe. They have soft nut bread filled with green beans almost similar with bakpia from Yogyakarta, but bigger, thicker crust & served with sesame topping. Feeling full, we depart to Parapat at 12 PM. Around 2.30 PM, there was change of scenery, stunning hills with lake view. I feel anticipated.


Arrived at Ajibata port & tried to buy ferry ticket to Tomok port in Samosir (island in the middle of Toba Lake) with 2.30 PM schedule at IDR 115k (include car). Here for the ferry schedule. Suddenly someone tap my shoulder & pointed out the car queue to ride the ferry. He showed his number, 40. He said the ferry can only brings max 30 car one way to Samosir. It means we have to wait until 5.45 PM. We looked for other alternative & go to Tigaraja port, 750 m or 3 min by car, the boat departed at 3.20 PM, here for the schedule so we can ride the last boat from Tomok port in Samosir at 6.30 PM (we have 3 hours to explore). We have to left the car as the boat only can bring 40 people. The boat ticket cost us IDR 20k for 2 people, me & the driver, for 30 minutes. There will be people who comes to you & asking money for the boat ticket.


TIPS! If you wanna bring car & spend longer time in Samosir Island, depart 7h before 1st ferry schedule in Ajibata port at 8.30 AM (around 01.30 AM) from Medan. The 2nd deck with softer seat has same price, you can sit comfortably in there (we thought the price is higher since looks comfy, we didn’t dare to sit inside).

Arrived in Tomok port & we have to walk passed through local market to find motorbike rent. There was no board sign where we can rent motorbike. My guide talked to one souvenir stand seller & called his 2 friends to become guide for us. At first they asked IDR 200k for 2 people but I asked my guide to bargain until IDR 120k for 2 people for 1.5h (+motorbike). Deal. They took us first to Toba Lake scenery near hotel with Samosir typical red roof. Then we head to Parulubalangan, where animism worship held. The entrance is free & there’s no one beside us that visit here, there’s a totem at the top. The place is picturable but somehow feels mystical. My guide forbid me to pointed object while in there. After that, we head to stone chair of King Siallagan (Huta Siallagan Museum). There are 5-6 Batak common house made from wood (replica of old Batak village) complete with Schand Block. Entering the house, they have loom & kitchen placed in center of the house, bed on the other side. There are totem pole outside too, I don’t know yet what they represent of. And at the top of the stair there’s tomb of the King.

There’s still 1.5h left to explore, the guide took us to Huta Tinggi (if you follow the road, it will lead to Aek Natonang, lake above lake), took 30 minutes to went here from Tomok port by motorbike. We didn’t use the same road as we departed, but the parallel road on the mountain side. It was pretty with 5 PM light. As the elevation increase, the air is getting chiller, we left our jacket on car… The view keeps getting better until we found warung (small shop) where we can drink tea & enjoy the view. It was soo pretty, I can’t get enough of it. Tried many angle of Toba Lake pic from here, includes trying to make replica sakura with Fuji mountain view -which failed. We went down to Tomok port at 5.45 PM & eat dinner at warung near Tomok port at 6.15 PM. It was a good decision to ride the last boat 6.30 PM to Parapat (IDR 20k for 2 people). Turned out inside the cabin, they have karaoke. They played Batak song, I didn’t understand the language, but everyone sang & have fun. Even the captain held the steer on right hand & the mic on left hand. It’s safe, don’t worry. The song they played & the wind made me think, it was Saturday night, I was alone & on the boat, not how girl would spent their Sat night. I wasn’t really alone of course, there are the driver & passenger on the boat. Strangers, but felt warm. I wasn’t really prepared for this Toba trip. Unlike other trip abroad, I made loose itinerary. I don’t know how to explore or what to see in Samosir Island. But it worked & I enjoyed it. Its 7 PM by the time we arrived at Tigaraja port & head to Melissa Hotel Parapat to rest before long journey back to Medan tomorrow at 7 AM (I booked 2 room from booking.com @IDR 200k per room without breakfast). Good night, sleep well…

TIPS! Spent minimum 1 full day to explore Samosir Island, stay 1 night if you want to chill swimming. Another destination you can visit in Samosir Island are Batu Hoda beach, Parbaba white sand, Aek Natonang lake, or just follow the road & see where it takes you. 🙂

Day 2, Sunday, 17 Jul 2016 Meowning! Today we’re gonna head to Sipiso-piso waterfall, one of water source of Toba Lake. But before, the driver asked me if his father in Siantar can join us to go to Medan. Since there’s still a lot of seat, i agreed to it. If the same thing happen to you & you don’t want to, you can say no. Later I’m saved by his father driving skill when chase 5 PM flight. It took us 4h from 7 AM to go to Sipiso-piso waterfall. On route Siantar to Sipiso-piso waterfall, we visit ancient Raya King & his wife tomb (1828-1889), in google maps it’s shown by Guru Raya Sidasuha tag. The driver asked me to pose with the tomb as background. Me like, “Euh, no thanks, it feels like something gonna grabbed me from behind if I do that, ahaha.” Near Sipiso-piso waterfall there is pretty hill that made me think North Sumatra is beautiful. Arriving in Sipiso-piso waterfall entrance, we paid IDR 10k for 1 car & around 15 min from the entrance, there is stunning view of Toba Lake, you’ll see the sign, many motor & car stopped in the side of road. You’ll go woah on this one. We enjoyed the waterfall view from above, as we saw many stairs heading down & didn’t have much time. 😀 Seen few foreign tourists here, the beautifulness of North Sumatra has attracted them… It was my last list destination as they say we have to arrived in Brastagi at latest by 2 PM, after that the road gonna be too crowded. So I have to come back next time to visit Sidikalang city, Tangkahan & Asam Kumbang crocodile breeding. I want to visit Leuser National Park too (I’m a national park fans). Well, 2D1N to explore every corner of North Sumatra wasn’t enough, you’ll need min 4-6 days.

Saying till I see you again to Toba Lake, we’re heading to Medan city via Brastagi, it took us 3h from 11 AM include lunch. The driver then stopped by at 2 PM in Taman Alam Lumbini, replica of Shwedagon temple in Myanmar. It was pretty & bring back good memories of Myanmar in 2014… Only the difference, we can’t go in when pray time. The entrance cost IDR 20k/person. From here, it was already 3 PM, it took 2.5h to go to Kuala Namu airport, my flight is at 5 PM, see how crazy I am, still enjoying the view despite tight schedule. 😀 Knowing this, the driver tried to go with 80 kmph speed or up, but can’t do this fully in first 1.5h because the road is small going downhill, has sharp turn & many cars on the contrary direction. It really need skill & patience to drive in North Sumatra. The condition road is exact as described by the driver before we start the trip, I’m glad that I listened to him. The rest of the trip fill with tense, the feeling of can-I-made-it-on-time-to-airport. Usually I heard the stories of my friend did that. Now I’m the one experienced it, haha. Arrived in South of Medan city at 4 PM & it took 30 min to go to Kuala Namu airport. We made it safe & on time thanks to my driver’s father driving skill.

Thank you North Sumatra, you are prettier than I imagined. 🙂

in Love with North Sumatra, 14-15 Jul ’16, Day 1-2

Continued from trip preparation posting, now i’m gonna told stories about the trip it self. Here we go!

Day 1, Thursday, 14 Jul 2016 Trying to finished my duty quickly so i can joined the team to eat Durian Ucok at night! 😀 This is my first time to see an ATM in durian stall. As if, they said don’t worry if you didn’t bring money, you can draw it in here. The place is BIG and FULL. They even divide the room between AC & non AC. There’s Durian Pancake as well if you want to bring it as souvenirs, they wrapped it tight so the aroma couldn’t escaped. I’m not a durian lover, but ate like 3-4 durian, haha. It cost around IDR 25k/fruit.


  1. Single durian fruit or they called it jantung, generally tasted sweet, choose this one.
  2. Stop eating when you’re feeling hot or when you feel like heavy on your back neck, it can be mean that your cholesterol level is rising.
  3. To minimalized durian fragrance from your hand & mouth, pour water into durian skin, drink it first then used the second poured water to wash your hand.                                                          img-20160714-wa0007

Day 2, Friday, 15 Jul 2016 Started the adventure with culinary at lunch time, I ordered blue bird taxi from app, picked Soto Kesawan in Pemuda st because there are several must visit spot within those area. But before, asked the driver to stopped by Soto Sinar Pagi because it’s on same route, turn out closed by that time. 12 AM & Soto Kesawan already run out of prawn & beef, so i ordered chicken. Can’t explain the taste, but in my guess, it’s gonna tasted good with prawn. Ordered half portion (got to spare stomach storage) cost IDR 18k. Checking the list, found that Tip Top Restaurant only 130 m or 2 min walk. Aha! After eating, ice cream is the best choice. In the beginning operation in 1929, Tip Top was called Jangkie, the owner’s name, at that time, they only sold bread & cake in Pandu st. The clients of the restaurant at that time were the employees who worked in administration & plantation clark. Rented a shop in Kesawan st at 1934, they made more western menu & ice cream. Ordered Moorkop at IDR 20k, vanilla ice cream scoop & at the top of ice cream they put 2 sponge bread poured with chocolate sauce. I think it’s a good place to unwind. Finished at 2 PM, checked nearest destination, that would be Kopi Apek. Typed the name in Google Maps (GMaps) & it lead me to Kedai Kopi Kesawan, its only 210 m or 2 min walk. Went there & it didn’t look like it. So, I searched the address in GMaps, Hindu St 37th, 350 m or 4 min walk. Arrived & confused, Kopi Apek doesn’t have board shop, asked local & they pointed 1 small white building but it’s closed (it only opened until 11 AM).

When in Tip Top, saw Tjong A Fie Mansion on the right side of restaurant, so i walked there 500 m or 6 min walk. Opened until 5 PM, entry price is IDR 40k & they gave you guide, walked on my own didn’t like idea someone follow while enjoying time. Tjong A Fie was from Mainland China, he headed to East Coast of Sumatra in 1877, established new life in Sulatanate of Deli. He built thriving grocery business. Upon seeing his success, Dutch Government appointed him as government official with initial rank liutenant to take care of social affairs especially Chinese communities. Later, he built Medan by building place of workship & orphanage. He also appointed as honorary officer of Ching Dynasty. Eversince 1895, he became a philantropy. His motto is Success & Glory Consists Not in What I Have Gotten But in What I Have Given”. Saw someone house & I think you can guess his habit & personality from the interior. His house were huge, neat, but simple furnishing. One remarkable thing is he has lots of reading room & several worship place. It’s as if he spend lots of time to read & maintain his spiritual needs. Well, that’s inspiring. Spent 2h here until 5 PM, really do enjoy here with my camera. Went back to the hotel using taxi to rest a bit.

Went out again after 8 PM using taxi as well for 20 min, first dinner stop is Titi bobrok noodle at Setiabudi st, can’t wait to eat Acehnese food! Surprised the place is big & has 2 floors but still so crowded, ordered crab noodle & es teh tarik for 35k. Waited 20 mins to tasted a little heaven, the food is spicy as expected, & big portion, haha. Didn’t think I’m able to gobble Kumango mushroom chicken noodle, in Pagaruyung, nor Wajir seafood as planned, so ended up (still) eating Boiled shell IDR 15k at Gatot Subroto st 7 min drive, thought that it’s gunna be light snack which actually heavy, LOL. The fresh sour sauce feels right with the boiled shell, add a little salt in my guess will add the yummy-ness.

Full tummy made me want to stroll to take a pic, so next destination is Maimuna Palace 22 min drive, good thing the outer gate still opened at 9 PM & it’s free, we can’t enter the Palace but can still take pic from outside. The palace color shined with yellow lamp made it looks like almost a real palace with golden color at night, cameraable! Continue 6 min drive to Masjid Raya Medan Al Ma’sun, outer gate is already closed, so took pic from outside instead, the lamp gave fog ambiance. Third stop at 10 PM is Merdeka Walk in Kesawan area, 9 min driving. Lots of old building built since colonial era shown by white color in this area.  Thought that Merdeka Walk is a public park instead food court, wanna try Satay Padang Al Fresco here but they are closed. Walked around the area & finally found park entry. Suddenly flashback rushed into my mind, last time i felt this sensation is in Vientianne in 2013. The comfortable feeling when you observed other people, the slow pace, night ambiance. I feel like tourist in my own home country, it’s like wearing new glasses (read : new perspective). After this long, I see the problems lied outside of me. While actually we only can control ourselves. To solved things, we need to bring the perspective inside us, change ourselves first rather than asking other people to change. Be proactive. It made me reborn. Outside you’re still same person, inside brand new person. After got this enlightment, I head back to hotel 3 min driving & rest for tomorrow 7 AM trip.

10 Good Listening Foreign Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 2

Postingan blog kedua hari ini masih tentang Indie / Pop / Folk song edisi foreign 🙂 Kalo postingan sebelumnya tentang Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song moodnya kalem, yang ini agak lebih bersemangat, bisa dipake kalo lagi butuh konsentrasi buat ngerjain sesuatu yang perlu pace cepet (misal finansial model *uhuk). Seperti biasa, klik link untuk mendengarkan lagunya di youtube ya. 🙂

  1. Wylder – Living Room (lagunya bersemangat)
  2. Eden Fox – Patience (instrumental, cocok buat memelankan pace)
  3. Paper Lions – Call Back (“broke on Saturday night, lonely & shattered” liriknya gitu, tp lagunya ceria)
  4. Megan Carsello – The Coast (instrumental tapi lebih ceria)
  5. Wylder – Bayhouse (ceria sampe bisa bikin kaki goyang-goyang)
  6. Bear – Journey Ft Hi-Ly (musiknya unik, awalnya kayak lagu sendu, di akhir jd ceria)
  7. Alma Mater – Feel the Love (suka lagu ini krn perpaduan musik & liriknya oke)
  8. Stevie Appleton – This is America (kayak lagi dengerin konsep lama ttg America is land of dreams, suka pas bagian “darling, you don’t know how hard i try”)
  9. Blajk – Good Liars (awal lagunya unik)
  10. Valley – Swim (suka bagian reff lagu ini, pas tengah lagu bikin kepala & bahu joged)

Ane nemu lagunya di soundcloud, masih dengan cara yang sama dengan postingan sebelumnya. Ane follow IndieAir, alexrainbirdMusic, Fire Records, Soundway Records di soundcloud, sama Wave of Good Noise di youtube. Paling sering dapet lagu enak di alexrainbirdMusic yang mengeluarkan 1-2 playlist per bulan. Selamat menikmati musik ceria & sampai jumpa di postingan Indie / Pop / Folk song berikutnya! 😀

10 Good Listening Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 2

Break dulu dari postingan jalan-jalan, beberapa kali di statistik blog, ane lihat beberapa orang mampir ke judul ini. Berhubung ane punya list baru, semoga bisa membantu pembaca buat rileks di malam hari, di hari yang berhujan, atau ketika lagi nunggu di kafe. 🙂

  1. Pure Saturday – Kosong (suka sama alunan musiknya)
  2. Rusa Militan – Senandung Senja (my favorite, adem banget plus manis)
  3. White Shoes & The Couples Company – Kisah dari Selatan Jakarta (ini juga adem, tp beda genre, kalo disimak liriknya smp skrg ane pun ga ngeh ini lagu ttg apa XD)
  4. Efek Rumah Kaca – Cinta Melulu (lagunya rada ngebeat, tp liriknya kena buat kamu yg bukan tipe romantis)
  5. Sarah N Soul – Pohon Toge (iya, pohon toge, unik ya judulnya? Lagunya lebih unik lagi :D)
  6. Afternoon Talk – There’s One Thing You Should Know (second favorite, suaranya lembut)
  7. Nasadira – Vadya Masa (ini lembut juga)
  8. Senandung Sore – Bias Mentari (suka bagian awal ada kicauan burungnya)
  9. Figura Renata – Elegi (ini lagu sedih, cocok buat yang moodnya kalem mendekati kosong)
  10. Strangers Indonesia – Bonfire (suka pas liriknya “listen to me, be passion with me”, bisa dipake buat lagu nikahan, *ehem)

Klik link di atas untuk mendengarkan musiknya di youtube ya 🙂 Kalo ada yang nanya, ane nemu lagu ini darimana? Biasanya dari soundcloud / youtube, habis dengerin 1 lagu abis itu akan nerus ke genre musik yang sama, tinggal dipilih sesuai selera. 🙂 Ane suka dengerin channel Indie Lokal, Indie&Cover di youtube. Indie Lokal juga ngeluarin playlist tapi kurang tahu interval terbitnya. Indielokal Playlist #03 – Kafe Jakarta, Senja Kala sesuai judulnya, memang enak & cocok kalau lagi butuh konsentrasi ngerjain sesuatu di kafe. Semoga postingan ini bisa memuaskan dahaga para pecinta Local Indie Music. 🙂 Tunggu tanggal main 10 Good Listening Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 3 ya! 😉


in Love with North Sumatra, 15-17 Jul ’16 – Trip Preparation

Since few years ago, I’ve been wanting to go to North Sumatra to visit Samosir Island in Toba Lake. Chance is coming from office assignment to meet partner candidate. I was already assigned to West Kalimantan for another job, my supervisor said to go to Medan, so i asked to extend the ticket until Sunday at 5 PM. I observe the hotel is not that expensive compared to same brand if stay in Jakarta, maybe they adjust the price tailored to local purchase parity. One funny thing is due to the bed very comfy, I took pic of the spec, includes bed, pillow, linen & sheet, comforter duvet. The bed spec is one of wellknown brand, so no wonder. They used 2 piles of pillow, big one put as base is made from 70% feather & 30% down size 66*66 cm. Long pillow put as top is made from 100% feather size 51*66 cm. Cold climate comforter duvet is used, filled with 90% feather 10% down with 100% cotton shell. Both linen & sheet used Egyptian cotton which only need to be cleaned once in 3 years. As for the sheet, for sure is silk cotton, i love the soft sensation in my feet. Anyhow, i’m not bedding set expert, just one who love good sleep. 😀

Like always, before going to one place, I did research on 3 things, must try food, where to go inside city & where to go outside city (my specialties). Here is the plan list route! Let’s start from destination outside city (to Toba Lake via Brastagi head back to Medan in same day), need 7h to travel return and 3-5h to enjoy scenery :

  1. Asam kumbang crocodile breeding, 30 min from Medan city center.
  2. Tangkahan, 40 min from penangkaran buaya (South direction).
  3. Sipiso-piso waterfall, 2 hour from Tangkahan.
  4. Sidikalang city (their coffee is my favorite), 75 min from Sipiso-piso waterfall.
  5. Museum Huta Bolon Siamanindo in Samosir Island, 2 hour 30 min from Sidikalang.

Sounds good, until I called car rent & tell my plan. I rent car incl driver excl fuel, IDR 400k/day with avanza, IDR 500k/day with innova. Because I’m alone, I used smaller one. You can contact Mr Richard Fernando at +6281262520057 to rent car. He suggest to stay in Parapat so I can enjoy Toba Lake, the trip change route from via Brastagi to via Siantar. He said, route to Toba from Brastagi is going uphill & usually there’s traffic from contrary direction so gonna take longer time, while route to Toba from Siantar is easier. From past experience, I better listen to local guide cz they knew situation better. Then I recalculate budget. Before changed, my budget plan is IDR 1200k as follows:

  1. Rent car 1 day = IDR 400k
  2. Hostel 1 day = IDR 250k
  3. Fuel = IDR 250k
  4. Eat 2 person 2 times = IDR 100k
  5. Souvenir = IDR 100k
  6. Driver tips 1 day = IDR 100k

After changed, my budget became IDR 1900k as follows :

  1. Rent car 2 day = IDR 800k
  2. Hostel 1 day 2 room = IDR 450k
  3. Fuel = IDR 250k
  4. Eat 2 person 4 times = IDR 200k
  5. Driver tips 2 day = IDR 200k

After thinking, additional IDR 700k compared to slower pace & safety of travel, I decided to give it a go, beside, while I’m in North Sumatra, I must enjoy to the fullest! Well, solo traveler ain’t cheap. Let’s continue with destination inside Medan city :

  1. Merdeka Walk, place where many food vendors & park became one.
  2. Kesawan Square, get used to free car zone, so people can stroll around old building.
  3. Masjid Raya, in Indonesia usually one of autenthique place to visit is the mosque.
  4. Maimuna Palace, you can dress up like an Indonesian king & queen here.
  5. Tjong A Fie Mansion, old Chinese house in Dutch colonial era.

Last one and my favorite part is must try food in Medan city! :9 You can see the food picture from this reference. Prepare your stomach & let’s eat a lot! Having travelmate means you can share the portion & eat more, ahaha.

  1. Sipirok restaurant at Sunggal st, meat soup IDR 19k, 10 AM-3 PM
  2. Tabona restaurant at Mangkubumi st, served curry, IDR 27k, 7 AM-10 AM
  3. Soto kesawan w/ various topping (beef, prawn, chicken) at Pemuda st, IDR 18k, 6 AM-2 PM
  4. Soto sinar pagi at Sungai Deli st, their gravy is good, IDR 25k, 7.30 AM-2 PM
  5. Kopi apek at Hindu st, served w/ kaya toast, IDR 25k, established since 1922, 6 AM-12 AM
  6. Tip top cafe at Pemuda st, ice cream specialties IDR 20k, 8 AM-10 PM, place to relax
  7. Kumango mushroom chicken noodle at Mangkubumi st, IDR 25k, 11 AM-10 PM
  8. Hawkers at Semarang st, mostly Chinese food, note halal label, 6 PM-1 AM
  9. Pagaruyung near Cambridge City Square, served Indonesian & Indian food, 6 PM-1 AM
  10. Wajir seafood at Kolonel Sugiono st, try steam tiociu fish IDR 18k, 3 PM-11 PM
  11. Durian Ucok at Wahid Hasyim St, IDR 30k, 24h, they served durian pancake too
  12. Titi bobrok noodle at Setiabudi st, crab noodle, IDR 27k, 11 AM-12 PM, popular dish
  13. Boiled shell at Gatot Subroto st, served with fresh sour sauce, IDR 15k, 6 PM-1 AM
  14. Satay padang Al Fresco at Merdeka Walk, IDR 18k, 5 PM-10 PM

Very long list, isn’t it? Haha, they say Medan specialties is their food so this gunna be culinary trip. That’s all my preparation for Medan trip, let’s continue on next post on my experience in Medan city, chao! 😀


Let’s Get Lost at Srilanka Part 3, 10-13 Mar 2016

Day 7, Thursday, 10 Mar 2016. Kami bangun jam 06.00 AM, sarapan sambil liat sunrise view & berangkat trekking ke Ella’s rock jam 07.00 AM. Kami diantar naik tuk2 sama owner homestay ke Kital Ella railway 5 menit free, lanjut jalan kaki 1.5 jam dengan guide LKR 1500 (guidenya minta dicarikan ke owner homestay malam sebelumnya). Kami bilang ke guidenya kalau kaki kami masih pegal habis trekking ke Adam’s Peak, jalan Kami agak lambat. Guidenya senyum2 tapi tetep cepet jalannya, walhasil Kami sering tertinggal, haha. Trekkingnya melewati kebun teh & jalan tanah, track terberat sekitar 1 km terakhir, agak nanjak. Kami sampai kedua disini, jadi bisa foto sepuasnya! 🙂 Habis itu, Kami ngaso beli air kelapa LKR 100. Kami kira destinasinya hanya Ella’s rock, ternyata masih ada 2 destinasi, 1 view Ella & 1 temple. Karena viewnya mirip, ane mencoba foto memakai B612 dengan berbagai efek foto, hasilnya lumayan.

Rute perjalanan pulang beda dengan rute berangkat, masih melewati rel kereta api. Perlu waktu 4 jam untuk eksplore Ella’s rock dsk termasuk foto-foto. Kami tiba di hotel jam 11.00 AM dan ternyata sudah disiapkan free juice sama istri owner homestaynya (baik banget). Ane buru-buru mandi karena bis ke Tissamaharama hanya lewat sekali jam 11.30 AM, info dari owner homestay. Kami check out dan bayar LKR 3670 ke Will Guest Homestay + LKR 250 untuk spiced tea tadi malam. Kami naik tuk2 LKR 200 ke pinggir jalan lokasi bis lewat dan ternyata bis ke Tissamaharama jam 12.50 PM. Kami nunggu kepanasan di pinggir jalan (33 deg C), untung ada payung, tapi payungnya ane tinggal karena momot kena angin, haha. Pas nunggu bis, ada yang nawari naik jeep ke Tissamaharama at USD 25/ppl (4 seater), Kami menolak halus karena hanya punya budget LKR 290 atau USD 2.2 buat naik bus. Kami sangu minuman dingin LKR 100.

Sampai Tissamaharama bus station jam 03.30 PM, banyak yang menawari Kami paket tur jeep ke Yalla National Park, Kami menolak halus karena Kami sudah booking USD 60 + LKR 435/ppl (incl jeep 4 seat+ fuel + entrance LKR 3000 + driver + fruit + water + binocular + lunch) untuk full day (05.00 AM – 06.00 PM) safari via safarijanaka@gmail.com. Kami naik tuk2 ke City Guest House, namun Kami diantar ke Emerald hotel, dekat Main Street. Ini termasuk scam, karena harga kamar AC-nya murah, 2 malam LKR 4575, jadi ya sudah. 🙂

Kami telepon safarijanaka buat tanya berapa orang yang akan berangkat bareng Kami besok, ternyata baru ada Kami, jadi aman, bisa berasa private tour. Pilihan tempat makan malam di Tissamaharama sedikit, kami makan ayam goreng crispy LKR 1350 + french fries di Tissamaharama bar. Namanya aja bar, tapi lebih mirip warung. Tissamaharama merupakan kota kecil, ngga banyak yang bisa dilihat. Jadi Kami ngabisin paket data nyetel yutup di kamar.

Day 8, Friday, 11 Mar 2016. Jemputan safarijanaka datang on time 05.00 AM, drivernya menawarkan membelikan kami rotti LKR 200 untuk makan pagi. Sesampainya di pintu gerbang, rupanya sudah banyak jeep mengantri menunggu loket buka. Kami antrian ke-5. Drivernya bilang, waktu tepat untuk lihat leopard sebelum jam 09.00 AM & 04.00-06.00 PM,  di antara kedua jam tersebut, karena masih panas biasanya leopard bersembunyi di semak2.