Saturday, January 2, 2016

North Sumatra (part II)

My second stop was berastagi. as amentioned i took a shared taxi from Parapat to  berastagi for rp 120,000. Though there are cheaper options you can do with a combination of public transports like angkot and buses, trust me, spending a few bucks more, will save you a lot of time and energy (especially if you're lugging around a 15kg backpack)

I met the guy who sold the ticket in the ferry to pelabuhan tiga raja, he took me there with two other backpackers and dropped me of at wisma sibayak. As mentioned, they always overcharge tourists. while internet reviews mentioned rooms start from rp 60,000, the lady said the cheapest was 
rp 150,000. (no hot shower eh...) that was enough to get me going. I ended up at Losmen Sibayak for pretty much the same price, rp 150,000. but i bargained it down to rp 125,000 ( cause the bathroom light did not work ). 

The bus station isn't too far  from the hotel. You can walk up there and take an angkot for rp 5000 to terminal sepadan at kabanjahe. and from there take another angkot for rp7000 to simpang  Si Tunggaling. and from there, You'd have to take a becak for rp 10,000 to the waterfall. i paid for it on my own, so even if you're sharing the becak with a friend, you'd only have to pay rp 10,000 (going dutch on transport saves much ion the long run). 

I reached Si piso piso at about four something, climbed all the down to the base and made it back up by close to six.. two words- KILLER STEPS.... going down was easy, but climbing back up was harder (was bent over like an old lady most of the way). but the view was definitely worth the climb, it was real beautiful, the pic below does no justice!. Even standing there, taking pics, i could feel water spray all over .

 The next day, i ended up hiking sibayak i paid rp250,000 for a guide at losmen sibayak, it's only 
rp 200,000... always do your resarch and never ask for the price... they always overcharge... !!.. and they'd probably tell you it's dangerous to do the hike alone, honestly it didn't even take an hour to reach the crater  from the base, and it was a fairly good climb on a well-paved trail, you DON'T need a guide, and can definitely do it on your own. If you go in the morning, there are tons of local students whom you can follow along . But i had no regrets taking the guide as he brought me all the way up to the base by transport (bike-rp 5000 parking fees). pics shown below:-

Just climb all the way to the peak you see in the pic on top to get a breath taking view of berastagi and the villages below.

i forgot the guide's name but he was absolutely humorous and fun... he did most the talking, (which was good cause i'm failure at small talks)...after the hike, he took me around berastagi and the villages below...we reached the hostel by 11 something. I left wondering around looking for food. whatever you do, please never buy any drink called alpoket... it tastes like blended chinese mustard greens. i had to force myself to gulp it down. And you certainly need to try fresh markisa drink or markisa shake if they have any on the the drink!. tastes citric.

I had the whole day to myself after the hike so i went around the fruit market... not too can walk there from losmen sibayak. Strawberries are oh so cheap, only 10,000rp for 100 grams...(purchase at the stall that's right in front don't go into the market) that's like rm3.00.... i ended up buying markisa, telon fruit, manggis and strawberries and muched on those for luch. At night, went around food hunting (sooo my thing)... i don't really like the indonesian food when it comes to curries and all, but their bakso, was darn good! gotta try it.


and thus, the next day, i left for medan on an angkot from berastagi, you can ask around and walk to where the angkot leaves for medan. if you're carrying a backpack, you would need to put it on top of the angkot, but i paid for two seats, so i had a fairly comfortable journey without worries of my backpack being drenched in the sudden downpour. i left in the morning, about nine, so reached medan by 12 something, prayed zohor and asr jamak at terminal pinang baris, and took a bus to banda acheh from the rp 180,000... you can get it for a lesser price if you took it from somewhere ... can remember (just cross the road and ask around the shopkeepers)... but i was plainly tired, so i settled for it. It was a good bus though, with wifi, blanket and a real comfortable seat (huge!)... had no qualms on that... took the bus at four something and reached medan by Fajr next morning around five something. 

BTW... try not to stop over at terminal pinang baris, as i have been warned countless times after that that the place is full of pick pockets and robbers... just be very careful! that and Amplas Terminal... the place looks kinda dead too.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

North Sumatra (Part 1)

Medan - Parapat -  Samosir

So i began my journey from kualanamu airport (Medan) to Parapat on the 30th of November..
Took a shared taxi and was overcharged for rp120000.
the actual price is only rp80,000
but you can bargain that down to rp70,000
do not take offers from middle men.. i accidentally did (hope that explains it)
go directly to the driver of the taxi..
they're right beside the bluebird taxi drivers.

the journey to Parapat took approximately three hours from Medan..
and trust me, you'd be holding onto life throughout that...
they drive like crazy !
as if they're gonna bang into every trailer, lorry, and car ahead...
but fair to say..
twas a fun experience... (except the cold air biting into your skin)

and thus had to put up for the night at parapat...
now accomodations at parapat are expensive...
but i had mine for a decent price of rp100,000 (Wisma Sendayu) for the night,
it was a bargain really, the manager was drunk... i guess that made it easier to bragain.. tee heee.. =P

the next day, i made my way by angkot to the pelabuhan tiga raja.. cost=rp5000
and took a ferry from there to Samosir island.. cost (rp15,000)
at first, i decided to stay at Tony's guest house as online reviews said it was fairly cheap and good...
but they lady charged three times the price quoted online.. so ended up walking upto Liberta guesthouse.. (Capek sih)

decent place... put up for a day there... rp 77,000 per day... with wifi n hot shower....
and moved over to Zoe's homestay for the next two days... rp70,000.. hot shower but no wifi ... but  it was more comfortable than Liberta... was complete luck and a good bargain really... the owner was really nice, so had no regrets..
despite the fact that he kept mistaking my name for Fatimah... Lol... i wonder where he got that from...

turned out it was a better choice to stay at Zoe's... only downside to it was that it was not well lit at night...
but it was closer to Muslim eateries as compared to Liberta... thus, twas a fair deal for me...

the first day, rode a bike to Ambarita.. was overcharged rp30,000 for the bike... you should bargain it to rp 10,000- rp 15,000... (they always overcharge bargain hard)
visited siliangon... (some batakhouses, tombs.. etc...)
and do be careful.. if you want to purchase ulos as a give away.. they real price is only rp 20,000 there are tons sold at shops outside siliangon...the lady who sells in the batak house inside the palce overcharges to like rp 80,000 for one...and they won't leave you easily.. just be careful...
and whatever you purchase at the stalls, bargain hard for a good price... as mentioned... they always overcharge tourists...

the next day, met up with Joe and went to Panguruan... we paid about rp30,000 or rp 20,000 (can't remember) each there... to and fro would be rp60,000's a good one hour plus journey on an angkot... we walked to Ambarita and took took the Angkot from there... you can just take it from tuk tuk.. where the road forks to tomok and ambarita...

Joe turned out to be a real nice company, He's a retired English teacher who had taught in Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.. so he can speak Indonesian and Arabic well... and yes, i was amazed...  i also had a wonderful conversation regarding Islam, the west and religion with Joe all the way hiking up to lake Sidhihoni in Panguruan..(intellectual much) ..... take my advise for it, Lake Sidhihoni is not worth the visit.. go to the hot springs instead if you want to... there's nothing much in Panguruan though except for the market which we were in luck to witness...

the next day, we hiked upto the Simangande waterfall... there is an entrance near where the road forks to tomok and ambarita... (just ask the shopkeeper near the junction how to get to the waterfall) have to get to Garoga village and hike up to the waterfall from there... from Zoe's you can walk upto where the road forks to tomok and ambarita and hike up to the waterfall from there.. just ask the locals.. it's a good one hour hike...and trust me it's better to get a local guide at the base of where the small dirt path marks the start of the hike... wouldn't cost much...

We didn't hire the guide and ended up nearly getting lost... the trail is a tad bit tricky as the road forks into many different trails... thus we made  it back down without ever getting to see the waterfall..

 Joe went back to rest at Liberta... and i went on my way to Tomok... walked a good 2 km...the angkot costs rp 5000... It's best to visit Tomok in the morning to witness the sigale2 performance... i missed it .... but Tomok is indeed a better place to shop for souveniers ... and as mentioned before... bargain hard!!

you can witness the batak dance at night for decent price, i missed it.. too tired from the hike... just ask around how much it costs..
if you want to go around the whole island, there are motobike guides who will take you around for about rp120,000 -to rp 130,000... but that won't be necessary unless you're rushing you're way through Samosir... i also did kayaking around the lake... they have kayaking services at Toba Cottages.. not far from Zoe's or Liberta. the rate is as shown below:-

 rp40,000 per hour
rp70,000 for two hours
rp 100,000 for half day
and rp 200,000 for a whole day

price is fixed. should sooo try it.. the view was absolutely AMAZING!!

checked out the next day, walked to the one of the hotels and took the ferry from there to tiga raja...
and from tiga raja, made my way on shared taxi to berastagi... cost of shared taxi is rp120,000, it should not cost anything more than that... the guy initially told it was rp150,000... but i put up a face and rejected his offer,  when he came back again saying he'd reduce it to rp 120,000... so as mentioned above..... always bargain!

no pics to insert as i accidentally deleted all pics in my camera for my stay in berastagi and parapat... :'( be continued..................

Saturday, December 19, 2015

antara perkara yang saya cukup pantang...
apabila anda membuatkan seseorang merasa bahawa dosanya lebih besar dari ampun Allah....
where's your sense of Mercy...?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

sometimes the mere smell of certain things bring to mind all things faint and distant
or a random tune played somewhere
reminds of things you've long stored away in some corner self....
one word
- blank

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Read

Ever came across a read, where the cover didn't look interesting ? but yet you gave it a shot. Perhaps because someone suggested it to you. Perhaps even because the title which intrigued. And in the end, to your surprise, it turns out to be a rather pleasant read, The kind that you'd probably cherish for the rest of your days, and even suggest to others.

Well, i figured human relationships are like that. Sometimes, we don't give it a chance to get to know people just by looking at their  appearance. Or because like the book, we judged them too quickly by what others said, by their mundane "cover" , or a "prologue" that put you off for a moment. What  reading has taught is that, if you'd just give it a chance to read a little further, you may come to find gems of words within them.  It doesn't matter. Be it a homeless vagabond on the street, a lady at bendang on a rickety old bike, the next goth wannabe, or even the shy kid across the table. If you look beyond what is served, and dare take chances with people, i do believe you'd find a lot more than what you seeked within them. And perhaps through some of them, even answers to  the questions on life you've had pent up in your mind.

take my suggestion, do not be put aside by judgments, give people fair chance, regardless or race, colour, creed or social status. You'd be surprised of the conversations you'll probably remember years after.

ps~  Yiruma helps me write.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Year Without a Plan

There are days when there's so much to pour out and vent , but everything seems to be perfectly explained by not words.. but silence.

That moment you breath in silence and close your senses to everything else, all in existence is explained without a question.

words don't always suffice to express that felt.

hearing some random news kinda shattered my perception of people around- prove that naivety has never been out of my dictionary for long.

Whatever your intentions are in stepping towards this deen, that is what you'll attain.
And as life as taught before,  niat itu biarkan sentiasa diperbaiki

back to the point. so the year started off without a plan, clueless, penniless, and jobless with a father thousands of miles away from home. And who would have expected, halfway through the year, one one has got not just one but three trips to look forward to, dad back at home to call 24/7, a blessed raya in all its simplicity (home is where your dad is ..hee) and people whom you love for the sake of Allah.

Which when reflected upon, kinda reminded, there's only so much that you can plan in life while in the end we are all subjected to follow His plans. Which indeed is the best we could have ever asked for.

reminds me of a saying in Brida

"Sometimes certain of God's blessing comes by shattering all your windows"

and that

"we appreciate the light at dawn because of the darkness of night"


ps~peace out

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kisah Motor Kapcai.

                     *gambar sekadar hiasan*

This year, raya spelt so many things that i ought express gratitude for. Not that i celebrate raya anyway (eid prayers and back to face reality). But one thing touched me though this year. Ayah yang semangat bawa anak pergi belikan baju raya dengan motor kapcai, walaupun diri sendiri x mahu. Ayah yang hulurkan duit suruh beli baju raya walaupun duit tu boleh buat duit poket ayah seminggu l. This is what raya raya teaches me every year. small lessons to take in with gratitude. All these years i celebrated raya feeling so plastic... "that inexplicable feeling of never quite fitting in." but this year it felt completely home. The presence of your loved noes does make for a difference. I've learnt to not look at what you don't have and instead appreciate the little things in life. Things like causin calling to wish you "happy raya". Or your sis treating you to a raya outfit despite being thousands of miles away. Or your dad who takes the extra effort to make the day seem more meaningful to you... It feels home, completely home and normal. Alhamdulillah.