Sumatra, booking flights, itinerary
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 4, 2012 11:39 AM Last Post By: avalonsunset
Feb 1, 2012 5:19 AM
Sumatra, booking flights, itineraryI will be traveling in Sumatra for 25 days in september.
I will arrive in Medan, and my flight back home is from Medan as well.
I would like to go to Bukittingi, Haran Valley, Bukit Lawang, and spend the last days on Pulau Weh,. Is there time enough to go to Lake Toba as well? Would you recommend it?
About transport, what would work out the best ?
First fly to Padang ?
Head back to Medan by airflight ? I read the bustrip to Lake Toba is too bad.
Do I need to book flights beforehand, or can I book flights one day before I want to go somewhere ? (Padang, Bandah Aceh, Medan... in september)
I tried to find airasia flights from Medan to Padang, but they don't seem to fly there ?
All usefull information is welcome, thanks.
Feb 1, 2012 8:00 AM
1-Medan to Lake Toba is a pretty bad journey but no worse than others in North Sumatra.
-Lake Toba's nice, chilled, scenic and has very friendly locals. Depends what you're into really.
-25 days would be enough to fit it in I reckon, but allow as much time as possible for traveling between places. As far as I know, it's all coaches, buses and shared cars/minivans.
-Best off buying in advance to save cash. I flew with Firefly there and Air Asia back to Malaysia, have a look on Skyscanner.
Feb 1, 2012 2:52 PM
2I never know how long I want to spend somewhere until after I arrive so always leave booking intermediate transport until the last moment. In 2010 I bought Padang/Medan flights the day before departure in Bukittinggi - it cost a couple of dollars more than the price quoted a week or so before.
Flying both ways between Medan/Padang sounds a tad tedious. I think the main trouble with the Butittinggi-Parapat bus trip is just that; it's long and tedious but it could equally be seen as a bit of an adventure depending on your view. When I made that trip many years ago it was in a converted truck with wooden benches. I spent two days with my knees jammed against the bench in front inhaling a heady aroma of minyak angin, kretek, and vomit, gratefully interspersed by regular extrications to push the stalled beast through deep mud up the sides of mountains..but it was great - not sure about by air-con bus though!
More thoughts: If you are going to all that trouble to get to West Sumatra you have to do more than just Bukittinggi and Harau, right? The main interest in the area for me lies in the villages of the Minang heartland - Bukittinggi is a big noisy town - worth a couple of nights. Harau? - very pretty but... I only spent 1 night there - walked up and down the valley visited all the waterfalls chatted to many young couples - it's considered a romantic place to take your sweetheart - then moved on. But that's just me!
Toba is definitely worth a visit - Batak areas are interesting areas to explore. It can be seen as a place to chill but you already have Pulau Weh for that.
Feb 1, 2012 3:01 PM
Have to agree with rightandwrong there are lots to see and do in West Sumatra. That is why I offered to send you my document I have made.
One of the interesting places to stay in the Harau Valley is Abdi Homestay built a couple of years ago by a local who used to work for another accomodation place in the area.
Also there is a 2 day trek from Bukittinggi down to Lake Maninjau staying overnight high up in the jungle at Anas Homestay ( no electricity).
Lake Maninjau is definitely worth a couple of days.
Edited by: pPamela
Feb 2, 2012 6:25 AM
Feb 2, 2012 1:29 PM
The OP mentioned in his post his flight back home is from Medan not KL.
Feb 3, 2012 3:19 AM
6Thank you all very much for the info.
When I said to travel to Bukittinggi, I meant to visit the area around it, not to stay in town. The Minangkabau Highland seems very interesting, is that what you mean by Minang heartland, 'rightandwrong' ?
Pamela, the trek to Lake Maninjau sounds tempting. I definitely want to go there.
I'm interested in the document as well.
Are you advising me to go overland from Medan, via Lake Toba (and stay there for a couple of days) to Bukittinggi, take enough time to explore the Minangkabau Highland, and the trek to the Lake. Then fly from Padang to Medan, go to Bukit Lawang, then back to Medan, and fly to Banda Aceh to go to Pulau Weh. Can I fit this in in 25 days without rushing ?
My international flight is indeed to and from Medan.
Feb 4, 2012 11:39 AM
7I know you have a lot of good advice on this thread - just want to add flying Medan to Padang is the best option as my friend said 10 minutes after getting on the bus at Parapat to Bukittingi "I hate this bus" - 20 hours later we staggered off - we saw nothing, slept through crossing the Equator - plane is better if you are limited to time.
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