I plan to go to Southeast Asia in the Fall. I have done a lot of travelling and have been to Thailand in some pretty remote locations. I read some really amazing things about Sumatra but it sounds quite hard to get around. I am a female and will be travelling alone. Has anyone been there? Is it okay for an experienced single traveller? My alternative is Borneo but it seems a little too touristy nowadays. Maybe I am wrong. Any advice would be great.
Hi, I've been to Sumatra a couple of years ago. I was with a friend but would have felt perfectly safe being there just by myself. Just keep some common sense about where you're going by yourself late at night, but I guess you do that at home as well. I absolutely LOVED Sumatra - it's so beautiful and green and quiet, with beautiful villages. If you decide to go, make sure you visit Bukit Lawang (take a taxi from Medan) and stay at the Jungle Lodge: across the river from Leuser NP and the Orang Utan rehabilitation centre. You see the orang utans across the river in the morning - it's lovely! And the food at the Jungle Lodge is fantastic! Have a great time!
Hiya, I can recommend both places, although its been awhile since I went to Sumatra. Also stayed at the Jungle Lodge who were famous for their fruit salads & jungle herb teas...
I've travelled through Sumatra a few times some years back. Medan is a dump. A few days at Victoria's on Lake Toba is good. Nice and cool after the heat elsewhere. Buses are the way you get around. Usually they run full up. AirCon buses are better than non-AC. You pass the equator overland to get to Padang which is a nice little town with a deserted beach, museum and market.You can continue on and get a ferry across to Java and then onto Jakarta. Sumatra is a fairly quiet island. I thought it very safe.
I have been travelling in Sumatra since 1997 and have had about 7 trips there and am planning my 8th trip there from June 2010.
I have almost always travelled alone as a solo female and never encountered any problems.
In 2006 I spent 3.5 months travelling through West Sumatra, visiting new places as well as revisiting old haunts and cathcing up with my numerous Sumatran friends.
I also spent quite a few weeks in North Sumatra visiting Bukit Lawang, Tangkahan, Lake Toba, Brestagi and then moving onto Aceh- ketambe and bussing it right up the centre.
Travelling in Sumatra is not 100% easy but it is not too bad.
For instance if I was you I would do either North Sumatra and fly from Medan to Padang or the other way around- Padang, Lake Maninjau, Bukittinggi etc and then fly from Padang to Medan.
2 hr plane trip compared to a 20 hr bus trip from Padang or at least 17 hrs from Bukittinggi.
My photos from my 3.5 month trip through Sumatra 2006 can be viewed at http://www.webshots.com/user/ppamela2006
This trip was aprt of a 5.5 month trip through Indonesia.
I am planning a similar trip from May 2010.
Here is a search on another forum I post on with info' about West Sumatra
and the same for North Sumatra
Happy Reading and Feel free to ask me any questions you wish.
Pamela- huge Sumatra Fan.
Personally I do not think Medan is a dump at all- hot yes and a bit noisy becaus eit is a big city but not a dump.
If any of you would like a copy of a map of Medan city just send me a Private Message with your email and I will forward one onto to you.