I was due to fly to Medan next Wednesday and then make my way down to Padang. However due to the recent events in Padang it is looking unlikely that i will be able to travel. My flights are non refundable so was just looking for some advice about the possibility of travel in just Northern Sumatra. I'm not exactly relishing the idea of being on holiday in a place that has just been effected by such a huge disaster -that wouldn't feel right considering the extent of the devastation and the number dead, but i hsve the time off work and really don't want to waste the flights.
frankly situation in padang is currently unfavourable for travel and you may find it worthwhile spending the extra time in north sumatra.
in medan, particularly in kesawan you may find quite a lot of european style architecture left over from the dutch colonial era, like the city hall, bank of indonesia building, the post office and maimun palace. in the area you can also visit a night market selling a variety of traditional food.
from brastagi which is located on the highlands, you can trek up Mount Sibayak or Mount Sinabung which are both active volcanoes.
You can also visit Lake Toba and Samosir Island which located in the center of the lake.
There's a hot spring which is located on the crater of Mount Pusuk Buhit. On the eastern part there's the white sand Lagundi beach with a camping area. You can also go to the Pandang Tele Tower on the other side of the island to get a bird's eye view of Samosir.
if you by any chance is around the area on Oct 7-11 there's the Lake Toba Festival which should be worthwhile to see.
In Tomok you can find the royal tomb of King Sidabutar which has been around for centuries.
To get a feel of how the indigent people live you can visit the old Batak village of Siallagan and Simanindo.
You can also travel to Nias, i think there's a flight that departs from Medan. Or you can also take the overland route to Sibolga then Nias by boat.
Nias is known for its surf breaks and the age old tradition of stone jumping which is in a village called Bawo Mataluo.
Enjoy your visit
So sad to watch the Indonesian situation in Padang My deepest condolence and pray for all victims and the family.
Hope everything will be better as soon as possible..
You mention about making your way down to Padang- does this mean you were going to bus it down to say Bukittinggi.
Suggest that is now NOT a good idea because eof the constant rain in West Sumatra and the high incidences of land slides since the earth quake. At least 4 whole villages have been buried totally just outside Padang.
There is a lot to see in North Sumatra and you go head up to Banda Aceh or do the loop Medan to Kutacane to Ketambe and then bus it up to Banda Aceh via takengon and then a ferry over to Pulau Weh. I did this trip by myself in November 2006- 18 days of absolute joy- 8 of those days spent in the jungle around Ketambe.
I have maps and loads of information that I can send you- send me a private message with your email and I will pass this all onto you.
I understand how you feel about being in Indonesia with all the tragedy- I was only in Indonesia for 3 days into a 60 day trip when the earthquake and tsunami hit Aceh and Sumatra on Dce 26th 2004.
Completed the trip, but always with a heavy heart every day, but was able to hand over my sizable donation to Katie Pavett ( childrenofsumatra.org) in Medan, knowing it would be put to the best use.
I just want to say I am absolutely devastated to hear what has happened to my beloved Padang and surrounding areas.
West Sumatra is my very special place in Indonesia since 1997 and I always tell every one the name is stamped on a piece of my heart.
My heart goes out to all those affected in the region and if anyone wants to donate money I suggest Surf Aid International.
These guys work in this region now for about 10 yrs, they know the people, the culture and so on and what they do is amazing.
During the 2004 earthquake they were the organisation who kept the people on the islands to the west of Sumatra alive with their incredible help of food, clothing medical and so on.
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Oct-2009, at 15:45 by pPamela ]
Here is a set of photos showing the many facets of the earthquake- total devastation and hope.
Please be aware some of the photos are quite graphic.