Another area of awesome natural beauty in Sumatra, Bukit Daun is a nature conservation surrounded by mountains on all sides and rich with traditional Rejang culture. It is home to endangered species such as, honey bear, Rafflesia arnoldii, the world’s largest flower, and Amorphophallus titanium (locally known as bunga Kibut), the world’s tallest flower. They are two of the most bizarre and improbable organisms on the planet. Many kinds of orchid could be found here, too. It is at 800-900 m above sea level, the best way to explore the village is on foot. The air is cool and clean, and the locals are hospitable.
Besides natural beauty, Bukit Daun also offers some great do-it-yourself trekking opportunities where you can explore the fresh and clean outdoors and meet hospitable locals, and stunning sunrises. You could also day-trip here for some hiking through forests/coffee plantations and a local lunch. There aren’t any real restaurants in Bukit Daun and most visitors end up having meals and drinks in warung (simple food stall). Basic supplies are available in local shops.
Bukit Daun nature conservation is about 48 km (30 miles) from the city of Bengkulu and can be reached on day trips from Bengkulu or Kepahiang. Simply take a public transport (Rp. 10,000) to Tebat Monok from Terminal Nakau in Bengkulu or rent a Kijang.
Sumatra offers great things to do:
Relaxing a few days on the cool shores of impressive blue Lake Toba in North Sumatra province. Lake Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia, covering an area of 1707 sq km.
Retreating for few days in small tourist town of Bukit Lawang that offers great orangutan-viewing center, and hiking around the cool hill town of Berastagi – North Sumatra province.
Mentawai – West Sumatra province, offers awesome surfing safari. The season peaks between April and October. Great surfs make the area one of the great isolated surf meccas of the world. Mentawai also offers awesome jungle treks. Chloroquine-resistant malaria still exists on Siberut island – West Sumatra province, so take appropriate precautions.
Cruising around the paddy fields in the green countryside around the cool hill town of Bukittinggi (West Sumatra province) would be a great experience.
Seeing the massive Rafflesia arnoldii, the world’s largest flower, and Amorphophallus titanium (locally known as Kibut or Titan Arum), the world’s tallest flower. These massive flowers can be found in Tebat Monok, Kepahiang - Bengkulu province. Plus, don’t miss to check out the Sumatran elephant training center that operates in Sebelat – Bengkulu province.
Visiting Way Kambas national park in the east coast of Lampung province. This national park is home to endangered species of elephants, rhinos and tigers. This park also offers great jungle treks.
Set on a hill overlooking the Indian Ocean fort Marlborough is an interesting place to visit. Dating from 1714 and approached through massive walls, it is an impressive and well-maintained piece of history, reputedly the strongest fort constructed by the British in the east after George Fort in Madras (city in southeastern India). The old British gravestones at the entrance make poignant reading. Inside, a small museum houses a few interesting old engravings, old pictures, and copies of official correspondence from the time of British rule in Bengkulu (1714-1824). Inside the fort, there is also a subway connected to the outside and you can also see where the Dutch incarcerated Soekarno during his internal exile of 1939–1942.
It is open daily from 8am-6pm, admission Rp. 2,500/person
A Brief History of the Fort
The basic fortification was under construction for four years and was established by East Indian Company (EIC) under Governor General Joseph Callet rule, it was completed in its first form in 1718. Joseph Collet named his new fort `Marlborough` in honors of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, who was being haled as a National hero after winning a number of strategic battles in Europe against the French. The fort was the second strongest fort built by British in the east after Fort George in Madras, India.
Bengkulu was briefly shaken out of its torpor during the Governor of Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1818-1824. Fort Marlborough was the seat of the British power and influence in western parts of the Indonesia until 1824, when under the terms of the Treaty of London, England handed over the territory to the Dutch in exchange for others, ending 139 years of British power in Bengkulu.
The actual handover took place early in 1825 as in exchange for Singapore. The Dutch continued to occupy Fort Marlborough until the Second World War and after the fall of Sumatra it was then occupied the Japanese army. The following of the Japanese in 1945 the fort was again briefly occupied by the Dutch. After independent August 17, 1945 the Indonesian army and police force unit used the fort until it was abandoned in the late 1970`s. The fort remains in its present state following a sympathetic restoration programmed which was carried out in the late 1980`s.
You'll see a lot of people renting out mopeds on Lake Toba, just look around first to make sure they're not overcharging, and get the best deal you can. The moped will come with a full tank of fuel and you're presumably allowed to use it until it runs out, which can give you a good few hours. The views you'll see are amazing. This is a great way to see the island and feel like a true local.
John is a farmer up on the plateau on Samusir Island at Lake Toba. The "guesthouse" is actually a spare room in his family house. There is no electrical power, no tab water and not even a proper toilet. But the whole family of three is very friendly and you are invited to spend the evening together with them. You must try his coffee. This was the best coffee I have EVER tried in my life, really. It's a steep climb up to the plateau.