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Friendly people, interesting culture, scenic
Transportation is torture !!!
In a nutshell
A delightfully interesting place to visit
If you ever order pancakes, don't expect to get pancakes. There is a famous local dish in Indonesia and Malaysia called "Roti cenai." (pronounced ROTEE CHEN-EYE) They can make it in several flavours, with berries, bananas, syrup, cheese or vegetables, anything really. It's a sort of flatbread that they fry, so its similar to a Western pancake.
Thing is, every time I saw "pancake" on a menu, I thought it would be a real pancake. I'm warning you now that it never will be so you don't get your hopes up. Roti cenai is good, just don't expect it to be like a pancake at home. Most restaurants will call it roti cenai, but often they use the word "pancake" so foreigners can have a better understanding. There is very little western food in Sumatra, so youll get your fair share of Indonesian food.
Written Feb 11, 2012
Since I was there during the "Crisis monitor" I didn't see many tourists at all. Other than the usual transport touts that congregate around bus and taxi stations worldwide "jaded" tourist help was not a problem.
Unique Suggestions: Remember when shopping in markets bargaining is expected of you. It's an acquired form for most BULE but also a necessity if you want your funds to stretch farther.
Written Apr 16, 2003
Luggage and bags: Locks for your luggage to protect your important item & travel documents from theft. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In most part of Sumatra, the wet season falls from October to April, the wettest months are January and February that can make travel more difficult. The weather is still hot and more humid in the coastal areas, but at higher elevations tend to be cooler. On January to February rains can come in sudden tropical downpours, and or it can also rain nonstop for a whole day. Bring plenty of socks to wear while wearing shoes, folding umbrella, a light waterproof rain jacket (heavy plastic raincoat might be too warm for the humid tropics), long pants and/or jeans, shorts, T-shirts, flip flops.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: First Aid Kit, anti Malarial tablets, analgesic pills, Antihistamine pills for any allergic reactions, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper for the eventual emergency, and anti-bacterial gel for use afterwards.
Photo Equipment: Bring extra batteries and SD cards, in case you go someplace where you can’t buy replacement stocks. Zip locks bags for use in protecting your camera equipment, travel documents, etc. It’s good to bring a transformer or adapter if your devices don’t play nice with the local electricity.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Flashlight, mosquito repellent, pack at least two bottles of water per day.
Written Mar 28, 2012
Favorite thing: Medan is the capital city of North Sumatra and has a population of over 2 million. It's the 4th largest city in Indonesia. There's a big shopping centre that has a McDonalds, but thats pretty much the extent of any Western food you'll find. There's a lot of food Indonesian food, on the street and in restaurants. Tons of internet cafes. We found accomodation here for around $6/night and had a taxi take us from here to Bukit Lawang our next destination for $5. I wouldn't say its by any means worth a stop, but it might be on the way between places for most people since most buses and public transit connect here.
Written Feb 11, 2012