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Splendid Sumatra / Skvostna Sumatra

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It's only a short 1-hour flight from Malaysia to Sumatra. But these are two radically different worlds. After our arrival to Medan, the 3rd biggest city in Indonesia, we immediately caught a shared taxi to the wilderness. Once in the van, an elderly man started talking to us and asking the typical questions. 'Where are you from? What's your job? What's your religion?' He then thanked us for coming to Indonesia and said to invite our friends and family, too. And so we invite you all, come to Indonesia and you won't regret it!

Sumatra is full of natural wonders. We first went to see the unique lake Toba, a huge volcanic crater created 80 000 years ago. In the middle of it is Samosir, an island the size of Singapur, created during an eruption 50 000 years ago. The whole region is home to the Batak Toba tribe with their unique culture and habits that survived hundreds of years. To get to the Samosir island, we took a boat from Parapat. Our first impressions were very promising. Mas cottages, a place where we stayed, was an oasis of piece and relax between the two villages of Tuk Tuk and Ambarita. On the first day, we foolishly stuffed ourselves (as in me - Zuzka) with fried fish in sambal sauce and mashed potatoes, and then we had to digest it for 4 days :) Well, sometimes we jumped into the lake for a nice morning swim. One day, when the sky was overcast, Tobi laid outside just in his trunks and turned so red (surprisingly) he had to cluster himself with the white SOS after sun balm we brought from home. The other day we rented a motorbike and went to see a traditional Batak dance in the Simanindo museum. The funny part of the performance came in the end when we had to join the artists to dance the final part with them :) On the way we saw many traditional houses with their typical pointed roofs, graves with statues and crosses and churches too. We were lucky to see a wedding in one of them and joined for a few more dances. Horas!

Rested and full of energy we hit the road again. This time our destination was Berastagi, a base for the Gunung Sibayak volcano. We really disliked the place and shortened our stay to the necessary minimum of 1 night. It's basically an agricultural town with a few markets...the streets were just too dirty, stinky and noisy for our taste. Gunung Sibayak was a different story, though. We set off early in the morning and reached the peak in 2000 meters after a short 1-hour walk (the hike is very easy). The volcano last erupted 180 years ago but make no mistakes! It is still active! In fact it's immediate neighbor Gunung Sinabung erupted just last year. We enjoyed mostly the views of the small lake inside but due to thick clouds we haven't seen much of the countryside. We took a nice bath in a hot spring which ended the day pleasantly, uaaah :)

The best not always comes in the end, but this time we couldn't wish for more. We can officially call the Gunung Leuser National Park one of the highlights of our whole journey. It's one of the last places on earth where you can still meet wild tigers, elephants, orangutans and the many more. We didn't really like the idea of meeting a wild tiger, but we had really been looking forward to encounter some orangutans. Bukit Lawang, the gate to the park, is already covered with jungle. There are many lodging possibilities, all of them very basic and natural. Expect no ATMs, frequent electricity cuts and hardly any wifi (and don't even think about warm water). But that's ok. We loved waking up with monkeys playing on the other side of the river. We were very lucky to meet Sinar, a legendary guide, at our guesthouse Garden Inn. He's been studying the animals here for 25 years and going for a trek with him was a real adventure. First we spotted the Thomas Leaf monkey, an endemic specie with a punk style haircut. Then we admired the rare white-handed gibbon swinging fast from tree to tree. Just before noon we found a group of orangutans. Orangutan is a solitary animal and to see 10 of them together is like winning the lottery. What followed was a 30-minute long spectacle of the apes playing, kissing and showing off. We got to see it from a 5 meters distance! Later in the afternoon Sinar heard the sound of an adult male and absolutely had to show him to us. So we climbed an almost vertical slope like monkeys and then slid down on our buts to follow him. And there he was, "his majesty" - 90 kg heavy, 40 years old orangutan with huge cheeks resting on a tree. The branch dangerously bent under his weight. After that we returned back to the village tubing down the river (inflated truck tires tied together) and the cold white water was nice and cooling after the hot day in the jungle. We came back to our guesthouse wet, dirty and tired but full of unforgettable experience. The pictures are just amazing, don't you think?


Na Sumatru je to len kratky, ani nie hodinovy len z Malajzie. A predsa su to dva odlisne svety. Z tretieho najvacsieho mesta Indonezie, Medanu, sme hned z letiska utiekli do divociny. V minibuse sa nam prihovoril starsi pan a najprv kladol obligatne otazku: Odkial si? Co robis? Ake vyznavas nabozenstvo? Potom sa nam podakoval, ze sme prisli do Indonezie a povedal, ze mame pozvat aj nasich priatelov a rodinu. Tak vas vsetkych pozyvame, pridte do Indonezie!

Na Sumatre sme skutocne videli jedinecne prirodne vytvory. Zacali sme jazerom Danau Toba, obrovskym sopecnym kraterom, vytvorenym pred 80 000 rokmi. Uprostred neho sa nachadza Samosir, ostrov velkosti Singapuru, ktory vznikol pri vybuchu pred 50 000 rokmi. Cela oblast je domovom kmena Batak Toba, ktori maju jedinecnu kulturu a zvyky. My sme sa na ostrov preplavili malou lodkou a prve dojmy boli skvele. Ubytovali sme sa v Mas cottages medzi dedinami Tuk Tuk a Ambarita, mimo turisticky ruch ostrova. Najprv sme sa (hlavne ja) totalne prejedli vyprazanou rybou v sambal omacke so zemiakovou kasou a potom sme sa 4 dni valali. No, nie uplne. Obcas sme si skocili do jazera :) Jeden den sme si pozicali skutrik (Tobi je uz profik) a previezli sa do muzea kmena Batak. Zrovna predvadzali tradicny tanec a tak sme sa pridali. Cestou sme pozorovali tradicne domy so spicatou strechou, hrobky s krizami a kostoly. V jednom z nich bola zrovna svatba: zeny boli sviatocne oblecene v batike a vlasy mali zacesane do elegantnych drdolov. Trochu sme si s nimi zatancovali, ako nas pred chvilou naucili.

Oddychnuti sme sa vydali na cestu do Berastagi s jedinym cielom - vyliezt na sopku Gunung Sibayak. Planovane 2 noci sme nakoniec skratili na jednu, pretoze sa nam tam ani trochu nepacilo. Mesto je spinave, smradlave a sluzi najma ako polnohospodarsky trh. Na Sibayak, vysoky nieco malo cez 2000 metrov, sme isli hned na dalsie rano. Sopka je stale aktivna, i ked posledna erupcia bola pred 180 rokmi. Uprostred je male jazierko, otvory chrliace vypary a stvrdnuta lava. Vystup je relativne jednoduchy a za hodinu sa da najlahsou cestou dostat az na vrchol. My sme nemali vela stastia na vyhlad kvoli hmle a mrakom. I tak to bol zaujimavy den, ktory sme zakoncili prijemne v termalnych pramenoch.

Nakoniec nas cakal vrchol navstevy Sumatry a jeden z vrcholov vobec. Bukit Lawang, brana do narodneho parku Gunung Leuser. Jedno z poslednych miest na zemi, kde sa daju stretnut dive tigre, slony, orangutany a vela dalsich zvierat. Nam sa stretnutie s divym tigrom uplne nepozdavalo, ale na orangutany sme sa tesili. Bukit Lawang je skutocne takmer divocina. Pri rieke hniezdia hostely jeden vedla druheho, za nimi uz je len dzungla. Nie su tu bankomaty, elektrina funguje sporadicky a internet je velky luxus. Clovek sa rano zobudi, pozrie z balkona a jedine, co vidi, su stromy a opice. A to sa nam pacilo, byt strateni v pralese, v drevenych chatkach, kupat sa v rieke, rozpravat sa s miestnymi. V nasom hosteli Garden Inn sme stretli Sinara, legendarneho sprievodcu, ktory tu uz 25 rokov orangutany studuje. S nim v dzungli to bolo dobrodruztsvo. Najprv sme videli endemiticky druh opice Thomas Leaf, alebo "punky monkey" kvoli pankacskemu ucesu. Potom vzacneho bielorukeho gibona s mladatkom, ako bleskurychlo ruckuje medzi stromami. Okolo obeda sme natrafili na skupinku orangutanov. Orangutan je samotar, takze vidiet 10 jedincov pohromade je velmi zriedkave. Pozorovali sme ich asi z patmetrovej vzdialenosti ako sa na stromoch hraju, predvadzaju a pusinkuju. 30-minutove divadlo na nezaplatenie! Neskor zacul Sinar dospeleho samca a musel nam ho za kazdu cenu ukazat. Najprv sme sa teda vystverali skoro vertikalnym kopcom, potom sme sa sklzli na zadku dolu svahom a tam na strome oddychoval. 90-kilovy, 40-rocny orangutan s bradou a velkymi licami. Ked ruckoval medzi stromami, vsetko sa pod nim prehybalo. Potom nas uz cakala len cesta naspat, tentokrat na nafukovacich kolesach po rieke. Spoteni, spinavi, mokri, ale totalne nadseni sme sa vratili vecer do hostela. Tie fotky su neuveritelne, uznajte sami!


Posted by zuzana.zav 20:49 Archived in Indonesia

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