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Paul and Pete backpacking in Asia Follow us on our big adventures!

Sumatra

INDONESIA | Sunday, 1 September 2013 | Views [561]

 

 

After meeting back up with our Pete and spending 2 nights in Kuala Lumpur we were ready to take on our last south east asia adventure ... Indonesia! Also joining us for a month was my mate Mike who I met in Oz a few years ago on my last backpacking trip. So Mike was supposed to meet us in Kuala Lumpur but had problems with his connecting flight in Delhi and had to spend 27 hours in transit! We finally all got together at the airport then set off to Medan which is in the north of the indonesian island Sumatra.


Medan wasn't the nicest of places so we only spent 1 day there and set up a trip to head to Bukit Lawang to do some jungle trekking! The 3 hour journey wasn't so bad and we got good vibes as soon as we arrived in Bukit Lawang. It was a small village laid alongside a river and all the locals were very friendly. We decided to go on a 2 day/ 1 night trek in the jungle hoping to see a few wild orangutans, we also paid a bit extra to go tubing back down the river at the end of our trip back into the village.


We had a couple of very friendly and knowledgable guides that led us into the jungle. Within the first hour we had already spotted a few different types of monkeys! Then we were made up when we came across our first couple of orangutans! One was a mother and the other was a young orangutan but still old enough to swing around freely through the tree's and return to his mum. We spotted around 8 wild orangutans on our first day with some really close encounters. At times I felt like I was in a David Attenbrough documentary! We found that there is only around 7000 orangutans left in the wild so we felt lucky to have seen as many as we did in their natural environment. We also came across this mean looking poisonus centipede that the guides told us to stay away from as a bite can do some serious damage! That evening the guides cooked us some delicious local food and we spent the evening sitting around a camp fire next to the river. We spent the night in an open tent shelter whch was fine but we slept on a paper thin matress so we never had the best of sleeps. At breakfast the next morning the guides gave me their personal accounts of the devastating flash flood that swept through the village in 2003 killing over 250 people and 80 orangutans. It was quite touching as both had lost close family members but they thought it was important to share the history of the village with travellers. After breakfast we set off walking up the river then back into the jungle. It was some tough trekking at times due to the incline, the humidity and lack of any sort of breeze. It would be fair to say we were soaked through with sweat! The 2 day trek ended at a lovely fresh water river where we all took a dip and cooled off before jumping on some tubes and floating back down to the village.The next day we set off to Lake Toba, the biggest volcanic lake in the world. We found out that the lake was created when there was a massive volcanic eruption, the biggest on earth in 25 million years, this covered all of asia in volcanic ash and created the massive crater that later became the lake. It was a LONG jouney of around 7 hours weaving up down and around small local roads. It was painful to look at the map as you would think it was only 2 hours away! We found some lakeside accomodation on Samosir island in the middle of the lake and spent the next couple of days chilling out and relaxing. On our first day we rented scooters and explored the island. It was great fun and we saw some lovely views, we also visited some hot springs but they werent up to much. Poor Mike hadnt seen sun for a few months and looked like a lobster at the end of the day and we didn't even think it had been that sunny! The next day we all done our dirty washing then relaxed in preparation for our nest destination, the town of Berastagi.


Berastagi has 2 active volcano's and our plan was to climb them both in our 2 days. But as we set off for the first one the darkest sky appeared with big black clouds then the heavens opened so we had to call it off. With 1 day left we decided to climb the highest volcano out of the 2, Gunnung Sinabung at 2400+m, this only erupted back in 2010 with lava flowing out and the local village had to be evacuated! We decided to climb the volcano on our own so never arranged a guide. That morning the sky remained grey and it was still spitting, we were in 2 minds to call it off but went ahead with it anyway. The climb never started perfect as Mike stood on a snake and was a bit shook up! But it scuttled off and we never came across anymore of them! It was a tough climb at times made worse by the slippy muddy terrain. However we reached the summit in just over 2 hours. Unfortunately for us the clouds remained and we could only just about see each other with absolutely no views of the surrounding area. We stayed at the summit for 30 minutes or so and found some hot air vents spewing out really hot moist air from inside the volcano, it was almost like a sauna! So we gave up on the mist clearing and began our descent down. But after about 20 minutes we looked up and the grey mist began to shift and we were treated to an amazing view of the village and lake below us. We knew straight away that we had to return to the summit so turned back on ourselves and headed back up. The views from the summit were breathtaking! We stood above the cloudline and had 360 degree views of all the landscape!! We could also see into the crater so could appreciate the power of the volcano and the eruption in 2010. After an hour or so we began our descent and we were all exhausted by the time we got the bottom. That evening we had a big scoff at a local street stall then later took a taxi to Medan airport to spend the night before our mornning flight to Jakarta and onwards to Bali. Now it's time to PARTY!

Tags: bintang, jungle trekking, orangutans, volcanic lake, volcano

 

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