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Indonesia forum

Traveling Sumatra alone

Posted by itamar on 9/10/2010 at 19:10

Hi,
I've read on the lonely planet that traveling alone in Sumatra (even for males) isn't perceived positively. Is that true? would it be an issue to travel Sumatra alone?

Also - Any other islands/beaches except Pulau Weh for crisp white sands and snorkelling experience in Sumatra?

Thanks!

#1 itamar has been a member since 9/10/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by Tennouji on 24/10/2010 at 19:41

I'm presuming you are male. I travelled alone for a month (female) and had the worst trip I've ever experienced hassle-wise. It totally spoilt what could have been a great experience. Mine was all of the sexual harassment type. I had an expensive camera stolen, but that was kind of my fault. Sexual issues aside, I felt safe most of the time. Most of the other stories I heard were of theft from hotel rooms or from other women (being groped etc). I often got chastised by local women for travelling alone, but I get "told off" for that every where I travel!

I've been meaning to write an account of my experiences, mainly because a prolific female contributor to the LP boards kept saying how she had no hassles being female and alone. I found the exact opposite. Of course, your age, looks, physique can mean that you don't experience hassle or that you experience it keenly.

#2 Tennouji has been a member since 22/9/2007. Location: Japan. Posts: 132


Posted by itamar on 24/10/2010 at 20:08

Thanks Tennouji
Since my query here I got the same impression: other travelers, including females, reported to have a safe and hassle-free journey. Therefore your report is important indeed! I guess as a male its not much of an issue to travel alone in this area. Nevertheless, I would be happy if you would report your experiences in order to add to the validity of the current "database". Sexual hassles are obviously a very serious issue.

All the best,
Itamar.

#3 itamar has been a member since 9/10/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by Miss_King on 28/10/2010 at 03:04

Hi there,

I will be flying to Medan on the 4th of november, i pressumed it is fine if you try speak indonesian a bit and smile than it should be fine right? I am female (34) and also by myself.
I would love to explore the national parks in Sumatra and the many beautiful beaches and so on. Do you have any other tips for me, the best way to travel for instance?

Many thanks..

#4 Miss_King has been a member since 28/10/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by mooball on 29/10/2010 at 07:12 TF writer

I think parts of Indonesia are very much like other more conservative places in the world and when you see visitors walking around with singlets and shorts on, the mind boggles as to what the locals are thinking! The first rule when in the lowlands of Sumatra is to dress conservatively -- it's not law, but good practice to reduce hassles. The second rule is to roll with it when you get the hisses etc. When you move into the highlands, the locals are more tolerant and this can be attributed to the Christian dominance.

Aside from these issues, Sumatra is a fantastic place!

#5 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 431
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Posted by Tennouji on 30/11/2010 at 19:06

mooball, sorry but that is nonsense. I wore full length trousers and a long-sleeved shirt buttoned up to the neck, hair tied up and a hat/sunglasses but I got more than "hisses" - having my breasts groped by a passenger on a motorbike wasn't much fun neither was guest house manager attempts to kiss me. A month of sexual harrassment every day, in both Christian and Muslim areas was more than I could take. I've lived in Asia for a decade and have travelled alone plenty of times.

I used to say to all women wanting to go alone "Go for it!" But now I would definately temper that with "Apart from to Indonesia and India".

#6 Tennouji has been a member since 22/9/2007. Location: Japan. Posts: 132

Posted by Tennouji on 30/11/2010 at 19:06

mooball, sorry but that is nonsense. I wore full length trousers and a long-sleeved shirt buttoned up to the neck, hair tied up and a hat/sunglasses but I got more than "hisses" - having my breasts groped by a passenger on a motorbike wasn't much fun neither was guest house manager attempts to kiss me. A month of sexual harrassment every day, in both Christian and Muslim areas was more than I could take. I've lived in Asia for a decade and have travelled alone plenty of times.

I used to say to all women wanting to go alone "Go for it!" But now I would definately temper that with "Apart from to Indonesia and India".

#7 Tennouji has been a member since 22/9/2007. Location: Japan. Posts: 132


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