I plan on flying into Jakarta and then going up through Sumatra and eventually crossing to KL to then head up towards Bangkok.
What are the stand out sights and features of Sumatra?
I'm not that into trekking so I'd be interested in mainly relgious sites, cities, possible beaches (?) etc. Will roughly $30 a day be enough and are hostels available?
Also is there a ferry available to Malaysia?
Any information would be great.
#1 nrose01 has been a member since 5/12/2012. Posts: 1
get yourself a guidebook and read up! WHY? Becse you do not even know that there are hardly any hoStels (in the true meaning of that word) in Indo at all-expect OZzieinfested Bali now, so there may be more unexpected surprises. You also did not even say what type of $$-if you mean from Taiwan, then its not enough.
About any city on Sumatera suffers from 3d world problems, ike overcrowding, pollusi, korrupsi and all that. But there are just few and fairly easy to avoid.
Read up about visa-rules, which depend on your nationality. Often the rule that a ticket OUT-by air- has to be shown is taken seriously by immigrasi at airports, incl. Cengkareng/JKT.
#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
As an alternative to reading a guidebook, you could go to a travel forum aimed at independent travellers who like to offer advice. Once such as Travelfish. Oh yeah, that's THIS forum. Must be why you posted the question here, then, nrose, huh?. :-/
Give it a rest, cbkk.
nrose, even though I've been to other parts of Indo, I haven't been to Sumatra yet, so can't help you out with specifics. But I'm sure that other posters will come along and offer some help. Meanwhile, I do know that there has been some discussion in the past about Sumatra, so have a look through the Indonesian forum for some of those. Hopefully, TF will one day cover Sumatra in it's guide notes section as well.
If you're looking for religious sites and cities Java is probably your best bet. Medan is just simply a horrible, flat and boring city (in my opinion). Not sure how else to describe it. I really enjoyed smaller places like Berestagi and Bukkitingi (can't remember correct spelling).
I spent around 4 weeks in Sumatra and loved the place. $30 US is fine if your busing place to place and eating cheaply, avoiding alcohol etc. Flying is definitely more convenient. It took me something like 36hours on a bus from Bengkulu to Jakarta. Nothing much in between.
Bengkulu does have some nice beaches, but to be honest most of what I was doing was treks / climbs which seem to be the biggest attraction.
I'd say you'd still like Lake Toba and many other places just can't tell you from my experience if they contain any interesting religious attractions or whatever your after.
As said about no "hostels" in Indonesia but you'll certainly have no trouble finding budget hotels and losmen around to get a cheap room in most places.
Was last in Sumatra in 2006, but things are prices there were similar to the rest of Indonesia. So for a simple budget room with private bathroom, cold water and squat toilet you can expect to pay between $5 and $8. You can definitely get cheaper than this in most cities, but you;re really looking at places that are part brothel, part half-way house.
Stuff to see and do? Well, there is lots of trekking to do in Sumatra because of the jungles and the mountains. So if you leave that activity out, you're looking at culture, food and relaxation.
I haven't done anything in South Sumatra or the islands both to the east and west, but Mentawai Islands, Belitung, Nias and are said to be worthy stops. You won't see many if any foreigners there.
Padang is a nice enough mid-sized Indonesia city in West Sumatra. Heading north from there, Bukittinggi is a great place to start exploring Minangkabau culture. Lake Maninjau is a top little spot for relaxtion. Then you've got a long journey north across the equator to Lake toba which is a highlight of Sumatra. Berastagi is also a relaxing place, but if you're not walking up to the top of the volcano there you might want to miss it. Bukit Lawang is also a must-see destination because of the orangutans, but again, trekking is the best way to enjoy this place.
Further north and you're heading into Aceh. There's a bit of tsunami tourism there as well as the fantastic Pulau Weh.
And that's Sumatra in brief. It is a massive island, so don't underestimate travelling times. It takes 15 hours from Bukittinggi to Lake Toba on a bus.