I'm planning a 6 month + trip around Asia and was hoping I could get a boat from Malaysia, or any other nearby country to anywhere in Indonesia? We haven't planned where in Indonesia we want to go, BUT we don know we don't really want to travel by air! We are trying to go from Malaysia to China without using planes...
Any help would be great, I have already learned so much from these forums already. My trip planning would be impossible without people like you!
#1 marcwilson87 has been a member since 27/5/2009. Posts: 3
cheers tezza, I have spent hours looking online and can't find any real info on boat transportation. Are the boats to Medan expensive? And is Medan worth visiting? If I can afford it I may has well venture out there, just wondering your opinions.
#3 marcwilson87 has been a member since 27/5/2009. Posts: 3
There are ferries from various locations along peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra.
Aside from Penang, there are ferries that depart from:
Pelabuhan Klang (at Klang) for Tanjung Balai and Dumai,
Melaka for Dumai,
Kakup for Tanjung Balai, and
Jahore Bahru for either Batu Ampar or Tanjung Pinang.
All these locations are on Sumatra.
I suggest you'll find the Melaka ferry the cheapest to Indo (but not entirely sure).
Before boarding, you'll need to show a valid entry visa to Indonesia.
I've taken the Penang-Medan ferry a few times. It often takes longer than it's supposed to on account of engine trouble and once we left about 6 hours late leaving because the captain was in prison all morning on account of a stowaway being found on board.
Medan is not a "must see" destination IMO, quite the contrary. It's a typical dirty, noisy, traffic-congested Indonesian town. However it is a good entry point into Northern Sumatra ... Lake Toba and Bukkit Lawang are only a few hours from there. The driving on Sumatra can be slightly hair-raising. When I went to Lake Toba our minibus was having a race with two other minibuses...on the wrong side of a multi-lane highway. Best to avoid the front seats if you're of a nervous disposition because there are no front seat belts. The ones in our minibus had actually been cut off. When you sit further back you can't see quite as well just how close to death you are every few minutes.
It's been a few years since I took the Medan ferry but it was not particularly expensive (I'm a budget traveller). As said above, Medan is no great attraction but is a good take-off base for the nicer places in North-Central Sumatra.
A fair few cheap flights these days out of KL to Medan, Padang and other Sumatran places - check Air Asia.