Monday, June 30, 2014

Medan Muddles

Medan city is the 3rd largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya. Just like other cities, Medan is bustling with lots of people doing their daily routine. It's not a touristy place as there are more locals moving about than you can imagine.

People traveling on rooftop of busses and vans, ducks and dogs carried around on motorbikes is a common sight here.
Beautiful view of Lake Toba from Sipiso Piso Waterfall

  As we were travelling with kids, we skipped the famous Lake Toba tour. First of all if will take 5 hours journey to get there and most tour companies take you around Medan first and then to Toba, so you will only reach at night and just in time for dinner and sleep. You only get to see the lake next day. It's beautiful, yes but not worth the hassle and when you meet the Batak Tribe at Lake Toba you will want to get out of that place as soon as possible. This is based on my experience as I have been to Lake Toba before.

When we arrived at Kuala Namu airport, we were received by our Pak Supir -Fadly. As per our itinerary, we went straight to Berastagi, a cooling hillside about 2 hours from Medan, but since we were leaving straight from airport, it took us about 3 hours. Our first stop was for brunch at Ayam Penyet Cindelaras nearby the airport. The food was nice, especially the Ikan Nila dish accompanied by scrumptious fruit juices. 
Cooling Berastagi

Our next stop was at Sipiso-Piso waterfall, about half hour away from Berastagi. Since it was still early to check in, we just went to the waterfall for photo session and also the breathtaking view of Lake Toba.

As the lake is very huge, it can be seen up to this small town called Desa Tongging. This town is only 5 km from the waterfall, if you want to mingle with the locals here. 

Then we came to Berastagi and spent some time at the fruit market.

You can try out all the different type of fruits here. Things are very reasonable here, so those looking for keychains n fridge magnets can get them here.

Then we went to check in at our hotel in Berastagi. Most of the hotels have been here for ages but well maintained.
Best to visit Gundaling Hill when skies are clear. You can get good view of both volcanoes.

After rest and good bath, we were ready to catch sunset at Mount Sinabung that can be viewed from Gundaling Hill, (peak) just 10 minutes from hotel.

I took a pic under this same sculpture nearly 20 years back. I vaguely remember the tour guide last time said "take pic under this pic and u will find yr lover n will come here again to take pic with your lover". Dont believe in such things, but anyway i returned to take pic with my lover + kids.

Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and windy, so there were no sunset and too cold to be there for long. We just took some pics and left. I would suggest to come here when the skies are clear as the view of the volcanoes are really beautiful.

We had our dinner just opposite our hotel. Food was ok and the juices were awesome. 

One of the volcanoes

Next day, after breakfast we left to Medan. On our way, we dropped by at Taman Alam Lumbini where there is a Buddhist Temple which is a replica of the Shewagadon Pagoda of Vietnam.

It was a nice place to visit on the way back to Medan. We also stopped by at St.Anne's Shrine or locally known as Graha Bunda Maria. 

The architecture of this shrine is very different from the churches that we used to see. We went in and sat there for a while. 

Like every other house of worship, it is very peaceful and calming just to sit there for a while.

Next, we went to check in at Grand Swiss Belhotel at Medan. We had a pleasant stay here. Beautiful rooms with high glass wall, comes with bathtub and separate shower room. 

Even more surprising, as we entered the room, there was a cake set out on the desk for Deleeina as it was her birthday. That was a very nice gesture by the FO manager Jane Hester and her team. 

Birthday gals blessings - all in a day.

Later, in the evening, we went to Goddess Amman temple, which was in the same row as our hotel. Our hotel was very close to Little India but it did not look anything like our Little India and we did not find anything inviting there so we did not visit.

As it was Deleeina's birthday, we went to a kiddies place for dinner. Glad we found Charlie Brown Cafe at Hermes Palace. There was nothing else in this mall other than eateries and waterpark, game centre and a BMW Studio. The kids enjoyed eating @ Charlie Brown Cafe. Let the pics do the talking. 

Food was nice. We enjoyed the mix fruit salad. It was so filling and so yums.

We had an early night as we would be leaving early to Green Hill Park Sibolangit, about an hour from Medan. It's exactly in between Berastagi and Medan, but we didn't drop by on our way from Berastagi because this place is only open on weekends. 

Saturday early morning, we went straight to GreenHill Park. The tickets were at 55000Rps for entrance + full rides. Can just take for kids(more than 90cm) while better for adults to pay only entrance if you are not going for your adventure rides. Less than 90cm is free but they only have about 3 rides in the park for them. Nevertheless, the kids still enjoyed.

All the games here

 Well there's not many places to bring kids in Medan, unlike Bandung. So at least they can play some games here. The main attraction here would be the palace like structure at the entrance. 

It houses the indoor games(which is not inclusive with full games ticket). You pay separately for indoor Games.
After spending about 3-4 hours here, we went for lunch and left back to Medan. 
On the way back, we dropped by just for photos at Maimoon Palace and Medan Grand Mosque. 

The rest of the day was spent at leisure. We enjoyed the pool at the hotel, while hubby workout at the gym. 

The hotel also offers reflexology and spa massages at very affordable rates. We really relaxed our feet while staying here.Definitely recommended.

Last two days was spent moving around Medan on our own by catching the blue bird. Nothing much in the city, except for shopping centres. There is a Rahmat Gallery in town where there are more than a thousand of mummified animals, but the fact that they were all dead animals hunted by the owner just put me off to visit this place. 

One place that could be included in your trip would be to Bukit Lawang where you get to live in wooden houses by the river, do some jungle trekking, some tubing and may spot some comodo's and other wild animals. There is also an Orang Utan conservation centre, here.

Lastly, please take note that the airport tax for Medan have been increases from 75000 to 200,000/individual and every passenger with seat (including kids) are chargeable. Infants without seats are the only ones exempted. Not sure about senior citizens. 

That's all folks. 

1 comment:

  1. Terima kasih kk.dan abang.maaf bila ada pelayanan fadly selaku DRIVER and tour guide bila ada yg salah.
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