To start off our big Asia tour, we went to Indonesia, more specifically, to Sumatra. After a rather sleepless night at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, we landed in Padang, where we immediately took a minibus in the mountains to Bukittinggi. There we slept the rest of the day, which was good, because in the night and early morning the Muezzins of the many mosques in the village tried to beat each other in volume and sleep was no longer possible. Since Bukittinggi itself was not really inviting, the next day we drove on to the Lake Maninjau and learned about the main problem of a Sumatra trip. The transport. To reach Maninjau, 40 km away, it took us unbelieveabe 5 1/2 hours! So this day had gone by.
But the next morning offered us a great view of the beautiful crater lake and we spent our day with geocaching and watching the local fishermen. We also feasted properly, because the equivalent of one Euro for the national dish Nasi Goreng was really cheap. Then, however, we had had enough calm time and boarded a minibus back to Bukittinggi. This was much faster, but the driver drove even more extreme than the normal Indonesian.
Our next stop was 20 bus hours later the Lake Toba, the largest crater lake in the world. There we visited an island where we spent a day in a completely empty tourist village. It was kind of strange to see all the Indonesians in their empty restaurant. Although the lake was really nice, we moved on the very next day, as the highlight of our stay in Sumatra, the Orangutans of Bukit Lawang, were waiting for us.
Then we began our three-day jungle tour and on the first day we already saw the red haired ape. Most of the Orangutans that you see are former pet animals of rich Indonesians who have been reintroduced to the wild. They are therefore used to people and come quite close. Two of the females had small babies, who were of course the stars of the day. In the evening of the second day yet another Orangutan lady came to visit us in our jungle camp and we spent hours admiring each other.
In addition to the great apes, there was still much more to see. So we also encountered Lar Gibbons, Thomas’s langurs, snakes, turtles and Monitor Lizards and learned a bit about rubber extraction. Unfortunately, none of the endangered Sumatran Tigers jumped in front of our lens.
As a conclusion of our tour of Sumatra there was still the Sibaya volcano, where we climed into the former volcanic crater with its loud whistling steam fumarols and sulfur smells (mmmhhhh). After the difficult descent from the volcano, we then treated ourselves with a bath in the nearby hot springs before we went back to Medan, where we boarded our plane to Java the next day.