Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Pantai Bungus and Pulau Pagang - the true island feeling

After a day recovering in Padang we visited Pantai Bungus, a beach 20km south of Padang. Losmen Carlos was a friendly business man who gladly granted our wish to visit Pulau Pagang^^

We enjoyed an evening at Pantai Bungus watching the sunset and got enough sleep for the journey the next day. At 8:30am we started with a slow boat to Pulau Pagang with our boat, fully loaded with supplies (food,bananas,food,bananas,water,bananas - indeed loads of bananas^^) and with Stephan, a dutch traveler.
Arriving at the lonely white beach made us immediately getting out of the clothes and into the water :P An hour of snorkeling was rewarded with some fine sunburn... yea... europeans and the sun :D
The first mission of the day was brought up by Stephan... his ganja pipe from India was broken, so we were to make a new one - island style, made of bamboo ofcourse, hahahaha. And you may believe or not, after a few beta versions our efforts ended in quite a good looking and enjoyable version of a true bamboo-island-pipe ;)
Ofcourse each version was to be tested :P The day ended with quite a big palm-leaf fire at the beach, enjoying some Jack Daniels and listening to the sea.
The next day we visited the neighboring stretch of mainland beach and the next island (Pulau Bintang), which had somehow the best island feeling ever... a long, wide, empty, white stretch of finest sand covered from some of the best skies ever :D
The last day we visited 2 more islands (Pulau Sironjong and Pulau Pasumpahan) with some snorkeling.
Later we returned to Pantai Bungus and recovered from the sunburn and mosquito bites before we continued to Kerinci Valley.

sunset at Pantai Bungus
fine beach at Pulau Pagang
the final pipe in action^^
our pride, haha
our supplies :P
visiting the next mainland beach
benni and our boat :)
Pulau Bintang and the super beach :D
superb sky

Padang - beach we are on the way

After 9 days without internet we present a bunch or new posts now... so enjoy :P

We arrived at Padang and that was when we published the last posts. So we had some nice homestay and explored the town before we went on to Pantai Bungus, a beach 1h south.
Padang provided us the first beach impression... not good for swimming, but good enough to feel the indic ocean and sand between your toes :)

beach of Padang
beach was worth a walk at least

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Bukittinggi and Danau Maninjau

After the flight from Medan to Padang (12. August) we took a minibus from the airport to Bukittinggi.
The little city in the hills had cool temperature, but did not really meet our expectations. After a night in an overpriced sticky room we explored the city and enjoyed the market in the morning. Afterwards we took a minibus on to lake Maninjau.
A ride through the hills was followed by a astonishing view over the lake. The temperatures were higher again and we simply enjoyed the idyllic atmosphere. Compared to Danau Toba, Danau Maninjau has a better scenery in our eyes. No boats, but canoes running on the lake. The surrounding mountains are slightly covered in clouds. A rainstorm over night brings a fresh breeze and some waves... simply a great place :)
The next day we took a trek to see the Rafflesia flower, the biggest flower in the world. It blooms ones in a few months and is open for just about 7 days... we were lucky to see it at the 4th day :D
In late afternoon (14. August) we did take a minibus to Padang.

Big Ben of Bukittinggi
Kids playing at lake Maninjau
good view from the surrounding hills, rice plantages
Benni and the Rafflesia

Medan - the second journey

Back from Bukit Lawang to Medan in an overcrowded minivan... 10 seats filled with 18 people inside + 3 on the roof :D
After arrival in Medan, Ayu picked us up from the bus terminal and we joined our 2 friends again :)
Another meeting with the super cute daughter Sophie and some great meals and laughs topped with some night outs^^
We decided to skip Singkil / Pulau Banyak as that would have been 9h (Medan-Singkil) + 20h (Singkil-Padang) bus ride. Instead we decided to take a flight directly from Medan to Padang (1h).

 cute Sophie :D
Benni and Lidya
Lidya giving me a new beard^^
Benni and Ayu

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Bukit Lawang - Jungle trek with stoned guide

We caught a public sauna bus from Parapat to Medan, but unluckily on arrival all buses to Bukit Lawang left already. So we had to charter an expensive minibus just for us to get there. The minibus was like a mobile nightclub... super base machine :P we mixed our cola with good havana club rum and had a little party in the bus, hahahaha... taking things as they come and making the best out of it :D
We arrived in Bukit Lawang during rain time... carried our big backpacks up a hill in the rain... not that pleasant :)
After a nice dinner we went to bed early as trekking was supposed to start 9am the next day. Unluckily our guide got sick, so he brought us to another guide. We saw a lot of Orang Utans during the trek, some came close enough to touch them. At late evening we had a candlelight dinner in a jungle camp and then slept on the ground, not too comfortable^^ Our guide was smoking one joint after the other, stoned all the time... quite a nice guy he was :D He gave us weed for free :P
The next day we walked along the river and then went back to the village by rafting on tubes. We caught a little sunburn on the 20min ride back.
After some lunch at our guesthouse (on the rocks) we got on the way back to Medan, meeting Lydia and Ayu again.

giant tree
grey monkeys at the campsite
exhausted after the trekking

Danau Toba - flying on mushrooms over the lake

On Friday 06.August we started to Parapat, Danau Toba. The ride started in a non-aircon+non-fan bus... a mobile sauna for 4h.
At Danau Toba we had a great batak guesthouse with a good view over the lake. Very nice people around there, but also a very touristic place.
After having a long 12h recovery sleep, we started walking about the peninsular Tuktuk. We planned to walk for 3h but finished already after 45min :P We did take a rest at the Bamboo restaurant at 3pm, eating a magic mushroom omelet. Luckily we shared 1 omelet for 2. After half an hour we started laughing, crying from laughing... nonstop for 3h, hahahahaha. Our stomaches did hurt from laughing. Our muscles were all down from the mushrooms and we couldnt even hold a cigarette :P Then we watched the sunset over the lake an enjoyed dinner. After the flash a little fever followed, poison it was after all. But a nice experience all the way. The dinner gave us some good recovery and at midnight we were back to our guesthouse.
The next day (Sunday 08.August) we made our way to Bukit Lawang.

sunset from the bamboo restaurant, on mushrooms ofc^^

Medan - start in Indonesia

Just landed in Medan an my host from Couchsurfing, Lydia, picked me up from the airport. That was perfect timing and a comfortable start in a new country. She came with her friend Ayu. Two super nice and funny girls they are. We went to a bar and nightclub the first evening... and next morning we picked up Benjamin from the airport.
They showed us some great restaurants and included us into their daily life :D
There was much fun to laugh about... luckily we were fine with their humor :P
That second night we went to nightclub again, got drunk and went to a second club... really great night... I will attach some pictures later :)

drunk at the Tavern :)
checking little kittens at 3am :P

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

5 days in Bangkok

So on friday I arrived in Bangkok... tomorrow already leaving again towards Medan, Sumatra.
But I'd like to share some impressions :)

Just took a trip to "Grand Palace" and the temple. A really nice place :)

Hmm.. during 5 days here I never saw the sun... always cloudy and raining sometimes. Due to that the humidity is super high, but temperature is not too high.
Taking the river boat-taxi to Grand Palace
Statue in the temple
myself + statue of temple
special King chamber of the temple
guard at Grand Palace
Grand Palace