Hiking Mount Batur in Bali – A Guide for First-Timers

Fun fact: Mount Batur was the FIRST mountain I’ve ever climbed. Now, 11 years later, I went back and fell in love all over again with the mountain.

How could you not fall in love with a sunrise view so surreal when standing at over 1700m elevation overlooking a village covered in morning mist? That feeling of standing at the top of the world witnessing the birth of a new day, a new beginning is what draws me to hiking.

I first climbed Mount Batur in 2008 when I was in my final year of university. Back then, I was still slim and fit, I managed to reach the summit quite early at 5.17am.

Now, the not-so-fit thirty-something me managed to reach the summit at 5.50am, just moments before the actual sunrise at around 6.10am. Guys, if you’re in your twenties, go climb a mountain NOW!

Now that I’ve climbed Mount Batur twice, I wish to offer some advice for first-time hikers through this post. (more…)

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All You Need to Know About Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) in Medan, Indonesia

If you’re searching for information about Kualanamu, my best bet is you’re already planning to visit Medan. So, I just want to tell you this: welcome to my hometown!

Here’s a little bit of introduction and history about Medan’s Airport. Before 2013, Medan’s old airport, Polonia, was located right at the heart of Medan. However, the old airport was too small to serve 7.5 million passengers annually (it was designed to handle 900k passengers only), hence the new airport.

Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) was opened in 2013 and it’s located about 24km or 37km from Medan, depending on whether you take the toll or normal road. The normal road is about 24km but the road is narrow and traffic jam is common. In this post, I’m going to write about facilities of the airport as well as travel tips from the perspective of someone who calls Medan her hometown. (more…)

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Malindo Air Business Class: OMG, We Flew Business Class for the First Time!

On that fateful day, I guess we were lucky!

It was 50 days before Chinese New Year and we haven’t booked our flight tickets to my hometown Medan, Indonesia.

Ideally, we’d book tickets 3 months in advance, but this time we couldn’t do it due to a lot of uncertainty in our lives. So, on that day, we finally sat down and decided on the travel date.

We browsed AirAsia, Jetstar, Traveloka, Tiger and many more websites but couldn’t find any affordable flights from Kuala Lumpur to Medan.

And then, by fate, my eyes noticed that Malindo Air Business Class was cheaper than the Economy class! (more…)

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A short visit to the town of Berastagi
Mount Sinabung, Berastagi, North Sumatera

A short visit to the town of Berastagi

From Sipiso-piso waterfall, we continued our journey to the town of Berastagi. I had been to Berastagi many times in the past but have never written about it. This time, our first stop in Berastagi was Eropah Restaurant where we had a great Chinese food for lunch. There are a few famous Chinese food restaurants in Berastagi: Eropah, Asia, and Timur. Asia and Eropah are just a few steps apart. Since Asia was not open that day, we settled for Eropah. Right after we were done for lunch, it rained heavily! But it didn’t hinder our determination to visit Fruit Market. Even though our drivers discouraged us from visiting the market when it rains, we decided to go for it. (more…)

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Sipiso-Piso Waterfall
Memorable moment at Sipiso-piso

Sipiso-Piso Waterfall

We had an early breakfast at the hotel before departing to Simanindo ferry terminal. Instead of taking ferry the usual way (from Tomok to Parapat), our driver suggested taking ferry from Simanindo to Tigaras, which is a shortcut to Berastagi.

The journey from our hotel in Tuk Tuk to Simanindo took about 30 mins. We arrived at Simanindo in time, enough to go to the toilet and do some quick shopping. The toilet has an awful smell, do not go if you don’t feel urgent. Feel free to donate as you wish for the toilet fee, there wasn’t any cleaner in sight. (more…)

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Exploring Samosir Island

Day 2 of our trip is dedicated to spending time on Samosir island. After breakfast, we went to Tomok village with our bus. The roads in Samosir island are narrow with electricity cables hanging low at certain locations. Our bus was like a Godzilla in a small city at times. Our driver drove extra carefully in order not to damage electricity cables, hit any properties or roaming animals. It was about 2-3 km drive from our hotel in Tuk Tuk to Tomok. (more…)

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From Medan to Samosir Island (Lake Toba) via Siantar and Parapat
Also from 2011: Hotels at Parapat

From Medan to Samosir Island (Lake Toba) via Siantar and Parapat

The first leg of our Lake Toba & Berastagi journey started with a bus ride from Medan to Parapat. Parapat is a town from which travellers catch a ferry to go to Samosir island. The bus arrived at our hotel in Medan on time, at 8.30 am. Soon, we made our way to Parapat via Siantar. The duration from Medan to Parapat for a non-stop trip is approximately 4 hours. However, most people, including us, would stop at Siantar for souvenir shopping and lunch, thus extending the journey by 1-2 hours.

Our first stop in Siantar was Paten, it was a shop selling homemade local snacks. We got to try the samples before buying. Most of the snack cost IDR 25,000 per pack. (more…)

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4D3N Itinerary Lake Toba & Berastagi (North Sumatera, Indonesia) Trip with My Extended Family

Now that my holiday blues have worn off, I’m ready to write about my trip to Lake Toba and Berastagi! After 6 months of sitting still, I finally got the chance to fly out of this tiny red dot of Singapore. This time, I went home for my wedding dinner reception! Since I am from Indonesia and my hubby is from Malaysia, we are having 2 wedding parties at each other’s hometowns. Indonesia’s wedding was in January, and Malaysia’s one is coming up soon in February.

Since my hubby’s family members are coming over all the way from Malaysia to attend the wedding, and my relatives are coming over from other Indonesia cities, we decided to organise a trip to Lake Toba and Berastagi after the wedding, to introduce the beauty of North Sumatera. (more…)

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Last Day in Bali: Babi Guling Pak Malen, Spa at Bodyworks, Nalu Bowls, Bebek Tepi Sawah, Airport

Finally, it was our last day in Bali. Our main activities were eating, shopping and spa. We started the day with quick breakfast near out hotel. Some of my friends had food from Starbucks while another friend and I had yoghurt. Then we went to buy pie susu and pia legong from road-side shop nearby Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika, followed by souvenir shopping at Joger.

Our early lunch was at Babi Guling Pak Malen at Seminyak. The restaurant was quite full even in the early afternoon. We paid Rp 45k per person, including drink. Babi guling is such a special food for Bali, we wanted to bring back to our cities. We asked our driver about the possibility of buying takeaways, he offered to help us buy in the late afternoon so that the food could stay fresh until we arrive at our cities. The takeaway cost Rp 50k per pack, slightly more expensive compared to eating at the restaurant. (more…)

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