Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Backpacking: Lake Toba

I was flipping around my planner last Tuesday when I noticed we would have holidays on the following Monday and Tuesday (Prophet Muhammad's birthday and Thaipusam respectively).
That's four days to spare~~ I ain't gonna spend the days rotting away at home. And hence I went on and booked myself a ticket to Medan, Indonesia on Saturday morning. A lil dramatic but, I had 3 days to prepare my itinerary and currency exchange and.....inform my parents and get myself transportation to KLIA.

My flight was on the same day as my brother's flight to Beijing, so he sneaked me into the MAS Golden Lounge which is reserved exclusively for business class passengers.
MAS Golden Lounge
MAS Golden Lounge

Arrived at Medan at 8:30 am local time. I took a bechak to Amplas terminal (later I heard from locals that Amplas is a dangerous place with a lot of robbery. Beware travellers!). The bechak is a motorcycle trishaw, and it's small, fragile and slow. The condition was further exacerbated by the horrendous traffic in Medan.
On the bechak
I then took the 5 hours bus to Parapat at 25000rp. It's a good experience because the bus stopped at several stops, during which some food merchants would go up the bus to sell their products. But the bus is normally extremely crowded, and no air-cond.

Durian stall
Satellite Dish--West Malaysian call it "Big Big Astro"  =.=
4,500 rp per litre i.e. RM 1.50. And they call it solar.
Merchant selling food and cigarette.

Women carry things on their head.

This reminds me of India.
Terrace paddy field
Reaching Parapat--the aquaculture enclosure.
From Parapat, took the ferry to Samosir island at 5000rp.

The group of girls at the back (yellow shirt) were calling out abang, abang  at me. I looked away instead of smiling back at them. Wrong move. Annoyed, they shouted jahat betul at me. Urrggghh >.<

Breathtaking isn't it? =)
The Lord of the Rings should be shot here!
The locals depend heavily on the boats to transport bikes, food and fuel to Samosir Island.
Love this one.
The water is rumored to be warm. I didn't try because the water wasn't clean at where I stayed. 
I found a cottage which offered a room at 50k per night. Look at the condition yourself. I was a bit disgusted at first but I fell in love with it by the following morning. The cottage was situated by the water's edge and so you could hear the water splashing against the shore at night. And also this is better than the one I had in Pekan, Pahang.

The toilet is the only bad thing here. There were a lot of mosquitoes in there!
Plus this one's only RM17! The pekan one RM 35!
But there are always con-men wandering around trying to con tourists, so do not trust them if they tell you shits different than what you've read on the internet.

After lodging in and rent a motorcycle at  60,000 rp, I visited the judgement stone at Ambarita. The entry fee was 3000rp, then there was a guide who told me some of the history of the Batak people, their livelihood, the way rapists and murderers were executed.

The traditional Batak House have three colors: white representing the heaven, red representing the earth, and black representing the underworld. And normally there would be carving of the faces of evil spirits to ward off bad luck. And the four hemisphere are breasts, a symbol of the hospitality of the Batak people.
The King would gather with his ministers and the royal bomoh (witch-doctor) around the table, while the accused locked in a cage-like structure, with both his feet chained. Suspecting witchcraft, the king's bomoh would pray to his god to ask for the best period to weaken the magic power of the murderer.
The King's seat. 
The prison where they keep the prisoners.
On the day of the execution, the entire village would turn up to watch the event. The suspect would first be given his last meal in front of the king, often with his hand tied behind his back. Then, he would be taken to the execution altar, where the bomoh would beat him repeatedly using his magic stick while chanting sacred verses. Then he would start cutting victim's body using a knife, but not enough to kill him. He would then spread fresh lime juice onto the victim's freshly-cut orifices. 

When it is confirmed that the victim's magic power has lost, i.e. wounds would not heal by itself, the victim is taken to the beheading altar. There, the executioner would shout HORAS (which means welcome/goodbye), and slash the victim's head off. 
The calender used by Batak bomoh. There are twelve months in a year, thirty days per month.  
The magic book where magic spells and chants are kept.

The bomoh's magic stick, which he uses to beat the magic power off the prisoner.
After his explaination, I had to pay 60k for his service, and then bought some more souvenir which added up to 100k. All in all I spent 163k at the site alone. Darn~

The rest of the day was spent riding around the island. The road was excruciatingly narrow. You have to honk every time u approach a turning to notify the person coming the other way.

A typical Indonesian-styled wedding.
Wedding scene
Water fall at Tuk Tuk
But Danau Toba is a cool place due to the elevation, so I was basically freezing the entire time I rode on the bike. It's just like Genting highland, only less cold. Saw the waterfall but I read from the internet that I need to walk through the jungle to get there.

95% of the population here is Christian.
The tomb of the King.
At night, I tried a local dish called sak-sang. It's basically pork immersed in plenty of herbs and hell it's good! 
Sak Sang, a local specialty.

The locals depend heavily on the lake for daily chores.

Those bottles containing yellow liquid are actually cooking oil.
Other than the lake and the judgement stone, Danau Toba has nothing else to offer--it's almost a dead town with a struggling tourism industry. I actually planned to visit the pubs and bars tonight, but I'm running out of cash so I changed my mind. Plus I could actually hear the sound of the music from my cottage.
Would head out to Medan the following morning.



  1. aiyo aiyo

  2. Cloud: 再去一次吧~
    jia yiing:u can write about Kapit~ I plan to visit there too



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