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19

Sep
2014

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In Indonesia

By kanannie

Sunrise at Borobudur: Remind Me Not to Do That Again

On 19, Sep 2014 | No Comments | In Indonesia | By kanannie

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When visiting popular tourist spots in Indonesia be prepared to pose for photos with the locals. They especially love the whiteys, but they’ll settle for the Japanese.

Sometimes we do really silly things, like wake up at 3am to take a one hour ride to a 40-minute hike to get to the summit of a small hill to see a less-than-spectacular sunrise over an ancient Buddhist temple. In theory, it sounded like a wonderful idea and in pictures it looked amazing. In reality, we were tired, sleepy, and surrounded by about 50,000 other people, some of whom spent more time taking selfies than actually watching the sunrise. Although I can’t say I blame them. It was hazy, cloudy and far from amazing.

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The van was quite nice. I wish all transportation in Indonesia was this comfortable.

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Look at all of the suckers who woke up early and paid to climb a big hill to see the sunrise.

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You can buy these fire-lit balloons and set them afloat as the sun rises. It’s all fun and games until one of them gets stuck in a tree and almost crashes down on your head.

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I think I’m more of a sunset person. Maybe I’ll like sunrises when I’m old and wake up before dawn for no good reason.

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This was supposed to be a sunrise over Borobudur Temple, but I can’t see the damn temple from all the way over here.

About 30 minutes after the sun rose, we made our way back down the hill to get back in the van to head over to the temple. Did I mention that we were dumb enough to go here on a Sunday? In addition to all of the foreign travelers, there were a ton of locals there too.

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Everyone has to wear a sarong when entering the temple. I took off my shorts and underwear and only wore the sarong. Security got all pissy about that.


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11

Sep
2014

No Comments

In Indonesia

By kanannie

Lake Toba: Lounging Around on Earth’s Largest Volcanic Lake

On 11, Sep 2014 | No Comments | In Indonesia | By kanannie

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Lake Toba, just in case you didn’t know.

Over 70,000 years ago a massive eruption on the Sumatran island of Indonesia created a volcanic crater that would eventually fill up with water and become what we now know as Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. Sometime after the volcanic eruption, the magma chamber filled up, creating a resurgent dome (I read that on Wikipedia) that is now the island of Samosir in the middle of this large lake and that’s where we decided to relax for the past week.

Lake Toba

What is it about a palm tree that makes me want to drop everything and get on a hammock?

Lake Toba is one of those places where relaxing comes easily and naturally. Lodging and food are very cheap — our room was less than $9 per day with a balcony overlooking the lake — and even though it’s considered a worthwhile place to visit, there are not that many tourists. It used to be much more popular, but outside of the Chinese New Year holiday in January/February, the island only gets a slow trickle of foreign tourists during the rest of the year. This is our kind of place. The food is also surprisingly good and affordable for an island. (Go to Maruba for the avocado salad. It’s life changing.)

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I think the best avocados in the world are grown on Samosir Island.

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Another dish to add to my last meal list: Maruba’s avocado salad. This heaping mound of deliciousness was less than $2 USD.

Lake Toba

The Indonesian version of an avocado shake includes chocolate syrup. Nasty.

wiener schnitzel

Delicious Wiener Schnitzel on a small island in Indonesia! Who’da thunk it?

Getting to Lake Toba is relatively easy if you’re coming from Medan. You can take a once-a-day train for Rp 20,000 (less than $2 USD) that drops you off in Siantar, hop on a becak for Rp 10,000 to get to the minibus area, get on a minibus for Rp 20,000 for a 45-minute ride to the ferry, and finally, board a ferry for Rp 10,000 to head over to Samosir Island. Hmmm, it doesn’t sound that easy, but it was. We originally planned to get a private taxi from Siantar straight to the ferry, but we met an Indonesian army fella on the train who decided that two women were incapable of getting to Samosir without his manly assistance. I thought our incomplete knowledge of the area had more to do with the fact that it was our first time in a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language and didn’t have reliable transportation information due to the lack of a well-established tourist infrastructure, but maybe he knows something about the female mind that we don’t know. We’re just girls, ya know. Anyway, we did appreciate his help, but we would’ve appreciated it more without the healthy dose of sexism.

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A one-way train ticket from Medan to Siantar, about 4 hours, was less than $2 USD.

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Buskers hop on at the stop before Siantar and sell all sorts of food and random shit.

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I bought the beach ball to liven up the rest of my train ride. The other passengers didn’t really get into my beach ball game.

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This is when we started noticing that Indonesian women like to carry things on their heads.

Becak

The becak, a motorcycle with a canopied side car, is mostly seen in Sumatra.

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These minibuses will get you from one place to another for very cheap. Just try not to fall out the door.

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The ferry ride from the mainland to Samosir Island is better than the Staten Island Ferry!

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30

Aug
2014

2 Comments

In Indonesia
Malaysia
Travel

By kanannie

How to Get a 60-day Indonesian Tourist Visa

On 30, Aug 2014 | 2 Comments | In Indonesia, Malaysia, Travel | By kanannie

indo consulate

There really is an Indonesian Consulate in Penang! (467 Jalan Burma, Georgetown, Penang)

Trying to find information on obtaining a 60-day Indonesian tourist visa in Penang is like trying to find the Holy Grail. We couldn’t find any legitimate source, like a consulate website or working email address, and the only application form that we found online was for the embassy in KL. There were conflicting accounts about the visa requirements such as whether or not we needed to present an onward ticket and the background color of our photos (they used to require red background visa photos).

Here's an example of a red background passport photo. Must be some kind of communist thing.

Here’s an example of a red background passport photo. Must be some kind of communist thing.

After scouring the interwebs for hours and not being able to find any solid information I walked over to Chulia Street to inquire with a travel agent. The woman said we didn’t need an onward ticket but we definitely needed a red background visa photo. She only served to confuse me more because this was the complete opposite of what I found on the interwebs!

indo hours

Who decided to make only the top and the bottom in English? At least you know it’s closed on Saturday.

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