Category Archives: Traveling on Sumatra

Island Hopping

To live like Robinson Crusoe.

ii

Mr. Anhar, a well known, very kind and reliably guide offers packages for island hopping. You can tell him, where do you want to go, how long would you like to stay and for sure he will do his best to ensure you a beautiful stay and trip on Pulau Banyak.

The most approved tour covers three days and two nights on different islands. Tent, food and drinks are included (3 main meals, extra fruits, coffee, tee). He will catch you fresh fish and show you how to survive on a desert island.

Just to give you a hunch about the prices, a 3nights/2 days trip for two people costs 3.000.000 Rp.

He can pick you up from Balai and at the end of the tour bring you back. Nonetheless, he lives in Haloban, so if you wish to visit our village and start your island hopping from Haloban it would make up a nice option as well.

Mr. Anhar has two single kayaks, which you can rent for 150.000 Rp per day.

Surfing

Sleep in a tent, near the waves.

Instead of staying in bungalows you can camp, which makes your surfing holiday cheaper and adventurous.

Mr. Anhar offers a packet for 10 days, minimal 3 people. (650.000 Rp/day/person)

Contact

You can contact Mr. Anhar directly via Whats App.

Maybe you have questions, special wishes, just ask him. He is very open for any suggestions.

Whats App: + 62 852 777 111 08

Advertisements

Pulau Banyak

A paradiese at the end of the world

Pulau Banyak is for sure one of the most beautiful destinations on Sumatra. The area is surrounded by pristine, white beaches and uninhabited coral islands. You can go for small jungle trips on Pulau Tuangku and Bangkaru, Ujung Lolok on Pulau Tuangku is a great spot for surfing and you can snorkle everywhere around the islands.

With an area of 123 square miles (319 square km), the group lies north of Nias and 18 miles (29 km) west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. 

The islands Pulau Banyak lie within the Aceh Singkil Regency in Aceh Province, and are divided into two districts: Pulau Banyak District and Pulau Banyak Barat District (Western Pulau Banyak). Pulau Balai is the seat of the Pulau Banyak District, and Haloban is the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District.

The islands vary in their land cover; most are sandy with limited vegetation, while the larger islands have deep rainforests and are fringed by intertidal mangroves. The fringing coral reefs are habitat to diverse species, including green and leatherback sea turtles, pelagic and coral fish, and varieties of octopus, lobster, and other sealife. The weather is tropical; August to January are the rainy season, followed by a dry season from approximately February to July.

Once if you have arrived to Sumatra, Medan you can take a shared or privat car to Singkil (Contact: Darmawan’s Phone: 0062 (0) 812 8431 4851, 0062 (0) 813 77219667 or Satiman’s Phone: 0062 (0) 822 9410 7162), from where you can reach the islands by boat. There are two villages with accommodation possibilities: Balai and Haloban (see Haloban – Daswan&Reka Homestay) and you will find bungalows on the uninhabited islands around. Sikandang, Tailana and Bangkaru have operated bungalows, on the other islands you can find camping possibilities but for that reason you have to have a contact.

Contact possibilities:

  • Daswan’s Phone: 0062 (0) 812 6431 2706
  • Reka’s Phone: 0062 (0) 821 6569 9220, Whats App: 0043 676 6490 319
  • Email: smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com
  • Satiman’s Phone: 0062 (0) 822 9410 7162
  • Satiman’s Email: sberutu@gmail.com

For further information according traveling around Sumatra on general visit Satiman’s homepage: http://www.sumatra-tour.com

Interest of visiting – a list of the best known islands:

This island is the biggest of Pulau Banyak with three villages called Haloban, the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (Northern End), Ujung Sialit, the Christian village and Suka Makmur. You can search for jungle experiences around Haloban, staying in the South called Ujung Lolok you will find yourself at one if the best surfing spots of Sumatra.

If you prefer to stay in a village in the calm Haloban you will find accommodations. You can use the village as a base for your daily trips around Pulau Banyak.

On Pulau Sikandang you will find a dozen of bungalows. The atmosphere there is great and the surrounding see is just wonderful.

  • Pulau Tailana
  • Pulau Lamun

This beautiful uninhabited island is very close to Haloban and is the seat of the Telekomsel Tower, which deliver the phone and internet signal for this area.

  • Pulau Asok

One of the most beautify spots but indeed it is very difficult to compare the islands and make a ranking. You can do a daily trip from Haloban and enjoy this scenic island like Robinson Crusoe without disturbing by anyone. There is also camping possibility on this incredible beautiful place (for that contact Daswan: 0062 (0) 813 70821060).

Bildschirmfoto 2017-07-01 um 13.25.07

Haloban – Homestay

Haloban, the still hidden fishing village, is the second most important place  (after Balai) of Pulau Banyak, the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (PBB) and it is also our home. If you would like to come to the islands but you prefer to stay in a village our house is welcoming you, we have a small but clean guest room. It will be a simple homestay and from here you can make daily tours even overnight trips with camping possibilities to everywhere around Pulau Banyak. (See Activities around Tailana).

Haloban
Midday heat in Haloban

There is also a losmen (Indonesian Guest House) in Haloban and you will find small food stalls and some stores to buy your daily needs as well.

If you arrive in Singkil there is every second day a boat from there directly to Haloban. It takes around five hours to get there. Actually Haloban is the closest village to Pulau Tailana. You can find transportation from Balai to Haloban as well but it could be difficult, better to call us before you arrive.

You can contact Daswan and me if you are heading for Pulau Banyak and Haloban.

Contact:

  • Daswan’s Phone: 0062 (0) 812 6431 2706
  • Reka’s Phone: 0062 (0) 821 6569 9220, Whats App: 0043 676 6490 319
  • Email: smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

Haloban is the most important village already merged with Asantola on the biggest island of Pulau Banyak which called Pulau Tuangku, it is as mentioned above the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (Western Pulau Banyak) with a population of around 1500 persons. The major sector of the local economy is fishing but it already has a high school. Actually, this village owns Bangkaru, the turtle island and Pulau Asok.

History of Haloban

in progress…

Daswan&Reka Homestay

Summer 2017 we renovated a small house furthermore extended it with a new kitchen and washing room. It is still an Indonesian style apartment and it only has the average standards of the village, which means amongst others no flush toilet, but we were focussing on cleanliness and brightness and it was important for us to make the it spatial.

Washing room
Our white toilet
The living room
Bedrooms
The kitchen
Always smiling Daswan

At our homestay we offer you full service and can also help you to plan and organize your trips.

So if you would like to be part of our Indonesien life, welcome home!

Pulau Simeulue – a paradise for everybody

A beautiful hidden place for surfing, experiencing impressive traditional life, drifting on long beaches and relaxing. 

Coastal road


Simeulue Island is located at the tip of Aceh province approximately 150 km off the coast of West Sumatra surrounded by the Indian Ocean, north of Pulau Banyak. It has an area about 2300 km² and a population about 85.000 inhabitants.
To reach Simeulue you can take a direct flight (280.000-480.000rp) from Medan to Sinabang by wings air or you can cross the sea by ferry (less than 50.000rp).

Simeulue…

Every day at 13:15 wings air departure from Medan to Simeulue and there is also a daily flight from Simeulue to Medan at 14:55.

Twice a week there is a ferry from Labuhan Haji (8-9 hours), twice a week from Singkil (∼12 hours) and three times from Meulaboh to Sinabang. The schedule can change due to weather conditions or for any other reason.

Here you can see the schedule of the ferries (from September, 2016):

  • Meulaboh to Sinabang: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday – departure time at 15.oo o’clock in the afternoon.
  • Labuhan Haji to Sinabang: Saturday – departure time at 13.00 o’clock in the afternoon; Wednesday – departure time at 10.00 o’clock in the morning.
  • Singkil to Sinabang: Monday, Thursday – departure time at 17.00 in the afternoon.
  • Sinabang to Meulaboh: Monday, Thursday, Saturday – departure time at 18.00 o’clock in the evening.
  • Sinabang to Labuhan Haji: Tuesday, Friday- departure time at 22.00 o’clock in the evening.
  • Sinabang to Singkil: Wednesday, Sunday – departure time at 22.00 o’clock in the evening.
The beach behind the Frazha cottage – if the sun is shining
The beach behind Frazha – during storms

If you come to Simeulue you don’t have to stay in an expensive resort, even if your goal is to surf everyday you can arrange it very well on your own. Frazha Homestay located in the small village of Alus Alus (southwest coast) half an hour by motorbike from the capitol city Sinabang owned an managed by Mr. Akil and his wife is a great place to stay, if you like to organize your day by yourself, if you like to be self-sufficient, if you don’t want to pay more for accommodation than 150.000 rupiah, if you like to live your own Indonesian life, if you like to have an own garden at the seafront and if you like to spend your time at a calm, peaceful cottage. Are you a surfer or not, you will be happy at Frazha with its palm trees directly at the seaside, close to everything what you can need and far away from everything what you maybe don’t need. Frazha homestay has four rooms with attached toilets on a cottage with two wooden houses. The kitchen is in the main house and even if you plan to be self-sufficient, Mr. Akil and his wife can help you for surearound

the kitchen if you ask them kindly. Mr. Akil’s wife is indeed a beautiful cook. For your daily needs you will find small shops around the villages, otherwise you should go to Sinabang (the road is good!). Mr. Akil and his wife are very hospitable. If you need something special from the town you can ask the family with certainty to help you as they commute everyday between Frazha and Sinabang.
Before your arrival you should contact Mr. Akil and it is better to book in advance.

The main house of Frazha
The garden and the guest house


Contact:
Akil’s Phone: 0062 (0)811 6811 772, email: akil.rozha@yahoo.com

Your phone will work very well in Alus Alus, you can even use internet, it won’t be very quick but it is alright.

I have to mention the water in the toilet and in the shower at the cottage because it is really clear and fresh. They use natural ground water and it has a really good quality. Yes, it is cold.

There is electricity everywhere around but due to weather conditions it is often off. Take your torch and candles with you but in the worst case there is a generator as well.

Simple, clean – to feel good


The cottage’s kitchen


About the prices: I was just a guest in Frazha, I spent two months there (July and August, 2016), for that I just can give you an approximate idea about the costs. One night per person is for 150.000 rp. It is for your bed, the food is extra. One kg of a fresh fish can costs between 30.000 and 70.000rp, depends on the weather and sure on the species. To refill the big 10L bottle of drinking water costs 4.000rp, a sack of 10kg high quality rice costs around 120.000rp.

In most of the cases you will need a motorbike (60.000-100.000rp depends on the duration of your rental). If you are on Simeulue for surfing you have to catch your waves around the shore and the small islands, if you just plan to relax and to get to know the island it is also very nice to go around by motorbike. The roads are great and mostly safe (your biggest enemies will be the cows). But if you don’t feel comfortable about the idea of driving a motorbike Mr. Akil can organize beautiful trips for you without bikes as well.

The never ending road around Simeulue
On the way from Alus Alus to Sinabang
Costal scenery
On the way from Alus Alus to Labuhan
Scenic bay
Palm tree-lined road near Alus Alus

 

Let me focus on the activities around Alus Alus and in general on Simeulue:

  • Enjoy the Frazha garden

    Garden of Frazha
  • Go for a walk at Alus Alus’ beautiful long beach

    Enjoy…
  • Play in the waves behind the garden (swimming will be difficult)

    Alus Alus Beach
  • There is every day a sunset

    Near by Alus Alus
  • Play football or volleyball around the villages before Maghrib (prayer after sunset)

    Football-time in Alus Alus
  • Visit the coconut factory in Alus Alus

    Lunch break at the factory
  • Visit the fisher villages around

    Village of Labuhan
  • Take a fishing boat to other small islands

    Mincau Island
  • Prowl around

    Paddy
  • Surfing
  • Tracking
  • Snorkeling
  • Learn about the tradition (on Simeulue you will still find fakirs) 
  • Be part of it 

Mr. Akil knows his home island Simeulue very well. You can ask him about the tradition, folkway, rites and he can also show you hidden places for snorkeling and tracking.

He is a great host and you will see him always smiling next to his beautiful wife.

For more information use Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/akil.rozha/media_set?set=a.10206158200147972.1073741911.1652733731&type=3&pnref=story

Daswan, me, kakak, abang Akil, Rizki and Sophie

 

It is a place to feel good, it is a paradise for everybody. 

The adventurous swamps of Mentawai

 

Under me the swamp and above the sky


Take the Mentawai Fast from Padang (only twice a week!) to Muara Siberut and you will get close to the last native inhabitants of Sumatra, who live in the swamps of the island.

Muara Siberut

Muara Siberut is a busy small town. It takes around 20 minutes by ojek (motorbike taxi) from the harbour to get to the town. It shouldn’t cost more than 25.000Rp. Ibu Ar (mum Ar) and her guest house is well known in Murau. The lady owns and managing the hostel on her own, her husband passed by last year. Her full name is Ibu Ar Syahruddin and if you ask the guys at the harbour to bring you there, they will do it and you won’t need to discuss any more with them about who knows what else.

Ibu Ar’s Phone: 0813 6304 9506

You can contact her before you arrive but actually it is absolutely no need to book in advance, so you can go there wherever you want and there will be for sure somebody at home.

It is a wooden house, the rooms are small but nice and tidy. The price for two is 100.000Rp. Toilets are outside.

Ibu Ar’s guesthouse

 

The homy balcony

 

In Muara itself you will still have a phone signal, your mail server and what’s app will work more or less but it is easier to forgo Facebook. You will have electricity by night and in the morning but it can happen by daytime that it vanishes for some couple of short hours.

Muara has shops, you can buy drinks and food. You will find medicaments as well and a lot of warungs (local restaurant). For your basical needs there is a service.

The Indonesian government started with aid projects, organised villages with small schools, shops and religious education (Islam, Catholic) came into being in the swamps of Siberut. Most of the natives live nowadays in those communities. There is still no electricity over there, no signal but what you will find for sure is an incredible beauty.

A great chance to get closer to the tradition and culture of the natives of Mentawai is to stay with them in one of their villages.

Madobag village


 Madobag is the village of my friend Gejeng. He is a very competent guide with license. He must be around 35 years old, nobody knows it exactly, as he was born in the jungle and lived there as an aborigin for a very long time.

My beautiful friend, Gejeng

I asked Ibu Ar to become our contact to reach Gejeng, then Gejeng himself still doesn’t have a phone or email.

So if you would like to see and experience the daily life of the people in the jungle, if you would like to stay there for a night, some days, a week or even longer, Gejeng can help you and show you the almost forgotten spirit of Mentawai. He is a swine herd, which is the traditional work of the Mentawai natives and a hunter with his six dogs.

Stay short or long, everything is manageable. One night in a village with a small trekking tour to visit people who still stay outside of the “civilisation”, or some couple of days with longer treks, it is up to you and your imagination. Our phantasy is their daily life.

A traditional house

To contact Gejeng just ask Ibu Ar, she will send somebody for him and Gejeng will come to Murau.

Which means, you don’t have to book any tour from the mainland. You can go there, have a look first and you can organise your tour by yourself. Gejeng became my friend, he knows and loves his land; his mind is beautiful.

How can you prepare yourself for the jungle? Gumboot. The only thing which is indispensable is gumboots as you will cross swamp area. There are enough gumboots in the villages, it is not necessary to bring your own boots.

Gumboots or bare feet
Daswan and Tarason, the shaman

 

Tarason and me

Gejeng works together with his friends. There are five more guides in Gejeng’s village. I had the chance to get know Andi. He joined our tour and was really good taking care of me.

 

Andi. Sometimes there is a chance to cross the river dry.

 

Inside a traditional kitchen

 

Enough for everybody

 

Gejeng, me, Andi and Rostam

 

And if you wish to explore South Siberut riding a motorbike by yourself, just ask for a Honda and enjoy.

Pompon – a wooden fishing boat

 

The abandoned beach next to Muara

 

For a walk
At the river side

If you have any questions, would like to know more about your possibilities, see more pictures or everything else, you are always welcome to contact me on:

smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

On the way

Visit Bangkaru

The second biggest island of Pulau Banyak ’99’ islands is Bangkaru, the turtle island. Every night throughout the year you can see green turtles laying eggs on the marvelous beaches  of Bangkaru Nationalpark.

Beaches are plane

Bangkaru is for sure one of the most special places on Sumatra. The Island is a desert island, there is only one cottage (pondok) built up by the government for the rangers, who take care and protect the turtles.

I heard, ten years before there were nearly on every island turtles and the locals say, you could get lobsters even at the toilet in the villages. The business was booming until the eco-system couldn’t catch up with the mass fishing any more. The province Aceh woke up, sent rangers to the last turtle paradise to save this treasure of nature. But one thing is remained completely untouched by the people: the island itself. The reason is funny, the locals believe Bangkaru is a place of ghosts, so they never came to log trees and never killed the animals on the Island. I was there this summer (2015), I couldn’t see any ghosts but a real jungle with giant plants.

IMG_7620
Giants

If you stay on Bangkaru you will stay together with the rangers. Real hard outdoorsmen, which means they also know how to cook like heaven…

Night by night they are observing the eggs laying turtles and if is necessary, which happens ever and anon, they protect them as well for the fishermen who come to steal the eggs – ever and anon.

IMG_7619
Their trace

Mr. Usup is one of the brave rangers. There is no phone signal at the Island – about the internet is no need to speak. So the guys are really alone with the nature. And if something happens, it is Usup who is running up the mountain, which takes two hours, to be able to contact the outside world.

The pondok is big enough to have some dormitories for us visitors.

IMG_7533
The pondok

As I came to Bangkaru, my friend Langlang Buana (he is a speed boat driver) took me there.

IMG_7589
Mr. Langlang Buana

The most comfortable, straightest and easiest way to get to Bangkaru is to contact Darmawan (Tel.: 0821 6645 7040, Email: dmawan_ skl76@yahoo.com). He speaks a great English so you will enjoy a very informative trip and he is also a really cool man; it will be a great experience with him. You will find our Darmawan on Facebook as well under Dar Mawan. He is also Director of CV Pulau Banyak Travel, so wherever you would like to travel by car on Sumatra, he can help you.

1425766_616727461699776_94160565_n.jpg

How much does it cost to get to Bangkaru? If you are a group it costs around one million rupiah per person, if you are a couple the price is three million for you two. And if you are alone, life is always an adventure…

Why is it so expensive? It is special, that is for sure one of the main reasons. The organizer pays permission for you as well. On the other hand the infrastructure is not given, too. Everything, the food, the drinks, medicaments, everything is from the mainland. Last but not least there is one more exciting reason behind the price: it is a bit difficult because of the waves to enter the island. You need for sure a speed boat and an experienced driver as well. He has to catch the right wave and so you will surf easily, safe and quickly to the welcoming beach of Bangkaru. Enjoy.

Telefon & Internet & Money on Pulau Tailana

If you have an Indonesian SIM card from Telekomsel, you can use your phone 24 hours a day but no other provider works on the island. If you have a SIM card, your internet is going to work but only edge, so you can receive and send emails or use what’s app but to use Facebook is not funny.

We have solar energy on the island and the old generator is still working as well. Which means maybe not for 24 hours a day but we have electricity. It is not a problem at all to charge your electric devices but in your bungalow the light is still romantic by petroleum lamps or torch.

You should cary cash with you. The German DKB Visa card and Mastercards may work in Singkil but the safest way is to take money from the bigger cities around.