Mount Sibayak (Photo: Indonesia Photo Gallery)
DO A SUNRISE HIKE
Start your day on a high note and catch a spectacular sunrise at the tip of Mount Sibayak, in the town of Berastagi in Medan. Standing at 2,212 metres high, the imposing Sibayak is only accessible by foot, primarily through a dirt trail. A hike up to the tip can take up to three hours, so you would want to set off early. It would be wise to travel in a group and for about S$20 (200,000IDR) you can hire a guide. The ultimate pay-off after the long hike is undoubtedly the glorious sunrise as dawn breaks. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the panoramic views from up above.
Picnic with a view (Photo: Indonesia
Picturesque view of Lake Toba
Left: Picnic with a view (Photo: Indonesia
Photo Gallery) Right:
Picturesque view of Lake Toba (Photo: Indonesia
PICNIC WITH A VIEW
Head to Lake Toba next, just two hours away from Berastagi. At about 100 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide, Lake Toba is about three times the size of Singapore. Remember to pack your picnic blanket, because this is the place for the ultimate respite. Let all your worries melt away as you enjoy the picturesque backdrop of lush forests, grand ocean-blue waters, and dramatic views of the mountains. Standing 900 metres above sea level, Lake Toba boasts of weather that is cool and crisp all year round. Dive into the crystal clear water for a quick swim before you explore the greenery and rugged cliffs surrounding this magnificent lake. Don’t leave without making a pit stop at Sipiso-piso, an impressive 120- metre plunge waterfall that stumbles out from a cave right into Lake Toba.
Batak Culture (Photo: Indonesia Photo Gallery)
DISCOVER BATAK CULTURE
Hop on to Samosir Island, located right in the middle of the great lake. It is the world’s largest island within an island and is known for its exotic Batak culture. Begin your adventure at Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum and watch locals perform the Tor Tor, a traditional ceremonial dance performed during festivities, with each movement depicting significant meaning and emotion. Next, head to Tomok Market where you can shop for local merchandise. Pick up an Ulos, a hand-woven fabric available in a range of colours and designs, and which is used by the Batak people for special occasions. Then, stop by Simarjarunjung Hill and flood your insta-feed as you pose for pictures on man-made structures, including a giant swing suspended in mid-air and an enormous nest. Plus, we hear the restaurant nearby has a reputation for serving some of the best hot ginger tea and pisang goreng (banana fritters).
Aek Rangat (Photo: Indonesia Photo
Left: Aek Rangat (Photo: Indonesia Photo
Gallery) Right: Hot spring
SOAK IN A HOT SPRING
The Aek Rangat Hot Spring on Samosir Island is not to be missed. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it is one of Medan’s exquisite wonders of nature, with pristine spring waters rich in sulphur. Locals believe a dip in its healing waters can rid one of just about any disease! If anything, a soak is guaranteed to refresh your weary muscles. Famous for their perceived healing properties, locals believe a dip can rid you of just about any disease. Whatever your beliefs, a soak in one of these springs will refresh your weary muscles. Pick a pool with the temperature you like best and let the stresses of the day melt away. There are shallow pools for little ones too, so you can enjoy your moment of peace and tranquility without any distractions.
Paragliding view (Photo: Indonesia Photo Gallery)
PARAGLIDE OVER A QUAINT VILLAGE
Before heading back to town, be sure to make a pit stop at the Martahan Janji Village on Samosir Island. Widely touted as the best place for outdoor activities, thrill-seekers flock here for a weekend of extreme sports. The most famous activity at the village has to be paragliding, largely due to the ideal wind speeds. Choose from one of several operators for your paragliding experience and follow your instructor’s instructions closely in order to paraglide safely. Once suitably kitted, get set for a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. Take in the bird’s eye view of majestic mountain peaks, draw a deep breath of fresh air, and be one with nature. Not into extreme sports? Fret not. Martahan Janji Village has some stunning scenery that you can explore with a casual stroll. Be sure to leave Samosir with memories to last you a lifetime... or at least till your next adventure.
Left: Kwetiau Goreng Right: Bika Ambon
SAVOUR SIGNATURE CUISINE
Medanese are big noodle lovers and their signature dishes can be savoured at Mie Tiong Sim, the most popular noodle shop in Medan. They serve perfectly-cooked homemade noodles with your choice of pork dumplings, shredded chicken, or Chinese barbecued pork (char siew), plus a side serving of rich pork broth. Also on their menu - Kwetiau Goreng Medan, Chinese rice noodles stir-fried over a charcoal fire with egg and chives, and best eaten with chilli sauce. Have a sweet tooth? You will love the Bolu Meranti, a delicate Swiss Roll with an assortment of fillings and toppings. Or try some Bika Ambon, a rich honeycomb cake with a hint of kaffir lime leaf aroma.