Monday, July 14, 2014

Medan Trip - The Shining Jewel Brastagi

I woke up by the sound of the water hitting the rocks. It was about 5:00 a.m. and I was so wide awake. The sky was still dark and there were nobody outside. I walked out and felt the breeze seeping through my bone and my heart. I saw a thread of amber light from the mountains ahead of me, it was almost sunrise. I turned my back and ran back to the room to get the camera. I could not miss this moment.

What a sunrise. What a morning. What a wonderful me-time.

Sunrise at Toba
I don't know how this shot can come into place

I went back to the room and prepared myself for the journey of the day: Berastagi!

Berastagi is located approximately 66km from Medan city and 30km from Danau Toba. This highland town is utilized as weekend destination for most Medanese to relax and run away from the busy city.

Berastagi in between Toba and Medan

We catched 8:00 a.m. boat back to Parapat. It cost us IDR 10000 (SGD 1.1) per person to take this public transport. When we reached Parapat, the driver was already there waiting for us. We were then proceeding for breakfast nearby.

The driver brought us to a restaurant called Restaurant Hong Kong. No, it doesn't serve Hong Kong food, it was just named that way.

Front face of the restaurant

So some of us ordered fried rice, some ordered sandwich, and I ordered pancake. I thought it was the pancake that I could find in cafe, but it turned out to be kue dadar (egg roll). 

Hong Kong style pancake? 

The fried rice

The foods here were generally oily although the taste was acceptable. We also ordered kopi susu (coffee + condensed milk) and it turned out to have more milk than coffee. It was so sweet I could not stomach it.

After that, we continued our journey to Berastagi. Because I insisted, we visited Air Terjun Sipiso-piso (Sipiso-piso Waterfall) before going to Berastagi. Yeah, it seems that I was so into waterfall because I didn't manage to visit a good one last time in Manado (visit this post).

And luckily, Sipiso-piso was not a disappointment! The height of the waterfall is 120m and it is one of the highest waterfall in Indonesia. In the local language, piso means knife. The waterfall got its name because of the heavy flow like a knife.

The entrance fee to go to this waterfall is IDR 4000 (SGD 0.43) per person. The car can only stop at the parking area and the journey should be continued on foot.

The notice board on Toba Super Volcano near the entrance

It looks like the hill is hugging the waterfall

The view that I presented above was taken from the viewing platform. Actually we could go down to the waterfall through thousand of steps from the area. However, a lot of people told us that it would be quite dangerous so we forced ourselved to be satisfied by the view from afar.

Witnessing the great view with the one you love

At the other side of the viewing platform, we could see the greatness of Danau Toba. Yes, this area is very close to the lake and in fact the water is from an underground river that flows along the bank of Danau Toba. 

Can't get bored looking at Danau Toba

This place is a wonder, but I felt very upset to see a lot of trashes along the platform. It looks like the people visiting this place (which are mostly locals) do not care enough. I really hope that they can change, the management can impose more visiting regulations so that the cleanliness can be improved. 

We then continued our journey to Berastagi. 

There is a high class resort constructed in Berastagi called Simalem Resort. We were told that the cheapest room in that resort was IDR 2000000 (SGD 220) but you can experience everything inside: the view, the cool breezing weather, the luxury, everything.

The map of Simalem Resort

To enjoy the facility, you do not need to book the room. By paying IDR 200000 (SGD 22) you can enter the resort and get discount and free vouchers for certain attractions. After entering the resort, the driver brought us to a mini bird park. We saw quite a number of birds inside and also a mini waterfall.

The wise grandpa
Mini Sipiso-piso

After that we went to the peak of Simalem Resort and this was my favourite spot of the whole journey! The highest point at the area and you can see the whole Danau Toba (again)! There is a single tree on the place and it is called One Tree Hill.

This is the tree
And this is the view
And these are us experiencing the sand storm
And these are our happy face!

We then went to another lower spot in the resort. In this spot, we could see Danau Toba from another angle. And I tell you, this is nothing as compared to One Tree Hill. Only that this spot is more well maintained.

The boys!

Actually we got free voucher of labyrinth and we would like to use it. But, we circled the area and found nothing. So we gave up and moved on.

And the long and winding journey begun. Only at around 3:30 p.m. we reached the town. Our tummy were singing sad songs and we begged the driver to bring us for lunch. He recommended us Rumah Makan Eropa or Restoran Asia. Eropa is Indonesian for Europe but no no no, this restaurant does not serve European food. I wonder why Medanese like to name their restaurants Hong Kong or Europe or Asia.

Can you spot the sad face?

So we went for Restoran Asia but it was already closed! We went back to the car with very sad hearts and asked the driver to bring us somewhere else. So he brought us to Rumah Makan Tong Seng.

Rumah Makan Timur Tong Seng

The first thing that caught my eyes was the 'pulut srikaya'. So we ordered that little sweet thing!

Pulut srikaya - sticky rice with kaya jam

We ordered some other normal chinese food: sweet & sour fish, fuyung hai (fried scrambled egg), vegetable, sapo tahu (tofu hot pot), and bistik babi (pork chinese steak). All tasted nice because we were so very hungry we almost fainted. :)

And Anam recommended us to drink Badak. Badak is the local product and it is something like coke. I didn't drink it so I can't explain the taste but this is the look:

Best served with ice

Before we continued our journey to our next destination, we went to the local market to buy markisa or passion fruits! This town is really well known for its fruits, like passion fruits and oranges.

Market market!

Passion fruit yohoooo!

So we went to the last destination: Vihara Taman Lumbini. Another vihara???? Yes and this one is made of gold.

We posed with some people that we met. Hi there!

No, I am joking. It is not made of gold, it just looks like it. But it is huge indeed. Unfortunately, when we reached there around 5:00 p.m. we were told that the vihara was going to close in five minutes time. So we rushed like hell!

The drums are to be spun clockwise
The altar of Buddha
Write your wish and hang it on the tree
The garden at the side of the vihara

Only after we were back to the car, the driver told us that some area of the vihara was closed due to the activity of Mount Sinabung the previous day. Mount Sinabung has been active since a few years back and it has erupted in 2010, 2013, and 2014.

It was uncontrolled variable and we could not do anything about it. So, we drove back and it took really long to reach Medan city. We reach Anam's home about 8:00 p.m. and his parents had already been waiting for us.

We were then brought to the biggest feast of our trip. A seafood restaurant! This restaurant is called Marco Seafood.

Marco Seafood. Time to feast!
Fresh seafood oh la la~~~
Al fresco dining as an option

It was drizzling and we shifted inside. It was quite stuffy inside but we had no choice. Anam's parents ordered so many things for us till we had difficulties to finish all of them.

Stir fried bee hoon
Stir fried noodle
Stir fried kway teow
Kepiting Saos Padang (Padang sauce crab)

Kepiting Lada Hitam (Black Pepper Crab)
Udang Goreng (Fried Prawn)

Tofu dunno what
Ayam Cabe Hijau (Green Chilli Fried Chicken)
Sayur Asem
Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish)
Udang Panggang (Grilled Prawn)
Can you imagine how full we were???? Yes, we were very very full but we could not stop eating because they were all so very nice! My favourite were kepiting saos padang and ayam cabe hijau. Finger licking awesome!

Nominate the happiest person here
Our two champion. Even all the sauce were finished!

And we spent the rest of the night walking around the complex and admire the gigantic houses there. We went to sleep with tummies full of cholesterol!!!!

Next Post - The Day of Celebration

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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