South East Asia Travels 2007 Index
I decided to fly out of Australia instead of paying £100 to extend my visa
So I decided being in Asia would give me time to think without spending too much money and a fresh perspective.
I had a week in Singapore, but with Chinese new Year and traffic chaos coming I knew I had to move on.. maybe to Bali or Borneo and then someone told me there was a cheap flight to Sumatra. So I decided to take the easy option and fly to Padang.
From there I travelled in West Sumatra and up to North Sumatra with one place in Aceh before reaching Medan at visa finish after 30 days So I took the boat to Penang in Malaysia

Summary -
Sumatra was certainly cheap, but given the many problems it's probably not worth it given the hassles
Grimey Cities * Lake Chillout Places * Volcano's * Long Houses * Jungle and Orang Utans * not spoilt by over development * friendly people * different indigenous cultures * comfortable climate
- (cos even though we are on the equator many of those places are at at altitude so are cool)

Locals moaned about the lack of tourists, it seems from 1980 to 1998 riots there were hordes, now mostly only a trickle.
There's bad economic problems so roads and infrastructure are bad, but it's not terrible. All places have electricity, but the general level is well below Malaysia. I wrote the article The Don't Visit Indonesia Decades I didn't mean that everyone should stay away from Sumatra just that there are 20 good reasons why mass tourism has died there.

Sumatra Links

More Postcards
Some more background
- Counting Muslims : A Club You can never Leave
- Economy is Screwed means opportunity

Topic List
- Counting Muslims : A Club You can never Leave
- Economy is Screwed means opportunity

- PC341 Central Sumatra, Indonesia
Unbelievable fly all the way and then back 
Met Paul 
Wed - Padang City
Hot, dirty, busy, noisey, untidy, unquaint typical of SE Asian cities. 
Going to Bukittingi - bus is cheap 50p for 2 hours, but hassle 
Thursday walking tour of town with Paul 

- internet café wiped my memory card 

PC342 Maninjau Volcano Lake 
biked around the lake 
Tourism killer - loudest mosques in the world
Sun - exploring - Met some village People
Confusing money : being a millionaire 
 hiked from lake to top of the rim at Lawang top 
Indonesia - Tourist dis-Information  
Ugh Leeches
Wed - Another waterfall in a rainstorm with Febby, Arhit and Manual 
Tourism Killer - anti-western prejudice 
Thursday - back to Bukittingi 

-PC342a Minang Kabau Tour with Andre 
Chinese Massacre Story
Another reason why no tourists 
- Fri - One Person motor bike tour for $12
Sat - computer fix - nightmare bus to Lake Tauba
Reason for no tourists in Indonesia #6 Natural Disasters 
Earthquake Postscript

-PC343 Lake Toba 
Touristy setting with no tourists 
Reason for no tourists in Indonesia #7 no tourists
Monday exploring south
Reason for no tourists #8 no cooperation 
Tuesday exploring North 
Weds - day off from tourism , working etc 
let's blame everything on Americans bandwagon
Pushing on
Indonesia not a country , but a continent of many different races

-PC344 Berastagi - highland market town under a volcano  
"you can't climb the volcano without a guide" the hotel insisted  
Reason for no tourists in Indonesia #8 Lies and disinformation 
Sunday - walked around Karo Villages 
Karo Folk Performance 
Great English spoken - a Reason to visit Indonesia 
no laundry - find this guy who does your laundry without pounding out the pattern, in 30 mins and for free 
Reason for no tourists in Indonesia #9 Low standards 
Orang Utan spotting zoo or circus ? 

-PC345 Aceh
Highway Robbery ? Roadblocks 
In Sumatra always take a guide with you, then you don't get hassled by guides 
Easing in 
Master of Languages ... NOT  
wednesday - useless guides  
Jacks joke : about Indonesian police 
Thu -jungle trekking ! Ha ha 
- The truth is Asian food is awful
Fri - Forest park with Simon  
Saturday - with Guide see Orang Utans  
You Don't need a guide but take one once

PC346 Medan City not so bad
Sun to Tue - Exploring Medan City 
Mon walk - got to know it 
Tues walk 

PC347 REPORT Why  1998-2018 is the DON'T Visit Indonesia Decades

After this PC348 Malaysia Index
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