Published: March 7th 2011March 7th 2011
This blog is going to be a little different. I am going to seriously reign in the word count and allow the pictures to speak for themselves. We are reaching the end of this particular trip and, due to the imbecility of our bank (detailed hereThings don't go as planned in the land of the buffalo cult.
), have all but entirely run out of funds. Planned adventures have had to be abandoned due to their relative expense and replaced with cheaper, necessarily more sedentary activities. It is a shame that we will not see the north of Aceh, Pulau Weh, that we will not go on our planned five day jungle trek, nor climb that volcano. What we have been forced to do is to spend most of our remaining three weeks lazing on a beach, as this is about the cheapest activity we can find. So, no complaints! What it does mean is that we have been unable to be as adventurous as usual I therefore lack a sufficiently interesting peg on which to hang the plain jacket of this blog. Which in turn means we all get to take a break; me from writing long blogs, you from having to read them.
For those of you who appreciate a
little information, here are some details. The journey from Bukittinggi to the high altitude crater lake of Danau Toba was simple, if long. A direct bus makes the 15 hour journey to Parapat, from where a regular boat sails to Tuk Tuk on the island of Samosir. From Tuk Tuk to Pulau Banyak, the journey was a little more fractured, though not really difficult. Take a local bus across Samosir Island to the town of Pangururan Change here for a bus to Sidikilang, which as it has to navigate some very windy, badly surfaced mountain roads, takes about four hours. From Sidikilang catch a bus to Subulus Salem, change there for a bus to Singkil, the departure point for boats to the Banyak Archipelago. In Singkil you can stay at Melly's homestay for 30,000 Rupiah, where you can tap the friendly owner for masses of information. Fishing boats sail to Balai, the administrative capital of Pulau Banyak and the place from which you can strike out to the smaller islands. The fishing boat costs 25,000 Rupiah and takes four hours. They are often dangerously overloaded though so the weekly ferry that sails on Tuesdays and costs half the price may
be a better option. We stayed on Tailana island (one of two that has accommodation) which has very basic huts for 50,000 Rupiah. Food costs a further 50,000 Rupiah per person per day. Transfer to the island is 250,000 Rupiah per boat, so if possible try and share.
There are more photos below