Danau Toba and the Banyak Archipelago

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March 7th 2011
Published: March 7th 2011
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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.

Additional photos below
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7th March 2011

Sitting here in Moscow and preparing for a trip to the coldest inhabited place in the world while looking at these pictures of the postcard-perfect beaches you were forced to spend 3 weeks on for so little money makes me wonder whether I've chosen the right destination
7th March 2011

Oh my goodness!
You two must be livid that you are having to return home because of this whole banking problem. I really hope you get it sorted out and get back out there as soon as you can. We had a few problems with Nationwide but nothing on the scale you have experienced. anyway... Loving this blog and the photos are fabulous, Tailana looks like one of those real gem places you never thought you'd find, always better when you have it all to yourselves too :o) Are you home soon then? Hope you have a safe trip and get it all fixed up.. I really wouldn't want to be working at Nationwide around the time of your arrival!
8th March 2011

The more I read, the more I feel I am there. Deffo on my list for the next trip. Cheers for sharing. :-)
9th March 2011

Thanks guys! Yeas, the hardship of having to spend so long in such a place! We are travelling back there tomorrow to further conserve our meager funds. Bummer! Mister Munkey: I think you'd need a shave where you to visit, the place is seriously hot. Also, the large eagles we constantly spotted may take a liking to a small simian such as yourself! On the plus side, there is much swinging to be done. Sophie and Dale; Thanks for your commiserations though, as you may understand reading this in cold Northampton, thery are not really warranted! And, yes, Nationwide are going to be not liking me very much at all when we return! And Ed: you know you've made the right decision, an adventurer like you would be bored silly on Tailana! Pack your swimming trunks for your upcoming trip and pretend!
11th March 2011

Hi Scoot and Anny. I like to see your pictures in West Sumatra. Danau Toba and Pulau Banyak are famous destination also for local tourists. To bad you guys can't visit Pulau Weh at Aceh, seem like more peaceful and beautiful place. By the way, have you visited Sibolga? about 6 hours from Danau Toba to south and beautiful small shore city. Happy traveling :) P.S: I like your panorama's picture. You guys have a lot of great times.
12th April 2011
but we only made the trip once as it was hard to drag ourselves away from what we had all to ourselves on Tailana.

tailana is great! i stayed there in 2008. we had to carry all stuff including our beds etc...nice
13th April 2011
but we only made the trip once as it was hard to drag ourselves away from what we had all to ourselves on Tailana.

i like this
nice pic....
30th January 2012

pulau banyak
We are in Pulau Weh right now. Snorkeling and diving is good. Th beaches are a bit dissapointing, almost none. Afther seeing your pictures of the banyaks we dicided to go there next week
3rd February 2012

Cool. It is genuinely stunning. But be warned, malaria is rife there. I caught it and it was not nice. Say hello to Charlie on Tailana or Erwin on palambak
21st May 2013

to go to pulau banyak, the nearest one is from the Singkil, to go Singkil, from: Medan, Tangkahan, bukit lawang, lake toba and tuk tuk, you can ask information to mr darmawan, he stay in singkil. He also can arrange your trip, because he has a transportation company, private or public. contact: e-mail: dmawan_skl76@yahoo.com, hp: +6281377219667

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