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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

GRAND MUTIARA BERASTAGI

Assalamualaikum dan salam 1Malaysia...

Kita sambung semula cerita di Medan. Lama dah berenti hari tu.... Sampai di Berastagi dah petang. Kami pon check in di Grand Mutiara Berastagi. Bagi saya dah sangat grand dah hotel ni...hehehe... Harga satu malam untuk bilik biasa ialah RM160 berserta breakfast for 2. Dalam bilik tu ada dua katil double. Bilik cantik dan luas. Saya sangat suka dan berpuas hatilah.... Bilik air juga besar dan ada bath tub serta shower yg berasingan.  View kat hotel pon sangat cantik. Hotel pon bersih dan pekerja2 pon helpful.

The room
The bed: 2 double bed. Xtra pillows in the cupboard

View from the balcony of my room
Another view from the balcony
At the lobby. It was
cold that night.

There was a band entertaining guests 










Petang tu budak2 ni semua pakat nak swimming. Tersangatlah sejuknya. Ni ada complain sikit pasal pool mereka. Mengikut salah satu informasi semasa membuat tempahan online (bukan dari website hotel), pool mereka dikatakan ada heater...rupa-rupanya tiada....Memanglah sejuk bedi. Lagi satu, pool mereka ni mcm kurang dijaga sikit. Dah la banyak daun, lepas tu ade plak katak mati....Hmmmm.... Mungkin sebab tujuan utama org datang sini coz nak rehat2 dan kurang guna pool kot. But, still... u have to make sure the pool is clean for guests, right? Tapi poolnya besar dan ada pool berasingan for kids. Kat gigi2 pool pon ada disediakan lounges for guests to rest.

Besarkan pool?
Slide pon ada


Breakfast was ok. No complain whatsoever. Tp still x leh lawan Swiss Belinn Medan punya breakfast eh... he..he..he...

Yang paling best sekali kat sini, boleh nampak view Gunung Sinabung dari lobby. Memang sangat clear. Waktu kami p tu, Gunung tu baru mengamuk terok dalam 10 hari gitu... Lepas tu rasanya bulan 2 hari tu mengamuk lagi...huhuhu....

Mount Sinabong from the hotel's lobby. I used my
Hp to snap the photo. If u use dslr ke ape2 yg
Camera canggih tu, lg la clear....


I think that's all for the hotel. Will continue about what we did at Berastagi after this.  Before I stop, let's just take some time to pray for the safety of the crew and passengers of MH 370. Hope u'll be fine wherever u are now. Everyone is hoping for the best, insyaallah!

Sculpture made by an Indian sand artist (photo from The Star)

Monday, 3 March 2014

From Parapat to Brastagi

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS POST...

After lunch, we stopped by at one of the mosques for prayer, then continued our journey to Brastagi. Sedikit info tentang Brastagi daripada WIKI:

Berastagi (meaning "rice store") is a town and sub-district of Karo Regency situated on crossroads on the main route linking the Karo highlands of Northern Sumatra to the coastal city of Medan. The village rose to significance when Dutch settlers in Sumatra opened a boarding school there in the 1920s.
The main economic activities in Berastagi, centre on the colourful fruit and vegetable market and on tourism. Berastagi is famous for its passion fruit. The main attractions of the town are the two active volcanoes; Gunung Sibayak, with its hot springs, and Gunung Sinabung.
The town is also a stop on the way to Lake Toba. The dominant ethnic and linguisitic group is Karo Batak.

Jalan nak ke Berastagi ni pon lebih kurang jalan nak ke Parapat juga. Jalannya elok cuma kecil dan agak berliku tapi tidaklah seteruk jalan nak ke Cameron Highland. Perjalanan makan masa lebih kurang 4 ke 5 jam juga depending on how u drive...

Singgah beli limau. Sepanjang perjalanan mmg
Bnyk sngt kedai2 buah... mcm2 buah ada...
Harga pon ok la....
Singgah kejap kat tempat pisang grg glamor tu...x sedap lngsong... orang ramai, tunggu Q lama, Pisang muda, tepong x masak... again, too exegerated.  10x  ganda sedap pisang grg dkt Seri Petaling dan dkt Tmn Tamadun Islam KT. Cuma view la lawa... mcm ala2 mkn scone dkt lereng2 teh kat Cameron tu. From observation, saya tengok semua order pisang dngn teh...rasa mcm tourist sngt... Kami x duduk pon, order pon tak, tiba2 tengah2 menebeng2 kat tepi2 kaunter tu, waiter tu kata ada pisang...so, belikla...

Mungkin juga ramai yang singgah sini untuk melepaskan sakit2 tulang selepas lama duduk dalam kereta... bolehla stretching2 ape yg patot...karang cramp kang satu hal pulak... Area ni x ada penjual souvenir...So, selamat nak berjalan2 menghirup udara segar..cuma ada penjual2 makanan aja...mereka pon ok...x ada jenis yg paksa2 punya...

Inilah cafe nyerr.... IMO, if x rasa pisang tu pon x lah rugi sangat kot..he..he..
View from cafe Siantar. Even after a few hours car ride, u can still see the
View of Toba. Punyalah besar tasik ni kan?
Penjual sate di luar Siantar Hotel
 Lepas tu, kami teruskan lg journey to Brastagi. After an hour or so, kami berhenti lg. This time around, we stopped at Sipiso2 Waterfall.  Cantik. ...sangat cantik tp x blh nk ke sana coz jaoh ke bwh....

A little info of the waterfall from WIKI:

The Sipiso-piso is a plunge waterfall in the Batak highlands of Sumatra. It is formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau that hurls itself from a cave in the side of the lake Toba caldera some 120 meters (360 feet) down to lake level. This fact earns it the title for the highest waterfall in Indonesia. Sipisopiso is a well-known tourist attraction and a nearby vantage point offers great vistas of the fall and the lake.

The waterfall drops from
 an opening on the rock face

3 sekawan

Again, masih nmpak Toba walau dh  sampai Piso2...

Besties!
Dekat area si Piso2 ni pon ada bnyk gerai2 jual souvenir dan juga makanan. Jadi, kalau lapar, bolehla survey2 yg mana halal. Sblm meneruskan perjalanan, kami mkn durian dulu kat area Piso2. He..he..he...


At last, before twilight, we arrived at our destination, Mutiara Hotel Brastagi.... Antara ketiga2 hotel yg kami singgah, hotel ni la yg paling cantik dan harganya pon x sampai rm200. Dan yang paling best, blh nmpak clear view of Mount Sinabong yang tengah mengganas pada waktu tu... Will blog about this hotel in my next entry. Terpaksa ambil gmbr dari other source, rupa2nya, x ada ambik gmbr view from the entrance of the hotel...

Photo courtesy of the hotel's website.
 Sebagai penutup entry ini....

Setelah 3 hari kat Medan,  mlm tu barulah dpt merasa
 mkn Bakso tempatan...hehehe...
X brp menepati citarasa tp okla, not bad....:)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Samosir Island, Lake Toba


Early in the morning, we woke up and had breakfast (breakfast was provided for free) at the coffee house. The coffee house was quite far from our room. You could walk but Pak Hassan picked us up and sent us by car. I guess all the drivers get free meals at most hotels here as I noticed all of them relax aje mkn2 breakfast...:)

Anyway, today we would continue our journey to Samosir Island @ Lake Toba.

Before that, here are some info about Lake Toba & Samosir Island adapted from Wiki:

Lake Toba (Indonesian: Danau Toba) is a lake and supervolcano. The lake is 100 kilometres long, 30 kilometres wide, and up to 505 meters (1,666 ft) deep. Located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra with a surface elevation of about 900 metres, it is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world. Lake Toba is the site of a massive supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago, representing a climate-changing event. It is the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it had global consequences for human populations: it killed most humans living at that time and is believed to have created a population bottleneck in central east Africa and India, which affects the genetic make up of the human world-wide population to the present. This hypothesis is not widely accepted because evidence is lacking for a decline or extinction of other animals, including species that are sensitive to changes in the environment.  It has been accepted that the eruption of Toba led to a volcanic winter with a worldwide decrease in temperature between 3 to 5 °C , and up to 15 °C in higher latitudes. Additional studies in Lake Malawi in East Africa show significant amounts of ash being deposited from the Toba eruptions, even at that great distance, but little indication of a significant climatic effect in East Africa. 

Hmmm....dasyat betol eruption di Lake Toba ni satu masa dulu, gulp..takot pulak membacanya....

Meanwhile...

Samosir Island, is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, located in the north of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The lake and island were formed after the eruption of a supervolcano some 75,000 years ago. The island was originally connected to the surrounding caldera wall by a small isthmus, which was cut through to aid navigation.At 640 square kilometres (247 sq mi), Samosir is the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest lake island in the world. It also contains two smaller lakes, Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang. Across the lake on the east from the island lies Uluan Peninsula. The island is linked to the mainland of Sumatra on its western part by a narrow isthmus connecting the town of Pangururan on Samosir and Tele on mainland Sumatra. Tele consequently offers one of the best views of Lake Toba and Samosir Island.

Begitulah serba sedikit tentang Samosir Island ni tuan2 dan puan2...

Jadi, lepas breakfast, kami pon terus pack barang n checked out from Danau Toba Int Cottage coz after Samosir, we would continue our journey to Berastagi. If u have more time to spare, boleh aja stay for 2 days. Lepak2 kat hotel, menghirup udara yang segar dan nyaman...hehehe....

Perjalanan ke jetty sekejap aja, about 5 minutes drive. Naik ferry dlm 50 minit gitu...

View of the lake n its surrounding area
from the ferry

The two princesses

Lake toba shrouded in mystery
Penyanyi jalanan pon
ada dalam feri... carik makan...


Perjalanan naik ferry x lama...Dalam 1 jam sampai la ke Pulau Samosir.

Sampai dah....

Kat sini ada bnyk rumah2 ala2 tradisional
Penduduk di sini. X pasti pulak mereka mmg duduk
Dlm ni or just for exhibit. 

Pintu2 rumah di Samosir ni
ada 2 jenis to indicate the
gender of the owner.  Kalu
mcm ni, ownernya lelaki.
Rumah Batak dr
Pandangan sisi


























Yg ni muzium Batak. Kecik jer muziumnyer...
Jom masok!
Dlm museum kecik tu, mereka pamerkan daily xtvt kaum batak... jom tngk apa ada kt dlm. Bila tngk interior rumah ni, teringat pula interior rumah pnjng di sarawak. Mcm ada similarity. ...


Mesin buat kain....
Alatan muzik

Replika rumah pasung. Dkt dlm tu merupakan
replika patung yg sedang tunggu masa untuk
Dipancong.
Kemain sukan budak2 ni lepak kat batu2 ni...
Yang ni plak penerangan upacara memancong kepala pesalah...
Ngeri wooo dengar citernya....
Masih aksi yang sama jugak...
Lepas jalan2 ape lagik, masok souvenir shop ler. Tp barang2 kat sini
IMO memang murah2 ler... Nampak kedai soft drink kat sebelah kiri tu?
Mahal ya rabbi air die, al-maklomla kedai jual air memang limited. Ada dalam
2-3 kedai aja.  Makin ke dalam, makin mahal woo... Kalah hotel

Silalah derma bg sapa2  yang
nk derma...

Back on the ferry. Muka masing2
Puas hati dh dpt cenderahati masing2. Knk2 pn
 mcm org dewasa juga, mesti nk belik souvenirs...:)

Selepas menghabiskan beberapa jam di Samosir, kami pon menaiki feri semula untuk ke satu lagi perkampungan Batak, Kampong Tomok.

Feri ni dua tingkat. This one was captured from the top floor overlooking
the ground floor. Feri ni style open air. No air-cond. X perlu pon
rasanya air-cond...

Other hotel at the other side of Toba


Anak2 kecil kaum Batak berenang. There was a scene that was a bit
disturbing to me. It seems that people will throw money into the lake
and these kids will swim to chase the money. Those who are fast will get
the money. Why don't they just give the money to the kids instead of throwing it
into the lake? To me, it's something inhumane. 

Kampung Tomok. Kami x turun. I just went
down to buy some drinks. Kena bayar nak
masuk kg ni, tp when i told them i
just wanna buy drinks, mika bg masuk free.
Bnyk anjing lah sini....
Feri berhenti kat sini x lama. Sementara feri berlabuh tu, adalah penjual2 datang jual ubi la, kacangla, kopi la..dan mcm2 lagi...

Lepas sampai semula ke Tanah Besar, kami singgah makan di Rumah Makan Nikmat sebelum meneruskan perjalanan ke Berastagi.

Kalau singgah makan sini, try masak lemak cili apinya...memang
sedap. Harga okla... berpatutan. Rasa? Ok juga...

Still the typical style of Padang Restaurant.

My fav item: I bought this antique mini iron at Samosir Island. Cuba teka berapa harganya? Di Malaysia, saya pernah nampak sejibon, harganya dlm RM80 tetapi di Samosir harganya cuma RP10, 000 (after negotiation). ..he..he..he...
Cute, isn't it?
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Danau Toba International Cottage

Hello all...

Let's continue my journey @ Medan. After luncheon at the padang restaurant, we continued our journey to Parapat. The journey took us about 5 hours...sigh....sob..sob...tp mcm2 pemandangan u blh tengok... ada hutan, ada kampung, ada mcm2 lah... Pak Hassan pulak jenis x kisah, boleh aja berhenti kat mana2... Cuma kami aja yg x suka berhenti2 sangat...nak cepat sampai...

We stopped for a while at the famous Paten Shop. X belik pon, rasa2 kacang free (memang ada free sample for visitors), p toilet, lepas tu cabot... x ada yg berkenan. To me, the shop is too exaggerated! Harga mahal sikit dari kedai biasa. Another reason we didn't buy, perhaps because we were too tired of the journey in the car...so, stretching2 apa yg patot ajela...Ample parking space though, senang nak parking.

The entrance
Ada one group of tourists sedang merasa2 kacang. 

Lepas 15-20 minit dekat Paten, we continued our journey to Danau Toba International Cottage. Dalam kepenatan tu, tiba-tiba bila ternampak aja view of Lake Toba, terus hilang segala penat 5 jam tadi...hihihi... to tell you the truth, that was one of the most magnificent view i had ever seen in my entire life. Tranquil and serene, full of mystery. It's hard to describe by words the serenity of the place, so pure and demure...

Captured from inside the car. 
Dekat2 nak maghrib, kami pon sampai ke hotel. Kami sekeluarga chose the superior rooms while my friend and her family stayed at the cottages (near the pool). Cottage style is much more expensive than superior room. However, view di superior room memang superb!  Bukak pintu, terus nampak Lake Toba... Nyamannya rasa....jauh dari kesibukan di Kuala Lumpur.... Dengan cuacanya yang nyaman, memang seronoklah..rasa tenang dan carefree... Suhu pada ketika itu agak sejuk, dalam 18 darjah celcius gitula... The cheapest room would be standard room tp masa kami book tu, dah sold out. Memang kami plan nak duduk sama, tapi dah x cukup bilik, tu yang pilih bilik lain2 style. We booked directly from the hotel's website. Booking online from the website is much cheaper than walk in. For example, for our superior room, we paid rp450,000 (app RM125) per night instead of rp500,000 (app RM150) inclusive of breakfast for 2. Bnyk jugak difference tu!


1 double bed, cukupla untuk kami 3 beranak. Yg baju biru tu kawan
Faris, aka adik angkat die, datang melawat. My parents stayed next door. 

Ha..motif utama gambar ni nak tunjuk, bukak pintu, nampak danau.
Jadi, silalah abaikan semak samun kat tepi2 tu ya...:)

The view from our superior room. Cantikkan?

Mama n adik in the morning. 
How's the hotel? Obviously it's a 3 star hotel, so memang ala2 3 star hotel la. Tp kedudukannya tu yang menyebabkan kami pilih hotel ni. Harganya pon berpatutan... Tplah kan, banyak betol nyamuk kat sini...adoila kenyang rasa kena gigit... Kami ada complain kat housekeeping, mereka pon semborla bilik dengan ridsect. Air panas plak ada time penggunaannya (dah lupa plak time) - petang sekali, pagi sekali. If u miss the stipulated time, alamat beku ler mandi sejuk....  Housekeeping memang pantas. Call aje, teros mai. Sekejap I mintak bantal, sekejap mintak sejadah, sekejap mintak ridsect, mcm2 lah...

Breakfast was so so and not as variety as Swiss Belinn...Kat Swiss Belinn memang melimpah ruah makanannya....(sorry, x ada plak tngkp gambar cafe). X ada ape sangat pon breakfastnya, cuma ada mi goreng dan nasi goreng, itu aja...

The balcony from my room
Early in the morning...
Anak bujangku...

View of Lake Toba from the swimming pool.  Anak2 kawan
terjun kolam ni tengah malam...sejuk ya rabbi...


















Overall, i was quite satisfied with my stay here....I'm not the picky type, and i've experienced worse, so..okla kiranya hotel ni... Tp view, memang 1st class....cantik! If u wanna book directly from the website, this is the address: http://www.danautobahotel.com/internationalcottage/