Not a bad place for a budget getaway. One hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Medan.

Have to travel a long distance from a place to another and suffer while going through bumpy roads but worth traveling. Get to see the beautiful scenery in Lake Toba, enjoy the cold weather in Berastagi and see an orangutan in Bukit Lawang.

Budget trip: Medan > Lake Toba > Berastagi > Bukit Lawang

Alfa Midi is everywhere in Medan!! 
  • The populations here are mostly Chinese-Indonesians who speak fluent Hokkien, a dialect originating from Fujian Province in Southern China and Mandarin.

  • The food from roadside stalls is mostly maggie goreng, maggie sup or fried rice.

  • Local time in Medan:  one hour behind Malaysia...

My Itinerary

1st day
Skybus from One Utama to KLIA2, it takes about an hour. 
Touched down at Kuala Namu International Airport. 

  • 2 hours drive to Medan for late dinner. 
  • 4-5 hours drive from Medan to Lake Toba

2nd day 

  • Walk to jetty at Tuk-Tuk Indah from our hotel to Samosir Island. About 30 minutes or 1 hour to arrive. 

  • Visited Batak Museum Tomok and their king's grave during olden days in Samosir Island

  • Sepisopiso waterfall (3 hours drive)

  • 2 hours drive from Sepisopiso waterfall to Berastagi 

3rd day

  • Lumbini Buddhist temple

  • Sibayak hot spring
  • Back to Medan

  • Crocodile farm

  • Bukit Lawang (3-4 hours drive)

4th day
Bukit Lawang (Jungle trekking, see OrangUtan, rafting)  

  • Rushed to the airport (4 hours drive)

Ticket price

2-way AirAsia flight ticket: RM209.

Hotel + Food + Miscellaneous : RM470.

Total spent --> RM679 for 4D3N 


I And You Parapat Hotel 
(RP300,000 per night)

  • Found this in a very last minute as we did not book any hotel in advance.

  • One queen + one single bed

  • No fan, no air conditioner but it's totally fine as the weather is cold.

  • The toilet, obviously not a decent toilet. No basin, no hot water, and the toilet bowl were dirty. It wasn't a very big concern, we're staying just for a night, probably a few hours. 

  • Our room was facing the beautiful scenery. Waking up by seeing the beautiful lake and mountains are the best. Breathtaking~
Hotel Sibayak Berastagi 
(about RP220,000 per person per night)
Comes with free breakfast

  • Nice and comfortable
  • Two twin beds

Bukit Lawang Indah Hotel 
(RP200,000 + RP 150,000 for driver to stay + Rp 30,000 for overnight parking) 

  • Two queen size beds

  • Paid half for driver's room, the driver brought his kids along and expect us to pay for everything, we decided to paid half after some discussions


Ayam Penyet Kondong Rasa Brebes

  • Ayam Penyet (RP16,000/plate) ---Chicken not as big as Restaurant Warong Ayam Penyet Malaysia but it's pretty cheap. The chili is super spicy.

  • Worth eating

Warung Islam Ratih Stall

  • Had our heavy breakfast at this small stall along the path to jetty. Ordered Indomee (RP13,000), nasi soto (RP 17,000), hot milo (RP7,000), hot tea (RP5,000). Driver ordered rice with fish and vege (RP17,000).

  • -paid for the driver.

Our breakfast

Keripik pisang / kuih-muih/ drinks

#MeganTravelTips From a lady at one of the petrol stations. This is good.

Bought it again at one of the shops in Medan, doesn't taste as good as this.

Rumah Makan Garuda

  • All the dishes were served on the table, it's our choice whether to eat it or leave it. 
  • you have to pay for what you eat only.

  • #MeganTravelTips I don't recommend this. Food wasn't good and was mostly cold.

Snacks at Lumbini temple

  • Tape (RP1000) --sweet potato with sourish taste.

  • If you look closely, it looks moldy. The person told us that it's all good and originally look in this way, but I couldn't accept it.

Mee (RP3000), kuih (RP1000)

One of the roadside stall while we're on the way back from sibayak hot spring to Medan
  • Maggie goreng + teh o limau (RP 94,000) -- love their maggie goreng. Nice and spicy.

Goreng pisang raja
Fried banana (RP 20,000) -- Must try!

Bika Ambon and Kuih Lapis

  • Famous local food

  • Bought it back for family

  • Bika Ambon ( yellow kuih) and kuih lapis.

  • Chocolate tart


  • Skybus (RM15) from One Utama to KLIA2. 

Don't be late! The bus leave on time!

  • The driver drove us around for 4D2N (2 mil. rupiah) 

  • Tuk-tuk to Samosir Island (Rp 10,000)

Places to go

Lake Toba

It is the largest natural lake in Indonesia and also the largest volcano lake in the world. Ditch the urban landscape for enormous crystal clear lake, recharge our mind from draining social interactions and enjoy nature.

The chilly weather was just pleasant. Breezy and cold~17-degree Celsius, cold but bearable. 

It's a long drive from Medan to Lake Toba, took about 4-5 hours. 

Samosir Island @ Lake Toba

Went to Samosir Island by tuk-tuk. Kids were singing and started collecting money from all the passengers. There were people selling peanuts or sunglasses too.
We were given an hour to spend on Samosir Island. Nothing much. It's just a place to buy souvenirs like keychains or clothing.
Visited Batak Museum Tomok at the end of the street and the grave of Indonesia kings in olden days.
A guy started story us about the history of the kings. Dropped RP10,000 in the donation box.

Sepisopiso waterfall

One of the tallest (120) waterfall in Indonesia. It's formed by a small underground river of the Karo Plateau and flows out into the Lake Toba. 3 hours journey but thankfully we could see the beautiful lakes along the way to Sepisopiso waterfall.
Such beautiful scenery, we could enjoy the majestic looking waterfall from the top. It's possible to reach the bottom of the waterfall if you don't mind spending extra energy on the steep walking trails which has 1000 over steps~ We chose to view it from the top haha!
It was cold here!
*Printed 8R size photo (RP 25,000) taken by the photographer

Lumbini, Buddha temple @ Berastagi

This temple situated on a hill in the area of Berastagi and it is based on the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar. However, the architecture is similar to a Thai pagoda which covered with gold. It hosts an elephant statue and the door appears like an India craft.
No shoes are allowed, a cloth will be given to wrap around for those who wear shorts before entering the temple to show respect.
Buddhist songs were played in the temple.

#MeganTravelTips Check out Mikie Funland in Berastagi!
 #It was closed on the day when we were there. 

Sibayak hot spring (RP4,000/person)

Hotspring located near Raja Bemeh Village at the base of Sibayak Volcano. There were a variety of pools for therapeutic bathing at different temperatures.
I've tried a few, the temperature of most of the pool seems the same to me. It was just warm, not hot.
Numbers of people were enjoying soaking themselves in the pool while enjoying the view of sibayak volcano.
I soaked my legs! Not the whole body 


Taman Buaya Asam Kumbang (Rp 37,000/person)

There's a lot of a lot of crocodiles!! This crocodile farm is run by a husband and wife. 
Ladyboss told us that her husband loves crocodile that he actually bought a pair of crocodile and started breeding it. There are more than 100 crocodiles today.
Some of them were separated by age, tourists could see the differences between the crocodiles for all ages.

#MeganTravelTips Don't miss the feeding time! It's amazing to see how the worker feed the crocodiles by throwing whole chicken and they would just fight over it.

Bukit Lawang
The feeling that I couldn't describe how suffering I was during the journey to Bukit Lawang.
Imagine going through 35km of bumpy roads from Medan to Bukit Lawang which took 3-4 hours drive. I was half asleep for the whole journey to distract myself from the bumpiness but couldn't go into deep sleep. The road was completely dark if there are no cars, the lights were all from the headlight of the car.
Forget about the terrible bumpy road. We had jungle trekking the next day in the early morning! Excited! 
Package: Jungle trekking + raft down from the top + see orangutan + light meal 
Total- Rp 1.5 mil/person

We saw the orangutan! So closed up to us! We were not allowed to feed them and spray lots of mosquito repellents on our body.
Raft down when we reached the top, people were sunbathing and some were staying for the holiday along the river.
Had our light lunch before rafting down. Bananas and rambutan were given to us, that's our light lunch. Be like an orangutan!

We were invited to driver's house at Medan. I guess the driver was just too tired that he needs some rest.

Super nice! Prepared by his wife.
Taste like rojak meehoon?!

Drinks and snacks were served

Soto ayam, same goes to this, prepared by his wife

A cool fan spotted. I've never seen this.

Well in their toilet

# MeganTravelTips: My personal travel tips and recommendations

INSTAGRAM: _megantsy

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