We can’t recommend Timur and Rote enough as a holiday destination. Off the well worn tourist trail, but easy and full of great people. Our trip included Kupang (with its night market), climbing Fatu Timau and Mutis, and relaxing on Rote Island – world class surfing at the southernmost point of Indonesia.
Dempo is a hulk of a mountain, and one of the few peaks in Sumatra over 3,000 metres. It dominates the landscape at the southern end of the Bukit Barisan mountains in South Sumatra, an area that’s important for Sumatran tigers. It’s not an easy mountain to get to, requiring a 6 hour drive from Bengkulu or Palembang.
We joined the four-day Java Lava trip organised to to coincide with Ascension Day (national holiday) – the Friday also happened to be my birthday and we thought that camping in the meadow below Dempo’s crater at 3,000 m would be a good place to spend it. We were also going to test out our new, fabulous Hilleberg tent.
Using a pinch day before Waisak day, we took a four day break to the volcanic islands of Ternate and Tidore islands in eastern Indonesia’s North Maluku province. It’s a four hour direct flight from Jakarta to Ternate, which we chose to do on the rather brutal red eye that leaves Jakarta at 1 am and arrives in Ternate at 6am. If this was not much fun for us, it was even less fun for our friend Olivier who had just arrived in Jakarta from Vancouver on Friday lunchtime. Still, we all got a bit of sleep on the plane and arrived safely in Ternate, a landing that involves circling clockwise around the volcano and dropping to land on the runway (at the second attempt in our case).
After climbing Kerinci, we had a great time in and around the mountain resort town of Bukittinggi. We had a bit of R&R and did some “normal” tourist stuff, before our legs recovered and we were tempted again to head off the beaten track to climb Gunungs Sago and Singgalang.
Based on a recommendation from a traveller in Kersik Tua, we stayed in the great Kartini Hotel. It’s kind of caught in a time warp, but is clean, has hot water and we took the great top floor room. The staff are friendly and serve up a decent simple breakfast. For the fives times daily call to prayer, the place literally vibrates from the speakers from the mosque opposite. Part of the fun in Bukittinggi.