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Old 28-08-2016, 05:45 PM   #1
ant
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Default Ant's Sumatran Adventure

As most of you know I've been on extended holidays for about two months - nearly time to venture back into the workforce, so on the spur of the moment I bought a cheap ticket to Medan, North Sumatra (Indonesia). $320 via KL. Plan is to stay about three weeks and try to see as much of the island as possible.

Lake Toba, North Sumatra - volcanic caldera



Plan is to hire or buy a bike - something small and light - big bore is wasted over there. Ideally you want something small, local and cheap to minimise chance of theft and to maximise the chance that if you break down, almost any local male over the age of 12 can diagnose the problem and fix it for you with string, a cigarette butt and some chewing gum - at least til you get to a workshop.

Something like this would be perfect:

A mighty 200cc Honda Tiger



or a 225cc Yamaha Scorpio





You can buy older versions of these (5-10 years old) for around AUD500-1000 - but then you have to try to sell before you leave and of course have to take a haircut, but that's not too bad for 3 weeks of use. Forget about insurance. If you have an accident - you pay. Likewise for rentals.

Renting is OK, but harder to do in Sumatra than say Bali, where you can rent any sort of bike for between $3-10 per day and where you walk down the street random people shout "Rent bike?" at you all day unless you are actually on a bike. Also renting you have to return the bike rather than starting in the North and riding south and then selling it.

If I do have to rent, it will probably be a scooter - but these are actually OK for this kind of travelling. They handle the roads well, you blend in with local traffic and they are suprisingly not too bad on gravel or packed dirt. Even a bit of mud.







To get you in the mood, here's why I won't be riding a huge bloody GSA - make sure you watch the end of the video


https://www.facebook.com/BikersTech/...1199138722945/

Will try to do trip reports as I go depending upon internet access availability!
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Old 28-08-2016, 06:35 PM   #2
twowheeler
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Default Re: Ant's Sumatran Adventure

Sounds bloody good so far. .
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:45 PM   #3
ant
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Default Re: Ant's Sumatran Adventure

Sorry for the delay in posting, but nothing much happened until today :-)

Got into Medan Monday night, Tuesday struck out on any chance of a rental. There are a few shops but only rent to locals, typically workers from out of town who need a commuter. Unlike Bali where they scream "Rent bike!?" at you wherever you go, here they are reluctant to rent to a mad westerner who wants to take their bike all over Sumatra and to places they themselves have never been.

Anyway, with the help of a local found a used bike shop on Wednesday, but no stepovers, only scooters. But the price was good RP 7500000 which sounds a lot but is actually $750 or thereabouts. The salesman Mr Samuel was a nice guy - he took me to another shop where they had bigger bikes but they were too new and expensive for my tastes. Anyway, got the guy's number and walked away, still dreaming of a Yamaha Scorpio.

Medan, your typical grimy Indonesian city. 3-4 million people in a space much smaller than Melbourne.




(Posting from phone so will send now before I lose it- TBC)

Last edited by ant; 10-11-2017 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:01 PM   #4
John & Johnny
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Default Re: Ant's Sumatran Adventure

Saw the pics on Facebook Ant. Cool. That's a lot of zeros there! 7500000. Wonder why they don't just knockoff 3 zeros throughout the country? It would make things easier. Guess it may not be as easy as it sounds.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:10 PM   #5
ant
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Default Re: Ant's Sumatran Adventure

Wednesday got out of town - two hour bus ride to Berastagi which cost $1. Up in the mountains the town has not one but two active volcanoes close by - volcanic dust coats everything and annoys the locals who are forever cleaning the bikes/cars/houses. But beautiful and dramatic. Up in the hills the maximum daily temp is around 25 so pleasant.


Volcano No. 1



Number 2



Always something for a dog to eat on the streets


Last edited by ant; 10-11-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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