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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Medan 2015: Days 1 & 2

We had a holiday in Medan from 1-4 May 2015, taking advantage of the long Labour Day and Wesak Day weekend. This was Angie's second trip (after 24 years), while it was the first for the rest of the family.

Day 1: Penang to Medan

We left Penang at 4.10pm on Air Asia, and arrived at 4.10pm local time in Medan. We were picked up by our driver and guide, Jack, and headed straight to the city. Accommodation for the night was at Swiss-Belinn Medan.

For dinner, Bart's former student took us to the Mega Mas area for dinner at a hawker centre and a walk around the night market. It was a very crowded area with the pedestrians practically sandwiched between the stalls and vehicles. Before we parted, we were presented with two of Medan's famous desserts: Bolu Meranti's cheese Swiss-roll, and Nikmat Twin's bika ambon.

Day 2: Medan to Lake Toba

After breakfast at the hotel, we checked-out at 8.00am. We stopped at Istana Maimun, the palace of the Sultanate of Deli for a quick look-around before leaving the city at around 8.30am for Lake Toba.

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[Istana Maimun]

At 11.45am we stopped at the famous Paten shop at Pematang Siantar. We left after purchasing some dodol with sesame seeds, spicy binjai fritters, pong pong (rice pop candy), pang pang (similar to our shat kek mah), tang tang (similar to our kuih kapit), and ak am (soft peanut candy).

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[At the Paten shop]

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[Some of the stuff we bought from the Paten shop]

At 1.15pm we arrived at the lakeside town of Parapat. We had lunch at a road-side stall serving the local delicacy: babi panggang Karo (BPK) or Karo grilled pork. A set comes with grilled pork, kidu-kidu (pig intestine sausage), pulos-pulos (thinly shredded tapioca leaves), and soup. Simple but delicious!

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[BPK being prepared]

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[The BPK set of rice, grilled pork, kidu-kidu, pulos-pulos and soup]

After lunch, we caught the 2.30pm ferry for a one-hour ride to Samosir.

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[On the ferry from Parapat to Samosir]

Upon arrival at Samosir, we headed to the Batak Museum, and Tombs of the Sidabutar Kings at Tomok.

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[The Batak museum]

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[The tombs of the Sidabutar Kings]

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[Adults are obliged to wear the ulos (a kind of shoulder shawl or selendang) while entering the tomb area]

We arrived at Samosir Cottages at about 4.15pm, and it was drizzling. Shortly after settling in, the kids wanted to go swimming in the pool. The water was cold (the climate at Lake Toba is actually slightly cool) but they didn't seem to mind!

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[At the edge of the lake at Samosir Cottages]

We had dinner at the hotel and were entertained thereafter with a performance of Batak dances and singing.

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