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Subject: Sumatra - The Internet Travel Guide (FAQ) (part 1/2)

This article was archived around: 5 Jan 98 08:06:46 GMT

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Archive-name: travel/sumatra-guide/part1 URL: http://www-students.unisg.ch/~pgeiser/sumatra/index.htm Posting-Frequency: monthly
SUMATRA The Internet Travel Guide Peter M. Geiser ************************************************************************** Last change 25 December 1997 Contents Introduction Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997 Changes 1. General Overview 1.1 Geographical Information 1.2 Climate 1.3 People 1.4 Visa 1.5 Embassies 1.6 Border Crossing 1.7 Customs 1.8 Money 1.9 Telephone 1.10 Accommodation 1.11 Food 1.12 Health 2. Transportation 2.1 Flying 2.2 Train 2.3 Bus 2.4 Car 2.5 Becak and Taxi 2.6 Trekking 3. Places Banda Aceh Medan Lake Toba Samosir Island Prapat Nias Island - Gunungsitoli - Telukdalam Bukttinggit Jungle Train Padang 4. Literature 4.1 Guidebooks 4.2 Historical/Political 4.3 Internet A. Contributors ************************************************************************** The Internet Travel Guide http://www-students.unisg.ch/~pgeiser/itg.htm Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997 Peter M. Geiser Peter.Geiser@student.unisg.ch Currently available in the series of the Internet Travel Guides: Cambodia China Laos Myanmar (Burma) Sumatra Switzerland Tibet Vietnam ************************************************************************** INTRODUCTION The main objective of this FAQ is to provide the reader with the newest travel information available, like what is the current situation on visa, where to stay and what prices are reasonable, etc. It is not a guide to the Sumatras culture or history (although I started to include some information about those subjects as well), for these non-changing facts are much more pleasantly presented in many good books (see the list in section 4 in this FAQ). It is also not intended to be a political pamphlet since politics is often a very opinionated subject. However, I started to include some political facts where I felt it was appropriate. Remember: Things change very fast, so by the time you get to Sumatra the information in this FAQ may be outdated. If you encounter this, please bear with me. Instead of being upset, rather share your experiences with other people on the net. The next tourist will thank you if he or she can rely on your new information. Also, if you find time during your travels to write a postcard or a letter to me, I would greatly appreciate it. Some paragraphs are led by the name of the author in brackets. This doesn't mean that these are their only contributions, but rather that in that case I chose to leave the words as the author wrote them, adding a more personal note to the FAQ. Answering questions There are many people who send mail to ask me some questions. As much as I like to answer as many questions as possible, my time is limited. I do this work in my spare time, so I frequently answer the questions only after a couple of days (or even weeks if I'm away for a while.) It also happens that I cannot return an e-mail due to an invalid e-mail address. Please be careful to include a valid e-mail address, or then ask me to post the answer in rec.travel.asia. This guide lives by being up-to-date. Since I cannot travel all the time, I am glad to receive suggestions, contributions and comments. Any addition is useful, regardless of the size. ************************************************************************** COPYRIGHT NOTICE In accordance with the Bern convention, this document is copyrighted worldwide. The information provided within this document is the property of the original authors. The author especially reserves the right to the exclusive use of the term "The Internet Travel Guide". This document or parts thereof may NOT be sold for profit or included in any commercial documents (e. g. books, esp. guide books, magazines, CD-ROMs, WWW-pages, the Microsoft Network or any other form) without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. However, following the common practice of the Internet, this document may be freely redistributed without any modification whatsoever, including this copyright notice. If you as the reader has paid to get this document, please let me know. As much as I would like I cannot give you back your money, but I can try to put an end to the illegal stealing of other people's work. ************************************************************************** The Internet Travel Guide Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997 http://www-students.unisg.ch/~pgeiser/itg.htm Peter M. Geiser Seeblickstr. 10 9010 St.Gallen Switzerland Peter.Geiser@student.unisg.ch ************************************************************************** Changes In this change log I list all the changes to the Internet Travel Guide to Sumatra since 1st November 1996. 1997-12-25 1.8 MONEY: Updated exchange rate 1997-11-25 1.14 HEALTH: Updated malaria section 1997-03-31 Changed Rp. to IDR (ISO code) JUNGLE TRAIN: Added this report by Marc. A. CONTRIBUTORS: Added Marc, of course. 1997-03-21 Corrected the currency from INR to Rp. (Anyone knows the ISO-Code?) 1.2 CLIMATE: Added some details. 1.6 BORDER CROSSING: Added air entry point. 1.10 ACCOMMODATION: Added info on top range. 1.11 FOOD: Added info on top range. 1996-11-13 1.5 EMBASSIES: Corrected address of embassy in Poland. 1996-11-09 Deleted empty parts in chapter 4. ************************************************************************** 1. GENERAL OVERVIEW 1.1 GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION Sumatra is a part of the Republic of Indonesia. It is located to the west of Malysia, streching over Area 473'481 km2 Highest point Mt. Kerinci, 3805 m Time GMT plus 7 hours Measures Metric Electricity 220 V, 50 Hz, in some areas 110 V In the Web-version of the Internet Travel Guide at http://www-students.unisg.ch/~pgeiser there would be a map right here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.2 CLIMATE Temperature is nearly the same all year round, averaging between 25 to 30 degrees. It is quite humid. The rainiy season lasts from October to March. On the west coast it rains quite a lot, less so on the east. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.3 PEOPLE Population 36.6 mio Language Bahasa Indonesia Religion mostly Muslim, some Christian, Hindu and Buddhists -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.4 VISA Tourists may stay for up to 2 months. There is no extension available. A visa is not necessary for people from other ASEAN countries, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA. For people from other countries, a visa valid one month may be obtained from an Indonesian embassy or consulate. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.5 EMBASSIES INDONESIAN EMBASSIES ABROAD Algeira 6 Rue Muhammed Chemlal, B.P. 6216070, El-Mauradia Algier, Tel (213-1) 602011, 602051, Fax 591245 Argentina Mariskal Ramon Castila 2901, 1425 Buenos Aires, Tel 8016622, 8016655, 8017142, Fax 8024448 Australia Embassy: 8 Darwin Ave, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT-2600, Tel 2733222 (?), 2508600, Fax 2508666 Consulates: Adelaide, Tel 2236535 18 Harry Chan Avenue, Darwin, NT-0800, Tel 819352 (?), 410048, Fax 412709 236-238 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, NSW-2035, Tel 3449933 72 Queen's Road, Melbourne, VIC-3004, Tel 6907811 (?), 5252755, Fax 5251588 134 Adelaide Tce., East Perth, WA-6004, Tel 2198212 (?), 2215858, Fax 2215688 Sydney, Tel 3449933 Austria Gustav Tschenmakgasse 5-7, 1180 Wien, Tel 0222342533 Bangladesh Gulshan Ave 75, Gulshan Model Town, Dhaka, Tel 600131 Belgium Avenue de Turvueren 294, 1150 Brussels, Tel 7712014 Brazil Setor Embaixada Sul Avenida, Das Nacoes Yuadra, 805, Lote 20 Caixa Postal 08934, Tel (06)2430102, 2430233, 2444904, Fax (061)2431713 Brunei EDR 4303 Lot 4498 KG, Sungai Hanching Baru, Simpang 528, Jl Muara, PO Box 3013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Tel 330180 Bulgaria 32, Veliko Turnovo Street, Sofia 1504, Tel (00359)(2)442349, 441787, Fax (00359)(1)446544 Canada Embassy: 287 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0L9, Tel (613)2367403 Consulates: 129 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2H6, Tel (416)5916462, 3604020, Fax (416)3604295 1455 West Georgia Street, 2nd Floor, Vancouver, B.C., V6G 2T3, Tel (604)6828855, Fax (604)6628396 Chile PO Box 20 D, Santiago, Tel (02)20811541. China Sanlitun Diplomatic Office Building B, Beijing, 100600, Tel 5325484, Fax 5325366 Colombia Carrera 9 No. 76-27, Santa Fe De Bogota D.C., Tel (021)2176738, Fax (571)2103507 Denmark Orehoj Alle 1, 2900 Hellerup, Copenhagen, Tel (01)624539 Ethiopia Mekanisa Road Higher 23, Kebele 13, Hous No. 1816, PO Box 1004, Addis Ababa, Tel (00251) 712104 Finland 37 Berikinkatu, 00810 Helsinki 18, Tel (694)7744 France Embassy: 47-49 Rue Contambert, 75116 Paris, Tel 45030760 Consulate: Marseille, Tel 91713435 Germany Embassy: Bernkastelerstr. 2, 5300 Bonn 2, Tel (0228)328990 Consulates: Berlin, Tel 4722002, Bremen, Tel (0421)3322224, Tel (0211)353081, Frankfurt am Main, Tel (06105)76003, Hamburg, Tel (040)512071, Hannover, Tel (511)1032150, Kiel, Tel (0431)603425, Muenchen, Tel (089)294609, Stuttgart, Tel (711)223729 Greece Consulate: 11-13 Shyrou St, Athens 811, Tel 9914082 Hong Kong Consulates: 127-129 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, Tel 8904421 Hungary Gorkij Fasor No. 26, 1068 Budapest, Tel (361)1428508, Fax (361)1228669 India Embassy: 50A Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021, Tel 602353 Consulates: Bombay, Tel 368678, Calcutta, Tel 460297 Iraq Hay Al Wahda 906/02/77, PO Box 420, Baghdad, Tel (964-1) 7198677 Italy Embassy: 53 Via Campania, 00187 Rome, Tel 4825951 Consulates: Genoa, Tel 268322, Napoli, Tel 400143, Trieste, Tel 765601 Japan Embassy: 2-9 Higashi Gotanda 5 Chome, Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo, Tel 4414201, 34414201, 34414209, Fax 34471697 Consulates: Fukuoka, Tel (092)7613031 Kato Building 3rd floor, Kyomachi 76-1, Chuo-ku, Kobe 605, Tel (078)3211656, Fax (078)3920792 883-3 Chome 4-Jo, Miyayanomori, Sapporo, Tel (011)2516002 Kenya Utalli Hous 3rd Floor, Uhuru Highway/Loita Street, PO Box 48868, Nairobi, Tel 215874/5, 215848, Fax (2542)340721 Korea, Democratic People's Republic 5 Foreigner's Building Moon So Dong, PO Box 178 Taedongkang, District Pyong Yang, Tel 81-7425 Laos Phon Kheng Road, PO Box 277, Vientiane, Tel 413907, 413909, 413910, 413914 Luxembourg Consulate: Gote d'Eich 15, Luxembourg, Tel 0352 471591 Malaysia Embassy: Jalan Tun Razak No 233, PO Box 10889, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Tel 9842011 Consulates: Kota Kinabalu, Tel 54100, Penang Island, Tel 25162 Mexico Calle Julio Verme No. 27, Colonia Polanco, Mexico 11560 D.F, Tel 280 5748, 280 6363, 280 6237, 280 6863, Fax 280 7062 Myanmar 100 Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Road, PO Box 1401, Rangoon, Tel 81174, 81358 Netherlands 8 Tobias Asserlaan, 5517 s'Gravenhage, Tel (070)3108100 New Zealand 70 Glen Road, Kelburn, Wellington, Tel 758695, Fax 759374 Nigeria 5, Anifowoshe Street, Victory Island, PO Box 3473, Lagos, Tel (01)610508, 614601, Fax 234 1 613.301 Norway Gt 8 Inkognito, 0258 Oslo 2, Tel 441121 Pakistan Embassy: Diplomatic Enclave Ramna 5/4, PO Box 1019, Islamabad, Tel 811291 Consulates: Karachi, Tel 531938 Philipines 185 Salcedo Street, Lagaspi Village, PO Box 372 MCC, Makati, Metro Manila, Tel 855061 Poland UL Wachocka No. 9 Saska Kepa, PO Box 33, 03-934 Warsawa, Tel (22) 6173917 Romania Starda Orlando 10, PO Box 1109, Bucharest, Tel 120212, Fax 120214 Russia 12 Novokuznetskaya Ulitsa, Moskwa, Tel 2319549 Senegal 126, Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop-X, Avenue Bourguiba, B.P.5859, Dakkar, Tel (221) 257316, Fax (221) 255896 Singapore 7 Chatsworth Road, Singapore 1024, Tel 7377422 Spain Embassy: 65 Calle de Agestia, Madrid 28043, Tel 4130294 Consulates: Barcelona, Tel 3171900 Sri Lanka 1 Police Park, Colombo 5, Tel 580113 Sweden 47/V Strandvagen, 11456 Stockholm, Tel 6635470 Switzerland Elfenauweg 51, Postfach 270, 3006 Bern, Tel (031)440983 Tanzania 299, Upanga Road, PO Box 572, Dar Es Salaam, Tel 46347, Fax 46350 Thailand 600-602 Phetburi Road, Bangkok, Tel 2523135 Tunesia 117, Avenue Jugurtha, Mutullevile B.P. 63, El-Menzah, 1004, Tunis, Tel 797188, Fax: 791303 Turkey Abdullah Cevdet Sok No. 10, PK.C 42 Cankaya-06680, Ankara, Tel 4382190, Fax 4382193 United Kingdom 38 Grosvenor Square, London, Tel (0171)4997661 USA Embassy: 2020 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036, Tel 202 7755200 Consulates: 2 Illinois Center, 233 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1422, Chicago, Il 60601, Tel (312)9380101, Fax (312)9383148 Honolulu, Tel 808 5244300 10900 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX 77042, Tel (713)7851691, Fax (713)7809644 Los Angeles, Tel 213 3835126 5 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10017, Tel (212)8790600 1111 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133, Tel (415)4749571, Fax (415)4414320 Vatican Piazzale Roberto Ardigo 42, 00142 Rome, Tel 594 0441, Fax 541 7934 Venezuela Apartado De Correos 67061, Caracas 1061-A, Tel (58.2)9780793, Fax 9760550 Vietnam 50 Pho Ngo Quyen, Hanoi, Tel 256316, Fax 259274 FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN SUMATRA -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.6 BORDER CROSSING Entry to and exit of Indonesia is only allowed at certain 'gateway' cities. For other cities, a special permit is needed. Air Ambon, Bali, Balikpapan, Batam, Biak, Jakarta, Kupang, Manado, Medan, Pekanbaru, Pontianak, Surabaya, and Ujung Pandang. Sea Ambon, Bali, Balikpapan, Batam, Jakarta, Manadao, Medan, Riau, Semarang, Surabaya, and Tanjung Pinang. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.7 CUSTOMS There is no limitation on importing and exporting foreign currency. Indonesian rupees are limited to IDR 50000. A maximum of two litres alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 g of tobacco, and a reasonable amount of perfume per adult are allowed on entry. Cars, photographic equipment, typewriters and tape recorders must be declared when entering and must be taken out again. Narcotics, arms and ammunition, TV sets and radios are prohibited. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.8 MONEY The currency is the Indonesian Rupee (IDR). It is divided into 100 Sen, but the Sen is no longer used. Denominations: 50000, 20000, 10000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100. There are coins of 500, 100, 50 and 25 IDR. The exchange rate is about USD 1 = 4860 (15 Dec 1997) (Historical development: 2330 in Oct 1996, 2200 in Aug 1995, 2200 in 1995, 2160 in 1994, 2087 in 1993, 2030 in 1992, 1950 in 1991, 1843 in 1990) There are several banks with slightly different exchange rates. Although they don't vary much, it still may be worth your while to look around for the best rate on offer. Some banks: Bank Negara Indonesia, Lippo Bank. Travellers' Cheques can be changed in larger cities and tourist destinations. If you want to leave the beaten path for a longer time, you should consider postal cheques. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.9 TELEPHONE Indonesia's international dial code is 62. Some area codes (to dial you need the prefix 0): Jakarta 21 Medan 61 Padang 751 Palembang 711 Pekanbaru 761 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.10 ACCOMMODATION Acommodation is reletively cheap, starting at less than USD 3, and ranging to over USD 250. It is usually no problem to get a room. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.11 FOOD Food is generally very cheap, to give an example, a glass of tea can be obtained for as little as IDR 100. Depending on the location, many different styles of Asian food is available; apart from Indonesian, you will often see Malay, Chinese and Indian restaurants. As with accommodation, it is possible to spend a lot of money on food. A meal in an upper-class restaurant can easily cost USD 50. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.12 HEALTH The normal health considerations apply to Sumatra. While malaria (see below) used to be a serious risk some years back, it is nearly extinct in the cities. However, one should take emergency treatment, just in case. Threats for sunbathers are sunburn and heat exhaustion. Drink a lot (not alcohol) make sure you get enough salt, and cover your skin with sun lotion. Malaria Malaria (from Italian 'mala aira', bad air) is an infection of the blood caused by the bite of mosquitoes (Anopheles). The decay of the red blood cells causes fever and eventually a lack of oxygen which can, in case of a malaria cerebral, cause brain damage. Depending on the type of malaria these fever shocks appear every three (malaria tertiana) or four (malaria quartana) days. Death rate of malaria is less than 1%. There have been many discussions on how to best deal with it and even the doctors have not yet agreed on a single opinion. There are two possibilities for prohylaxis. For a short stay (less than one month) in a malaria endangered region, prophylaxis with Lariam, as described by doctors, is recommended. This gives nearly 100% protection. For longer trips, Lariam should not be used, since there are too many side effects (such as liver problems). If you want to use a prophylactic at all, use one on Chloroquin (several different brands) basis. Although protection is only about 50 - 70%, it still reduces the effects of an actual infection. The most important thing about malaria is to recognize it as such. Every little health center with a microscope can make a reliable diagnose. If you feel sick, have a check done. In case of a negative result, and you keep feeling sick, then have the check re-done every three days. Use your own, clean blood-sampling needles. A special danger causes a malaria that develops at the same time as a flue or a pneumonia, since it is often recognized too late. Carry a treatment package with you (e.g. Lariam or Halfon) and use it according to the instructions on the package slip once malaria has been diagnosed. Do visit a doctor! Local treatments (mainly Cloroquine) are made for the local population which is semi-immunized. These treatments are often too weak for Western people. Somebody taking Lariam treatment should always be watched by another person, because of the side-effects (especially mental problems, depressions, nightmares, and higher photo-sensitivity of the skin. There is even a small danger of suicide!) However, the most effective way to prevent malaria are mosquito repellent (possibly with at least 20% DEET, or citronella.) Since mosquitoes are only active after sundown and before sunset, make sure you wear clothes that cover the skin and use a good mosquito net. Malaria can break quite some time after leaving the endangered region. Typically, an outbreak occures within the first three months, but I know of a case where the malaria broke out two years after infection! Take this into account if you become sick within this time and have a malaria test made. The homepage of the Internet Travel Guides is at http://www-students.unisg.ch/~pgeiser/itg.htm Please send your comments, suggestions and contributions to the address below. For questions, please see my note in the introduction. e-mail:peter.geiser@student.unisg.ch Peter M. Geiser Seeblickstr. 10 9010 St. Gallen Switzerland **************************************************************************