Welcome to North Sumatera by Erwinkaro


									                                       Welcome to
                                      North Sumatera

In contrast to the small island of Bali, the province of North Sumatera is large with one of the
biggest lakes in the world, Lake Toba, at its navel. The continuous mountain of Bukit Barisan,
which extends from Aceh at the tip of the island of Sumatera to Lampung at the bottom of the
island, guards the province on the west side, providing home for thick, tropical jungles and lush
vegetations. As you go down the western mountains towards the beaches of the east, mountain
streams, strong rivers, and gorgeous waterfalls will accompany you.

Relative to Bali, North Sumatera has very heterogenous ethnic groups, and thus, cultures. The
people of the eastern coasts, also known as the Malays (Melayu) have markedly different
traditions and culture from the Batak highlanders who live around Lake Toba and Samosir
Island. Further south, the Mandailings and Angkolas, and the Island of Nias, have yet more
flavors of traditions and culture.

There are many places to see in this cultural salad bowl:

The capital of the province of North Sumatera, Medan houses the government offices and
business centers, effectively making it the largest city outside of the island of Java. Medan owes
its cultural heritage to the kingdom of Deli, whose place of worship, Mesjid Agung (Grand
Mosque), and palace, Istana Maimun (The Maimun Palace) undoubtedly show its past greatness.

Lake Toba
Lake Toba, the crater lake in the middle of the province, is a popular tourist resort, especially the
town of Parapat on its shore. Its cool and dry mountain climate makes it the perfect place to
The Batak Toba and Batak Simalungun people live around Parapat. The Batak people, composed
of Batak Toba, Simalungun, Pak-Pak, and Karo, are known for their expression, which is often
materialized in lively and sentimental love songs. If every person in Bali can carve, every person
in Batak can sing or play the guitar.

The Karo highland
As you drive south from Medan into the Karo highland, the Great Bukit Barisan Forest Park
greets you with its distinctive Karonese gazebo decorated with ret-ret, a two-headed, lizard-like
animal that is carved on the walls of traditional Karonese family houses. Along the windy,
mountainous road to the Karo highland, as you pass the Sibolangit National Garden, chants of
monkeys and possibly orang-utans will accompany you, mysteriously appearing and
disappearing from the thick jungle.

The town of Berastagi, located at the foot of Mount Sibayak, will greet you with its lovely
flowers. The smell of fresh vegetables and the colorful and aromatic arrangements of fruit will
etch their place in your memory. Try markisah (Passion Fruit)...

Sipiso-piso Waterfall and Tongging
Further south from Berastagi and Kabanjahe, the Karonese portion of Lake Toba is marked with
a thin yet tall waterfall.

Island Off to the west of the island of Sumatera, the island of Nias provides another item in your
cultural plate with its distinct culture. The water surrounding the island is a great place to surf
and to scubadive.

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