From Kuala Lumpur to lake Toba

Jul 24, 2015

The main reason I tookf the ferry to Tanjung Balai and not Dumai where I would have been able to get a visa on arrival, is because I wanted to avoid the 15 hours bus ride from Dumai to lake Toba at any cost - or almost, and from Tanjung Balai Asahan it is just a 5 hours bus ride.

 

A few tips on getting your visa

The biggest down side of going via Tnajung Balai Asahan is that there is no visa on arrival available there. So I had to get a visa first, and the process was very easy. You will need the following before going to the Indonesian embassy :
- Passport
- Copy of the photo page of your passport
- Copy of your visa/stamp of entry in Malaysia
- 2 photographs
- Visa application form. You can get it at the embassy or on their website here
- RMB 170 (cost of the visa)

When you get to the embassy, get a number at the reception and head upstairs to wait. Being able to get a visa on arrival, the lady was intrigued why I wanted to go to Tanjung Balai, so I told her I then wanted to go to Lake Toba and did not want to do the 15 hours bus ride, to which she replied that I could fly to Medan, to which I replied that I did not want to take the plane. Anyway, after checking all the documents were there, she gave me a receipt and told me to come back the following day from 2pm. The next day I just went straight upstairs and gave the receipt, and 5 minutes later I was out of the embassy.

Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur :
233, Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Visa applications :
Monday to Friday, 9am - 12pm

Quiet an adventure getting on the ferry

In Kuala Lumpur, wether you want to go to Dumai or Tanjung Balai Asahan, the ferry leaves from Port Klang. You can get there by Komuter - KTM - from KL Sentral. It will take about 1h30m. The ferry terminal is just accross the street. I got there around 9am for a ferry departure at 11am. When I first arrived at the terminal it was quiet confusing and did not really know where to go; there was a lot of people waiting at front, but after asking, someone told me to go upstairs by the stairs hidden in the corner behind the crowd to get my ticket. So I got upstairs, and started to queue. The company running the ferry is called Aerospeed. From this wikipedia page (link) you can read that there is several companies running ferries to Tanjung Balai, but there was only 1 counter opened. When it was almost my time to ask for a ticket I took out my wallet to take the money... and to my surprise I did not have enough! Wait, what?! I went to the ATM this morning specifically to get money for the ferry... Ooooh, I see what I did there; I withdrew the money, but did not actually take it. Genius!
In front of the ferry terminal

So I had to go out and look for an ATM. I asked a few people and they told me I had to walk back towards the city. Luckily there was a bank about 800m from the terminal and I was able to withdraw some money and take it with me this time. Back at the ticket office to queue for another 20-30 minutes. I finally got my ticket after they checked that I had a visa in my passport. It cost me RMB 115 + RMB 20 (port fees). Then I headed back downstairs and gave my passport to the person at the departure gate. He told me that I needed a red borading pass. What?! I was at the ticket office and she only gave me this ticket. back up again to ask about this red boarding pass. It turned out the woman just forgot to give it to me with my ticket. No big deal. By the time I was back at the gate, the person had changed and this one told me I had to "chek-in" one of my backpacks at the front of the terminal since there is a one-bag per person policy. Raaaaaaaaaaah!!!! It cost me you RMB 20 for a big backpack.
After immigration clearance, I was finally on the ferry waiting to depart.

Queuing to buy a ferry ticket

Waiting for immigration clearance before boarding

A loud ferry ride

Although it is not too rough it's not peaceful either. They played this loud karaoke music was playing the whole time. I know it was karaoke because at the front there was a TV where the lyrics were displayed, karaoke style. They do give you a "lunch" which consists of rice and a small fish. Not really mouth watering. Knowing my ability to handle boat rides, I decided to save it for later. I managed to get some sleep which helped me not getting sick on the boat. Although you will see the sign at the ferry terminal promoting the cruise to be about 4 hours, it took the boat more than 5 to cross.


In case of emergency ther is exits... no, we're screwed

While on the boat you get a small lunch

At the border in Tanjung Balai Asahan

I was the only tourist - not counting the Malaysians - in the whole crowd so the officials spotted me from far. One of them just asked my the purpose of my visit and then told me to go sit down. There was two queues of people waiting to get into Indonesia. After a while, the same official came back and told to come with him and they "checked" me into Indonesia. I then went to take my backpack with the receipt I was given before. After that, every bag is screened and although I had a drone, they did not seem to bother. After a few more questions from the officials, I was out to look for a hotel. Being the only foreigner in the area - I'm pretty sure I was - a lot of people came to me to offer to drive me somewhere. An official came outside to my rescue and designated someone to drive after we negotiated a price. He drove me to Tresya Hotel, a bit outside Tanjung Balai for 35 000 Rp.

Tanjung Balai port of entry

Waiting for immigration clearance in Indonesia

On the way to the hotel
My first meal in Indonesia

From Tanjung Balai to Lake Toba

The hotel was very conveniently located since it was right accross the street from a bus station. In the morning, around 10am, i just showed up and told the persons there that I wanted to go to Permatangsiantar. They directed me to a bus that was about to leave and I jumped in. The ride was not too bad and it took about 3 hours to get there. It cost me 30 000 Rp. Then I took one of those shared taxi for 20 000 Rp to Parapat, where you can take the ferry to Samosir island on Lake Toba. The boat ride costs 15 000 Rp and takes about 45 minutes. Before boarding, i met a guy who introduced himself as Joshua. He owned a small restaurant / guesthouse on the island called Chili Bar where I stayed and had a great time.

Samosir island on Lake Toba from the ferry




3 comments

  1. HORAS … !!! JOM KE MEDAN … !!! JOM KE DANAU TOBA … !!!
    SALAM KENAL TUAN AND PUAN . MINTA IZIN NAK IKUT PROMOTE KAT BLOG TUAN / PUAN

    PERKENALALKAN KAMI DARI AGENCY PELANCONGAN TIARA TOURS INDONESIA. KAMI ADALAH AGENCY PELANCONGAN YANG BER LICENSED DAN PROFESSIONAL. KAMI MENAWARKAN PAKEJ – PAKEJ MELAWAT MURAH KE MEDAN, DANAU TOBA, BERASTAGI DAN TEMPAT – TEMPAT SHOPPING MURAH DI BANDAR MEDAN.

    PAKEJ LAWATAN LAINNYA KE PADANG, BUKIT TINGGI, BANDA ACEH, PULAU SABANG, JAKARTA , BANDUNG, JOGYAKARTA , BALI, LOMBOK, MAKASAR, BUNAKEN, MENADO, TORAJA.

    PAKEJ DITEMPAH SANGAT MENARIK, HEMAT DAN LAYANAN BEST. PILIHAN HOTEL DAN BILIK BERSIH, MAKANAN MENU MELAYU / MOSLEM RESTAURAT (100 % HALAL ) DAN BERPASAL PERHIKMATAN KAMI DISOKONG BEBERAPA UNITS KERETA BARU DAN BUS PERSIARAN.

    DISINI KAMI BAGIKAN PAKEJ MELAWAT KE MEDAN DAN KE DANAU TOBA
    PROGRAM 04 HARI / 03 MALAM ( FULL SERVICE )
    TAK ADA EXTRA BAYAR.
    TAK ADA TIPU – TIPU !!!
    HARGA PAKEJ HANYA 380 ( MINIMAL 10 ORANG)

    ITINERAY :

    DAY 1 : ARRIVAL – SIANTAR – PARAPAT
    ARRIVAL AT KUALANAMU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. AFTER CUSTOMS CLEARANCE, MEET OUR TOUR GUIDE/DRIVER WHO WILL TAKE YOU TO START THE TOURS BY USING TOURIST COACH OR VAN. TRANSFER TO THE RESTAURANT FOR YOUR LUNCH. DEPART TO PARAPAT ALONG THE ROAD WHICH OFFERS THE ENDLESS VIEW OF RUBBER AND OIL PALMS PLANTATIONS THROUGH THE JOURNEY. STOP SHOULD BE MADE AT PEMATANG SIANTAR FOR SHOPPING OF LOCAL PRODUCT SUCH AS KACANG TUMBUK “TING TING, TENG TENG”, OTHER SNACKS ETC. ARRIVED IN PARAPAT THEN CHECK IN TO HOTEL. THE REST OF THE DAY IS FREE ON YOUR OWN LEISURE. DINNER WILL AT RESTAURANT

    DAY 2 : SAMOSIR ISLAND – BERASTAGI
    BREAKFAST AT HOTEL. BY BOAT / FERRY VISIT TOMOK VILLAGE, TO SEE THE TOMBS OF THE KING OMPU SIDABUTAR & SHOPPING PLACE. AMBARITA VILLAGE, TO SEE THE TRADITIONAL BATAK VILLAGE WITH ANCIENT MEGALITHIC FURNITURES. RETURN TO PARAPAT FOR LUNCH AT LOCAL RESTAURANT. AFTERWARDS PROCEED TO BERASTAGI–A MOUNTAINS RESORT WITH IT’S REFRESHING WEATHER AND MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAINS SCENERY WHICH HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF FLOWERS, VEGETABLES AND FRUITS. EN-ROUTE STOPS AT PANORAMA SIMARJARUNJUNG , SIPISO-PISO WATERFALL. ARRIVED IN BRASTAGI THEN TO VISIT THE CENTRAL FRUITS MARKET (SHOPPING PLACE). AFTERNOON CHECK IN TO HOTEL. DINNER WIL BE SERVED IN RESTAURANT.

    DAY 3 : BERASTAGI – MEDAN
    AFTER BREAKFAST. PROCEED FOR TWO HOURS DOWN THE HILL TO MEDAN. VISIT LUMBINI PARK. ARRIVAL IN MEDAN CITY SIGHT SEEING TO VISIT A SEVERAL INTEREST SUCH AS THE MAIMOON PALACE, AL-MATSHUN GRAND MOSQUE. LUNCH AT THE LOCAL RESTAURANT, AND THEN PROCEED TO THE SHOPPING AREAS AS FOLLOW DANAR HADI BATIK EMPERIUM AND OTHERS WHOLE BATIK SELLERS IN MEDAN, INCLUDING TO PASAR IKAN MARKET AND MALLS. CHECK IN TO HOTEL FOR ACCOMMODATION. DINNER AT RESTAURANT.

    DAY 4 : HOTEL – AIRPORT
    AFTER BREAKFAST AT HOTEL. FREE PROGRAM UNTIL TIME TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT FOR YOUR FLIGHT HOME.


    SERVICES TERMASUK :
    • TRANSPORT
    • PEMANDU PELANCONGAN
    • HOTEL 3 BINTANG
    • BREAKFAST 3X
    • MAKAN TENGAH HARI 3X
    • DINNER 3X
    • SEWA KAPAN KE SAMOSIR ISLAND
    • KARCIS / TIKET MASUK KE TEMPAT MENARIK
    • MINERAL WATER

    BILA NAK MELAWAT KE MEDAN, SILA CONTACT DAN TEMPAH PAKEJ DI :
    TIARA TOURS INDONESIA
    JLN. PANGLIMA DENAI NO. 76 MEDAN, 20227
    LICENSED : 503/508.SK/IUP/BPW/MM/2011
    TEL/FAX : +6261 - 733 59 765
    EMAIL : tiaratoursindonesia@gmail.com
    HP / WA +6281383535091
    HP / WA +6285358982828
    HP / WA +6285762820068

    TERSEDIA LAYANAN SEWA KERETA DAN BUS PERSIARAN :
    TOYOTA AVANZA (05 ORANG ) MYR 155 / HARI
    SUZUKI ERITGA (05 ORANG ) MYR 155 / HARI
    INOVA REBORN (05 ORANG ) MYR 175 / HARI
    ISUZU ELF (11 ORANG ) MYR 235 / HARI
    TOYOTA HIACE (11 ORANG ) MYR 320 / HARI
    MEDIUM BUS ( 27 ORANG ) MYR 500 / HARI

    NOTE :
    HARGA SEWA KERETA SUDAH TERMASUK : DRIVER AND PATROL


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  2. TIPS MELAWAT KE MEDAN / DANAU TOBA / INDONESIA
    1. PLEASE MAKE SURE NAMA SYARIKAT TEMPAHAN PAKEJ TOUR / SEWA KERETA
    2. PLEASE MAKE SURE ADDRESS AGENCY PELANCONGAN
    3. PLEASE MAKE SURE TALIAN TELEPHONE AND FAX MAIL
    4. PLEASE ASK FOR SYARIKAT PERMIT NUMBER / LICENSED NUMBER
    5. PLEASE ASK FOR TAX NUMBER
    6. PLEASE ASK FOR INSURANCE KERETA ( KALAU SEWA KERETA SAJA)
    7. PLEASE CHECK IN GEOGLE SYARIKAT OFFICE (PLEASE WRITE INTO THE GEOGLE COMPANY NAME. FOR EXAMPLE : TIARA TOURS INDONESIA )

    AT LEAST BUT NOT LAST , I WISH YOU WELCOME TO INDONESIA
    HORAS .... !!! HORAS .... !!! HORAS .... !!!

    TIARA TOURS INDONESIA
    JLN. PANGLIMA DENAI NO. 76 MEDAN, 20227
    LICENSED : 503/508.SK/IUP/BPW/MM/2011
    TEL/FAX : +6261 - 733 59 765
    EMAIL : tiaratoursindonesia@gmail.com
    HP / WA +6281383535091
    HP / WA +6285358982828
    HP / WA +6285762820068

    ReplyDelete