August 5, 2009

Berastagi, A Lovely Tourist Town

Berastagi is a lovely tourist town in the Karo highlands on the way from Medan to Lake Toba. It is situated at an altitude of 1300m and with the setting of by two volcanoes, Mt.Sinabung and Mt.Sibayak. At Gundaling Hill you can see a clear view of those two volcanoes.

The area is known for its cool climate, orchids, flowers, vegetables and fruits and the most famous of which is the "Marquisa" or known as passion fruit which is commonly made into a refreshing fruit-drink. The local markets are swarming with activity and scenes from traditional Karo life. Days are extremely pleasant and nights can be quite cool.

After arriving on Polonia - Medan International Airport, you can use taxi or tourist buses to reach Berastagi. Its located 66 km from Medan, the capital city and will take around two hours drive.

At Gundaling Hills, theres a pleasant colonial-style hotel with a golf course, as well as a range of other star and non-star hotels and accommodations.

Just same like the other Sumatras regions, it served spicy foods. Its worth to try local dishes like Chicken Rice, Medan KweTyaow and others. If you like to drive to Medan, you will find Merdeka Walk. It is the first Tensile Structure (Alfresco Outdoor Concept) in Indonesia and the hottest place to hangout in Medan City with cafes, restaurants, exhibition and entertainment.

You can move around the town by local transport that form of the horse-drawn called sado. Also you can rent a bike from Villa Flores Restaurant.

There are a number of attractions in the town itself, including three markets: the photogenic general market, which takes place five times a week (not Wed or Sun) behind the bus station; the daily fruit market, which also sells souvenirs, to the west of the roundabout, and the Sunday market, which takes place every other week on top of Gundaling Hill and attracts such novelty acts as the teeth-pulling man (Rp200 per tooth) and the snake charmer.
You will find some fine examples of traditional Karo Batak architecture in the villages around Berastagi. The best known is Lingga Village, 15 km from Berastagi.

The wide main street is covered with restaurants and hotels, souvenir shops, and the central market attracts farmers from all over the area. You may buy some souvenirs here, like Batak Ulos-hand woven cloth from Medan, rattan plaitwork, hand-printed batik, paintings, carvings or try to buy Marquisa fruits and bring it home with you!

You better avoid come on Sunday, because many day trippers from Medan come to Berastagi to climb Mt.Sibayak
Days are extremely pleasant and nights can be quite cool. Equipped yourself with simple, warm and comfortable clothes.


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