5. Medan City, Medan, Indonesia (FOOD)

hmm, threats in a city…

my faveeeeeeeee

durian shop – the shop that dedicated itself to selling durians. it was delicious, the durians, we shared, ate and ubered back. it was really crowded too.


yum food


moments of relaxation in a HaMMOCK – i thought to myself as i lay there – forget the stress. this is the life




simple but so good



eating here beats eating in flores island for sure

4.2 CSing near Sibayak, Medan, Indonesia

Another CS experience to remember. 

The family members were gathered on the mat on the floor after dinner, chewing on their bethel nuts. She showed me how to wrap it up for the final product.

leaves, first. all ingredients obtainable from the nearby small shops / the market.


married couple.


looking through wedding photos.

it’s funny, but they had multiple copies (10?) of their wedding photoshoot, this one. they insisted on giving this to us.
past vs present. happiness is simple?
just sitting. eating. chilling.
huddled in the living room.
we slept on the mats in the living room. it reminded me of the time in kampong luong.


4. Mount Sibayak, Medan, Indonesia

One of my favourite hikes, because
1) it was a low-effort, high-rewards kind of hike :p
2) relatively manageable – yet confronted with so many geographical features up close. the hissing vents! the massive crater. accompanied by the sulfur scent (?)
The pink hue in the morning, when we started our walk uphill. I recall staring in wonder as the glow of the sun’s rays reflected off the rough brown surface of the volcanic slopes, turning into a pinkish orangey glow. 

at this point, we started hearing some crackling sounds. 

going on – as you can see, a relatively flat terrain.

nearing some hissing vents

some people were taking selfies near the active vents – directly in front. check out ‘mount sibayak’ on instagram’s location tags to see their selfie videos with the hissing sulfur.
i wouldnt do it, duh.

the start of the rocky uphill

looking down / back upon a vast landscape

seems like it’s an inactive(?) and dried-up crater; people had climbed down and placed volcanic rocks beneath, to form heart-shapes, love and friendship declarations boldly strewn across.

summit! gorgeous.
that moving mist – it was somewhat scary, i wasnt sure what it was. what gas, or cloud? it was hard to tell. not cloud. some volcanic belch. hmm

Mt Sinabung right across is apparently one of the most active volcanoes in the region. I briefly wondered how it’d be if it were to erupt during my time in the summit there and then. D:

another view of the crater

closer-up of Mt Sinabung. look at that belch D:

there were just so many views, angles in this terrain. that’s what made Mt Sibayak a ++ too, this view from the summit looks different from the other viewpoint.

2. Pematang Raya, Lake Toba, Medan, Indonesia (Couchsurfing with Mery)

It was a memorable stay, and meeting Mery made a difference. We first contacted on CS, and while we were uncertain about going over to Pematang Raya (not a particularly strong part of the touristy trail hence the location was a little bit of an uncertainty) – but we managed to follow her instructions and made our way to this little town.
Mery’s an English teacher, and here the kids of the town come over for enrichment classes, as well as computer classes. It was really nice contributing, to be a part of the kids’ real-world application. They would learn some English vocab for the day, and at the end of their lesson I stepped in, for them to ask me those questions they learnt in English.
I remember sitting down in a chair while they crowded around me, and while some were shy, they managed to ask me their questions. Their look of absolute delight and giggles when I answered their questions – memorable. It was sweet, while briefly reminding me of my p-school teacher thing I had.
ew fringe


We went on a ‘field trip’ around the neighbourhood, led by the older kids who were supposedly more experienced / higher level. They were rather shy, but tried their best.

We looked at different types of plants /fruits in the neighbourhood.

We played some orientation games. lolll




me being teacher-ly



it was lovely. speaking to mery, too. she’s a strong woman, who clearly has a strong sense of drive and will. not dependent on a man, but clearly wanting to impact the world as a better place, and strive for a better life for herself in the process. i hope i can strive to be like that.


1. Lake Toba, Medan, Indonesia

Last September, I visited Lake Toba, after first hearing about it years ago, then later on in angie’s class when she mentioned that the volcanic crater lake is bigger than the size of SG!



the hammock life. i need

i remember lying down, lazing. and knowing it wouldnt last. fleeting joy, fleeting moments of tranquility before i would be plunged back again. 

i relished that moment where I sat, rocking, chilling, by you

perhaps it was sweeter though, knowing it would not have been forever

i tried to grasp that moment tightly while it lasted

perhaps that’s why i still replay that moment fondly





why so many pics of me? ha ha

morning view, we woke up to this at our doorstep





Mt Merapi, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The highlight of my trip was Mount Merapi. I’m so happy to have been so close to it, to have stared into its crater. There are few things that can incite that buzz of excitement like seeing the things you’ve learnt about in books, come to life.

I wrote a draft, but it disappeared 😦 here’s repeating it round 2

The day before the ascent we watched the sunrise, looking at its golden rays above Mount Merapi. I thought: 24 hours on (or less), I will be there, at its tip. Hopefully. I was jittery and nervous. I tried not to think about it. I tried to stifle thoughts of eruptions and rain and other possibilities.
We set off for the base of Mt Merapi in the night. 
It rained a little, and at 3.30am or so, we stopped and they set up a fire for us. We huddled closer for warmth. Here, I learnt from a fellow traveller about a trail mix: his consisted of peanuts, raisins and M&Ms. Yummy!!
I remember taking this photo. At this point, it was my first glimpse of the layer of clouds. I knew we were reaching, 20 minutes away. Almost, WE WERE ALMOST THERE!!!! The city was waking up, the lights. The sun was rising. I was excited, pumped by adrenaline that fought the fatigue.

so happy :’)

so proud of US!!!! despite the rain and the cold and the fatigue we fought our ways up relentlessly. HAPPY!!!! 😀 😀 😀

then the downward descent begins

​Ramly has been a guide since he was 19, now he’s 41
Walkie talkie warning system
Ramly, my dear guide, holds a walkie talkie in his hand. It’s what he uses to communicate with others regarding the situation in merapi (fogginess at the peak, vulcanicity)
I asked how he might feel about his son being a guide. He seemed hesitant, highlighting the risks involved, and the fact that his son does not know of how to watch out for levels of vulcanicity

The government built the signs to stop visitors from proceeding; going nearer proved risky
Nonetheless tourists continue to proceed, except perhaps those people that come without a guide
You could see the equipments for measuring vulcanicity from a distance

Learnt many interesting things. Apparently, every year they do throw cows’ heads into the crater during some festivals as a form of offering. This explains the small bouquet of flowers we saw them selling in Mount Bromo.