17 October 2010

North Sumatera 11 - 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)...

14 October 2010

North Sumatera at a Glance

North Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera Utara) is a province of Indonesia. Its capital is Medan. It is the most populous Indonesian province outside of Java.

Geography and population

The province of North Sumatra stretches across the island of Sumatra between the Indian Ocean and the Strait Malacca. It borders Aceh province on the northwest and Riau and West Sumatra provinces on the southeast. It has an area of 70787 km². The province contains a broad, low plain along the Strait of Malacca coast; the provincial capital, Medan, is located here. In the south and west, the land rises to the mountain range that runs the length of Sumatra; the mountains here are dominated by Lake Toba, formed from the caldera of an ancient volcano. Several large islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra are part of North Sumatra, most notably Nias, and the Batu Islands. North Sumatra recorded a population of 11.48 million in the 2000 national census. Intercensal estimates for 2007 show a population of 12,834,371.

Agriculture and economy

Sumatra Mandheling and Sumatra Lintong coffee beans are grown in North Sumatra and largely exported to the U.S. Mandheling is named after the similarly spelt Mandailing people located in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The name is the result of a misunderstanding by the first foreign purchaser of the variety, and no coffee is actually produced in the "Mandailing region". Lintong on the other hand, is named after the Lintong district, also located in North Sumatra.


Below is a list of regencies (Indonesian: kabupaten) and cities in North Sumatra.

West coast region:

Regencies — capital (seat)

* Nias Regency — Gunungsitoli

* South Nias Regency — Teluk Dalam

* Mandailing Natal Regency — Panyabungan

* South Tapanuli Regency — Sipirok

* Central Tapanuli Regency — Pandan


* Padang Sidempuan

* Sibolga

Mountain region:

Regencies — capital (seat)

* Karo Regency — Kabanjahe

* Dairi Regency — Sidikalang

* Pakpak Bharat Regency — Salak

* North Tapanuli Regency — Tarutung

* Humbang Hasundutan Regency — Dolok Sanggul

* Samosir Regency — Pangururan

* Toba Samosir Regency — Balige

* Simalungun Regency — Raya


* Pematang Siantar

East coast region:

Regencies — capital (seat)

* Asahan Regency — Kisaran

* Labuhan Batu Regency — Rantauprapat

* Langkat Regency — Stabat

* Deli Serdang Regency — Lubukpakam

* Serdang Bedagai Regency — Sei Rampah


* Tebing Tinggi

* Tanjung Balai

* Medan

* Binjai

12 October 2010

North Sumatera 10- Tjong A Fie Mansion

0Tjong A Fie, a Hakka enterpreneur and one of the founding fathers of Medan, came from Canton in 1875 and made his fortune in the plantation industry together with his brother, Tjong Yong Hian.

He built up good connection with the Sultan of Deli and the Dutch planters and was appointed as 'Majoor der Chineezen' or the Chinese community leader. He was a famous philanthropist which became one of the founders of the Colonial Institute (the present Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen or the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam).

His mansion in Kesawan was completed in 1900, a hybrid Chinese - European - Art Deco court-yard house. The design of this house is very similar to his relative's mansion in Penang Island, a more famous tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze. He initiated the opening of the railroad to connect Medan with the port of Belawan which later became "Deli Spoorweg Maatschappij" (Deli Railroad Company). In 1913 Tjong A Fie donated the bell tower for the old Medan City Hall building.

Source : http://www.kotamedan.com/new/en/tjongafie.php

08 October 2010

Immigration in Indonesia

Visas are required except for the nationals of 48 countries namely Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom (Great Britain), United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Taiwanese holding MFA//M passports. The visa requirement is also waived for other nationals from friendly countries, attending a conference which has received official approval.

Visa free entry is for maximum of 60 days and is not extendable. Entry and departure must be through the airports of Polonia (Medan), Simpang Tiga (Pekanbaru), Hang Nadim (Batam), Tabing (Padang), Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta), Husein Sastranegara (Bandung), Juanda (Surabaya), Adisumarmo (Solo), Ngurah Rai (Denpasar), Eltari (Kupang), Supadio (Pontianak), Sepingan (Balikpapan), Sam Ratulangi (Manado), Pattimura (Ambon), Hasanuddin (Makassar), Selaparang (Mataram), and Frans Kaisiepo (Biak), and the seaports of Belawan (Medan), Batu Ampar and Sekupang (Batam), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Tanjung Mas (Semarang), Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Benoa and Padangbai (Bali), Bitung (North Sulawesi), Ambon (Maluku), and Tanjung Pinang (Bintan). There is only one land gateway, Entikong in West Kalimantan.

For other ports of arrival or departure, visitors must have visas, For others, tourist visas for thirty days can be obtained form any Indonesian embassy or consulate. Two photographs are required and a small fee is charged. Possession of passports is a must to all visitors to Indonesia valid for at least six months with proof of onward passage, either return or through tickets.

source : http://www.asia-planet.net/indonesia/travel-tips.htm

03 October 2010

North Sumatera 9 - Great Mosque

This Great mosque was one of the Sultan Deli legacies in North Sumatra other than the Maimoon Palace. This mosque was still utilized by the Muslim community to pray every day. Some of the building materials for this mosque decoration were made in Italy. Foreign tourists visit this mosque from various countries all over the World. This Great mosque is the most beautiful and biggest mosque in North Sumatra. Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid built this mosque in 1906. This Great mosque is located only 200 m from Maimoon Palace.

The Moorish Style inspired the mosque special architecture. The other Great Medan mosque, there are another mosque to Deli sultanate legacy, Labuhan mosque that was built in 1886. Labuhan mosque was one of the mosques with unique Indian style with the octagon dome. Labuhan mosque was located in the Medan-Belawan highway to north from the centre of the Medan city.

The dome of Al Ma'sum Mosque that had flat and quadrangle shape also in the peak of the roof has the usual crescent moon decoration was also found in other Islamic buildings like the Mosque and the tower that according to the experts often were connected as the symbol of peacefulness, where Islam was broadcasted without violence. Apart from the plan, dome, curves (arcade), the crescent moon decoration on its peak, the influence of Islamic art is clearly visible in its ornamentation, whether on the wall, the ceiling, the poles, and the curved surface (face Arcade) that was rich in the decoration of flowers and winding plants painted with oil paint. This floristic decoration apart from being styled reminds to Tumpal and mekara motive, also painted with Naturalistic style. Except the floral motive and geometric motive, the combination between Polygonal, Octagonal and circle decorations was also appealing. The motive of this kind especially very much found in walls, the curved surface, the ceiling etc. This motive was also found in the iron curtain form of the quadrangle windows and the shape of the curve that reminded us to motive the Indian style wall carving. In Indonesia, this kind of decoration was often acknowledged as Terawangan or Kerawangan decoration, apart as being a decoration, this decoration also functioned as ventilation.