A walk in Sumatra, Indonesia
Wading through the river
On our travels, we like to interact with the local community whenever we can. One of the most welcoming communities was the one we found in West-Sumatra, Indonesia.
West-Sumatra is the domain of the Minangkabau. This ethnic minority converted to the Islam centuries ago, but not entirely. The Minangkabau still have a matrilinear system, in which everything is owned by the women. Moreover, rarely have we met more warm and inviting people.
Wherever there are tourists, you will find touts, offering their services. Much more so in a country like Indonesia, where tourism has suffered since 9-11. But the Minangkabau touts are different.
We met Eric in a café in Bukkittingi. But only after a nice conversation we found out he was actually a tout, looking for customers for his jungle trek.
The jungle trek
Eric's jungle trek was in one word fantastic. We waded through rivers, crossed the jungle, climbed over the hills, and came through villages. We saw the locals at work in rice fields and buffalo-driven wheat mills, and everybody was as friendly as Eric was.
We ended the trip on the rim of what was once a volcano, and now surrounding Lake Maninjau.
In a beautiful homestay on the rim, with magnificent views over the lake, we were entertained by Eric on the guitar, and had a marvelous time.
In recent years, Sumatra suffered from several earthquakes. Although most damage has struck the coastal regions, we fear that tourism in this beautiful region has declined even further.
If you are looking for adventure, and want to have a great time, head to Sumatra, Indonesia. Read more about our experience with the Minangkabau.