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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taman Alam Lumbini, Brastagi - North Sumatera (Indonesian Travel Destination)

For a short getaway out of the capital of North Sumatera, Brastagi is one of the choices you could opt for. Taman Alam Lumbini (Lumbini Natural Park) is located in Desa (Village) Tongkoh, near the valley of Sibayak mountain in Tanah Karo region (Karo Regency). From Medan - North Sumatera, it is around 60km to Taman Lumbini and from Taman Lumbini to the central of Brastagi City, you have to go up for around 8km.

Route
This time, we went there by a private car and it took around 90 minutes with normal speed and traffic. If you wish to go there by public transport, you could take a Sutra (Sumatera Transport) mini bus in blue color from Jl. Jamin Ginting - Padang Bulan, Medan up to Tugu Jeruk, Brastagi. You just need to ask people to get to the Jamin Ginting Bus station and that your destination is to Brastagi.
Sumatera Transport (Sutra) Bus. Source: Trishinu's Blog
It's a forked junction at the Tugu Jeruk and you could clearly see the "Orange Monument" right in the middle of the forked junction. If you go from Medan, you would need to stop at that junction and take left from that Tugu Jeruk to get to the Taman Alam Lumbini. After the stop at Tugu Jeruk, you have to take a different bus called "Sigantang Sira (Sisira)" mini bus in yellow color. You would need to pay around IDR 4,000 for this trip and just tell the driver that you would like to stop at "Lumbini" or "Pagoda" and they would stop you in the nearest spot. From the stopping spot, you would only need to walk a short distance towards the Pagoda. I am sure you won't miss this Pagoda for the striking gold color.
Lumbini Pagoda front view
When you enter the area, the first thing you would meet is the garden. My area of interest was Strawberry garden. In this garden, you could pick your own strawberries, have them weighed and paid, and take them home with you. Other than that, they have other kinds of vegetables as well there, such as chili, cauliflower, etc. The only issue is that you have to go there at the harvesting time which is uncertain at times. When we went there a couple of days ago, nothing was there to be picked.
Strawberry Garden right in front of the parking lot.
For a short getaway to unwind yourselves from the city hustle and bustle, this would be a perfect spot. You don't have to spend anything for accommodation as you could go in the morning, roam around the city, and get back in the evening.

The Lumbini Pagoda
The name "Lumbini" is taken from the name of the birth place of Siddhartha Buddha Gautama at the Himalayan valley, Nepal. The Pagoda which exist in this Taman Alam Lumbini is a replica of Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangoon, Myanmar. This pagoda replica is the highest pagoda in Indonesia. The height of the pagoda reaches 46.8 meters. This place is built for religious purpose for the Buddhists. Many monks live here and many monks from all over the world would come to this place if they visit Indonesia, but the site is open for public and no fee is required to enter the shrine. All you need to do is just to list your name in the guest book in the front entrance.
Inside the Temple

Wishing Tree

Wishing Tree
The things to maintain during your time in the Pagoda:
  • Do not wear shoes or slippers
  • Change the mode of your phone to Silent as unnecessary noise is not accepted
  • Do not bring any food or drinks from outside. They have their own canteen and if you wish to have some refreshment, you could have it there. And to be noted, they provide vegetarian dishes.

The Park
Inside the Pagoda complex, you would be exposed to a park as vast as 3 hectares with variety of plantation from flowers and fruits. When we visited the place, it was raining on and off and we couldn't explore the entire area. However, some of the shots that I could manage to take are as follows:
I don't know the exact names of all these flowers, but they do look gorgeous :)

Kolang Kaling on the left; Passion Fruit on the top right; Tamarillo on the bottom right :)
The bridge to be crossed to enter the vast garden area.
The view from the bridge

The Brastagi Market
In this place, you could enjoy the famous Roast Corn and Sugar Cane Juice. Of course, other than those, they provide other meals and drinks as well. Being in this market with good companies, sitting leisurely, enjoying the corn and a cup of tea or sugar cane juice while talking non-sense to your friends is one of the best thing you could have ever done.

After enjoying the meal, you have the option to ride a horse or horse-drawn cart around the city. If you don't feel like riding them, just roam around the city and you could get fresh fruits; flowers (for garland or for taking home to be planted); souvenirs made of wood, bamboo, or steel; clothings; and pets (hamster, rabbit, dogs) with reasonable price and yet, you could bargain.

Flower Section. Source: Honey Bee
Fruit Market. Source: http://food.detik.com/readfoto/2011/09/16/184409/1724459/484/1/berburu-buah-segar-di-pasar-brastagi?d9933484
Love the cacti :)
Food
Mostly, you would find pork-based food here, but there are many Moslem restaurants as well where you could find non-pork meals. The most famous food here is Roast Pork ala Karonese (Babi Panggang Karo or shortly called BPK). Please pardon me that I don't have the shot of the menu as we were too hungry to think about anything except the food at that time :)

Final Note:

  1. The road to Brastagi is a winding road, so if you have a sensitive stomach, make sure you bring a vomit bag (sick bag) as you cannot stop in the middle of hairpin turn. Make sure to bring some balm or medication to ease your nausea as well.
  2. Please drive carefully - especially during the turns. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT TAKE OVER the cars in front of you during the turns. You don't want to have a goat-fight accident with a heavy-loaded truck that comes from the opposite direction. YES, there are many heavy-loaded truck would pass this road as Tanah Karo is the supplier of vegetables, milk, and flowers to Medan and around.
  3. Reduce your speed significantly during the rain. As this is a hill area, you can't predict when the rain shall come. No one wants your car to lose balance and fall topsy turvy on the road like a dead cockroach, OR WORSE, fall too the abyss.

I think that note ends the post for today. I should say my special thanks to Ensui and Kiminiko to get me and mom here after a very long time. And Bravo for Ensui for the excellent driving :).

So folks, if you visit North Sumatera, you might want to try to come here and enjoy the hospitality, the fresh air and fresh view this place provides.
Welcome to Taman Alam Lumbini

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