The vast archipelago of Indonesia spreads out over an unbelievable area of almost 2 million square kilometers from Aceh province- northern Sumatra up to the Papua New Guinenan border with about 13.000 inhabited islands and a lot more uninhabited. If you plan on visiting a new island every day it would take more than 36 years to visit the entire country. Imagine you go 4 times from Berlin to Moscow, that’s about the distance from Medan in northern Sumatra to Jayapura in East Papua. So it’s big and it takes time to get around, flying is popular in our days, the ferry services are barely advertised and bus rides are bumpy as road conditions are not ideal. On top you get a 30 days visa on arrival, that’s 30 islands a day, not even 1% of the country 😉
Going there was a crazy 40+ hours of travels, involving 4 flights and a ferry ride plus some hours of overlay I was tired but always aware! The shortest way from the Andamans to Indonesia would have been by boat (Medan the city I wanted to go in Indonesia is about the same distance from Port Blair as Chennai!) but as that’s not an option, because of political and military reasons, the only connection to India’s beautiful islands are the mainland cities of Chennai or Kolkata. So I went back to mother India, enjoyed the last 10 hours in Chennai going around town and visiting temples, eating the last spicy Indian meal before I flew to Sri Lanka, hopped on a connection flight to Singapore and went further to arrive finally at Medan in northern Sumatra – ready for a good long sleep, the last one I had at the Indian ferry in the Andamans – the most comfortable ever – lovely bunk beds and the shaking see put me to sweet dreams, as did the humming A/C of the comfy hotel bed 🙂
Medan has not that much touristy attractions, I just sorted myself, and relaxed in the fancy hotel with pool – I enjoyed the luxurious life after the bamboo huts of the last weeks but 3 days were enough, ready to start new adventures.