Padang is about 1 hr flight from LCCT (Kuala Lumpur). And before you know it, you're in a wonderful region bursting with nature in the form of layered rice fields, volcanic crater lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and mountain ranges.
Fikar did a very good job making us feel at ease, and I like how he organized the trip (Padang + Lake Meninjau + Bukit Tinggi) so that we 'acclimatized' to the area, i.e. hotel on day 1 + homestay on day 2 and 3 + hotel on day 4. Sometimes it might be too much for the senses to dive directly into a rugged place on day 1.
Fikar did a lot of stops at different coffee huts for us to stretch our legs, have local unfiltered coffee and appreciate the views. I constantly smile at how local folks could come into the hut and start chatting, this is something you don't see in the city often.
Fikar is proficient in english and he will pepper the trip with stories, be it factual or legends. The one i liked best is about the origin of the term 'Minangkabau' (i.e. the indigenous ethnicity of West Sumatra), where the locals cleverly use a young calf to defeat a far superior water buffalo, and in the process stopping a war.
It was an interesting experience immersing oneself in Lake Meninjau (a volcanic crater lake). While being hit by sea like waves, i could see mountain ranges in the horizon. At the same time, the water is fresh.
If i must pick one fault with this trip, it is the lack of a fan in Arlen homestay. While Lake Meninjau is 450 metre above sea level, the temperature is moderated by the lake itself and it can get quite warm at night. However, not even this is enough to put a dent in an otherwise fantastic short trip filled with meeting good honest people, having fresh local food and coffee, basking in the full glory of nature and feeling completely safe with a guide who obviously loves his culture, country and job.
Good job, Fikar.
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