The hotels we’ve stayed at have run the gamut from very nice to adequate. The hotel we use in Medan is up to par with many of the better western hotels including a gym, swimming pool, tennis court, etc. The hotel I stayed at in Singkil was much, much smaller but very clean and pleasant and somewhat representative of what you find when you leave the big cities.
The following contrasts are meant only to illustrate the differences and are not meant to criticize the hotel I stayed at in Singkil because I enjoyed my stay there very much. The owner was very pleasant but spoke no English so we exchange pleasantries and that was about it. It’s a shame I was only there for two nights.
But, if you really want to do Indonesia on the cheap, there’s one type of overnight accommodation that is very basic called a “losmen”. I haven’t stayed in one – yet. But, I’ll let you know if I do.
• Medan - The same flush toilets as we would find back home.
• Singkil - The toilet was a porcelain fixture, sunk in the floor with places for your feet. You flush it by pouring ladles of water into a bowl from a giant tub of water in the corner of the toilet room. Interestingly enough this enamel insert in the floor was made by American Standard.
• Medan - In the bathtub with shower curtain - nice clean towels
• Singkil - Using the same ladle mentioned above, you pour water over your head, lather up, and then ladle more water over your body until you’re clean - nice clean towels.
• Medan - King size with nice sheets and a blanket.
• Singkil - Queen size, no top sheet, but a nice quilt.
• Medan - Yes, with control in the bedside table.
• Singkil - Wall mounted type that does a good job of cooling the room and it has a remote control.
• Medan - lots of channels including CNN.
• Singkil - All Indonesian channels – I get to catch up on my reading.
• Medan - Several.
• Singkil - None.
• Medan - In the lobby
• Singkil - Don’t even think about it with Sharia La
Cost Per Night:
• Medan - US$95
• Singkil - US$15
• Travelling around Sumatra for the Red Cross – Priceless!