Stranded at Lake Toba

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  • Post last modified:November 28, 2022
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Stranded at Lake Toba

There are certainly worse things than being stranded at Lake Toba, Sumatra. Now how and why we got “stranded” is a long story…

The Story

As we were booking some of our initial flights for our world trip, we must admit that we were a little bit, let’s just say, too excited.

As a result, we booked Sumatra for a whole month, without thinking much about what we would like to do and see there.

That thought came later. Much later.

We thought to ourselves that it doesn’t matter because we always find things to do. And a few days of relaxing and doing nothing never hurts!

It didn’t take us long to make a big list of things to do and see while in Sumatra.

Things we wanted to see on Sumatra
The things we wanted to see on Sumatra

And if you read about Medan and Bukit Lawang, you already know that we didn’t do much.

At least not as much as we had pinned on Google maps!

This leads me to the beginning of the story…


As we were in Medan, we noticed an expense on our credit card which was not ours. Especially because the expense came from Paris!

After a couple of days of corresponding with our bank back in Germany, we saw another amount taken out from Paris, and we had to cancel our credit card.

So, there we were… in Medan, without a credit card, and almost no cash in our hands.

We didn’t know at the beginning that the bank, due to security reasons, would not send our new credit cards outside of Germany. So it took several emails and a lot of thinking outside the box to manage everything on how to physically get our new cards.

Luckily, I thought of the idea to write to Sara and Marco from Love and Compass. As I am a big fan of theirs, I knew coincidently that they were in Germany for their book release
(„Love & Compass: Mit dem Laptop um die Welt – erfolgreich, frei und glücklich als digitaler Nomade“), and that they would come back to Kuala Lumpur (ah, nooo, I am not a stalker… just active on Instagram ?).

Thanks to them, we will get our new credit card safely.

But back to Sumatra:

Unfortunately, you only can withdraw a maximum of 2,5 million Rp (approx. 125 Euros) out at a time in Sumatra. Luckily, we still had our debit card, so we could take little amounts out of the ATM.

But the ATM fees are pretty high. And as we only have a certain budget, even a fee like this can hurt.

The long-term traveler probably knows what we mean.

Better at the lake

Lake Toba
Lake Toba

That is why we decided to move from the city to Lake Toba and to stay here.

We have to pay for hotel and food anyways, but getting around Sumatra is more on the expensive side, which is why we reduced our list of sights to see to Medan, Bukit Lawang, and Lake Toba. This way we save money on getting around. Which, in the end, also reduces our bank fees…

Nature at Lake Toba
Nature at Lake Toba
Beautiful sunsets at Lake Toba
Beautiful sunsets at Lake Toba
There are worse places to be stucked at
There are worse places to be stranded!

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