23 Oct Team Travels – Molly in Sumatra, Indonesia
What makes our content agency different to most others is that our content creators have a deep passion for our niche – travel. At Travel Content Collective, our team not only work in the travel sector – they also travel regularly or travel full time! Between us, we’ve been lucky to have travelled to most of the corners of the globe. Traveling is something our team could not live without.
Naturally, then, we decided to create a blog series called Team Travels where our team get the opportunity to share their recently travelled destinations.
In this next instalment of the series, travel writer (and jungle guide!) Molly tells of her recent trip to Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s less travelled islands.
Why did you go to Sumatra?
There is one reason and one reason only why I travelled to Sumatra, an orphaned baby elephant named Paichit. My partner and I are volunteer conservationists and fundraisers, so when we heard about the plight of young Paichit we jumped into action.
This was my first trip to Indonesia and I quickly fell in love with the place despite the trials and tribulations that surrounded our work with Paichit. We spent three months living in a rural elephant camp in Aceh, far from any tourist hubs. This was the most authentic way to experience Sumatra for sure.
As with the rescue and rehabilitation of any being, there is always the chance that all efforts will be in vain and sadly this was true with Paichit who sadly passed away in June.
Little did I know that at the time but Sumatra is the perfect place to hide away and reflect on your place in the world. Surrounded by crystal clear seas and mesmerising jungle, I knew that I found a home here.
What was the highlight of your trip?
The highlight was, without a shadow of a doubt, our boat trip from Pulau Weh. On this one day tour, we visited 10 different snorkelling spots and an underwater volcano. I saw Octopus, Starfish and Clown Fish too.
I also got a very sunburnt back! Top tip; when snorkelling in the tropics be sure to wear a t-shirt!
We headed out on the boat before the sun rose. As the morning light grew we spotted tiny black triangles popping up on the horizon. It was dolphins; hundreds of Spinner Dolphins on their early morning hunt.
This was the most incredible marine life encounter I have ever experienced, being a jungle guide in landlocked Nepal means I seldom get to observe the wonders of the sea.
Molly mixing with the locals
What else did you enjoy while visiting Sumatra?
Tempeh! Tempeh! Tempeh! I couldn’t get enough of it! Tempeh is fermented soy beans, not only high in protein but super cheap and super tasty too!
One popular dish is Tempeh Sambal which is deep fried tempeh served with a sweet chilli and tomato sauce known as sambal. Tempeh Goreng is a great snack. Goreng means fried in Indonesian and everything in Sumatra is fried! Seriously!
I am a self-confessed foodie and so find my travel memories are heavily influenced by my experiences with food.
The people too are lovely; smiley, laid back and very welcoming. I found that they were overly impressed by my efforts to speak the language. Unlike in other countries, they were quick to correct my errors rather than humour my attempts which I greatly appreciated.
Anything you didn’t like about Sumatra?
The deforestation is staggering. Palm Oil plantations have grown rapidly over the past 15-years causing habitat loss beyond comprehension.
Sumatra is the only place in the world where orang-utans, elephants and tigers live still together in the wild…just.
Did you know that ‘orang’ means ‘man/person’ in Indonesian, and ‘hutan’ means ‘forest’? So an orang-utans is literally the man of the forest!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone travelling to Sumatra?
Try and learn the language. Indonesian is a very easy language to learn in terms of grammar and syntax. The people are always happy to help you learn and work on your accent. I found that kids are keen to learn English so it makes it a win-win situation for all!
What’s more, there are many parallels with Indonesian and Malaysian and if you were to use your rookie Indonesian in Kuala Lumpur, people would understand you just fine.
I’ll sneak a secondary word to the wise in too; don’t let the fact that Aceh is under Shira Law put you off. The people are very hospitable and understanding that tourists don’t necessarily understand the intricacies of this religious law. As long as you dress modestly and smile you’ll be fine!
At Travel Content Collective, like Molly, we love to travel and love writing about it. If you need written content for your travel related business then please get in touch and we’d be very happy to discuss working together.