UPDATED JUNE 10, 2019
Some of the stories below are from a few years ago but still very much up to date.
Story June 10, 2019
Today, June 2019, I am adding a story of what happened about two weeks ago and what is still happening on a regular basis. Let me add this story under the heading.
Same Day, Almost Same Route and Same Restaurant
On the same day we had two parties of guests arriving at Kuala Namu Airport, which I refer to as Party A and Party B.
Party A: Two most beautiful young Chinese Singaporian Ladies not speaking any word of Bahasa. Landing at Kuala Namu 10.00 h
Party B. A French Family with two children boy and girl (8, 10 yrs) not speaking any word of Bahasa. Landing at Kuala Namu 08.00 h.
The story of Party A for which we had arranged the transport.
Transport Payment: Rp 1.100.000,--- As per information in our website to be paid directly to us while already with us in Tuk Tuk.
Summary: What a nice car, what a fluently English speaking friendly driver, what a nice road, such nice stops and what a first class restaurant.
Starting from the Airport the guests came via the Tol Road to Tebing Tinggi. They had a short stop for drinking fresh coconut milk along the road as well at the Paten Outlet for sampling the Ting Ting, Pang Pang and Ping Ping.
The guests arrived at 12.00 h, at the request of the guests based on information in our website, for Lunch in the Panorama Nasi Padang Restaurant just before Siantar. The guests asked the driver to join for lunch and explain what was being served. The driver happily complied not only explaining what to eat but also very much informing on what not to eat or touch. The guests reported ‘a perfect lunch in a nice restaurant’ and so cheap. The guests paid Rp 150.000,-- for the three of them.
Following lunch the guests visited the Kwan Im Temple and had the Special Coffee in Kok Tong Cafe in Siantar.
They carried on to Parapat where they arrived just in time for the 15.30 hr ferry to Tuk Tuk - Horas, where we welcomed the guests at 16.15 h
The story of Party B which had arranged for their own transport.
Payment: Rp 700.000,-- in full before arriving in Medan.
Summary: What a terrible car, what a terrible driver, what a terrible road and a total rip-off in a restaurant.
Meeting at the Airport
The guests were met at the Airport at 08.00 h by an English speaking representative of the transporter. At that moment the guests were informed that there had been some mistake during the booking and paying of the car. The transporter had not charged for the petrol, he showed proof of this, and the guests were kindly requested to pay an additional Rp 100.000,-- for the petrol, which they did.
The car and driver
After the guests paid the additional Rp 100.000,-- the guests were brought to their car and driver. At that moment the representative disappeared. A bit of disappointed for the guests was that the car was a rather old dirty smelly car and that the driver, though they had paid for an english speaking driver, did not speak any word of English, except Yes Sir.
The first part of the route
Instead of taking the Tol Road, which comes at a cost of some Rp 50.000,--, the driver took the North Sumatra Highway. In the end, while with us, the guests admitted that one way or the other they had the feeling that the driver tried to explain this but they refused to pay the additional Rp 50.000,-- to the driver and the driver took the alternative North Sumatra Highway route. It resulted in one traffic jam after the other which they thought that in the end did not take much more than 5 hrs. Of course, because the driving was very slow, the guests did not pay too much attention to the many potholes in the road, which actually were the main reason for the traffic jams.
One way or the other the driver stopped for lunch at the restaurant of his choice. This turned out to be Panorama Nasi Padang Restaurant just before Siantar. They arrived just about 15 minutes after the other guests, starting from the airport 2 hrs later, were already on their way to the Kwan Im Temple.
Of course the guests, not familiar with a Nasi Padang, what to eat and much more important what not to eat, did not invite the driver to join them, mostly for reason of communication problems. In a way, really enjoying part of the food, they got the feeling that the driver ordered additional dishes which they happily tried. The best and most expensive dish in a Nasi Padang Restaurant is normally the Shrimp Dish. If you touch one shrimp you pay for the whole dish. One way or other the guests, on the instigation of the driver, were given the opportunity to sample quite a variety of different shrimp dishes, which the guests did, only sampling.
At the end of the meal the guests were presented with a bill of Rp 1.000.000,-- for two adults and two children. As the guests reported a “Total Rip – Off”. I was shown the bill and the bill showed apart from a few other expensive dishes 4 different shrimp dishes, totaling up to the Rp 1.000.000,-- and in itself I could not find anything wrong in the bill. In the same Restaurant you can invite the driver to join you for lunch and telling you what not to eat or touch, ‘a perfect lunch and so cheap’ see above or a driver helping you and him to make the most of you visiting the restaurant. The guests, most likely having in mind to safe some money by not inviting the driver to their table, never realized that on the way out the driver collected his fair share from the Restaurant of the bill of the guests he brought to the Restaurant.
The road from Siantar to Parapat
The guests not in the best mood and of course trying to communicate this to the driver were on the road again at about 15.30 h. The driver still ok, having collected the commission from the restaurant, thought to make up for his lost time in traffic jams also keeping in mind that he has to return the car before midnight in Medan. So the driver shows the guests his driving capabilities like training for the next F1 races on the winding road to Parapat, including not taking too much care of the occasional pothole. The guests experienced this as quite a few close calls, near death experiences, and the children, being car sick puking all over themselves, the parents and the car.
Maybe to save some time for the driver the driver dropped the guests in the Ajibata Harbour instead of the Tiga Raja Harbour.
Arrival at Horas
Upon arrival at Horas at 19.45 h, us at that moment not knowing anything of what the guests experienced, the guests were not in a talkative mood only asking whether the hot water was working and whether we did laundry. Fortunately we could answer yes, yes. The guests informed that what all of them needed was a hot shower, change of cloths and drop the laundry. After that ‘not to be disturbed’.
Party A: Special Dinner
Following the record short introduction of the Party B guests I joined two most beautiful young ladies, the Party A guests, enjoying their pre-ordered Special Dinner at the Lake Side.
Summary Travel Time and Costs
Travel time: 6 hrs, including sightseeing
Costs: Rp 1.100.000,--
Travel time: 12 hrs, no sightseeing
Car Rp 700.000,--
Petrol Rp 100.000,--
Rip Off Rest Rp 500.000,--
Angkot Rp 50.000,--
The stories in this section may seem rather old and possibly outdated. Unfortunately similar stories are still happening on a very regular basis and as such the contents is very much up to date. Prices may be a bit different.
STORY ADDED: May 20, 2015
During the last months we are getting more and more worried when guests decide to arrange for their own transportation and do not inform us what kind of transportation they will be using.
I have added 2 recent experiences following the main story.
TRANSPORTATION COSTS HORAS FAMILY HOME
Some guests think that we are rather expensive, if not extremely expensive, extra ordinarily or even outrageously expensive. So let me address this issue by giving an example of how expensive we are.
For transportation from the Airport to Parapat via Siantar with a Kijang Innova, or similar, and an English speaking driver we have our fixed price of Rp 1.000.000,--. As the guests were from Singapore, not speaking Malay or Bahasa Indonesia the guests had already made it very clear that the driver should be fluent in English. Arrival time at the Airport was at 07.30 h. So scheduling time for lunch and quite some stops en-route we informed the guests that we expected them to arrive in Parapat around 14.15 h, nicely in time for the 14.30 h passenger ferry so they would be with us at 15.15 h. Following that at around 16.00 h we hoped to see the guests happily running around, already swimming or fishing if not kayaking or taking the family boat out.
The guest responded as follows.
We heard and have seen on the internet that a car can easily be had for Rp 450.000,-- . You are so expensive, we will pay you Rp 600.000,--
Our response was that Rp 600.000,-- was not acceptable for us and that the guests were most welcome to arrange for their own transportation.
How expensive we are and how cheap the transportation of the guests was
The guests arrived nicely in time and were outside the airport at 08.00 h, looking for the car which could easily be had for Rp 450.000,-- Unfortunately this car was possibly already taken by other guests. The negotiations were not really successful but at 10.00 h a deal was struck with somebody speaking acceptable English. The deal was Rp 600.000,-- which had to be paid up front, which was reluctantly accepted. Now they were brought to their car, a rather old one, but what can you do, the guests had already paid in full. After the guests and the luggage were nicely stowed in the car, somebody else came over, took the wheel and the guests were on their way to Parapat at 10.30 h. It turned out that the driver did not speak any word of English so the communication was not really easy. At 12.30 h, most likely just a bit before Tebing Tinggi, the driver made it clear that it was time for lunch and rest and he stopped at a very simple local road side restaurant and disappeared for lunch and rest. The driver, fully refreshed, reported back at 14.00 h and made a very good time to the bus station in Siantar where he arrived at 15.30 h and started unloading the luggage. With the help of some people at the bus station speaking a little bit of English it became clear that the driver had been paid Rp 450.000,-- to drop the guests at the Siantar bus station. So after all the guests did find the car which could easily be had for Rp 450.000,--
It took quite a while before a new deal now was made with the driver. For an extra Rp 300.000,-- , to be paid up front, the driver would drop the guests in Parapat for the ferry to Tuk Tuk. Without the guests knowing the driver, wanting to save the Parapat entrance gate fees, dropped the guests at the gate and pointed them to the ferries only a few minutes walking away. Unfortunately, these were just ferries, the passenger ferry for Tuk Tuk starts from Tiga Raja Harbour which meant another 20 minutes walking with heavy luggage already being in a very special mood. Again with some help from the locals they chartered an Angkot (minibus) for Rp 50.000,-- which brought them to the Tiga Raja Harbour for the ferry to Tuk Tuk. In the end the guests missed the 18.00 h ferry to Tuk Tuk by only 15 minutes, so they had to wait for the 19.00 h ferry.
On board of the ferry, the guests asked to be dropped at the first stop of the ferry. (This is normally the Sosor Galung Stop at a walking distance of 3 minutes from Horas). With not too many passengers, the last ferry, this one having its landing place at Sosor Galung makes Sosor Galung its last stop. However, in line with the instructions of the guests they were dropped at 19.45 h in the pitch dark at the first stop of the ferry for that evening. Fortunately, the guests were pointed in the right direction so after 20 minutes walking in the dark, dragging their heavy luggage, they finally made it to the HORAS SHUGARY Restaurant a bit after 20.30 h, just recognizing the name HORAS. The owner of the Restaurant called us and we picked up the guests from Horas Shugary with motorbikes, at no cost, so the guests arrived with us around 21.00 h, exhausted and in a very bad mood.
So instead of arriving with us at 15.15 h after a comfortable ride with an English speaking driver, having also time for lunch and some sightseeing the guests actually arrived at 21.00 h, but having saved exactly Rp 50.000,--
At the end of the stay we brought the guests back to the Airport, via Siantar, at our regular cost of Rp 1.000.000,--. The guests did not even try to negotiate.
May 12, 2015
The guests flying in from Jakarta at Midday planned to bring the car with them to us. They were sure that the best deal could be made with an individual taxi driver upon arrival at the Airport. It turned out to be a deal with someone and then the someone arranges for the car and driver. As the guests arrived at 12.00 h they had ample time to catch the 17.45 h car ferry from Parapat to Tomok and be with us at 18.45 h.
Unfortunately, halfway between Perbaungan and Tebing Tinggi the car broke down. To get it going again took about an hour. The same happened again between Siantar and Parapat. The guests arrived around 19.00 h in Parapat and had to wait for the 20.45 h car ferry from Parapat to Tomok. The car ferry and the guests arrived as scheduled 21.45 h in Tomok. Five minutes out of Tomok, already really in the middle of nowhere during a heavy rain and thunderstorm, on their way to us the car got a flat tire. These things happen. The good news was that there was a spare tire in the car, but the car jack was broken. This was already known to the driver for several months, but as the driver did not own the car what could he do.
At 22.15 h the guests called us desperately and scared for help. First of all we arranged for a car to pick up the guests and bring them straight to us, after that the car went back to help changing the tire.
Suggestion: If you decide to arrange for your own transportation with an individual driver please try to check the technical condition of the car.
May 7, 2015
The guests arranged for a car not through the hotel in Medan where they were staying, but with a staff member of the hotel who knew a friend who knew a friend with a car. The price sounded very reasonable. The guests called us at 10.00 h to let us know they were already on their way. Together with the guests we concluded that with a few short stops along the road via Siantar they could just make the 14.30 h ferry, but for sure the 15.30 h ferry, so we expected the guests not later than 16.15 h
During the day it turned out that the guests could call us, but we could not call the guests. The guests called again at 13.00 h, informing us that they were already close to Siantar. We concluded that the guests were most likely just going to miss the 14.30 h ferry, so the scheduled ETA with us was still 16.15 h.
At 17.00 h the guests called and informed us that they were at Simpang Sidamanik. The next day it turned out that the driver had never been further then Siantar and from there started following the road sign to Parapat. The first sign he followed was basically the sign for buses and trucks which are not allowed to pass Siantar through the city centre. Somewhere along this detour there is another sign for Parapat, now via Sidamanik. The driver followed the sign, got lost, thought he got on the right track again, got lost and finally made it to Simpang Sidamanik at 17.00 h. We explained to the guests that they were only a 10 min ride from Tiga Ras harbour, for taking the 17.30 h ferry to Simanindo from where they could come straight to us. New ETA at Horas 18.30 h.
The guests called again at 20.00 h informing us that they were at the parking place and waiting for the ferry. This turned out to be the car ferry from Ajibata harbour in Parapat to Tomok. The guests arrived with us at 22.00 h. The reason was that the guests ended up in Ajibata was that the driver did not know where to find the Tiga Ras Harbour and thought it better from Simpang Sidamanik to follow the sign to Parapat.
Suggestion: If you decide to arrange for your own transportation please make sure that your driver knows how to go from Medan to Parapat via the most direct route.
HORAS !!! HORAS !!! HORAS !!!
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