The night bus from Bukittinggi to Parapat (Lake Toba)

So the night bus from Bukittinggi to Parapat is an experience I certainly won’t forget for several reasons:

  1. The air con was freezing, but we were given blankets and pillows which was a thoughtful touch.
  2. The driver was an absolute maniac, overtaking everything and going at a ridiculously fast speed on the endless narrow, winding roads up and down mountains. I’m honestly amazed we didn’t crash or kill anyone on the road. I had a breakdown at the start of the journey because I was so terrified.
  3. The toilet on the bus was a western toilet, but had a bucket of water next to it with a scoop to self-flush. Sounds fine, but the bucket of water didn’t have a lid, so when the bus was flying round the hair-pin bends, water (and probably a lot of piss) went everywhere.
  4. I was sat underneath a speaker which is normally not a problem but the music volume was cranked up at 11pm and didn’t stop throughout the whole bloody night. My music and podcasts couldn’t even drown it, so I was forced to listen to non-stop Indo-pop all night. Yay. Somehow I managed to sleep for a few hours on Ste’s shoulder which was a miracle. As soon as it got light at 6.30am, the music stopped. We got off the bus about 7.30am so I only got 1 hour of p & q.
  5. All the locals were throwing up throughout the journey because it was so windy and jerky. They were very considerate by throwing up into bags and putting the bags into the bins along the isle, but they didn’t hold back the vomiting noises. At one point, I swear 70% of the bus was throwing up. Let’s just say I think the music was playing so loud to cover up the sound of retching.

Would I do it again? Probably not if I had the choice but, I guess it could have been a lot worse than it actually was. The busses were in better nick than the ones I’d been on in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but still didn’t have seatbelts. I even managed to get some sleep, which was a godsend, so I wasn’t too grumpy the next day.

Good morning Lake Toba!

One thought on “The night bus from Bukittinggi to Parapat (Lake Toba)

  1. Lol. Memories. Did that in the early 1980’s. No such thing as a toilet or air con lol. You just don’t want to know about my toileting experiences on that trip. Your writing is very descriptive. Enjoy yourself.


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