My trip to South Sumatra was a pretty eye-opening one – besides taking in the total solar eclipse while in Palembang, we also spent a little time travelling outside the capital to other parts of South Sumatra and seeing the beautiful and diverse Indonesian landscape.
One of the most beautiful locations we visited was Lake Ranau aka Danau Ranau located in the South Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU) region and West Lampung. This is the second largest volcanic lake in Sumatra, but it’s like no one has ever heard of it – most people only know the more popular Lake Toba in North Sumatra which is the second largest volcanic lake and the deepest one in the world.
But if you are looking for tranquility and a real getaway from civilisation, Lake Ranau is definitely a place to consider for its quiet and beauty. Thanks again to the South Sumatra Tourism Board for inviting me along on this trip!
We stayed in Villa Wisma Pusri, which had a great lake-side location looking towards the picturesque Mount Seminung in the distance. Make sure you get a villa that overlooks the water so you can enjoy the sunset views!
Also if you want something swanky, request for the villas that have been renovated – they seem to be doing this in phases and the upgraded ones are pretty comfortable looking compared to the normal villas. But despite all that, remember that you are in quite a remote area overall – this property runs on generators so during the day there is no electricity or hot water. Even at night, be prepared for wonky generators as well as cold showers!
Still, the surrounding area is generally quite cool all throughout the year, so there is no real need for air conditioning – it’s more for the ventilation and when you close the windows/doors against the insects. Also, the views are pretty damn worthwhile.
No website or email unfortunately – you have to call them up +62 82175131381 . Standard rooms go at about 250-300k IDR (about S$25-30) while the VIP upgraded rooms go at about 450k IDR (~S$46)
WHAT TO DO
Bloggers being bloggers, we spent most of the evening of our arrival day just hanging out on the pier, taking in the view and taking ridiculous pictures.
We took a boat ride out on Lake Ranau the next morning when the weather was perfect – the lake was empty save for fishermen going about their usual business, casting their nets into the clear mirror-like waters. Odd fact: bring your phones along because for some reason, the phone reception is better in the middle of the lake than it is on the hotel grounds. I had extremely minimal reception in the room but once I was in the middle of the lake, all my notifications starting buzzing.
Most people take the boat ride out to nearby Marisa Island. This is not an island you can walk around on as it’s mostly covered with trees, so the boat just takes a loop around it.
We then headed to another part of the lake where there is a hot spring! We actually spent more time splashing around in the lake rather than soaking in the hot springs. The Hot Springs are quite natural, in that you have to constantly mix the hot water and lake water together to ensure you don’t get scalded.
We only spent a night here, and before leaving, we indulged in a lunch of Mujair Kumbang, some traditionally grilled fish from the lake which is a specialty of the area. Absolutely delicious, unfortunately I was falling a bit ill so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have >_<
Some other blogs you can refer to from fellow bloggers on this trip with me about Danau Ranau and South Sumatra:
- 10 Things to do in South Sumatra – CC Food Travel
- South Sumatra – Stray from the beaten path – Suma Lifestyle
- 6 reasons why South Sumatra is the next up and coming destination – Pohtecktoes
Definitely check out this amazing video by Pojiegraphy of our trip (and spot me!)
and if you can read Bahasa or don’t mind some Google Translate (sorry if I missed out any of your links! Drop me a comment so I can link to it!)
- Suzannita (INDO)
- Venus (INDO)
- Omnduut (INDO)
- Cumilebay (INDO)
- Maman (INDO)
- Swastika (INDO)
- Pojiegraphy (MALAY)
HOW TO GET THERE
The funny thing about Indonesia is that I have actually seen very little of it, considering it is literally so close to home for me – just a bit more than hour if you fly directly to Palembang. But South Sumatra’s beauty lies in the fact that it remains fairly undeveloped, especially when you compare it against tourist hotspots like Bali and Jakarta, so while I definitely encourage you to visit the region, be prepared that getting around may be a bit challenging as it’s not the most well developed and there are lots of hills and winding roads so you aren’t going to get anywhere too quickly – we were travelling at least 3-4 hours by bus for each destination (and an epic 8 hours on one day!).
Lake Ranau is definitely not the easiest place to get to, which is why its still quite untouched:
- It’s a whopping 340km from Palembang which is the closest international airport – expect at least 7-8 hours of driving direct from Palembang
- Lampung has a much smaller airport as well but it’s not that much closer – at least 6-7 hours
The South Sumatran tourism folk have advised that there is a direct bus from Palembang to Lake Ranau at around 120 – 150k IDR (more info pending about where you can do so) but if you are planning a trip, this should give you a sense of budget at least. I highly recommend a private car, or possibly breaking up the journey over a few days by taking your time and stopping overnight at other towns along the way.
Lonely Planet recommends the following if you are willing to brave public transport, though it seems… rather tedious!
- Palembang to Baturaja by bus (120km, est 4 hours) or train (Bandarlampung Train line, est 3.5 hours)
- Baturaja to Simpang Sender by bus (120km, est 3 hours)
- Simpang Sender to Lake Ranau by van/mini bus (18km, est 20 mins)
This trip was sponsored by the South Sumatra Tourism Board.