This is one of the most common topics that many women are wondering about when traveling to a Muslim country – how to dress properly? This topic was also very much on my mind when we planned a trip here, to North Sumatra. They live by the Sharia Law here, which is the most strict of Muslim regulations. I have repeatedly wondered if I even want to come here at all because I have had read and heard things about this place and religion.  But it was definitely a good choice to come because now I have much more experiences and new perspectives.

Therefore I think it’s important to travel to places like this to really understand what it is like. All the locals are very friendly and even when the religion is what it is, I have never felt unsafe (but I have never gone out alone when it’s dark). We’ve been here for 2 months now, so I can tell you a little about this place and culture, and share my experiences about what to wear as a foreign female. 

The dress code must be respectful of this religion. Local women must wear veils here but the western woman should cover their shoulders and knees, it is not allowed to wear a veil as a non-muslim foreigner. At first, I found myself a little bit uncomfortable when I left my room and had to wear covering clothes in this +30 degrees Celcius heat. Clothes, in general, don’t feel that nice on the sweaty skin here, but loose clothing is more comfortable in the heat. 

Luckily, at this homestay where we are staying it’s more free with what you wear. But when I leave this yard, I have to put some clothing on. Sometimes it feels frustrating when you just want to go to the restaurant close by, eat and enjoy the sun and get some tan, but you still have to put your clothes on. At first, this was annoying but I got used to it quickly. A sharong is really convenient because it’s light and it can easily put over the shoulders. 

Women must also wear clothes while surfing or swimming. Or at least it’s very recommended. For the first time, I went surfing just with a one-piece swimsuit but I didn’t like the gaze I got so after that I always wore my capri-length leggings and t-shirt. Most of the girls wear leggings/t-shorts while they surf. Shorts are also okay when you are in the water but as soon as you get up you better cover yourself.

Tips for females who travel to a Muslim country:

-Pack up breathable tunics or dresses (above the knee/maxidresses) which are made of lightweight fabrics. They’re nice to wear especially in the heat and they’re also nice looking!

-Surfing is best done with leggings (capri or full length) or sports shorts and t-shirt / long sleeve (also prevents sunburn!). 

-Lightweight long pants are a comfortable and good choice, preferably loose ones. The yoga pants are NOT good because they’re tight – people (local men) are staring and it doesn’t feel comfortable at all. Loose clothing is a better choice!

-A sharong is really convenient for its versatility. It can be used on the shoulders or as a skirt to cover your knees.

 

-Lotta

Lotta: Hello! It’s Sunday and the time is 1:09 pm. This has been a nice, peaceful morning. I woke up refreshed after a long night’s sleep, got myself some green tea (I quit drinking coffee almost one week ago because I want to know how I feel without it), then I did some yoga and listened to an audiobook.

After that, I went to the vegetable/fruit shop where I bought some lunch items and fruit. I just love these long and peaceful morning’s here! Because one thing I don’t like at all is hectic mornings.

north sumatra

miz surfboard

The week has been full of work and studying. I have read a lot about health, nutrition, the mind, and life. I also downloaded the BookBeat -app, where they have audiobooks to listen to. I have been listening to a lot of different books and learned new things or rather new perspectives. It feels so good to evolve and to understand things in new ways. In the future, I will definitely write more about these, especially health and mind things.

It feels like it was only a couple of days from last Sunday. Time goes so fast! We have only a few days left here in Sumatra and then we head to Malaysia. So next week I will be writing in the jungle!

One evening we went to a beach close by and the sunset was AMAZING as you can see:

sunset north . sumatra

miz sunset

sunset

selfies, north sumatra

One thing that is impossible to avoid here is SELFIES with locals. Whenever we go out, to surf or just to the shop, there might be some locals asking to take a picture with them. The craziest place is the beach, as you can see on the pictures, there were once again some locals wanting to take a selfie. It’s totally fine but usually, if you take a picture with one of them, all the rest will follow and they want a picture too! It’s pretty funny for a normal western to be treated like some celebrity just because of skin color and foreign look. On the other hand, it’s really respectful that they want to do it and it is pretty much impossible to say no!

sand

bembalyfe

i love you

That’s all for now. Next week there will certainly be more things to write about because we’re moving forward.

Hope you had a great week and enjoy your Sunday!

-Lotta

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Lotta: Good morning from a sunny Sumatra! At the moment I’m sipping a coconut outside of our room and wondering about life. The days repeat each other pretty much and the time goes by. I’m starting to get a little bit bored here and I feel that I really need some new activities.
This small village with the same faces, the same food, and the same activities every damn day, ugh, drives me almost crazy! 😀 

One good thing about this is that there is a lot of time to work and THINK about everything. Thinking is good, people! Your brain is your most important muscle and you need to use it as much as possible to develop! And the most important thing in life is to develop yourself.

We have 12 nights left here and then we leave to Malaysia for a jungle trip – can’t wait for a new adventure! We found out that the oldest rainforest in the world is located about 8 hours from Kuala Lumpur and that’s where we’re going.  After that we head to Thailand to celebrate our friend’s 30th birthday – it’s gonna be EPIC! So now I just have to try to enjoy this calm before the storm, hah.

This week’s Valentine’s Day got me thinking a lot about friendship and made me miss my friends back in Finland so much. When getting older, it gets a lot harder to find good trustful friends – I’m pretty careful about who I trust and let in close to me. I’m not interested in small talks and superficial relationships, I need something deeper. I just don’t have any interest to speak about the weather or some other superficial things and waste my time in relationships that don’t give me anything.

When I was younger, I was really different about this, I had a lot of friends and I spent my time just hanging out even with people who gave me shitty energy or took all my good energy from me. I’m pretty sensitive and I just can’t be surrounded by that kind of people anymore because they exhaust me.

The past few days I’ve missed my besties and nights when we just sip wine, laugh and talk about everything, even the deepest and most sensitive things. That is absolutely the worst part of traveling.

As I wrote last week, we went to the Tsunami Museum this week. It wasn’t that special as a museum, but the subject was really appealing. I still remember vividly when I looked at the news on the TV of what happened in December 2004. It was such a frightening thing for a 14-year-old girl and I got so upset.

North Sumatra was the place that took the biggest hit in the tsunami and there were over 200.000 casualties. Not so many people know this thing because of so little tourism here so all the headlines were about Thailand and other big tourist spots. 

There was a tsunami short film at the museum, and I was wondering if I  even want to see it at all. But it’s not every day you get the chance to do this so I decided to go for it. The film reminded me of how fucking powerful nature really can be and how small and vulnerable we, the human beings are!

The entrance to the museum was only 10.000 IDR (0,70 euros) so it was definitely worth it.

tsunami museum

On Friday, I went back to Kuala Lumpur by myself to pick up my laptop which was finally repaired. It takes only 1.5 hours to fly from Banda Aceh to Kuala Lumpur. It felt good to get out of here for a while, back to civilization for one day.

The Apple repair service, where my laptop where, also worked out really well in the end. Now my laptop works like a brand new one! Thanks to Apple for a great service (even if I had to search for the place for two days when I brought it in)! If you have to repair your Apple products in Kuala Lumpur, I can highly recommend this place: Thunder @Avenue K Shopping Mall.

I was in Kuala Lumpur only for one night and I stayed at Zen Rooms KL Sentral* which cost only 14 euros. It is very close to the bus station where the bus to the airport leaves. It is also nearby the NU Sentral which is a big shopping mall where I went to buy some necessary stuff like vitamins and supplements from a pharmacy. Here in Sumatra, there is a pretty poor selection of those and people don’t really speak that much English, so I bought everything we need in KL.  

Michael just came back from the water and we’re going to eat some lunch now!

Until next time,

Lotta

It’s time for the weekly update again. These have been our most read posts – it’s nice to see that people are interested to see more real life stuff instead of super edited pictures and posts – what the internet is mostly about these days. We flag for authenticity!

The week has been pretty basic including our daily basics like work, surfing, yoga etc. except that we both have suffered some flu and headache symptoms the whole week. It’s such a different strain of bacteria here so it’s pretty normal to have some kind of flu or virus once in a while. We have tried to fight against the flu with vitamins and hydrating the body as much as possible. And of course, rest when needed!

home office

I haven’t even been in the water for a week so I’m starting to get a bit bored and I really need some activities. Michael has been in the water almost every day even if he’s a little bit sick because he can’t stay out!

One good thing about being sick is that you have so much time to plan the future and the things you want to develop. And we definitely have plenty of ideas and plans for the future!

It seems like even Michael is starting to get messed up of the flu because he just cleaned our entire room. He changed the sheets, cleaned the air-conditioning machine (that’s probably what caused the flu, the AC was dirty as fuck!!!), washed the floor… I’m such a lucky girl! 😀

north sumatra

One day we went to a Banda Aceh center which is about 10 kilometers away from here. We stopped at the grocery shop and pharmacy. The center is a bit strange, this time there was a lot of weirdos and because there are no other tourists, we got a lot of attention. It’s a bit annoying sometimes.

north sumatra

Life is super easy here because you don’t have to cook yourself. There are a few places where you can eat, so we eat almost every day pretty much the same food which gets a little bit boring.

I’m used to doing my own cooking because I like to eat healthy and nutritious food – It’s quite difficult to eat clean here because they put MSG and another kind of unhealthy stuff in everything.

Michael has suddenly developed some food allergies (hand eczema) so he needs to put some effort into what to eat and what to avoid. Pretty difficult at times because of the limited supply of diversity. But the food is really tasty here (probably because of the MSG, haha), so I don’t complain!

local food, sumatra

Next week we are planning to go to the Tsunami Museum which is one of the most famous sights of Banda Aceh. This place suffered the most when the 2004 tsunami hit. There is also a ship on top of some houses that is left to sit there as a reminder of the tsunami power. You’ll see more about this next week!

north sumatra

Now I need to go get some food because I’m starving! Hope you have a nice Sunday!

-Lotta

*This post contains affiliate links. 

MOYO ISLAND – SUMBAWA, INDONESIA

Okay, so many people have never heard about Moyo Island, Never did I before I stumbled upon it by accident when searching the web. I instantly knew that this place is going to be a paradise, and it was!

-Explore the nature, bat cave
-Visit multiple waterfalls
-Snorkeling in crystal clear water
-Diving in some of the best conditions on planet earth
-Little to none tourism

READ POST: EXPLORING MOYO ISLAND – SCUBA DIVING AND WATERFALLS

scuba diving moyo island

We went to Moyo Island in May and there were no other Western people around. You can visit the Island any time a year but December to February might be a bit more rainy, On the other side, the waterfalls will be even more spectacular if this happens.

The place we stayed at was as amazing as it gets (book your stay: Maleo Moyo Hotel & Dive resort*). The couple who owns it is one of the best-hearted people I ever met! Evert, originally from the Netherlands, is the man at the resort – and also the scuba instructor! Click for more: DJI Moyo.

He is very professional and has a lot of experience. He and his wife who is local runs the place and they are willing to help you with anything you need.

moyo island bungalow

moyo island

There is also a 5-star resort, Amanwana*, where it’s luxury but that is for the wealthier people because it’s very expensive and did not suit us.

Where is it and how to get there?

The island is situated on the North side of Sumbawa, East of Lombok. The easiest way is to fly in with a seaplane but that will cost you a lot of money. More info here.

The second option, which is way cheaper, is to first get yourself to Bali and then fly via Lombok to Sumbawa Besar.

Book your flights here:

From there you need to take a taxi to a peer and from there with a boat. Luckily for you, Evert has this all figured out at a reasonable price, he picks you up from the airport and then you jump on his boat and will take you straight to Maleo Moyo.

moyo island scuba diving

What to do on Moyo?

Scuba diving and snorkeling is for sure the best reason to visit the island, Secondly comes nature and waterfalls it beholds.

There is also a bat cave which is very exciting. Here you can watch how we spent our time on the Island:

READ POST: MOYO ISLAND – MATA JITU WATERFALL

READ POST: BAT CAVE

READ POST HERE

READ POST HERE

READ POST HERE

Okay, so this was our journey there. Did you get excited yet? Comment below if you been to Moyo or planning to go!

We highly suggest that you visit this piece of paradise if you want some real adventure.

Oh, by the way, there is no ATM at the island so be prepared, get some cash with you and plan in advance. Also no alcohol, but you will probably not need it anyway. Enjoy!
moyo islandmata jitu moyo islandmoyo islandmoyo island sunset

-Michael