by Stephanie Thullen, Mexico (August 01)

If you think you arrived a bit late for the ferry to Nias (which leave at 8:30 pm), do not let the driver of the tourist bus tell you it already left. It usually leaves 1-2 hours late! We came from Bukittinggi and arrived at 9pm, and even though we insisted to be taken to the ferry the driver kept saying it already left. About a half hour later, while looking for a hotel, we were told the ferry hadn't left and we hurried to the port but just missed it!

Hotel Pesar Baru (Jl. Imam Bonjol) is the best place to stay if you get stuck in Sibolga. For 10,000 more rupiah than the other grotty dumps you get a really nice, clean room with TV and a very nice manager that will help you get transport out of Sibolga (if you decide to skip Nias after all)

There is no more Jumbo Jet speed ferry to Nias Island from Sibolga. It went bankrupt about 6 months ago. So make sure you make the night ferry, or be prepared to stay a whole extra day in Sibolga.

If you are stuck in Sibolga and have nothing to do, contact Fuday Munthe at Helen's Tourist Information Service, 33 Jl. Diponegoro, (0062) 631-25452. He can take you to other sights around the area (there's supposedly quite a few things to do including a nice little island nearby) and arranges tours to Nias as well. And he may be able to get you out of Sibolga as well.