Venture to Indonesia’s rugged wilderness in steamy Sumatra.

Steamy Sumatra is a rugged jungle paradise for all types of adventurers. The world’s sixth largest island is teeming with untamed nature and is home to many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros, elephants and the acclaimed orangutan. On this nine-day Sumatran expedition, travel from Medan to Bukit Lawang and explore Gunung Leuser National Park. Head to Berastagi and hike up the steaming active volcano Sibayak, basking in the glory of misty panoramas from the summit. Finish in Samonsir on Lake Toba, where the colourfully dressed Christian Batak people are happy to have your company. Venture off the beaten track and learn a thing or two about Sumatra.


Start
Medan, Indonesia
Finish
Medan, Indonesia
Destination
Indonesia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
TIST
Physical rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Gunung Leuser National Park is your best chance in Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. Hike through the jungle, home to some 300 bird species and the endangered Sumatran tiger, on a small-group camping experience.

  • Begin and end your adventure in Sumatra’s largest city: Medan. Explore the mix of Asian cultures in the city, noticeable in its colourful architecture and delicious mix of food.

  • Let your knowledgeable group leader guide you through the thickets of the jungle, past small cultural villages, and to the best places to eat around northern Sumatra.

  • Climb the Sibayak Volcano to enjoy panoramic views at its spectacular summit, then head to local hot springs for some well-earned rest and relaxation after the descent.

  • Explore Lake Toba and the villages on Samosir Island. Check out Indonesia’s highest waterfall and a take a cultural tour that includes a traditional Batak dance performance.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Sumatra is less developed than other islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Due to limited tourism infrastructure, expect there to be more bumpy and windy roads, some longer drives and more basic hotels. On the plus side, you’ll feel like you’re off the beaten track!

  • This trip involves either a partial or full camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping in the wilderness. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates and group leader a hand, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own! Keep in mind this is jungle camping with twin share tents and no facilities.

  • Some of the best scenery on Sumatra is found on hikes. So, while this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2018 itinerary
Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you happen to arrive early, perhaps check out Maimun Palace – designed by a Dutch Architect and built in the 19th century, it combines architecture from Malay, Indian and Islamic cultures and is now a museum. Alternatively, buy a ticket and take a guided tour of the museum at Tjong A Fie Mansion – known as "the historical jewel in Medan", the Tjong A Fie was built in 1895 by a hakka merchant and is modelled on the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang. After your important welcome meeting, you could head to grab some street food with your group at one of the night markets in town, or go to a local restaurant – your group leader will know of some good spots.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Medan - Maimun Palace - IDR5000
  • Medan Grand Mosque - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, it's a good idea to arrive a day early so you can attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Jump aboard a private vehicle and drive to Bukit Lawang (approximately 5 hours). The first part of the journey involves quite heavy traffic, but the roads are nice and smooth. Closer to Bukit Lawang it gets bumpy and windy, so brace yourself for a bit of an adventure. The reward for the journey is the destination – Bukit Lawang a peaceful village located on the banks of the Bohorok river, right next to the Gunung Leuser National Park. In the afternoon you can take an optional tour in the countryside by becak (cycle rickshaw) or cool off with a refreshing swim in the river. There will be also be plenty of time to prepare for your jungle trek.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bukit Lawang - Countryside tour - IDR200000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set off on your trekking adventure through the Gunung Leuser National Park with an experienced guide (approximately 5–6 hours). The night will be spent camping out in the jungle. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed park spans 7927 square kilometres and is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems. It's the home of many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and elephants. These animals are extremely rare to see but you will get the chance to go in search for wild orangutans. There used to be an orangutan rehabilitation centre here, but now these creatures have all been returned to their natural habitat, so this is your best chance in Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. There are also 300 species of birds, and many rare plants and flowers. Today's hike is hilly and can be muddy. The paths are mostly clear, but there are some sections where you’ll have to climb over large fallen logs. You may stop and rest while the guides go in search for orangutans. Along the way, guides point out orangutan nests, edible plants for you to try, monkeys, birds, and wild orangutan. You will carry your own lunch and break for lunch along the way then continue trekking to the camp site, where the guides set up and cook dinner for the group.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gunung Leuser NP - Jungle wildlife trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Variations to this trek are uncommon, but possible due to varying weather conditions (in the rainy season you will try to reach camp earlier, as it normally rains in the late afternoon) and timing depends on the group’s physical condition. The leader gives the hike a 6/10 difficulty in the dry season and an 8/10 in the wet season. It's a wild, remote spot, which means maximum adventure and zero facilities! Twin share tents and boiled stream water refills are provided. You may want to bring your own water purification tablets for tonight.

You will need to prepare an overnight bag for your trek, and we will leave our large bags at the hotel. It is advised to wear long-sleeved lightweight clothing, as this will keep the sun and mosquitoes away and help in the year-round hot and very humid weather. We suggest you bring a spare set of clothes for the evening, a sleep sheet, biodegradable soap or shower gel, insect repellent, a pack towel or sarong and rain jacket. At night, the temperature
You will wake early to the sound of gibbons and continue the trek down river (approximately 2 hours). Your feet may get wet, so strap-on sandals, booties or local rubber shoes are recommended to pack. Head back to Bukit Lawang, where day rooms will be made available for a freshen up and shower before you get on the bus. It's also a good chance to stock up on some tropical fruit for the road. Depart early afternoon for Berastagi (approximately 5.5 hours). Berastagi is the home of the Karo people, a Batak sub-group with traditional villages (long houses), and is your destination for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The beautiful mountainous area en route to Berastagi goes as high as 1,300 metres above sea level. During the day, temperatures usually rise over 25 C (77 F) but can become quite cold overnight and in the morning, especially in the wet season. It is best to pack clothing that you can layer to ensure you are ready for any season.
Drive for approximately 30 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The hike (approximately 2-3 hours) brings you to the top of Sibayak Volcano (2094 m). It's quite steep, muddy and slippery, especially in the wet season. Follow a shady jungle path which, towards the top, opens up into a more alpine setting. Long pants are essential to protect you from poisonous plants, and a trekking stick will also come in handy. After reaching the top, sit down to a traditional bungkus lunch and enjoy the views. From the summit you can see (and hear) the steaming vapours escaping from the fumaroles of this active volcano. Then it's time for the descent (approximately 1 hour). Afterwards, head straight to the nearby hot springs for a soothing soak – after a few days of trekking, you deserve to relax in these pools, which are all naturally heated by the volcano.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Sibayak - Picnic lunch
  • Mt Sibayak - Volcano climb
  • Berastagi - Hot springs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, head to Tongging Village by private vehicle, on the banks of Lake Toba (2 hours). The road from Berastagi to Lake Toba is a nice, smooth road. Then, continue on and stop at Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which was formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau. Watch as water cascades from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 metres (360 feet) down to lake level – forming Indonesia's highest waterfall. Lake Toba itself, surrounded by mountains, is a peaceful spot to relax. It was formed by a huge volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago; a second eruption 50,000 years later created an island the size of Singapore in the middle of the lake – Samosir Island. Your accommodation tonight is right next to the lake and boasts nice views of the water, mountains and rice fields.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Toba - Sipiso-Piso Waterfall
  • Dokan Village - Batak longhouse visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a day tour in Samosir. Visit the Stone Chairs and the Simanindo Museum (in a traditional house). You’ll also travel up to a viewpoint on the island which gives you a panoramic vista of the below Lake Toba and the surrounding Sumatran countryside. Walk through nearby rice fields and stop by a local Batak house for a traditional lunch. Toba Island is dotted with many ancient and modern grave sites, several of which you’ll see on today's tour. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy a traditional Batak dance performance. The Toba Bataks have a unique religion, architecture and culture. Although they are predominantly Christian, they also practice animism. The most distinctive element of their culture is the traditional architecture – extraordinary boat-like houses with roofs resembling buffalo horns.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Toba - Samosir Island day tour
  • Lake Toba - Stone Chairs
  • Lake Toba - Simanindo Museum
  • Lake Toba - Batak dance performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Drive back to Simanindo (approximately 45 minutes). From there, take a boat back over Lake Toba to Tigaras (approximately 45 minutes). Make a stop at a traditional Dokan Village where you'll find a handful of traditional houses which are still the homes of local Batak families. Afterwards, continue back to Medan (approximately 3.5 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Medan - Maimun Palace - IDR5000
  • Medan Grand Mosque - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. If you would like to spend more time in Medan, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you have pre-booked a departure transfer to the airport or travelling by taxi please allow between 2-2.5 hours to travel from the hotel in Medan to the International airport.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Ferry, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)

Included activities

  • Gunung Leuser NP - Jungle wildlife trek
  • Mt Sibayak - Picnic lunch
  • Mt Sibayak - Volcano climb
  • Berastagi - Hot springs
  • Lake Toba - Sipiso-Piso Waterfall
  • Dokan Village - Batak longhouse visit
  • Lake Toba - Samosir Island day tour
  • Lake Toba - Stone Chairs
  • Lake Toba - Simanindo Museum
  • Lake Toba - Batak dance performance

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes night 3 (Camping) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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