Prepare to be dazzled by incredible Indonesia

Far from ‘just another island getaway’, Indonesia is in many ways a whole world of its own, a sprawling constellation of distinct islands offering a staggering breadth of experiences. This immersive combo trip begins way out in Indonesia’s wild west – on the island of Sumatra – and travels east through Java and into Bali, giving a superb overview of the country’s diversity. Move effortlessly from Christian Batak to Hinduism to Buddhism, remote jungle to untouched beach to volcano-studded valley, culture-rich urban village to streetside warung to ancient temple complex. For lovers of South East Asian adventure, this is a journey not to be missed.

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Start
Medan, Indonesia
Finish
Ubud, Indonesia
Country
Indonesia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
TISSC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Gunung Leuser National Park is your best chance in all of Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. This diverse ecosystem also harbours some 300 bird species and the endangered Sumatran tiger

  • The excellent Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge provides a unique jungle experience, and by staying there you support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

  • Climb the Sibayak Volcano, enjoy a picnic 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

  • Yogyakarta is one of South-East Asia's standout spots, and a cycling trip takes you through its backcountry, a world of flower-studded fields and smiling locals

  • Take a guided walk through the jungle and rice paddies of Seloliman Nature Reserve, then sit back, relax and soak up the ambience under the stars

  • Climbing Mt Bromo in the early hours of the morning is an adventure to remember. If the conditions are right, you'll be rewarded with a dazzling sunset over mist-laden volcanoes

  • Get behind the scenes of some of Java's fascinating local industries – from coffee, cocoa and palm sugar to traditional Javanese medicine

  • There's plenty of time to chill out at beautiful Pemuteran by the beach

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 bumpy and windy roads, some longer drives and more basic hotels. On the plus side, there are less tourists.

  • This itinerary spend one night camping in Gunung Lesuer National Park. Keep in mind this is jungle camping with twin share tents and no facilities. Which is of course all part of the adventure.

  • Gunung Leuser National Park is located in Aceh province, which is governed by Sharia Law. There are strict Sharia laws to comply to. Your leader will explain more, but conservative dress is required for these days, (and is recommended for the rest of this trip).

  • This trip involves a fair amount of hiking and cycling. A moderate level of fitness will help you to get the most out of this trip.

  • Java is one of the largest islands in Indonesia, and this trip covers a lot of ground. Travel times can be long and delays are common. Where suitable, you'll travel by train instead of drive, which will make the journey more comfortable. 

  • It's important not to make your bags too heavy, as you will be expected to carry them onto and off trains, and walk them short distances. Porters are available in most stations at an extra charge.

  • Accommodation at Seloliman Nature Reserve, and near Mt Bromo is in basic guesthouses. Set on the edge of a tropical forest the Seloliman Reserve embraces philosophies of environmental education, and we are sure you will get a good nights sleep. The next night close to the base Mt Bromo our guesthouse is selected for it's location. Our stay is short, as we awake very early the next day for our sunrise hike.

  • Dress standards in Java are more conservative than in other areas of Indonesia. Show your respect by covering your knees and shoulders when visiting temples. It's a great idea to bring your own sarong.

Itinerary

Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Jump aboard the minivan 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 – the beautiful Eco Lodge Bukit Lawang. This tranquil haven is located on the banks of the Bohorok River, right next to the Gunung Leuser National Park. Arrive in time for an optional lunch.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set off on a 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 7,927 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, elephant and orangutan. 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.

The start and finish point for the trek is the Eco Lodge itself. Today's hike is hilly (both up and down), and can be muddy. The paths are mostly clear, but there are some sections where we have to climb over large fallen logs. We may stop and rest while our guides go in search of orangutans for us. Along the way our guides point out orangutan nests, edible plants for us to try, monkeys, birds, and wild orangutan. We will carry our own lunch and break for lunch along the way then continue trekking to camping site, where the guides set up and cook dinner for the group. It's a wild, remote spot, which means maximum adventure and zero facilities! A tent, and water refills are provided.
Accommodation
  • Camping (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Variations are possible due to weather conditions (in the rainy season we will try to reach camp earlier, as it normally rains in later 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.

EQUIPMENT: You will need to carry your backpack with your gear for the 2 day trek, while your main luggage will be stored at your accommodation in Bukit Lawang. In your backpack you will need a sleeping bag (or sleeping bag liner), sleeping mat, and other items as listed in the packing section.

CLOTHING: longer clothing will keep the sun and mosquitoes away, but it needs to be lightweight as the weather is hot (around 30ºC, 86ºF) and humidity is near 100%. At night the temperatures will go down to around 22ºC (71ºF), so it's neither hot nor cold for sleeping. Please refer to packing for information about suitable footwear.
Enjoy an early morning walk in search of wildlife (approximately 2–3 hours). Keep an eye out for any creatures you may have missed yesterday. As well as the major players, this jungle is home to: Thomas's langur (Thomas leaf monkey) (unique to northern Sumatra); Wreathed hornbill; Crab-eating macaque (long-tailed macaque); Southern pig-tailed macaque; water monitor; reticulated python, Wagler's pit viper; Asiatic softshell turtle; and the Malayan giant squirrel.This leads back to Bukit Lawang, and involves river crossings. The aim is to arrive back at the eco lodge by about 11 am. Day rooms will be available for showers before you get on the bus. 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). It's also a good chance to stock up on some tropical fruit for the road.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Berastagi - Mt Sibayak climb with a local guide
  • Berastagi - Mt Sibayak picnic lunch
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, the temperature rises over 25 °C (77°F); but at night to early morning it could drop to as low as 12 to 16 °C (54 - 60°F); it can also reach 9 °C (48°F) in the wet season.) Warmer layers are best for the potential temperature differences.
Drive (approximately 30 minutes) to the starting point of today's hike. The hike (approximately 4–5 hours) brings you to the top of Sibayak Volcano (2094 m). It's quite steep, muddy and slippery (rated 6/10 for difficulty in the dry season and 8/10 in the wet). 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 picnic 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 1–2 hours). Afterwards, head straight to the nearby hot springs afterwards for a soothing soak. These springs are are all built environments, more like swimming pools with naturally heated water from the local volcano, nice place to soak after a hard climb. They all have several pools (6–8) with water at varying temperatures. There are change rooms with cold water available, and snacks and drinks to buy (including beer).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Toba - Sipiso-Piso Waterfall
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Drive to Tongging Vilage (2 hours). The road from Berastagi to Danau Toba is a nice, smooth road. Check out Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which was formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau. Watch as water plunges from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 metres (360 feet) down to lake level. This is 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
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a day tour in Samosir. Visit the Stone Chairs, Simanindo Museum (in a traditional house), and a and Tomok, an ancient Batak King's grave. The island is punctuated with many ancient and modern grave sites, several of which we see on today's tour. Also 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
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive back to Simanindo (approximately 45 minutes). From there, take a boat back to Tigaras (approximately 45 minutes). Continue to Dokan Village (approximately 2 hrs). Dokan Traditional Village visit. Here you'll find a handful of traditional villages which are still the homes of local Batak families. After the tour, drive onward to Medan (approximately 3.5 hours). The road from Danau Toba (Lake Toba) to Medan is quite smooth, but busy, so it may be slow going in places.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will fly from Medan to Jakarta approx. 2.5 hours. Please note you will be unescorted for this flight but you will be transferred to and from the airports. With your free time in Jakarta check out some of Jakarta's interesting museums, such as the Wayang (puppetry), Balai Seni Rupa (fine arts) and Maritime museums. The National Museum is great for first-time visitors. For city monuments, don't miss Si Jagur, an old Portuguese cannon ornately decorated with sexual imagery, or the Monas (National Monument) dedicated to the spirit of the Indonesian people. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Familiarise yourself with the city on a morning walking tour with your local guide. Take in Sunda Kelapa port, where the Dutch first landed, temple-filled Chinatown and the old town of Batavia. Visit a Chinese mansion (Chandra Naya) and gain an insight into the beautiful Peranakan architecture. Wander about Fatahillah Square, then explore the religious side of the city at Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South-East Asia. Meander through the antique market at Jalan Surabaya.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today there's some distance to cover, so you will spend most of the day travelling. Travel by train to Pukuwerto City (approximately 5.5 hours), then take a private minibus to Pangandaran (approximately 3 hours). Pangandaran is a small fishing village popular with visitors looking for a coastal escape. The Penanjung Nature Reserve on the adjoining peninsula boasts some impressive flora and fauna.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pangandaran - Guided trek in coastal reserve - IDR200000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set off on a tour of the local surrounds, villages, cottage industries and the impressive green canyon. Your day trip begins with a stop at a local market to check out the produce and home industries such as palm sugar and rice cracker production, as well as the famous Javanese 'Wayan Golek' (traditional wooden puppets). Then you'll continue to the Green Canyon. Hop aboard your boat and travel upriver (approximately 30 minutes) through superb jungle scenery, before stopping for a swim up into the canyon itself. This spot, whose water is green as its name suggests, is a popular hangout for locals, so take the opportunity to interact. Your day concludes at a nearby beach where you can take a break for lunch and swim in the afternoon before heading back.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pangandaran - Green Canyon and local industries tour
  • Boat Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Note that after times of heavy rain the water runs brown rather than green.
Weak swimmers are advised to continue wearing their life jackets for swimming in the Canyon.
Head inland by private minibus (approximately 1 hour) before catching a train to Yogyakarta (approximately 4 hours). This town is one of South-East Asia's real gems. It's Java's cultural heart, has a great atmosphere and is an Intrepid favourite. From batik workshops to the nearby Hindu and Buddhist temples, 'Yogya' offers a great array of cultural avenues to explore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early to catch the morning light and avoid the crowds at Candi Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure on earth. This magnificent World Heritage site is set in a tranquil park. As you approach, you'll see the enigmatic temple rise before you, looming above the tropical foliage. With your local guide, follow the route of ancient pilgrims, circling the mandala-shaped structure from the early realms towards Nirvana. It's truly one of South East Asia's treasures. Afterwards, enjoy an afternoon of free time. You might like to visit one of Yogya's other heritage temples – this time perhaps of the Hindu variety. Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu complex in Java.
This evening perhaps catch a performance of the epic Ramayana Ballet. Your leader will be able to check dates and availability for you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yogyakarta - Borobudur temple complex tour
Optional Activities
  • Yogyakarta - Prambanan temple complex - IDR450000
  • Yogyakarta - City Walking Tour - IDR510000
  • Yogyakarta - Silver jewellery making course - IDR510000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Pedal out of the city on a cycling tour (approximately 6 km) through the rice fields and countryside surrounding Yogyakarta. See the locals in this area making various goods, from bricks to tofu to tempe. As well as palms and lush green grasslands, you will see the odd burst of yellow and pink flowers by the side of the road, which make for great photo opportunities. This cycling tour is on relatively flat ground, so it won't be too strenuous. There will be ample time to take in all the interesting scenes of slow-paced local life.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yogyakarta - cycling tour
Optional Activities
  • Yogyakarta - Cooking course - IDR510000
  • Yogyakarta - Yoga Class - IDR510000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you do not wish to cycle you leader can arrange a motorized Becak.
Travel by train (approximately 4.5 hours) before transferring on a minivan (approximately 1 hour) to Seloliman Nature Reserve. The peaceful Seloliman Nature Reserve is situated on the slopes of the sacred Penanggungan volcano. Meet some of the volunteers working at the Seloliman Environmental Education Centre and eat delicious, locally grown organic produce cooked by their staff. The centre's accommodation is atmospheric, with open-air bathrooms built in harmony with the surrounding forest, so take this opportunity to relax. This is a beautiful spot to appreciate nature – be sure to sit under the stars tonight and take in the ambience of the mountainous surrounds.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note our accommodation tonight is in basic chalets. Due to the jungle location there are lots of insects and reptiles.
Join reserve staff on a walk around the reserve, learning about the local environment and the Javanese tradition of herbal medicine (approximately 2.5 hours). You'll gain an insight into local flora and fauna, traditional farming methods, rice production, the mini hydro electricity plant and the local village coffee shop. Finish up with a traditional Jamu demonstration and a tasting of 'Javanese medicine'. Continue on to Mt Bromo, the timeless homeland of the Tenggerese (approximately 4 hours). The still-active Mount Bromo (2,329 m) is the most well known volcano of the Tengger massif. This region is also the homeland of the Tenggerese and the steep, cultivated hills of the Tengger Valley. 
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seloliman - PPLH Guided village and rice terrace walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Our guesthouse tonight is basic, but we stay here so we have a short drive before starting the hike tomorrow. Retire early tonight, in preparation for tomorrow's early start.
Your early start today (around 3.30am) will be well worth it. You'll climb to a nearby hill for fantastic views over Mt Bromo. The ascent is not too difficult (approximately 45 minutes), but it can be very cold, so don't forget to bring extra layers of clothing. It's also worth bringing a scarf to cover your nose and mouth, as it can get dusty. If the weather is clear, the sunrise over this eerie sea of volcanoes is an unforgettable experience. Afterwards, catch a bus transfer to Probolingo and travel by train to Kalibaru (approximately 4.5 hours). You'll stop for lunch en route, then arrive in the afternoon, with time to relax by the pool or perhaps indulge in a local massage.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Bromo - Sunrise climb
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
At times of increased volcanic activity the crater of Mt Bromo is closed. There may be amendments to your sunrise hike and this portion of the trip depending on necessary safety precautions.
Head out early in the morning to tour nearby coffee, cocoa and rubber plantations. You'll see how rubber is processed, how coffee is dried, and, if there's time, how cocoa is fermented. Before you set off, enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea and snack on fried banana. Travel by minibus to the far eastern end of Java, Gilimanuk (approximately 3 hours). There is often a lot of heavy traffic on this stretch of road as it's the main entry point for Bali, so there may be some delays. Next you'll board a ferry across the Java Strait (approximately 1 hour), before boarding another minibus for a journey along the west coast of Bali (approximately 1 hour). Travel on to Pemuteran, your destination for the next two nights.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kalibaru - Coffee, cocoa and rubber plantation tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a relaxing day in this gorgeous beachside spot. Maybe start the day with a relaxing yoga class and then explore the local area at your own pace. Visit the surrounding monkey-filled temples, go swimming, snorkelling, or simply sit back, relax and watch the fishermen go about their work.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pemuteran - Yoga lesson - IDR220000
  • Pemuteran - Jungle trekking - IDR650000
  • Pemuteran - Snorkelling - IDR650000
  • Pemuteran - Temple tour - IDR275000
  • Pemuteran - Cooking class - IDR250000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make the short journey to Ubud (approximately 5 hours). En route, stop in at Taman Ayun Temple, taking in the impressive Balinese architecture while you stroll around the tranquil gardens. Ubud is Bali's main arts and cultural centre, recently made famous by the Hollywood movie 'Eat Pray Love'. It's a wonderful place to experience the magic that has made Bali such a popular travel destination.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mengwi - Taman Ayu Temple
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There is plenty to see and do if you're staying longer. Hire a bicycle and explore the surrounding rice paddies and small villages; or visit galleries, museums and handicraft merchants in town.
Optional Activities
  • Ubud - Cooking class - IDR350000
  • Ubud - Yoga lesson - IDR100000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

19 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Ferry, Private Minibus, Private Bus, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights), Camping (1 night), Guesthouse (6 nights), Eco Lodge (1 night)

Included activities

  • Berastagi - Mt Sibayak climb with a local guide
  • Berastagi - Mt Sibayak picnic lunch
  • Lake Toba - Sipiso-Piso Waterfall
  • Pangandaran - Green Canyon and local industries tour
  • Boat Tour
  • Yogyakarta - Borobudur temple complex tour
  • Yogyakarta - cycling tour
  • Seloliman - PPLH Guided village and rice terrace walk
  • Mt Bromo - Sunrise climb
  • Kalibaru - Coffee, cocoa and rubber plantation tour
  • Mengwi - Taman Ayu Temple

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes nights when camping and in small guesthouses where you will be in shared accommodation.
2. In order to book the train tickets on this trip we require your full passport details at time of booking, or at the latest 45 days prior to travel. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket or alternative transport costs.
3. As this is a combination trip, your group composition as well as your leader may change in Jakarta.
4. Please not the internal flight from Sumatra to Jakarta is unaccompanied.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.