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Discover the hidden treasures of Sumatra on this adventurous 7-day tour. Savour spicy hawker food in Medan, bond with elephants in Tangkahan and track native wildlife in Bukit Lawang. Complete your adventure camping under the stars deep in the jungle of the Gunung Leuser National Park.
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DAY 01: MEDAN ARRIVAL
Arrive at the Kuala Namu International Airport, you will be greeted then provided with a short transport to your hotel. After the refreshment, begin the exploration the city of Medan, renowned for its Dutch colonial architecture and bustling street food scene.
Proceed to Merdeka Square in the centre of the city for a walk in the old colonial part of town which has retained its Dutch colonial architecture. See the Old Post Office and Medan City Hall before passing through Kesawan Street.
End the walk at Tip Top Restaurant which dates back to the time of Dutch colonization. Enjoy lunch here before heading to the hotel (check-in time is 14:00). After checking in, take some time to freshen up and relax in the room.
In the mid-afternoon, continue your Medan exploration with a visit to Masjid Raya, or the Great Mosque built in 1906 by the first sultan and still considered as one the most beautiful mosques in Indonesia.
Note: A visit is not possible during praying time, and appropriate dress code is required
No Medan city tours are complete without a visit to Maimoon Sultan Palace, built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli (the former name of Medan). This beautiful palace combines traditional elements of Malay, Islamic as well as Spanish and Indian architectural elements. Even up to present times, the palace is inhabited by the Sultan, who remains a symbolic figure of importance to Indonesian community.
End your city tour today with a visit to the largest Chinese Taoist temple in the city, Vihara Gunung Timur. Afterwards, return to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening either relaxing or heading out for some independent exploration.
Overnight in Medan.
International: By Silk Air from Singapore with MI234 arriving Medan at 07:55 (daily) or by Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur with MH840 arriving Medan at 06:15 (daily) or with MH860 arriving Medan at 08:50 (daily)
Domestic: By Garuda Indonesia from Jakarta with GA180 arriving Medan at 08:00 (daily) or with GA142 arriving Medan at 08:55
After an early breakfast and check out, make your way to Tangkahan via Binjai and Batang Se-rangan in Northern Sumatra. The last portion of the journey is along a dirt road -so be prepared for a bumpy ride! (For about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes)
Arrive in Tangkahan, register at the Gunung Leuser National Park visitor centre before walking to the lodge located on the other side of the river: Access to the lodge is through an impressive suspension bridge (15 minutes safe walk) or by “raft” if the water isn’t too high. Check in at the lodge in Tangkahan and, after settling in, enjoy lunch.
In the afternoon, follow your guide to walk from the lodge along the river and through the jungle to the Rehabilitation Centre. Upon arrival there, take some time to watch all the elephants and, afterwards, help to bathe them. Afterwards, make a 30-minute walk back to the lodge.
Note: Access to the Jungle Lodge Tangkahan is not possible for vehicles bigger than ELF as the last 1h to 1h30 of the route is along a very rough road and the bridge cannot be crossed by bus - so this can only be offered for FIT. Please take a light bag only for tonight, the accommodation is basic with no hot water or air-conditioner. The driver will proceed with main luggage to Bukit Lawang. On Friday, the elephant ride cannot be done because all elephants are on patrol in the park with the rangers. Advance booking is needed as only 5 elephants operate. We recommend participants to wear short pants, tee shirts and sandals for the activity - and bring a change of clothes for getting into after returning to the lodge.
Dinner is served in the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to enjoy some free time in the evening. Take a light stroll through the surrounding nature reserve or simply relax at your hotel. Alternatively, take a refreshing dip in the clear river. Be sure to ask the hotel staff or guide where the hidden hot spring in the river is - as that is the best spot for swimming.
After breakfast, cross back to the other side of the river using the suspension bridge or raft. Make your way to Bukit Lawang by a local Jeep (approximately 2 hours - 2 hours 30 minutes), passing country plantations and traversing roads deep in the jungle. On the way, stop for photos against the backdrop of a spectacular panorama of the Sumatran forest. Get a taste of local life as you pass rustic villages dotting their way through the jungle. Before arriving in Bukit Lawang, take a short stop to stretch and enjoy a fresh coconut drink at Coconut Park.
Upon arrival at Bukit Lawang, cross the impressive wooden suspension bridge over Bohorok River on foot to arrive at the reception of the Bukit Lawang Ecolodge. Check-in at the lodge and enjoy a lunch of Sumatran specialties.
After lunch, cross the bridge and be picked by a becak (motorized sidecar) for a visit to the Timbang Lawang Eco Farm. The motorized sidecar will lead from the local village to the eco farm. Afterwards, hop back on the becak and explore a few other surrounding areas to see how brown sugar is made and rubber trees are tapped.
Towards the end of the day, return to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure while enjoying the tropical surroundings.
Bukit Lawang is at the entrance to Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the last sanctuaries of the Sumatran orangutan.
After breakfast, head down to the riverbank (with an additional local English-speaking jungle guide) before crossing to the other side by traditional canoe and trekking through the forest to the orang utan feeding platform (total trekking time is two and a half to three hours up and down in the jungle - it’s a bit more challenging and can be slippery, so good shoes are required). Then, get your cameras ready as you get up close with these magnificent and gentle creatures in their natural habitat and feed them breakfast.
Afterwards, head off for some wildlife tracking through Gunung Leuser National Park. Listen to the songs of native birds echoing through the trees and get up close with the elusive Siamang, commonly known as “The Black Gibbon”.
Continue down to the Orang Utan Information Centre on the bank of the Bohorok River (30 minutes). From here, cross the river using a pneumatic raft pulled by a rope and walk back to the Ecolodge along the river bank and main village of Bukit Lawang (30mn).
Note: Camera fee is not included and must be paid locally IDR 50,000/camera and IDR 150,000/video each time client enter the Gunung Leuser National Park.
Upon arrival back to the lodge, take some time to shower and change before checking out. Lunch is served at the lodge restaurant.
In the afternoon, leave Bukit Lawang to Berastagi in the Karo Highlands along a scenic route driving southwards via Sembahe and Sibolangit. In the late afternoon, arrive at Berastagi, a climate station located at some 1,400 metres above sea-level. Check in at the hotel late afternoon/early evening.
Overnight in Berastagi.
Mikie Holiday Resort Sinabung Hills Hotel & Cottage
DAY 05: BERASTAGI – PARAPAT – SAMOSIR ISLAND
This morning, depart for a short city tour of Berastagi. The tour includes a visit to the St. Francis Catholic Church, with its unique Batak architecture and, in the background, a perfect view over Mount Sibayak. Continue with a walk through the local fruit market which is swarming with activity and scenes from traditional Karo life.
After that, leave Berastagi around 09:30 and proceed to Lake Toba. On the way, make a stop to take pictures of Mount Sinabung (2,460m).
Stop for a visit to Dokan, a village home to the Batak Karo, people who have unusual wedding and funeral ceremonies which can last for days, and dozens of other unique traditions and rituals which are still in practice. Then, meet with a family in a traditional longhouses where up to 6 families can be found living harmoniously together.
There is a chance to see the 120-metre tall Sipiso-Piso Waterfall in the Batak Highlands. The beautiful fall is formed by an underground river that then plunges from a cave into Lake Toba caldera. Here there will also be an impressive first-view of Toba Lake. Continue the journey to Pematang Purba for a visit to Rumah Bolon, a 200-year old wooden house that used to be the dwelling of the ancient Batak Simalungun Kings.
A late lunch will be served at a local restaurant near Simar Jarunjung.
In the afternoon, drive along the eastern shore of Lake Toba to Parapat. Board a local ferry along with the private vehicle, driver and guide for a one hour boat trip between Parapat and Tomok on Samosir Island (Estimated departure from Parapat at 17:30 - subject to change).
The island of Samosir, which is roughly the size of Singapore, is located in the middle of Lake Toba. The caldera lake of Toba Volcano was formed over 75,000 years ago and is the largest volcanic lake in the world. Take a direct transfer to the hotel on the Tuk Tuk Peninsula in Samosir Island (15-minute drive from Tomok) for check in. Take some time to freshen up, then spend the rest of the evening enjoying the unique atmosphere of the hotel. Dinner at leisure.
Overnight in Samosir Island.
Samosir Cottages Resort Horas Family Home
DAY 06: SAMOSIR ISLAND
After breakfast, spend a full day exploring Samosir Island and Lake Toba. Visit Ambarita, Samosir’s most interesting Batak Toba village which is well-known for its unique stone chairs, tribunals and execution stones where enemies and criminals were slaughtered and eaten by this once-cannibalistic tribe.
Drive to Simanindo and be treated to a performance of a traditional Batak Toba dance called Tor-Tor (once a day at 10:30 – 45minutes). Then explore the traditional village and its small Batak museum.
From here, we continue along the eastern shore of Samosir Island to Pangururan, the small capital of Samosir. A picnic lunch has been prepared by the hotel and will be served onboard the ship while cruising towards Pangururan.
The driver and guide will be waiting when the boat arrives. Continue by car to Tele, a rarely visited area located on the mainland in the southern shore of Lake Toba, accessible after crossing a small bridge followed by a 30 minutes drive up the mountain: The view over Samosir Island and Lake Toba from the observatory tower in Tele is simply breathtaking and easily one of the best overlooking the whole of Lake Toba.
Note: For those who would like to enjoy a relaxing bath, there is a possibility to visit the hot springs after the visit to Tele.
On the way back to Tuk Tuk via Pangururan, stop alongside the road to observe the traditional weaving that villagers do here. Return to the hotel in Tuk Tuk late in the afternoon.
Overnight in Samosir Island.
Samosir Cottages Resort Horas Family Home
DAY 07: SAMOSIR ISLAND – PARAPAT – PEMATANG SIANTAR – DEPARTURE
Early in the morning, check out from the hotel after breakfast and transfer from Tuk Tuk to Parapat with the regular local ferry with the private vehicle, driver and guide joining on board (Departure time subject to change is at 07:00 from Tomok arriving at 08:00 in Parapat).
After thatm, drive back to Medan Kuala Namu Airport via Pematang Siantar and Tebing Tinggi, with scenic views over estate plantations of rubber and palm oil. Lunch is at leisure.
Transfer to Medan Kuala Namu Airport for a mid or late afternoon departure flight to the next destination.
Domestic: From Medan to Jakarta by Garuda Indonesia with same day connection flight to Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo (Java) or Denpasar (Bali). Example: Domestic flight from Medan to Jakarta with GA121 departing at 16:05 and arriving 18:30 connecting with domestic flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta with GA218 departing at 19:35 and arriving at 20:50. Please contact us for further information.
International: By Silk Air to Singapore with MI237 departing from Medan at 20:05 and arriving in Singapore at 22:20 (daily).By Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur with MH865 departing from Medan at 15:45 and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 17:45 (daily)
Private Tour (for 02 pax, cheaper if more)
Tour Price Includes
06 night accommodation
Local English speaking guide
Meals as mentioned
Local ferry between Parapat and Samosir and return
Boat trip in Samosir with private chartered boat
Orang Utan Trekking in Bukit Lawang
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included
Bottled drinking water per touring days
Tour Price Excludes
Travel and medical insurances
Visas if required
Elephant riding in Tangkahan
Other domestic & international flights
International flights and International departure tax
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, souvenirs, etc.
Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary)
Any camera or video fees at any sites
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary