Highlights of Sumatra
Day 1 Medan
Arrive at any time. There will be a welcome meeting around 6 or 7pm on this evening with your Chief Experience Officer (CEO). Please look for a welcome note upon arrival to the joining hotel for the exact time of the meeting. Medan is Indonesia's third largest city and is comprised of many different ethnic groups, contributing to a wide variety of mouth-watering foods.
Day 2 Tangkahan (1B)
Enjoy a morning tour of Medan, visiting Maimoon Palace, the Great Mosque and the Vihara Gunung Timur temple. Afterwards, traverse bumpy roads to reach the small jungle community of Tangkahan. Opt to participate in an elephant feeding session or go hiking. This tiny, remote village was practically built on the logging trade in the 1980s and 1990s, because the people became aware of the damages by such activity. They collectively decided to stop illegal logging and transform the area into an functional, self-sustained ecotourism destination. So in April 2001 the community banded together to form the Tangkahan Tourist Institute (Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan - LPT) and fixed regulations prohibiting the exploitation of the surrounding rainforest. So the Conservation Response Unit (CRU) was born - a team of Sumatran elephants and their mahouts that helps safeguard the national park to protect it from encroachment. When its bath time at the elephant camp on the outskirt of Gunung Leuser National Park tourists are allowed to help. By joining the elephants by their afternoon bathing you will support this local initiative.
Day 3-4 Bukit Lawang (2B)
In Bukit Lawang, visit the orangutan viewing platform, and opt to go jungle trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park. An orangutan rehabilitation centre was set up in 1973 to help orangutans released from captivity to learn the skills they will need in the wild. Once they are released into the wild, they are monitored and still provided with some supplementary food until they're 100% ready to fend for themselves. We visit this feeding platform when they are being fed. Gunung Leuser National Park is located nearby and a great place to do some wildlife trekking in this large jungle park.
Day 5-6 Berastagi (2B)
Orientation walk upon arrival. Opt to hike a volcano or tour traditional villages. Originally developed around 1920 as a Dutch hill base in the Karo highlands, the cooler weather and surrounding smoking volcanoes make this destination ideal for weekending Medan residents and travellers alike. Berastagi is also known for their myriad flowers, fruits and vegetables piled high at the local markets. Explore further afield and check out examples of traditional Karo Batak architecture. On your free day, opt to hike up Sibayak volcano for sunrise and take in the stunning view of the valley. Free afternoon with the option to visit the local hot springs. Approximate distance: 160 km Estimated travel time: 8 hours (including stops)
Day 7-8 Samosir Island (2B)
Travel to the world's largest volcano lake, Lake Toba. Situated in the centre of Lake Toba, Samosir has all the features of a resort area but still retains a rustic charm and relaxed atmosphere. You have a free day here with options to relax or explore the area. Chill out and swim in the warm waters of the lake or opt for some culture by visiting local Batak villages to see traditional Batak houses and the tombs in Tomok. Approximate distance: 190 km Estimated travel time: 8 hrs (including stops)
Day 9 Sibolga (1B)
Take a boat across the lake then set off by private van towards Sibolga. Drive through beautiful scenery on this travel day finishing at a town on the Indian Ocean on Sumatra's western coast.
Day 10 Panyabungan (1B)
Take in the landscape on another travel day. Break up the journey with an overnight stop in Panyabungan. While not a standard tourist stop, you will get a glimpse into local life here.
Day 11-12 Bukittinggi (2B)
Orientation walk upon arrival after a long travel day with a few stops to break up the journey. Free day to go rafting, kayaking, visit Sianok Canyon or check out the Japanese Caves built during World War II. The Sianok Canyon is located just outside of town and offers breathtaking views of the canyon with Mount Singgalang in the background. Bukittinggi is a city of approximately 100,000 people located in the Minangkabau Highlands and is a good jumping off point for nearby activities.
Day 13 Padang (1B)
Spend the final evening with the group at a beach hotel in Padang. Padang is a Dutch historical harbour town and well-known for its delicious cuisine. Explore the old town, stop by a street food stall for some tasty eats, or hit the beach.
Day 14 Padang (1B)
Depart at any time.