Sumatra, lying at the furthest west of Indonesia, is a huge island largely unexplored. This gigantic island situated on the Indian Ocean contains many verdant forests and many active volcanoes that are still hidden. In contrast, the major cities of the region are quite hectic and crowded. Sumatra, the part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, had some of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. It is also the 6th largest island in the world, with a diverse population of more than 50million. The island’s largest city Medan houses more than 4million people only around the urban area. Nevertheless, it is one of the best islands in the world for travelers seeking adventure and nature with famous tourist attractions like the Sumatran Orangutan in the wild, swimming in the largest volcanic lake in the world, Lake Toba, or climb the smoking volcano craters that surround the hill town of Berastagi and dive deep into the unexplored sea of Pulau Weh.
The Highlights of Sumatra Tour is a guided wildlife trip that starts and ends in Medan and takes 8days to complete. You will tour through Lake Toba, Samosir Island, and Medan in Indonesia. This small-group tour includes accommodation in hotels, transport, meals, and others. We spend a week enjoying the rocky landscapes and explore the unique wildlife of the northern Sumatra. We hike through forests to encounter Orang-utans, climb volcanoes for sunrise, and hike through rural villages on this adventurous trip through an off-beaten path of Indonesia. When trekking through the jungle in Bukit Lawang, encounter Orang-utans in the wild, wander through fruit markets and scale the active volcano of Mt. Sibayal. Sail on a boat to visit the remote Batak villages and get insight into their unique ancestral traditions.
Best time to visit Sumatra
The days are sunny, and there is less rain between May to September. However, it can rain at any time of the year in the northern side of Sumatra as it has a tropical climate, but the showers are usually short.
While making a trip to Sumatra, pack light. You will need some lightweight, quick-drying long pants and long sleeve tops. You will also require a day pack for the overnight camp. Also, do not forget hiking boots or shoes as you will be trekking on this trip.
Foods in Sumatra
As in the rest of Indonesia, Sumatra has a lot of Padang food. This is the dish of Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, and consist of coconut milk, spicy chili, and steamed rice.
Things to Know
- Show respect to the culture and religion of Sumatra.
- It is very tough to find WIFi in rural areas. So, make sure to buy a SIM card from Bali as it is tough to even buy a SIM card in Sumatra.
- Always carry an offline map with you as there will be some areas with no cellular reception.
Spot Orang-utans in the wild while trekking through the forest in Bukit Lawang
Wander around the fruit markets of Berastagi and climb the active volcano of Mount Sibayak
Sail on a boat to the remote Batak villages and learn about their unique traditions in Samosir Island
Enjoy the serene Lake Toba and also dip on the largest volcanic lake
- Accommodation at a comfortable hotel with twin-sharing room
- Three meals per day
- Airport pick up and drop off
- All ground transport on an air-conditioned vehicle
- A highly experienced, friendly, English speaking guide throughout the trip
Upon arrival, your guide will transfer you to the hotel. There is no specific plan for this day, so you can spend exploring the city on your own pace. Medan is the third-largest city of Indonesia and also the capital of Sumatra. Medan has grown to become a residence of several diverse ethnic groups, including Chinese, Tamils, Malay, Batak natives, and the Dutch, through colonization and centuries of prosperous trading. This fascinating combination of cultures has made the city a wonderful place to visit and taste a wide array of food from street vendors, curry houses, and noodle bars. Most of the architecture in this region is the blend of Islamic and European design.
In the morning, we head out for a guided sightseeing tour of Medan. We begin the trip from the Great Mosque or Masjid Raya Al Mashun, the city’s crown. Influenced from Arabia, India, and Europe, it is a stunningly elaborate piece of architecture, and you will get a chance to enter inside and witness the daily life of the locals. From here, we head towards the Dutch-built Maimoon Palace, which is the former royal palace of the Sultanate of Deli and a perfect example of colonial buildings in Indonesia. Then, we depart from the bustling city and head into the jungle. Our route moves north on few potholed roads, moving past lush rice fields before reaching the swathes of palm trees lining the road. On our travel for the next few days, we will see lots of palm plantations, and while the palm oil crop is provocative, your guide will give explanations on it from a local’s perspective. We will reach Bukit Lawang in the late afternoon. After that, the rest of the day is free. Keep in mind that our today’s accommodation will be clean but basic, with no hot water or air conditioning as we will be staying in the forest and on the fringes of the National Park. However, this will not be much of a problem as the showers feel refreshing after spending time at hot weather outside, and you will have several fans to keep cool room temperature.
Morning walk at a rainforest
Today, we leave our lodge on foot and cross the river on a footbridge to head towards the National Park, moving past locals swimming and bathing. Here, we will wander for three to four hours to search for wildlife, accompanied by a local guide with intimate knowledge of the surrounding rainforest, so there is a huge chance of spotting the 'men of the forest.' originally Bukit Lawang was set up as an orang-utan Sanctuary in 1973 to help orphaned orang-utans rehabilitate, however in past few years the last gentle giant was successfully re-introduced into the wild, so there is no more feeding platform. Now the orang-utans hunt and fend for themselves. Now, the orang-utans are spread throughout the area. With a bit of luck, we will be able to spot them and observe them in their natural habitat. We might also spot other wildlife like the endemic Thomas Leaf Monkey, long-tail macaques, slow loris, snakes, Sumatran peacock, flying squirrels, and mouse dear. Likewise, you might also see the Sumatran tigers, rhinos, and wild elephants. However, it is very rare to spot these animals. In the afternoon, we head back to lodge for lunch. after lunch, you can spend the afternoon on your terms. You can stroll through nearby rice fields and learn about the harvesting of the Indonesian staple of 'Nasi.' Or, we can also organize a massage.
Dive to Berastagi’s hill station
Our today’s trip takes us from verdant green jungles of Bohorok through small villages past the jungle with the winding roads upwards as we go higher. Set at the altitude of 1400meters above sea level, Berastagi brings cooler climes and offers a comfortable relief from the heat of the equatorial forests. We will also notice a change of landscapes as dense rainforest and palm trees change to tall pine and cedar trees. Afterward, we check into the hotel from where you can get stunning views of the nearby Sinabung Volcano and its frequent mini-eruptions, on a clear day. In the afternoon, we visit the town’s fruit market, where you will see a wide variety of products and lots of locals hanging around to pick up their daily essentials. Due to the varying climate, you can see exotic fruits like papaya, durian, red guava, and lychee alongside the more recognizable broccoli, carrots, and apples.
Climb to Sibayak volcano, drive, and boat to Samosir Island
We start this day early for a comfortable walk up to the crater of Mount Sibayak. Mount Sibayak is an active volcano with a dried-up crater at its top. We begin the trip by vehicle, making our way up the hairpins of the lower volcano to a small rest area halfway up. From here, we continue the trip to the summit on foot. The initial walk is a bit tough but eases off quickly to an easier gradient. It will take around one and a half hours to reach the crater with the ascent of 300-400 meters. You can find several active gas holes, hissing and spewing out billowing sulfurous gases. around the crater. Here, an eruption occurred more than a century before; however, it is still the site of geothermal activity, with the vents that produce crystalline Sulphur that you can find scattered over the crater rim. After roaming around the crater, we return to the vehicle through the same path and head back to the hotel to freshen up before driving towards Lake Toba and Samosir Island. We have to drive for about two hours to reach the edge of Lake Toba. Here, we stop for a lunch break while enjoying the scenic view. Then, we continue along a road bordering around the edge of the lake where you will begin to see the traditional Batak houses. After you arrive at the small market town of Parapet, board a ferry and head to Samosir Island that lies in the middle of the lake. We spend a couple of nights at Samosir Island.
Visit Batak Villages around Lake Toba
Lake Toba is the largest crater lake in the world with its length of 100km and width of 30km, formed by two volcanic eruptions; it’s as picture-perfect as can be. Lake Toba is also home to the Batak people, who are an ethnic group of people native to this area. This tribe is famous for their beautiful hand-made shirts and garments and their incredible homes with big slanting roofs that arch up into the sky that resembles the hull of the boats they use to fish. After breakfast, we hop on a boat and move up the lake towards the Tomok settlement. here, you will see the small traditional Batak village where you can learn about their unique ways where the chief presides over the village, learn how they keep law and order, and how they used cannibalism as a part of the punishment of crimes. From here, we move onto Simanindo, where many Batak families still live and practice their ancient traditions. Here, we can explore their unique houses, and we might also get the chance to witness a few of their spiritual dancing. In the afternoon, you can spend time relaxing at the lake-side hotel, take a dip in the lake, or visit the village of Ambarita with its handicrafts market and Batak graveyard.
Drive to Medan
After breakfast, we board a ferry and head back to the mainland in the morning. upon reaching the land, your vehicle will be waiting for you to take back to Medan. The trip from here to Medan takes about four to five hours. we will be descending from the mountains into the forest and past many rice fields. Along the route, you can stop at several scenic points, and we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. We will reach Medan in the early afternoon. The rest of the day is free, so you can spend this time relaxing, strolling around the city, or go for shopping souvenirs in Medan's various markets and malls.
Day Eight :
The trip comes to an end today. After bidding farewell, we transfer you to the airport approximately three hours before the flight. If you want to make more trips on this beautiful country, inform us and we can organize various other trips.