SUMATRA OVERLAND - NORTH TO WEST

TRIP HIGHTLIGHTS

 

See exotic flora and faunaTrek into the rainforest to seek out the giant Rafflesia flower, spot orangutans in the wild and encounter Sumatran elephants.

 

Explore Sumatra’s cultural diversityVisit villages inhabited by the Minang, Batak Toba and Batak Kora to discover the traditions and customs of Sumatra’s residents.

 

Enjoy a break on Cubadak IslandRelax on miles of beautiful beach or opt for activities such as boat trips, canoeing, water skiing and snorkelling.

ITINERARY

 

Day 1 ~ Arrival Kuala Namu Airport – Medan                                                                            

Upon arrival at Kuala Namu International Airport you'll be met and privately transferred to Medan the capital of North Sumatra.  This city is an interesting melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Batak people, all living together in harmony.

 

Enjoy a private walking tour in the old colonial part of the town which has retained its Dutch colonial architecture.  End your walk at Tip Top restaurant which history dates back to the time of Dutch colonization and where you will enjoy lunch.

 

Afterwards, check in at your hotel.

 

This afternoon you'll enjoy a city tour of Medan, you will visit Masjid Raya or the Great Mosque built in 1906 by the first sultan and still considered as one the most beautiful mosques in the country.  Continue on to the Maimoon Sultan Palace built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli (the former name of Medan). This beautiful palace is combining traditional elements of Malay, Islam as well as Spanish and Indian, architectural elements. The palace is until present day inhabited by the Sultan who remain a symbolic figures for the Malay community.

 

The tour ends with a visit to an impressive Chinese temple, Vihara Gunung Timur.

 

Note:

  • Visit not possible during praying time and appropriate dress code is required

 

Aryaduta – Deluxe Room (L)

 

Day 2 ~ Medan - Tangkahan                                                                                                     

 After an early breakfast you'll depart for Tangkahan via Binjai and Stabat (the last portion of the journey is a bad un-asphalted road)

 

Upon arrival in Tangkahan you'll register at the “Gunung Leuser National Park” visitor center before walking to your lodge located on the other side of the river. Access to the lodge is through a nice and impressive Suspension Bridge (15 minutes safe walk) or by “raft” if water is not too high.

 

Check in at your lodge and enjoy lunch.

 

This afternoon you'll visit the elephant rehabilitation center.  Upon arrival there you have time to observe the elephants and then you'll help bathe them.

 

When all is done you make an easy 30 minutes walk back to the lodge.

 

Remainder of the day is at leisure. You can walk around the lodge and have plenty of opportunity to observe the cheeky Thomas Leaf Monkey in their natural surroundings.

 

Or take a refreshing dip in the clear river. (Ask the hotel staff where in the river is the hidden hot spring as that is the best spot for a swim).

 

  • Please take a light bag with you only for tonight, the accommodation is basic with no hot water or AC. The driver will proceed with your main luggage to Bukit Lawang.

 

Dinner is served in the hotel.

 

Jungle Lodge or similar – Basic Bungalow. (B, L, D)

 

Day 3 ~ Tangkahan – Jeep to Bukit Lawang – Visit Eco Farm by Becak                             

After breakfast at the lodge, cross back to the other side of the river using the suspension bridge or raft. A local jeep will be waiting for you in the other side for your off-road trip to Bukit Lawang (approximately 2 hours - 2 hours 30 minutes) passing through rubber plantations and with beautiful jungle and mountain landscapes at the horizon.

 

Before arriving in Bukit Lawang a short stop to stretch your legs and enjoy a fresh coconut drink at Coconut Park.

 

Upon arrival at Bukit Lawang cross on foot the impressive wooden suspension bridge over the Bohorok River and check in at your eco-lodge in Bukit Lawang where you'll enjoy lunch.

 

After lunch you'll cross the bridge again where you'll taka a becak to visit the Timbang Lawang eco farm. This motorized sidecar will drive you through the local village to the eco farm,  you'll also learn how brown sugar is made and watch a rubber tapping demonstration. 

 

Return to the hotel.

 

Eco Lodge Bukit Lawang – Orangutan or Thomas Leaf Room. (B, L)

 

Day 4 ~ Bukit Lawang - Orangutan Trekking - Berastagi                                                       

After breakfast at the lodge you'll visit Bukit Lawang at the entrance to Gunung Leuser National Park.  This is one of the last sanctuaries of the Sumatran orangutan.

 

Start your trek early at 7:30 behind Eco Lodge (with an additional local English speaking Jungle guide).

 

The first part is an easy climb to the forest for about 30 to 45 minutes.  If orangutans are seen in 1st part of the trek the guide will suggest people who have difficulty walking return to the Lodge early with one tracker while the rest accompany the other guide all the way (total trekking is 2,5 hours -3 hours up & down in the jungle more challenging & can be slippery good shoes are requested).

After observing orangutans you'll head to the Orang Utan information Centre and then head back to Eco Lodge.

Note: Camera fee is not included and must be paid locally IDR 50,000/camera (around USD 5) and IDR 150,000/video (around USD 15) each time client enter the Gunung Leuser National Park

 

After time to freshen up you'll enjoy lunch at the lodge, before checking out. Time for shower and changing at the lodge before checking out. 

 

This afternoon, you'll leave Bukit Lawang and head to Berastagi in the Karo highlands.  You' along a scenic route driving southwards via Sembahe and Sibolangit. In the late afternoon you will arrive at Berastagi, a climate station located at about 1,400 meters above sea-level.

 

Check in at the hotel late afternoon/early evening.

 

Grand Mutiara – Superior Room (B, L, D)

 

Day 5 ~ Berastagi - Dokan - Pematang Purba - Parapat - Ferry to Samosir Island on Lake Toba                                                                                                                                   

After breakfast and check out you'll enjoy a short city tour of Berastagi: the tour includes an outside visit of the St. Fransiscus Catholic Church, with its unique Batak architecture and in the background a perfect view over Mount Sibayak. Continue with a walk in the local, bustling fruit market.

 

Proceed to Lake Toba stopping after Berastagi for taking pictures of Mount Sinabung (2,460 m).

 

Visit Dokan, a Batak Karo village.  The inhabitants have unusual wedding and funeral ceremonies, which can last for days.  They also have  dozens of other unique traditions and rituals which they still practice. You'll meet with a family in one of the longhouses where up to 6 families live together.

 

Continue South towards Lake Toba and make a stop to see the 120 meter Sipiso-piso waterfall in the Batak highlands. The beautiful waterfall originates from an underground river that then plunges from a cave into Lake Toba caldera. Here you will also get your first impressive view of this amazing lake.

 

Continue your journey to Pematang Purba where you will visit Rumah Bolon, a 200 year old wooden house, built on pile works, used to be the dwelling of the ancient Batak Simalungun Kings.

 

A late lunch will be served en route to Parapat at a local restaurant near Simar Jarunjung 

 

In the afternoon, drive along the eastern shore of Lake Toba to Parapat.

 

Board a local ferry for a one hour boat trip to Tomok on Samosir Island, located in the middle of Lake Toba, the caldera lake of the Toba Volcano, which was formed over 75,000 years ago. It is the largest volcanic lake in the world.

 

Transfer to your hotel for check in.  You'll have the rest of the day free to relax after your journey.

 

Tabo Cottages – Batak House.  (B, L)

 

Day 6 ~ Samosir Island                                                                                                    

Today you will spend a full day exploring Samosir Island and Lake Toba.

 

Visit Ambarita, Samosir’s most interesting Batak Toba village, known for its unique stone chairs tribunal and execution stones where enemies and criminals were slaughtered and parts of them eaten by this cannibalistic tribe.

 

Drive to Simanindo where you’ll be treated to a performance of a traditional Batak Toba dance called Tor-Tor (once a day at 10:30 - 45minutes) and visit the traditional village and its small Batak museum.

 

From there you'll continue along the Eastern shore of Samosir Island to Pangururan the small capital of Samosir. 

 

Enjoy your pic-nic lunch served onboard the ship while cruising towards Pangururan.

 

Continue by car to Tele a rarely visited area located on the mainland in the Southern Shore of Lake Toba.  The view over Samosir Island and Lake Toba from the Observatory tower in Tele is simply breathtaking and the best one you can get over 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 your accommodation you'll stop alongside the road to observe traditional weaving.

 

You’ll return to your hotel in Tuk Tuk late in the afternoon.

 

Tabo Cottages – Batak House. (B, L)

 

Day 7 ~ Samosir – Parapat – Padang Sidempuan                                                                  

After an early wake-up call and breakfast you'll head to nearby Tomok to board the local ferry to Parapat.  From Parapat continue by car to Padang Sidempuan.

 

On the way there you'll stop at Jangga Dolok a typical Batak Toba village surrounded by rice fields.  You'll also visit Balige where you can walk around the daily local market and see all local products and maybe buy some snacks for the road.

 

Continue to Lintong district to visit a coffee plantation. You will get a chance to observe the drying and grinding process of the coffee bean before enjoying some freshly brewed coffee with the coffee tasting.

 

Stop for lunch at Tarutung town at a local Chinese restaurant. 

 

After lunch continue to Padang Sidempuan, the small capital of the Batak Mandheling regency.

 

Check in to your hotel and dinner is served in the hotel.

 

Mega Permata – Deluxe Room. (B, L, D)

        

Day 8 ~ Padang Sidempuan - Kotanopan - Rimba Panti Natural Reserve - Bonjol Equator Monument - Palupuh Rafflesia Sanctuary - Bukittinggi                           

Wake up early this morning and heat to Padang Sidempuan for a long day of driving to reach Bukittinggi in the West Sumatra Province, a 285 km drive passing through the winding roads of the Bukit Barisan Mountain range offering beautiful scenery of mountains, rivers, valleys and traditional villages.

 

We make a stop at Sihepeng, a small botanical garden where you can learn about all kind of spices like pepper, saffron, lemon grass, nutmeg, bay leaf… and also observe the local monkeys plucking coconut fruits before enjoying this refreshing natural drink.

 

We also make a photo-stop outside of Purba Baru where you can see the Musthafawiyah Islamic school, one of the oldest and largest boarding schools in Sumatra founded in 1912.

 

Continue towards Kotanopan for an early lunch at local restaurant.

 

Depart from Kotanopan and enter the province of West Sumatra and you will notice that the landscape is now changing into tropical rain forest. We take time to make a short 30 minutes walk in the beautiful natural environment while stopping at the Rimba Panti Nature reserve.

 

From here the drive takes you to Bonjol where you will pass the Equator and where a monument marks the imaginary Equator line. Urban legend says that crossing the line backwards will bring good luck, so give it a try.

 

Last stop today before reaching Bukittinggi is Palupuh Rafflesia sanctuary and if you are lucky this could be the most rewarding one of this day.

 

The small 3.4 hectare conservation center is focused on conserving the rare giant Rafflesia flower. This unique flower is the largest in the world and is native to Sumatra. Palupuh is a sanctuary for three types of Rafflesia: Rafflesia Arnoldi, the largest species that can reach a diameter of 1,5 meters wide when blossoming, Raflesia Arizentis (15cm diameter) and Raflesia Oumor Pupolus Titanum. The generic name is Rafflesia and was given in honour of Sir Thomas Raffles

 

Depart from the nearby village for a trekking of approximately 1 hour into the local rain forest where you have a chance to see and smell the famous giant Rafflesia flower.

 

Note:

  • You should be aware that the blooming of a Rafflesia is a rare and unpredicted event and depends on many specific factors. The flower usually blossoms during wet season from mid to end of year (the best chances are between July and December) but since the Rafflesia is unisexual it also requires the vital proximity of male and female flowers for successful pollination. Also, the buds take many months to develop and the flower only lasts for just a few days. Therefore whatever the season, there is no guarantee that you will see the Rafflesia but if you do, it really is a once in a lifetime experience.

 

During this activity you will also see some tropical plants and local coffee plants. If possible you will also see local coffee processing.

 

Arrive in the evening in Bukittinggi and check in at your hotel.

 

The Hills – Deluxe Room.  (B, L, D)

 

Day 9 ~ Bukittinggi – Harau Valley – Traditional Minang villages – Pagaruyung – Bukittinggi                                                                                                                                   

After breakfast you depart from your hotel to the west passing the small town of Payakumbuh to reach the beautiful Harau Valley, here lush green ricefields are hemmed in between huge granite cliffs.

 

Here enjoy a 1-hour walk through the village and rice fields to observe the daily life and activities of the villagers ending the walk at a local homestay for drinks and refreshments.

 

From Harau valley you continue your drive in the direction of Batusangkar with a stop at Tabek Patah for a lunch at the charming Pondok Flora local restaurant serving traditional Minang food.

 

In the afternoon you continue to the nearby local village of Rao Rao known for its beautiful traditional Minangkabau houses, locally known as Rumah Gadang.

 

Note:

  • The Minangkabau ethnic group, also known as Minang is indigenous to the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia. Their culture is matrilineal and patriarchal, with property and land passing down from mother to daughter, while religious and political affairs are the responsibility of men (although some women also play important roles in these areas. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy>

  • The Rumah Gadang are large elegant houses built is solid wood and beautifully carved. They are easily recognizable by their sweeping roofs with pointed eaves. The Minang believe that the pointed roof is reminiscent of the legend of the water buffalo, who won for Sumatra in a fight against a large Javanese bull. 

 

Next stop will be at Pagaruyung Palace located in the village of Tanjung Emas near Batusangkar: The palace is a replica of the original Pagaruyung royal palace which was set on fire by the nation’s Dutch colonists in 1804 and it has only recently been entirely restored using traditional materials with its 3 storeys and its 5 stacked sweeping roofs ending with eleven sharp horns and covered with over 26 tons of palm fibers.

 

Pagarayung is the most beautiful example of the Traditional Minangkabau Architecture. Pagaruyung is the name of the Minangkabau kingdom that ruled the central region of Sumatra and was the seat of a large kingdom where the Minangkabau culture flourished. Return to Bukittinggi passing by the picturesque Lake Singkarak.

 

The Hills – Deluxe Room. (B, L, D)

 

Day 10 ~ Bukittinggi - Trekking Lake Maninjau - Kota Gadang - City tour Bukittinggi       

After breakfast you leave the hotel with your driver and tour guide to Puncak Lawang, located on the hills with great views over Maninjau Lake. Here you do short and soft trekking down to the lake. The trek goes down through the forest towards the mysterious Lake Maninjau. During the trek you will stop at the local coffee shop to rest while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

 

Upon arrival in the lake side village you will be picked up by the car and transferred to a local restaurant, named Zalino restaurant located on the shore of the lake for lunch.

 

After lunch you return to Bukittinggi via Kota Gadang, well-known for silver works.

 

You will spend the afternoon exploring Bukittinggi and its surroundings. The main town sites will be seen on foot, as Bukittinggi is very small and everything is located close together, with a car nearby to take you to the further locations.

 

You will visit the impressive Sianok Canyon which is known for its network of underground bunkers and tunnels built by the Japanese during World War II. There is a two-story observation tower that overlooks the Sianok Canyon, which you may climb to the top for panoramic views of the area.

 

Note: We advise to skip the Japanese tunnel due to security reason

 

You will also see Fort De Kock, built by the Dutch during the Padri Wars. Although little remains of the original fortifications, it provides fine views over the town from its hilltop position.

 

In town, you see the town’s large clock tower ‘Jam Gadang’ and walk around the Pasar Atas Market. The market is open daily but on Wednesdays and Saturdays it is especially busy with people coming from neighboring villages to buy and sell their wares.

 

Back to your hotel and time for refreshing.

 

After that you go to local restaurants for dinner. At 20:15 transfer to town to enjoy a traditional Minangkabau dance performance at the center of Bukittinggi town.

 

The Hills – Deluxe Room. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Bukittinggi - Anai Valley - Padang - Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort            

After breakfast you depart to Padang via the Anai valley.

 

On the way stop at Padang Panjang for a visit Minangkabau Documentation Centre housed in a large and beautiful “Rumah Gadang” that is used as a museum of cultural and historical documents of Minangkabau.

 

Continue to Padang passing through the beautiful Anai Valley with its green forest and valley with a crystal clear rocky river. Stop along the way for viewing the picturesque 30m high Anai Valley Waterfall.

 

Arrive in Padang where lunch is served in restaurant Nelayan.

 

After lunch we do a short sightseeing around the city of Padang with the Old Dutch colonial district located beside the Muaro River. Walk along the river banks with a row of Old Dutch colonial buildings ending at the historical harbour of Padang built by Dutch full of colorful little boats. There’s also a beautiful bridge on the river, Sitti Nurbaya Bridge which at night is beautifully lit.

 

You driver and guide will drop you at the representative office of Cubadak Paradiso Village resort in Padang where you will first register before being transferred by the hotel representative. It takes about 2 hours by road + 15 minutes by boat to reach the resort located on Cubadak Island off the coast south of Padang.

 

Check in for a 3 night stay in full board at Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort.

 

Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort. - Bungalow (B, L, D)

 

Day 12 ~ Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort                                                                      

Breakfast, lunch and dinner served at the resort.

 

There is no car or tour guide present during your stay.

 

Activities included at no extra charge are snorkeling, picnics to neighboring islands several times a week, canoeing and fun sailing.

 

Optional activities to be arranged locally and at extra charge are scuba diving, water skiing, wake or knee boarding.

 

Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort - Bungalow. (B, L, D)

 

Day 13 ~ Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort                                                                           

Breakfast, lunch and dinner served at the resort.

 

There is no car or tour guide present during your stay.

 

Activities included at no extra charge: 

  • snorkeling,

  • picnics to neighboring islands several times a week,

  • canoeing and

  • fun sailing.

 

Optional activities to be arranged locally and at extra charge are:

  • scuba diving,

  • water skiing,

  • wake boarding

  • knee boarding.

 

Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort - Bungalow. (B, L, D)

 

Day 14 ~ Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort - Padang                                                                  

Breakfast and lunch are served at the resort.

 

Time at leisure until time for departure to Padang Airport for your domestic flight to your next destination in Indonesia. (B)

 

End of Trip

 

(Code: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner

 

Land cost from:  $2,815 per person

Inclusions:

  • Hotel accommodation in half-twin, double room with daily breakfast.

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary 

  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.

  • English speaking local guide 

  • All entrance fees and tours as indicated in itinerary.

 

Exclusions:

  • Visa arrangements

  • International and domestic flights

  • International and domestic departure tax

  • Meals other than mentioned above.

  • Camera, video entrance fees.

  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc).

  • Travel insurance 

  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

A percentage of each booking  cost goes to a charity of your (or our) choice.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

Island EcoVentures

Phone: 1-800-642-8794

Email: info@islandecoventures.com

Travel Service in Fort Lauderdale, FL - Serving Clients Nationwide!