Explore the stunning nature of Indonesia's North Sumatra province on this eight-day adventure. Begin in Medan and see the city's attractions, then head to Tangkahan to enjoy river tubing and a jungle trek. Immerse yourself in greenery in Gunung Leuser National Park, then head to Berastagi and visit its local market. Travel to Samosir Island to trek up Mount Sibayak and explore the island by motorbike before returning to Medan.


  • Explore mosques, temples, and palaces in Medan
  • Keep an eye out for orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Visit scenic lookout points and colorful local markets in Berastagi
  • See the traditional villages and verdant landscapes of Samosir Island by motorbike

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Medan, Transfer to Tangkahan Tangkahan
Day 2 Jungle Trek & River Tubing Tangkahan
Day 3 Transfer to Bukit Lawang by Jeep Bukit Lawang
Day 4 Trek in Gunung Leuser National Park Bukit Lawang
Day 5 Jungle Trek, Transfer to Berastagi Berastagi
Day 6 Sunrise Mount Sibayak Trek, Transfer to Samosir Island Samosir Island
Day 7 Explore Samosir Island by Motorbike Samosir Island
Day 8 Depart Medan  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Medan, Transfer to Tangkahan

View of the Grand Mosque of Medan
Welcome to Medan! Your private driver will pick you up from the airport and take you on a tour before transferring you to your accommodation in Tangkahan. Explore the Sultan's Palace, Great Mosque, and Chinese Temple as you get to know this fascinating city. Medan was once the capital of East Sumatra and is known for its Dutch colonial architecture. In the afternoon, drive to Tangkahan, stopping at Binjai and Batang Serangan along the way.

Day 2: Jungle Trek & River Tubing

The jungles of Indonesia
Enjoy a river tubing excursion in the North Sumatran jungle

Today you'll discover the natural wonders of Tangkahan. Start with a three-hour jungle trek, where your guide will show you native plants, trees, and fungi. As you walk, look out for colorful toucans and hornbills in the treetops, as well as primates like leaf monkeys, macaques, and even elusive orangutans.

Relax after your hike with some tubing, which offers an entirely different perspective of the jungle as you drift down the river in an inflatable tube. You'll stop to cool off in a forested waterfall and then head back to your hotel on foot, passing through vast palm oil plantations and a local village.

Day 3: Transfer to Bukit Lawang by Jeep

Aerial view of the Sumatran jungle
Aerial view of the Sumatran jungle

Board a Jeep this morning for the 2.5-hour journey to the village of Bukit Lawang, a beloved nature hub on the fringes of Gunung Leuser National Park. On the way to Bukit Lawang, you'll pass a school, plantation, and palm oil factory, taking in views of the thick jungle scenery through your window.

Bukit Lawang became a tourist destination in the 1970s when two Swiss women founded the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in the village. Although the center is now closed, the area remains a haven for primates thanks to its lush jungle, which lies on the banks of the Bohorok River. Check into your hotel and spend the afternoon resting ahead of tomorrow's hike.

Day 4: Trek in Gunung Leuser National Park

Spot orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park
Spot orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park

Set off for a trek in Gunung Leuser National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most biodiverse conservation areas in the world. The park stretches over 3,060 square miles (7,930 sq km) and is home to 750 species of animals, including endangered tigers, elephants, and rhinos. It's also a great place to spot orangutans in their natural habitat.

As you hike, your guide will teach you about the forest's unique plant species and explain how locals use them to make traditional medicine. You'll be surrounded by wildlife, from giant ants and lizards to leaping black gibbons, long-tailed macaques, and rainbow-colored birds. En route to your hotel, stop at a limestone cave where hundreds of sleeping bats hang.

Day 5: Jungle Trek, Transfer to Berastagi

Pasar Brastagi
Shopping for fruit and vegetables at Pasar Berastagi
After breakfast, walk into the jungle to begin another three-hour trek exploring the national park and observing its flora and fauna. You may have the chance to spot orangutans, Thoma's leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, gibbons, and black gibbons, among other animals. Then, after a short rest, pack your things and start on your journey toward Berastagi (about 3.5 hours), stopping en route to check out the Sembahe River. After you've arrived in Berastagi, visit the local fruit market and Gundaling Hill, which offers a view of two nearby volcanoes, before checking into your hotel. 

Day 6: Sunrise Mount Sibayak Trek, Transfer to Samosir Island

Samosir Island
Traditional houses on Samosir Island

Wake early for your epic three-hour trek up Mount Sibayak. You'll start with a transfer to the base of this famous stratovolcano, aiming to arrive at the 6,870-foot (2,090 m) peak in time to watch the sunrise. Sibayak is one of Indonesia's most accessible volcanoes, and although it remains active, the last eruption was in 1881. The hike takes you through a lunar-like geothermal landscape of sulfur lakes and steam vents to the crater top, where you'll enjoy panoramic views over Sumatra as the sun rises.

Descend via a hot spring where you can rest your aching muscles. Return to your hotel to pack before you drive to Samosir, a large volcanic island in Lake Toba. Along the way, you'll visit the Sipiso-Piso Waterfall and a Batak Karo village called Dokan. Get your first look at sparkling Lake Toba from Rumah Bolon, a former palace for Simalungun kings. At 660 square miles (1,707 square km), Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. When you reach Parapat, catch a public ferry directly to Samosir and check into your hotel.

Day 7: Explore Samosir Island by Motorbike

Scenic view of Lake Toba from Samosir
Scenic view of Lake Toba from Samosir

Set out this morning to explore Samosir by motorbike. Along with Lake Toba, this volcanic island was formed when a supervolcano erupted around 75,000 years ago. Samosir is sacred to the resident Toba Batak people, who you'll meet as you stop in small villages like Lumban Suhi-Suhi and Ambarita, which was once an ancient meeting place for Siallagan kings.

Learn more about the local culture at the Batak Museum in Simanindo, where villagers will perform traditional dances for you. As you drive around the island, stop to watch women weave in Batak handicraft markets and visit Tomok's eerie tombs belonging to Sidabutar kings. Don't miss Samosir's highest point, too, which offers sweeping views over Lake Toba. Return to your hotel after your motorbike adventure for a relaxing evening.

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Day 8: Depart Medan

Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, an Indian-Mughal style Catholic church in Medan
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, an Indian-Mughal style Catholic church in Medan
Pack your things this morning, ferry back to Parapat, and drive to Medan via Pematang Siantar and Tebingtinggi. Your driver will stop off at several places of interest along the way, and the journey will take about five to six hours, covering 117 miles (188 km). After arriving in Medan, transfer to the airport for your flight home or your next destination. Bon voyage! 

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Map of North Sumatra Adventure: Jungle Treks, Orangutans & Villages - 8 Days
Map of North Sumatra Adventure: Jungle Treks, Orangutans & Villages - 8 Days