Uncover the highlights of Sumatra and Java on this epic 2-week adventure that takes you deep into the rainforest in search of wild orangutans, high up to the summits of ancient volcanoes, and deep into the history and culture of two of Indonesia's most fascinating islands. Start in Bukit Lawang before making your way to Lake Toba and Samosir Island. From there, head over to Java to marvel at the views from the top of Mount Bromo and explore the countryside and temples around the royal cities of Solo and Yogyakarta.

Highlights

  • Admire the views from the summits of Sibayak & Bromo Volcanoes
  • Uncover the secrets of the ancient temples of Borobudur & Prambanan
  • Spend a night in the rainforest in Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Swim in a waterfall next to Lake Toba, the biggest volcanic lake in the world
  • Explore the historic royal city of Yogyakarta

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Medan, Drive to Bukit Lawang Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 2 Trek through Gunung Leuser National Park Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 3 Trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park, Bukit Lawang Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 4 Bukit Lawang to Berastagi via the Sembahe River & Sibolangit Berastagi, North Sumatra
Day 5 Sibayak Volcano & Lau Debuk-Debuk Hot Springs Berastagi, North Sumatra
Day 6 Berastagi to Samosir Island on Lake Toba via Dokan & Sipsio Piso Samosir Island
Day 7 Samosir Island Village Tour Samosir Island
Day 8 Samosir to East Java via Medan Surabaya, East Java
Day 9 Mount Bromo Jeep Ride, Train to Solo Solo
Day 10 Yogyakarta via Prambanan & Gunung Purba Yogyakarta
Day 11 Candi Sukuh & Candi Ceto Yogyakarta
Day 12 Cooking Class & Cycling Tour in Candirejo Eco Village Yogyakarta
Day 13 Suroloyo & Borobudur Temple Yogyakarta
Day 14 Departure from Yogyakarta  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Medan, Drive to Bukit Lawang

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you drive through the jungle
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you drive through the jungle

Welcome to Indonesia! When you arrive at the airport in Medan you will be met by your driver and begin your Sumatran adventure with a 3-4 hour drive out to Bukit Lawang.  Take a few stops en-route to see the jungle and visit different rubber and palm oil plantations to learn about the industries that are fuelling and destroying Sumatra's natural habitat.

Once you arrive, check into your hotel and relax.

Travel Time: 3-4 hr
Travel Distance: 55 miles (90 km)

Day 2: Trek through Gunung Leuser National Park

Search for orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park
Search for orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park

This morning, leave civilization far behind as you head out deep into the heart of the Leuser National Park on a multi-day guided trek through the jungle. Keep your eyes peeled for orangutans as you make your way through the rainforest in search of these incredible gentle giants.

Camp out with your guides overnight in the jungle to maximize your chances of witnessing orangutans in their natural habitat, along with Thomas's leaf monkeys (langur), long-tailed macaques (crab-eating macaques), gibbons, black gibbons, and other exotic flora and fauna unique to the area, including tropical birds and butterflies.

Walking Time: 4-5 hr

Day 3: Trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park, Bukit Lawang

Enjoy the amazing nature as you trek through Gunung Leuser NP
Enjoy the amazing nature as you trek through Gunung Leuser NP

Wake up with the sounds of the jungle all around you and enjoy coffee and breakfast before starting your second day of trekking through the Gunung Leuser National Park. 

Known as the largest wilderness area in Southeast Asia, Gunung Leuser is one of the best places to explore the natural beauty of this amazing ecosystem, as well as come face to face with wildlife such as orangutans. This huge park is also home to the rare Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, and leopard cat.

Enjoy learning about the different plants and animals here as your experienced guide leads you on a tour through the park, before you return back to Bukit Lawang for a well-deserved shower and a beer or two.

Trekking Time: 4-5 hr

Day 4: Bukit Lawang to Berastagi via the Sembahe River & Sibolangit

Check out the amazing views over Mount Sinabung
Check out the amazing views over Mount Sinabung

After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Bukit Lawang and begin the 5-hr journey to Berastagi. En route, stop off to visit the Sembahe River and Sibolangit, which is known for the Two Colors Sibolangit Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Indonesia.

Once you arrive into Berastagi, check into your hotel and relax, before continuing onto visit Gundaling Hill, where you can check out the views over the nearby volcanoes, Mount Sinabung and Mount Sibayak, and then finishing up in the fruit market and Lumbini  Natural Park, where you can see a replica of Myanmar's famous Schwedagon Pagoda.

Travel Time: 5 hr
Travel Distance: 81 miles (131 km)

Day 5: Sibayak Volcano & Lau Debuk-Debuk Hot Springs

Climb to the top of Sibayak Volcano and see the crater lake
Climb to the top of Sibayak Volcano and see the crater lake

Get the day off to an active start this morning with a hike to the top of Mount Sibayak, followed by a visit to Lau Debuk-Debuk hot springs, where you can relax after a strenuous climb.

Drive from your hotel to the trailhead, where you will meet your guide and begin the trek up to the top of this active volcano, where you can see an ancient crater lake and even capture a glimpse of steam rising from the vents. After resting for a while and enjoying the panoramic views, start the descent and return to the trailhead in time for lunch.

This afternoon, swing by the hot springs at Lau Debuk-Debuk to rest your tired muscles in the pools surrounded by the jungle. After, return to Berastagi, where the evening is free for you to spend at leisure.

Hiking Time: 5 hr

Plan your trip to Indonesia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Berastagi to Samosir Island on Lake Toba via Dokan & Sipsio Piso

Stop off at Sipiso Piso Waterfall on the way to Lake Toba
Stop off at Sipiso Piso Waterfall on the way to Lake Toba

It's time to take to the road again as you make your way from Berastagi to Samosir Island on Lake Toba, where you'll stay for a couple of nights. Formed after the eruption of a supervolcano around 75,000 years ago, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world, and the biggest lake in Indonesia.

Stop en-route to visit the villages of Dokan and Simarjarunjung, to see the traditional ways of life out here and see the iconic Rumah Bolon style houses with their very unique shaped roofs and entrances. From here, make your way to the magnificent Sipiso Piso Waterfall, where you can take a refreshing dip in the plunge pool, before admiring the views of Lake Toba as you head down to the shore.

Hop in a local boat over to Samosir Island, where you'll make your way to your accommodation on foot. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure on the island before retiring to your hotel for the first of two nights on the island.

Travel Time: 5 hr (inc 45 min boat crossing)
Travel Distance: 100 miles (160 km)

Day 7: Samosir Island Village Tour

Go on a village tour around Samosir and see the unique Batak houses
Go on a village tour around Samosir and see the unique Batak houses

Spend today exploring Samosir and learning about the Batak culture on an island tour. Visit traditional villages like Ambarita, where you can visit the historic stone table and chairs which was the meeting place for Sialagan kings in centuries gone by and Tomok, with its old stone tombs of the Sidabutar kings.

Then, swing by Simanindo, where you can check out the Batak Toba Museum and the Batak Toba dance, and Panguruan, with its hot springs and views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. As we drive, pass through other little villages and the countryside where you'll be able to see people working in the fields and weaving using the same tools as their ancestors. 

This afternoon, return to your hotel and enjoy another leisurely evening.

Day 8: Samosir to East Java via Medan

Enjoy a warm welcome when you arrive in East Java
Enjoy a warm welcome when you arrive in East Java

This morning, make your way back to Medan to catch your flight over to Surabaya. The drive from Samosir to Medan airport should take around four hours with a couple of breaks. The flight from Sumatra to East Java takes around 3.5 hours.

Once you arrive, you'll be met by your English-speaking guide and driver who will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing or sightseeing around the neighborhood.

Travel Time: 8 hr
Travel Distance: 1660 miles (2671 km)

Day 9: Mount Bromo Jeep Ride, Train to Solo

Take a jeep ride up to the top of Mount Bromo to see these epic views
Take a jeep ride up to the top of Mount Bromo to see these epic views

After an early breakfast, check out from your hotel and drive out to Cemoro Lawang, a small village close to the base of Mount Bromo. From here, take an exhilarating jeep ride up to the summit of Mount Pananjakan  (9104 ft/2775m), where you can enjoy the landscapes over the 10-mile wide Tengger Caldera.

Part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, this huge caldera is home to five volcanoes, including Mount Bromo and Mount Batok as well as the biggest mountain in Java, Mount Semeru. After admiring the view for a while, hop back into the jeep and descend into the Tengger Sand Sea, and through the caldera to Mount Bromo, where you can look down into the crater of this active volcano.

After spending the morning exploring the barren lunar landscape, make your way back down and over to Mojokerto, where you will board the train and make your way to Solo, where you will spend the night.

Travel Time: 6.5 hr
Travel Distance: 161 miles (260 km)

Day 10: Yogyakarta via Prambanan & Gunung Purba

Visit Prambanan temple early in the morning to get the best light
Visit Prambanan temple early in the morning to get the best light

Start your day with a drive from Solo out to Prambanan to visit the iconic Rara Jonggrang temple. This UNESCO-World Heritage-listed Hindu temple complex was built in the 9th century and dedicated to the triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Transformer. 

After taking a tour of the temple ruins, head out to the little-visited Gunung Purba, an inactive volcano close to Yogyakarta. Take a short walk up to the summit where you can admire the incredible views over the region, before heading to Jogja (Yogyakarta), where you will check into your hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Travel Time: 2 hr
Travel Distance: 40 miles (65 km)

Day 11: Candi Sukuh & Candi Ceto

Marvel at the ancient bas-reliefs of Sukuh Temple
Marvel at the ancient bas-reliefs of Sukuh Temple

In the morning, head out to the Lawu Volcano area to visit Candi Sukuh, a 15th-century Javanese-Hindu temple. Resembling a Mayan pyramid more than any other temples of the era or location, this unique temple is famous for its amazing bas-reliefs and intricately-carved statues depicting life before birth and sexual education.

From there, make your way to Candi Ceto, another 15th-century temple built on the slopes of Mount Lawu. These temples are known for their unique Javanese-Hindu style of architecture and for being the last significant Hindu temples built on Java before the rise of Islam on the island in the 16th century. 

After visiting the temples, take a walk through the rice paddies and tea plantations around the area and visit a few Hindu communities that still reside around the slopes of the volcano, before heading back to Yogyakarta for the night.

Day 12: Cooking Class & Cycling Tour in Candirejo Eco Village

Take a traditional Javanese cooking class
Take a traditional Javanese cooking class

Today, take a drive out to the nearby Candirejo Eco Village, where you will take a Javanese cooking class and learn how to make traditional dishes using fresh, local ingredients, before sitting down to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

After enjoying your homemade lunch, meet your local guide and go on a leisurely two-hour cycling tour through the countryside. You will stop in traditional villages and orchards along the way, see old houses and industries, and learn about the ways of life out here in the countryside.

In the afternoon, return to your hotel in Yogyakarta and spend the evening relaxing.

Day 13: Suroloyo & Borobudur Temple

Visit the iconic stupas in Borobudur Temple
Visit the iconic stupas in Borobudur Temple

Wake up early to get on the road for an action-packed day. Your first stop this morning is Suroloyo Peak, about an hour and a half's drive from Yogyakarta. Take a leisurely walk from here to a traditional village, where you will learn about the history and culture of the people here, before trying your hand at playing the Gamelan (a traditional musical instrument) and having lunch.

After that, jump in the car for a 15-minute journey over to the amazing 9th-century  Borobudur UNESCO World Heritage site.  Built during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty, this historic temple combines both Javanese and Buddhist architecture. It was abandoned in the 14th century when Java converted to Islam. and lay largely forgotten until 1814, when the British ruler at the time, Governor-General Raffles, learned of the presence of a big monument deep in the jungle and sent a team of explorers into uncover it.

Since then, the world's largest Buddhist temple has undergone a series of restoration projects to bring it back to its former glory, and it is now the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia. Take a guided tour around the complex, which consists of nine stacked platforms topped by a huge central dome, which is surrounded by 72 iconic perforated stupas, each containing an individual Buddha statue. 

After, return to your accommodation in Yogyakarta and spend the evening at leisure. Enjoy a drink or two, go sightseeing, or souvenir shopping, or just relax at your hotel after a long day of exploring.

Day 14: Departure from Yogyakarta

It's time to say goodbye to Indonesia's cultural capital
It's time to say goodbye to Indonesia's cultural capital

It's time to say goodbye to Java! After breakfast, pack your bags and check out from your accommodation. Depending on the time of your flight, you can spend the rest of the day exploring, sightseeing, souvenir shopping, or feasting on delicious Javanese food and snacks before making your way to the airport to begin your onward journey.

Map

Map of Sumatra & Java : Orangutans, Volcanoes, & Indonesian Culture - 14 Days
Map of Sumatra & Java : Orangutans, Volcanoes, & Indonesian Culture - 14 Days