- Enjoy jungle tubing in Tangkahan
- Visit traditional Batak villages
- Trek and spot orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park
- Hike stratovolcano Mount Sibayak at sunrise
- Explore Samosir Island by motorbike
|Arrive in Medan
|Medan, North Sumatra
|Explore Medan, Transfer to Tangkahan
|Tangkahan, North Sumatra
|Tangkahan Jungle Trek & River Tubing
|Tangkahan, North Sumatra
|Transfer from Tangkahan to Bukit Lawang by Jeep
|Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
|Trek in Gunung Leuser National Park
|Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
|Transfer from Bukit Lawang to Berastagi
|Berastagi, North Sumatra
|Sunrise Mount Sibayak Trek, Travel to Samosir Island
|Explore Samosir Island by Motorbike
|Transfer to Medan
|Medan, North Sumatra
Day 1: Arrive in Medan
Welcome to Sumatra! A driver will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to settle in before venturing out to explore the island's vibrant capital of Medan. Indonesia's third-largest city sits on the northern coast of Sumatra and is the jumping-off point for jungle, volcano, and lake adventures.
Soak up Medan's blend of Asian and Dutch-colonial culture, then head to Merdeka Walk, a vast food court, for dinner. Try delicious Indonesian specialties such as arsik, a stewed carp dish loved by the local Batak Toba people, and nasi goreng, fried rice topped with an egg.
Day 2: Explore Medan, Transfer to Tangkahan
This morning, take a guided city tour of Medan. Highlights include visiting Istana Maimoon, a grand palace built in 1888 by the Sultan of Delhi, and Masjid Raya Al Mashun, an octagonal-shaped mosque and pilgrimage site for Muslims. During the tour, your guide will also highlight Medan's famous Dutch architecture and ornate Chinese temples.
Next, escape the city and drive west to Tangkahan, a jungle village known as the "hidden paradise" for its remote, idyllic setting. This ecotourism destination borders Gunung Leuser National Park and lies on two rivers, Buluh and Batang, making it a popular base for trekking, tubing, and white-water rafting trips.
Day 3: Tangkahan Jungle Trek & River Tubing
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 4: Transfer from Tangkahan to Bukit Lawang by Jeep
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Board a Jeep this morning for the 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 5: Trek 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 10,000 plant species and 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 trek, 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 6: Transfer from Bukit Lawang to Berastagi
Leave the jungle today and transfer four hours south to your next destination, Berastagi, which means "City of Rice" after its strong agricultural roots. On the way, you'll visit some Batak villages, home to northern Sumatra's six ethnic groups, collectively referred to as the Batak people. Tour their communal wooden stilt houses and learn about local life.
You'll arrive in Berastagi, a small town in the Barisan Mountains shadowed by two hulking volcanoes, Sibayak and Sinabung. Developed by the Dutch as a cool-climate hill station in the 1920s, Berastagi is set 4,265 feet (1,300 m) above sea level, making it a popular getaway for Medan locals. After you've settled in, browse the town's tropical fruit market and make your way up Gundaling Hill for supreme views of Sinabung and Sibayak.
Day 7: Sunrise Mount Sibayak Trek, Travel to 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 the 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 sq km), Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. When you reach Parapat, you'll catch a public ferry directly to Samosir and check into your hotel.
Day 8: Explore Samosir Island by Motorbike
Set out this morning to explore Samosir by motorbike. Along with Toba Lake, 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 Toba 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, which belong to Sidabutar kings. Don't miss Samosir's highest point, which offers sweeping views over Toba Lake. After your motorbike tour, return to your hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening.
Day 9: Transfer to Medan
Say goodbye to Samosir this morning and take the ferry to Parapat. You'll make the three-and-a-half-hour drive back to Medan via key island cities like Pematang, Siantar, and Tebingtinggi. Check into your hotel and enjoy a final evening in Medan. Perhaps head out to trawl the night markets, shop, or feast on Indonesian food.
Day 10: Depart Medan
Your Sumatra jungle adventure ends this morning with a transfer to the airport for your homebound flight. Safe travels!