1-week Sumatra tour combining UNESCO-listed Gunung Leuser National Park with the spectacular crater lake of Toba
Traditional villages, local markets, Lake Toba and...orangutans
This 1-week Sumatra tour includes a stay in a riverside eco-lodge at Bukit Lawang – gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park – part of the World Heritage ‘Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra‘ site and a visit to the old Dutch-period hill-station of Berastagi, with a lakeside resort on picturesque Samosir Island, located within the vast crater lake of Mt Toba – one of the world’s largest volcanoes.
In line with our All Points East philosophy, this Sumatra tour combines the island’s best-known sites with local markets and street life as well as providing ample opportunities to sample the varied local cuisine and meet the exceptionally welcoming local people.
While included as part of our 18-day Indonesia – Sumatra to Bali tour this trip is also offered as a stand-alone tour, perhaps for travellers who’ve already visited Java or who have a more limited timeframe, but can be combined with one or more of our range of Indonesian extensions. These include a fascinating 4-day city tour of the bustling capital Jakarta, beach stays in Bali or Lombok or a tour to Flores and Komodo Islands which combines jungle trekking and traditional villages with, of course, the famous ‘dragons’.
Note that Medan International Airport has good connections with domestic and regional destinations. It is easily reached from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for example so more ‘outside of the box’ combinations are available such as our Sumatra tour and Malaysia, southern Thailand or even a tropical jungle bonanza including Borneo!
Finally – for those of a more nervous disposition – Toba last erupted some 70,000 years ago – so we should be ok!
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Arrival in Medan and transfer to Bukit Lawang
Our tour begins at Medan International Airport in North Sumatra. From here we’ll transfer into the interior and the small, riverside village of Bukit Lawang – entry point for World Heritage Gunung Leuser National Park – with a local-style, welcome dinner and overnight in a comfortable, riverside eco-lodge.
Overnight: Bukit Lawang Transport: Minibus, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Gunung Leuser National Park
A morning rainforest hike in fabulous Gunung Leuser provides the opportunity to discover some of the park’s amazing tropical flora and fauna including the region’s most famous residents, Sumatran orangutans. Gibbons and langurs are also commonly seen along with, blooming permitting, the famous giant Rafflesia flowers. A picnic lunch by the river and a return by raft down the scenic Leuser River complete our day.
Overnight: Bukit Lawang Transport: Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 3 - Through the Karo Highlands
South through the hills to the town of Berastagi, a former Dutch hill-station and today renowned for tropical fruits such as durian, rambutan, and snake fruit as well as being home to the Batak minority. Lunch in a local cafe and a walking tour of the town’s vibrant markets followed by some time to take in our resort’s delightful park and pool.
Overnight: Berastagi Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L,
Day 4 - South to Lake Toba
Through the Tanah Karo Highlands with stops at a traditional and particularly friendly Batak Village and Sipiso-piso, Sumatra’s highest waterfall. From here we descend to Lake Toba itself, the world’s largest crater lake formed by a huge volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago. Transfer by boat across the lake to our picturesque, waterfront accommodation in Tuk-Tuk Village on Samosir Island.
Overnight: Tuk-Tuk, Lake Toba Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Samosir Island
Day tour of Samosir Island to discover the cultural heritage of the local Batak people including a traditional village with its towering, thatched houses, the ancient ‘Stone Chairs’ of Ambarita, Simanindo Museum and a community weaving centre.
Overnight: Tuk-Tuk, Lake Toba Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 6 - Morning in Toba and return to Medan
The morning is at leisure to explore further the scenic island at your own pace – on foot or by bicycle – before a ferry ride across the lake and return drive to Medan for our night’s accommodation close to the city’s old colonial district.
Overnight: Medan Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, D,
Day 7 - Departure from Medan
7 Transfer to Medan Airport. Subsequent, optional extensions include our 4-day Jakarta visit, a mini-tour to Flores and Komodo or beach time in Bali or Lombok.
Medan International Airport has easy connections to regional destinations such as KL, Singapore or Bangkok.
Transport: Minibus, Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Tropical rainforest flora and fauna, local markets, streetfood and traditional villages plus, of course, the spectacular landscapes of Lake Toba
- Well-appointed lakeside resort on Samosir Island
- Plnety of opportunties to sample the local food and meet the exceptionally friendly local people
- Riverside eco-lodge stay in Bukit Lawang
- Traditional villages and local markets
- Rainforest hike spotting orangutans, gibbons, langurs and hornbills
- Spectacular Lake Toba - the world's largest crater lake
Air Departures (UK) *From
- 25 December 22 GBP
- 27 January 23 GBP
- 10 March 23 GBP
- 11 April 23 GBP
- 12 May 23 GBP
- 16 June 23 GBP
- 14 July 23 GBP
- 11 August 23 GBP
- 15 September 23 GBP
- 13 October 23 GBP
- 17 November 23 GBP
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- 26 December 22 GBP
- 28 January 23 GBP
- 11 March 23 GBP
- 12 April 23 GBP
- 13 May 23 GBP
- 17 June 23 GBP
- 15 July 23 GBP
- 12 August 23 GBP
- 16 September 23 GBP
- 14 October 23 GBP
- 18 November 23 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Kualanamu International Airport, Medan
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Tabo Cottages Lake Toba view
- Fabulous lakeside location on Lake Toba's Samosir Island
- Delightful, lush tropical garden setting
- Well-appointed with pool, bar/restaurant and in-house bakery
Sinabung Hills Berastagi view
- Located close to the old Dutch hill-station of Berastagi
- Well-appointed with in-house restaurant and bar
- Set in extensive lush parklands with large pool
Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge view
- Tropical garden setting overlooking the Leuser River
- On the edge of UNESCO-listed Gunung Leuser National Park
- Aortion of profits go to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas:A 30-day visa on arrival is issued on arrival at Medan International Airport. The cost is 500,000 rupiah, which looks like a lot of zeros but $35 (approx. depending on exchange rates) also does the trick.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of your departure from Indonesia and should have at least 2 blank pages remaining. (You may also be required to show proof of onward travel such as return air tickets.)
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be somewhere in the region of $2-3 per person per day. With regards guides accompanying you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $5 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance-related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)
Meals: breakfasts are either buffets – or a la carte in smaller hotels – with lunch and dinners based on local food. Lunches on the road are typically simpler dishes while your tour-leader will generally order more elaborate-style dinners consisting of a selection of local fare.
Dishes are only mildly spicy and both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour-leader at the start of the tour. A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.
Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3-4* range, with an emphasis where possible on the smaller, ‘boutique-style’, and are en-suite and usually air-conditioned with pools. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding page of our travel blog.
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