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 site ‘Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra‘ 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, or alternatively it can be combined with one or more of our range of Indonesian extensions and mini-tours. These include a fascinating 4-day city tour of the bustling capital Jakarta, various beach stays in Bali or on nearby Lombok’s Gili Isles or a one week tour to Flores and Komodo Island which combines jungle trekking, overnight on board a sailing ship, snorkelling on coral reefs and visits to remote, traditional villages with, of course, the famous ‘dragons’ themselves.
Note that our starting point, Medan International Airport, has convenient 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 combining 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!
Includes: Meals: B x 6, L x 4, D x 3
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
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
- Plenty 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 to spot orangutans, gibbons, langurs and hornbills
- Spectacular Lake Toba - the world's largest crater lake
Air Departures (UK) *From
- 16 December 23 2,330 GBP
- 13 January 24 4 x 1,950 GBP
- 9 February 24 1,950 GBP
- 1 March 24 1,950 GBP
- 5 April 24 1,950 GBP
- 3 May 24 1,950 GBP
- 7 June 24 1,950 GBP
- 5 July 24 1,950 GBP
- 10 August 24 1,950 GBP
- 7 September 24 1,950 GBP
- 5 October 24 1,950 GBP
- 2 November 24 1,950 GBP
- 7 December 24 1,950 GBP
- 17 December 23 875 GBP
- 14 January 24 4 x 875 GBP
- 10 February 24 875 GBP
- 2 March 24 875 GBP
- 6 April 24 850 GBP
- 4 May 24 850 GBP
- 8 June 24 850 GBP
- 6 July 24 850 GBP
- 11 August 24 850 GBP
- 8 September 24 850 GBP
- 6 October 24 850 GBP
- 3 November 24 875 GBP
- 8 December 24 875 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...
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
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
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
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas: For most nationalities, a 30-day visa on arrival is issued on arrival at any international airport such as Medan, Yogyakarta or Jakarta. The cost is 500,000 rupiah, which looks like a lot of zeros but $35 (approx. depending on exchange rates) also does the trick. (See list here.) As usual, 6 months validity from the date of arrival is essential as is at least 1 empty page in your passport and you may be asked to show proof of departure from Indonesia.
Your standard entry and exit points for this tour are Kualanamu International Airport, (Medan).
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local guides and drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of around $3-4 per person, per day. With regards to guides accompanying you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $3-4 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance-related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)
Meals: as usual breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Many Indonesian dishes are internationally famous such as sate, nasi goring, rendang, gado gado etc but there’s much much, more with the already varied cuisine supplemented by plenty of regional specialities as well. Dishes are generally mildly spiced with sambal, the ubiquitous chilli sauce, served separately and there’s a wealth of vegan and vegetarian choices.
For certain, included, meals your tour-leader will order a selection of dishes, local-style, while 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: our selection consists of comfortable 3-4* options with en-suite bathrooms, air-con and, in most cases, pools with the emphasis on smaller heritage and/or eco-style choices. 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, including trekking, can be tailored for any fitness level or alternatives suggested. Be warned there are a couple of very early starts for sunrises on this one!
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding Java page of our travel blog.
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