Gunung Leuser National Park is your best chance in all of Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. This diverse ecosystem also harbours some 300 bird species and the endangered Sumatran tiger. The excellent Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge provides a unique jungle experience, and by staying there you support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. Climb the Sibayak Volcano, enjoy a picnic at its spectacular summit, then head to local hot springs for some well-earned rest and relaxation after the descent. Explore Lake Toba and the villages on Samosir Island. Check out Indonesia’s highest waterfall and a take a cultural tour that includes a traditional Batak dance performance
Far from ‘just another island getaway’, Indonesia is in many ways a whole world of its own, a sprawling constellation of distinct islands offering a staggering breadth of experiences. This immersive combo trip begins way out in Indonesia’s wild west – on the island of Sumatra – and travels east through Java and into Bali, giving a superb overview of the country’s diversity. Move effortlessly from Christian Batak to Hinduism to Buddhism, remote jungle to untouched beach to volcano-studded valley, culture-rich urban village to streetside warung to ancient temple complex. For lovers of South East Asian adventure, this is a journey not to be missed.
Breakfast Included: 21 Lunches Included: 4 Dinner Included: 2
Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you happen to arrive early, perhaps check out Maimun Palace – designed by a Dutch Architect and built in the 19th century, it combines architecture from Malay, Indian and Islamic cultures and is now a museum. Alternatively, buy a ticket and take a guided tour of the museum at Tjong A Fie Mansion – known as "the historical jewel in Medan", the Tjong A Fie was built in 1895 by a hakka merchant and is modelled on the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang. After your important welcome meeting, you could head to grab some street food with your group at one of the night markets in town, or go to a local restaurant – your group leader will know of some good spots.
Jump aboard a private vehicle and drive to Bukit Lawang (approximately 5 hours). The first part of the journey involves quite heavy traffic, but the roads are nice and smooth. Closer to Bukit Lawang it gets bumpy and windy, so brace yourself for a bit of an adventure. The reward for the journey is the destination – Bukit Lawang a peaceful village located on the banks of the Bohorok river, right next to the Gunung Leuser National Park. In the afternoon you can take an optional tour in the countryside by becak (cycle rickshaw) or cool off with a refreshing swim in the river. There will be also be plenty of time to prepare for your jungle trek.
Gunung Leuser National Park
Set off on your trekking adventure through the Gunung Leuser National Park with an experienced guide (approximately 5–6 hours). The night will be spent camping out in the jungle. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed park spans 7927 square kilometres and is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems. It's the home of many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and elephants. These animals are extremely rare to see but you will get the chance to go in search for wild orangutans. There used to be an orangutan rehabilitation centre here, but now these creatures have all been returned to their natural habitat, so this is your best chance in Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. There are also 300 species of birds, and many rare plants and flowers. Today's hike is hilly and can be muddy. The paths are mostly clear, but there are some sections where you’ll have to climb over large fallen logs. You may stop and rest while the guides go in search for orangutans. Along the way, guides point out orangutan nests, edible plants for you to try, monkeys, birds, and wild orangutan. You will carry your own lunch and break for lunch along the way then continue trekking to the camp site, where the guides set up and cook dinner for the group.
Gunung Leuser National Park - Berastagi
You will wake early to the sound of gibbons and continue the trek down river (approximately 2 hours). Your feet may get wet, so strap-on sandals, booties or local rubber shoes are recommended to pack. Head back to Bukit Lawang, where day rooms will be made available for a freshen up and shower before you get on the bus. It's also a good chance to stock up on some tropical fruit for the road. Depart early afternoon for Berastagi (approximately 5.5 hours). Berastagi is the home of the Karo people, a Batak sub-group with traditional villages (long houses), and is your destination for the night.
Mt Sibayak - Berastagi
Drive for approximately 30 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The hike (approximately 2-3 hours) brings you to the top of Sibayak Volcano (2094 m). It's quite steep, muddy and slippery, especially in the wet season. Follow a shady jungle path which, towards the top, opens up into a more alpine setting. Long pants are essential to protect you from poisonous plants, and a trekking stick will also come in handy. After reaching the top, sit down to a traditional bungkus lunch and enjoy the views. From the summit you can see (and hear) the steaming vapours escaping from the fumaroles of this active volcano. Then it's time for the descent (approximately 1 hour). Afterwards, head straight to the nearby hot springs for a soothing soak – after a few days of trekking, you deserve to relax in these pools, which are all naturally heated by the volcano.
This morning, head to Tongging Village by private vehicle, on the banks of Lake Toba (2 hours). The road from Berastagi to Lake Toba is a nice, smooth road. Then, continue on and stop at Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which was formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau. Watch as water cascades from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 metres (360 feet) down to lake level – forming Indonesia's highest waterfall. Lake Toba itself, surrounded by mountains, is a peaceful spot to relax. It was formed by a huge volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago; a second eruption 50,000 years later created an island the size of Singapore in the middle of the lake – Samosir Island. Your accommodation tonight is right next to the lake and boasts nice views of the water, mountains and rice fields.
Embark on a day tour in Samosir. Visit the Stone Chairs and the Simanindo Museum (in a traditional house). You’ll also travel up to a viewpoint on the island which gives you a panoramic vista of the below Lake Toba and the surrounding Sumatran countryside. Walk through nearby rice fields and stop by a local Batak house for a traditional lunch. Toba Island is dotted with many ancient and modern grave sites, several of which you’ll see on today's tour. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy a traditional Batak dance performance. The Toba Bataks have a unique religion, architecture and culture. Although they are predominantly Christian, they also practice animism. The most distinctive element of their culture is the traditional architecture – extraordinary boat-like houses with roofs resembling buffalo horns.
Drive back to Simanindo (approximately 45 minutes). From there, take a boat back over Lake Toba to Tigaras (approximately 45 minutes). Make a stop at a traditional Dokan Village where you'll find a handful of traditional houses which are still the homes of local Batak families. Afterwards, continue back to Medan (approximately 3.5 hours).
Day 9: Jakarta
Today you will fly from Medan to Jakarta approx. 2.5 hours. Please note you will be unescorted for this flight but you will be transferred to and from the airports. With your free time in Jakarta check out some of Jakarta's interesting museums, such as the Wayang (puppetry), Balai Seni Rupa (fine arts) and Maritime museums. The National Museum is great for first-time visitors. For city monuments, don't miss Si Jagur, an old Portuguese cannon ornately decorated with sexual imagery, or the Monas (National Monument) dedicated to the spirit of the Indonesian people. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Familiarise yourself with the city on a full day tour with your local guide. Take in Sunda Kelapa port, where the Dutch first landed, temple-filled Chinatown and the old town of Batavia. Visit a Chinese mansion (Chandra Naya) and gain an insight into the beautiful Peranakan architecture. Wander about Fatahillah Square, then explore the religious side of the city at Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South East Asia. Meander through the antique market at Jalan Surabaya.
Today there's some distance to cover, so you will spend most of the day travelling. Travel by train to Purwokerto City (approximately 5.5 hours), then take a private minibus to Pangandaran (approximately 3 hours). Pangandaran is a small fishing village popular with visitors looking for a coastal escape. The Penanjung Nature Reserve on the adjoining peninsula boasts some impressive flora and fauna.
Set off on a tour of the local surrounds, villages, cottage industries and the impressive green canyon. Your day trip begins with a stop at a local market to check out the produce and home industries such as palm sugar and rice cracker production, as well as the famous Javanese 'Wayan Golek' (traditional wooden puppets). Then you'll continue to the Green Canyon. Hop aboard your boat and travel upriver (approximately 30 minutes) through superb jungle scenery, before stopping for a swim up into the canyon itself. This spot, whose water is green as its name suggests, is a popular hangout for locals, so take the opportunity to interact. Your day concludes at a nearby beach where you can take a break for lunch and swim in the afternoon before heading back.