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OVERVIEW

Medan / Berastagi Villages / Lake Toba (Samosir Island) / Bukit Lawang National Park

Get the blood pumping with an active adventure around North Sumatra. Venture into the wilds to meet elephants, monkeys and orangutans and take a spectacular drive through highland landscapes. Continue to Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake, to explore ethnic villages with distinctive cultures. 

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for North Sumatra Soft Adventure Clockwise
Visit Lake Toba and surroundings

Visit Lake Toba and surroundings

Spend two nights on Samosir Island in the middle of the world’s largest volcanic lake and visit neighbouring villages.

Encounter Sumatra’s wildlife

Encounter Sumatra’s wildlife

Interact with elephants at a rehabilitation centre then trek in the jungle to see orangutans in the wild.

Discover Sumatra’s ethnic cultures

Discover Sumatra’s ethnic cultures

Learn about the Karo’s traditions while visiting an authentic longhouse and see a tribal dance in a Black Toba village.

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ITINERARY

North Sumatra Soft Adventure Clockwise - 7 Days / 6 Nights

DAY 1 - Kuala Namu Airport – Medan City Tour – MedanMealsMEALS [L]

Exo TravelKuala Namu Airport – Medan city center (30 km): 1 hour 15 minutes

After arriving at Kuala Namu International Airport, meet with the Sumatran tour guide outside the main building for the start of the program.

Recommended flights (Not included and quoted separately– Tariffs and schedule subject to change without prior notice):

International: Silk Air MI234 from Singapore to Medan arriving at 08:00 (daily) and Malaysia Airlines MH860 from Kuala Lumpur to Medan arriving at 08:50 (daily).

Domestic: From Jakarta to Medan by Garuda Indonesia GA180 arriving at 08:00 (daily) or GA182 arriving at 10:15. 

Leave Kuala Namu Airport and proceed to Medan, the capital of North Sumatra and an interesting melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Batak people living together in harmony.

Proceed to Merdeka Square in the centre of the city for a walk in the old colonial part of town which has retained its Dutch colonial architecture. See the Old Post Office and Medan City Hall before passing through Kesawan Street.

End the walk at Tip Top Restaurant which dates back to the time of Dutch colonization. Enjoy lunch here before heading to the hotel (check-in time is 14:00).  

After checking in, take some time to freshen up and relax in the room.

In the mid-afternoon, meet with the guide again and proceed with a city tour of Medan. Visit Masjid Raya, or the Great Mosque built in 1906 by the first sultan and still considered as one the most beautiful mosques in Indonesia.

Note:

Visit not possible during praying time, and appropriate dress code is required

Then, continue with a visit of Maimoon Sultan Palace, built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli (the former name of Medan). This beautiful palace combines traditional elements of Malay, Islamic as well as Spanish and Indian architectural elements. Even up to present times, the palace is inhabited by the Sultan, who remains a symbolic figure of importance to Indonesian community.

The city tour ends with a visit to an impressive Chinese temple, Vihara Gunung Timur.

Afterwards, return to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening either relaxing or heading out for some independent exploration.

Overnight in Medan.

DAY 2 - Medan – Tangkahan MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelMedan city center - Tangkahan via Binjai & Stabat (100 km): 4 hours 30 minutes

After an early breakfast and check out, depart for Tangkahan via Binjai and Stabat: the last portion of the journey is along a dirt road -so be prepared for a bumpy ride! (For about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes)

Upon arrival in Tangkahan, register at the “Gunung Leuser National Park” visitor centre before walking to the lodge located on the other side of the river: Access to the lodge is through an impressive suspension bridge (15 minutes safe walk) or by “raft” if the water isn’t too high.

Check in at the lodge in Tangkahan and, after settling in, enjoy lunch. 

Around 14:00, receive an unusual visitor for pickup for the next part of the tour. Be picked up by an elephant for a one-hour ride from the lodge along the river and through the jungle to the Rehabilitation Centre (2 pax/elephant + local Mahut).

Upon arrival there, take some time to watch all the elephants and, afterwards, help to bathe them.

Afterwards, make a 30-minute walk back to the lodge.

The remainder of the day is at leisure. Walk around the lodge in search of some resident Thomas leaf monkeys in their natural habitat.  Alternatively, take a refreshing dip in the clear river. Be sure to ask the hotel staff or guide where the hidden hot spring in the river is -as that is the best spot for swimming.

Note:

Access not possible for vehicles bigger than ELF as the last 1h to 1h30 of the route is along a very rough road and the bridge cannot be crossed by bus -so this can only be offered for FIT.
Please take a light bag only for tonight, the accommodation is basic with no hot water or AC. The driver will proceed with main luggage to Bukit Lawang.
On Friday, the elephant ride cannot be done because all elephants are on patrol in the park with the rangers. Advance booking is needed as only 5 elephants operate.
We recommend participants to wear short pants, tee shirts and sandals for the activity -and bring a change of clothes for getting into after returning to the lodge
*the elephant ride can be skipped against a price reduction

Dinner is served in the hotel.

DAY 3 - Tangkahan – Jeep to Bukit Lawang – Visit Eco Farm by Becak MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelTangkahan – Bukit Lawang (45km): 2 hours 30 minutes by local jeep (max 3 pax + guide)

After breakfast at the lodge, cross back to the other side of the river using the suspension bridge or raft. A local jeep will be waiting on the other side for the off-road trip to Bukit Lawang (approximately 2 hours - 2 hours 30 minutes), passing through rubber plantations and beautiful jungle and mountain landscapes.

Before arriving in Bukit Lawang, take a short stop to stretch and enjoy a fresh coconut drink at Coconut Park.

Upon arrival at Bukit Lawang, cross the impressive wooden suspension bridge over Bohorok River  on foot to arrive at the reception of the Eco Lodge.

Check-in at the lodge in Bukit Lawang and enjoy a lunch of Sumatran specialties.

After lunch, cross the bridge and be picked by a becak for a visit to the Timbang Lawang Eco Farm. The motorized sidecar will lead from the local village to the eco farm. Afterwards, hop back on the becak and explore a few other surrounding areas to see how brown sugar is made and rubber trees are tapped.

Afterwards, return to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure while enjoying the tropical surroundings.

Overnight in Bukit Lawang.

DAY 4 - Bukit Lawang – Orangutan Trekking – Berastagi MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelBukit Lawang - Berastagi (130 km via Medan): 4 hours 30 minutes approximately

Breakfast at the lodge.

Bukit Lawang is at the entrance to Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the last sanctuaries of the Sumatran orangutan.

Start an unforgettable trek early in the morning at 08:00 Head out behind Eco Lodge (with an additional local English-speaking jungle guide).

The first part of the hike is an easy climb to the forest for about 30 to 45 minutes –the local guide always send a tracker ahead to check where the orangutans are. If some are seen in first part of the trek, the guide will suggest people who have difficulty walking to return to the lodge with the tracker while accompanying other participants all the way (total trekking time is two and a half to three hours up and down in the jungle -it’s a bit more challenging and can be slippery, so good shoes are required).

After observing orangutans continue down to the Orang Utan Information Centre on the bank of the Bohorok River (30 minutes). From here, crossing the river using a pneumatic raft pulled by a rope (2mn crossing) and walk back to Eco Lodge along the river bank and main village of Bukit Lawang (30mn).

Note:  Camera fee is not included and must be paid locally IDR 50,000/camera (around USD 4) and IDR 150,000/video (around USD 11)  each time client enter the Gunung Leuser National Park

After returning back at the lodge, take some time to shower and change before checking out. Lunch is served at the lodge restaurant.

In the afternoon, leave Bukit Lawang to Berastagi in the Karo Highlands along a scenic route driving southwards via Sembahe and Sibolangit. In the late afternoon, arrive at Berastagi, a climate station located at some 1,400 metres above sea-level.

Check in at the hotel late afternoon/early evening.

Overnight in Berastagi 

DAY 5 - Berastagi – Dokan – Pematang Purba – Parapat – Ferry to Samosir Island on Lake TobaMealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelBerastagi - Parapat – via Dokan, Sipiso-Piso, Pematang Purba (130 km): 4 hours 30 minutes Parapat – Tomok in Samosir Island by local Ferry: 1 hour

After breakfast, checkout from the hotel and depart around 08:00 for a short city tour of Berastagi: the tour includes a visit to the St. Francis Catholic Church, with its unique Batak architecture and, in the background, a perfect view over Mount Sibayak. Continue with a walk through the local fruit market which is swarming with activity and scenes from traditional Karo life.

Leave Berastagi around 09:30 and proceed to Lake Toba, stopping after Berastagi to take pictures of Mount Sinabung (2,460m).

Stop for a visit to Dokan, a village home to the Batak Karo, people who have unusual wedding and funeral ceremonies which can last for days, and dozens of other unique traditions and rituals which are still in practice. Then, meet with a family in a traditional longhouses where up to 6 families can be found living harmoniously together.

Continue south towards Lake Toba and make a stop to see the 120-metre tall Sipiso-Piso Waterfall in the Batak Highlands. The beautiful fall is formed by an underground river that then plunges from a cave into Lake Toba caldera. Here there will also be an impressive first-view of Toba Lake.

Continue the journey to Pematang Purba for a visit to Rumah Bolon, a 200-year old wooden house that used to be the dwelling of the ancient Batak Simalungun Kings.

A late lunch will be served enroute to Parapat at a local restaurant near Simar Jarunjung 

In the afternoon, drive along the eastern shore of Lake Toba to Parapat.

Board a local ferry along with the private vehicle, driver and guide for a one hour boat trip between Parapat and Tomok on Samosir Island (Estimated departure from Parapat at 17:30 - subject to change).

The island of Samosir, which is roughly the size of Singapore, is located in the middle of Lake Toba. The caldera lake of Toba Volcano was formed over 75,000 years ago and is the largest volcanic lake in the world.

Take a direct transfer to the hotel on the Tuk Tuk Peninsula in Samosir Island (15-minute drive from Tomok) for check in. Take some time to freshen up, then spend the rest of the evening enjoying the unique atmosphere of the hotel.

Dinner at leisure.

Overnight in Samosir. 

DAY 6 - Samosir Island MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelTomok in Samosir Island –Parapatby local Ferry: 1 hour Parapat –PematangSiantar – Kuala Namu Airport (160 km): 5 hours approximately Medan city center – Kuala Namu Airport (30 km): 1 hour – 1hour 15 minutes approximately

After breakfast in the morning, spend a full day exploring Samosir Island and Lake Toba.

Visit Ambarita, Samosir’s most interesting Batak Toba village which is well-known for its unique stone chairs, tribunals and execution stones where enemies and criminals were slaughtered and eaten by this once-cannibalistic tribe.

Drive to Simanindo and be treated to a performance of a traditional Batak Toba dance called Tor-Tor (once a day at 10:30 – 45minutes). Then explore the traditional village and its small Batak museum.

From here we continue along the eastern shore of Samosir Island to Pangururan, the small capital of Samosir.  A picnic lunch has been prepared by the hotel and will be served onboard the ship while cruising towards Pangururan.

The driver and guide will be waiting when the boat arrives. Continue by car to Tele, a rarely visited area located on the mainland in the southern shore of Lake Toba, accessible after crossing a small bridge followed by a 30 minutes drive up the mountain: The view over Samosir Island and Lake Toba from the observatory tower in Tele is simply breathtaking and easily one of the best overlooking the whole of Lake Toba. 

Note:

For those who would like to enjoy a relaxing bath, there is a possibility to visit the hot springs after the visit to Tele.

On the way back to Tuk Tuk via Pangururan, stop alongside the road to observe the traditional weaving that villagers do here.

Return to the hotel in Tuk Tuk late in the afternoon.

Overnight in Samosir.

Distance and journey time:

Tuk Tuk to Tele via Pangururan (60 km): approximately 2 hours each way

DAY 7 - Samosir – Parapat – Pematang Siantar – Medan MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelTomok in Samosir Island – Parapat by local Ferry: 1 hour Parapat – Pematang Siantar – Kuala Namu Airport (160 km): 5 hours approximately Medan city center – Kuala Namu Airport (30 km): 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes approximately

After an early wakeup call, check out from the hotel after breakfast and transfer from Tuk Tuk to Parapat with the regular local ferry with the private vehicle, driver and guide joining on board (Departure time subject to change is at 07:00 from Tomok arriving at 08:00 in Parapat).

Drive back to Medan Kuala Namu Airport via Pematang Siantar and Tebing Tinggi, with scenic views over estate plantations of rubber and palm oil.

Lunch is at leisure.

Transfer to Medan Kuala Namu Airport for a mid or late afternoon departure flight to the next destination.

Recommended flights (Not included and quoted separately- Tariffs and schedule subject to change without prior notice):

Domestic:

From Medan to Jakarta by Garuda Indonesia with same day connection flight to Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo (Java) or Denpasar (Bali). Example: Domestic flight from Medan to Jakarta with GA121 departing at 16:05 and arriving 18:30 connecting with domestic flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta with GA218 departing at 19:35 and arriving at 20:50. Please contact us for further information.

International:

By Silk Air to Singapore with MI237 departing from Medan at 20:05 and arriving in Singapore at 22:20 (daily).
By Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur with MH865 departing from Medan at 15:45 and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 17:45 (daily)

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in half-twin/double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • Service of one English speaking local guide
  • Local ferry between Parapat and Samosir and return
  • Boat trip in Samosir with private chartered boat
  • Elephant riding in Tangkahan
  • Orang Utan Trekking in Bukit Lawang
  • All entrance fees and tours as indicated in itinerary. 

Our Services Do Not Include:

  • Visa arrangements
  • International flights and International departure tax
  • Domestic flight to your next destination
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc).
  • Travel insurance
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
  • This program is for FIT only as the access to Tangkahan is not possible for vehicles bigger than ELF as the last 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes portion is a bad road and the bridge does not allow to be crossed by bus.
  • Our rates are nets and quoted in American dollars (USD), however some services (like transportation, guide fees, entrance fees, some activities,  meals, air tickets and train tickets and sometimes accommodations) are based on local prices in Indonesian Rupiah in (IDR). In the case of a major change in the exchange rate (5% or more) between the Indonesian Rupiah and the American dollar (USD), we reserve the right to correct our quotes to align our rates and revise the value of the American dollar (USD).
  • All rates are based on the current gasoline price. Should the gasoline price increase by more than 10% we would readjust transfer rates with a 30 days prior notice.
  • Road conditions in Indonesia are not always very good and this can cause slow driving times. As a general rule we calculate 30 km = 1 hour driving. This can be even less when traveling in very remote areas and jungles with 4WD jeeps. Also, some islands are very populated which during public holidays and long weekends causing traffic problems which will influence your journey can time considerably.
  • All language guides other than English subject to availability during high season July-September.
  • Compulsory gala dinners and special conditions may be applied during peak season. Rates and details will be informed in advance.
  • Your tour includes a crossing a small river in Bukit Lawang using an inflatable raft pulled by a rope. No life-jackets are provided and this tour is not suitable for non-swimmers or those who travel with small children. Please advise your consultant if you have any concerns.
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