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Exotic Wildlife and Volcanic Landscapes of Sumatra

Explore the exotic island of Sumatra as you embark on this thrilling 14-day journey throughout the world’s sixth largest island. Visit the island’s ancient sites, wander through its charming villages, and take in the verdant forests and breathtaking landscapes. Hop on the open road to distant and hidden corners of the mysterious island by car, taking you far off the tourist trail. You will drive from Medan to Gunung Leuser National Park, Lake Toba, Samosir Island, Sipirok, Bukittinggi, Ngarai Sianok, Lake Maninjau, Padang, Kersik Tuo, Mt Kerinci, and Kersik Tuo, catching dazzling views, looking for rare wildlife, and chatting with friendly locals along the way.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Search for rare orangutans and even rarer tigers in Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Overnight on an island in the middle of the world’s largest volcanic lake
  • Dine on delicious (and spicy) local Padang cuisine
  • Trek up Southeast Asia’s highest active volcano
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1
Medan to Gunung Leuser National Park

Touch down in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, where you’ll be greeted and escorted to your vehicle. From here, you’ll watch Sumatra’s lush natural scenery go by on the 3.5-hour drive to Gunung Leuser National Park. Check in to your room at the Bukit Lawang Eco-Lodge upon arrival. Relax this evening and settle in to your new setting.

Day 2

Wake up bright and early this morning, and step into the wilds of Gunung Leuser National Park. As you trek through the thick throngs of jungle, keep your eyes peeled for the rare Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Orangutans, as this is one of their few remaining natural habitats. This afternoon, you’ll drive back to Medan, and check in to your room at the JW Marriott.  

Day 3
Samosir Island on Lake Toba

After breakfast, take a scenic drive to Lake Toba. Situated on the site of a supervolcano, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. The eruption at this very site some 77,000 years ago was the largest eruption of the past 25 million years, and, according to some theories, its effects drastically altered human history and the current genetic makeup of the world. The seven-hour drive will be broken up with memorable stops at fruit markets, charming villages, waterfalls, and more. A 45-minute boat journey will be the final leg, taking you to Samosir Island, located within the lake. Check in to your hotel, the Toledo Inn.

Day 4
Samosir Island on Lake Toba

This morning, you’ll explore Lake Toba’s largest volcanic island, visiting Ambarita Village to learn about the remnant megalithic culture of Batak Toba. Visit the goosebump-inducing stone courtroom, where those found guilty were decapitated after sentencing. Next, it’s on to Simanindo Village, where you’ll be entertained by a folk-dance presentation from villagers young and old. Before you return to the hotel, stop by Tomok Village and check out its Batak Chieftain Mausoleum. 

Day 5
Lake Toba to Sipirok

Check out of your hotel this morning and drive down a winding road to Sipirok. The scenic nine-hour drive will take you past the majestic Bukit Barisan mountains, and you’ll stop en-route to check out a traditional Batak village, pineapple farm, local market, and sulphur hot springs. Upon arrival, you’ll check in to your room at Torsibohi Hotel.

Day 6
Sipirok to Bukittinggi

Drive inland to the heart of Sumatra today. The 10-hour drive to Bukittinggi may be long, but picturesque views of mountains, rivers, valleys, and traditional villages will keep your interest. You’ll make stops at a lovely waterfall, botanical garden, school, and even a monument marking the equator. Check in to your room at either Royal Denai or Pusako Hotel for a good night’s rest. 

Day 7

This morning, step into Sumatra’s great outdoors with a three-hour hike through Sianok Canyon, ending at Koto Gadang village. From here, you’ll be driven back to Bukittinggi. In the afternoon, you have the option to either spend time with local residents at a family home, where you’ll dine on traditional Padang food, or you may explore the colonial sites of Bukittinggi at your own leisure.

Day 8
Bukittinggi to Lake Maninjau

Set out for a scenic three-hour drive to Lake Maninjau, one of West Sumatra’s three crater lakes. Its crystal waters are ideal for a refreshing dip. If you’re feeling up to it, you have the option to take a hike along the way from Puncak Lawang, down the hill to the hotel, or you may return via minivan. You may enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 9
Lake Maninjau to Padang

Back on the road this morning for a drive to Padang, capital of West Sumatra province. You’ll take the coastal route, stopping at the lovely Artha beach for a rest. Once in Padang, take a sightseeing tour of Padang beach and the city’s colonial Chinatown. Check in to your room at Pangeran Beach Hotel and relax for the evening.

Day 10
Padang to Kersik Tuo

This morning, hit the road and drive seven hours to Kersik Tuo, a village perched on the edge of a national park. You’ll make stops along the way at the Twin Lakes, Lake Diatas, and Lake Dibawah, as well as a waterfall and tea plantation, where you can chat with local workers. Check in to your room at Subandi Homestay upon arrival in Kersik Tuo.

Day 11
Mt Kerinci

Start early this morning and begin a challenging and rewarding trek up Mt Kerinci. The trek up Southeast Asia’s highest active volcano will take six to eight hours. You’ll set up camp over 10,000 feet above sea-level and sleep under a magnificent blanket of stars.

Day 12
Kersik Tuo

Rise early this morning and watch as the sun rises above the horizon, painting a vivid and beautiful landscape across Sumatra. Hike three to four hours more to reach the mountain’s summit, upon which you will be standing on the world’s 33rd highest peak. Next, it’s time for the downward journey, which takes approximately six hours. You’ll overnight once again in Subandi Homestay.

Day 13
Kersik Tuo to Padang

You’ll start your day with sightseeing in Sungai Penuh, where you can see sulphur hot springs, an ancient mosque, and Lake Kerinci. It’s an eight-hour drive to your next destination, a journey which is broken up by a stop at the picturesque Bungus beach for a swim in its calm waters. Relax tonight at Pangeran Beach Hotel.

Day 14

Enjoy your final morning in Padang at your own leisure, relaxing at your hotel until it’s time to be transferred to the airport to begin your journey either home or to your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Bukit Lawang Eco-lodge

Bukit Lawang Eco-lodge

On the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, surrounded by lush rainforest and on the bank of the Bohorok River, environmentally-savvy guests can relax in nature and comfort at the Bukit Lawang Eco-lodge. Run by YEL, the Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem, the profits from the tourism attracted by the lodge go straight back into the preservation of the environment and the community that cares for it. Its proximity to the national park makes it the perfect base for jungle treks, caving and discovering the rich and diverse flora and fauna of the Sumatran rainforest. The cozy cottages comprise a range of accommodation configurations and all are simple but clean and comfortable, with ceiling fans, mosquito nets and outdoor bathrooms with jungle showers. The lodge’s restaurant serves traditional Indonesian dishes made with local ingredients and enjoys views of the river. The outdoor pool is the perfect place for a relaxing dip after a long day in the jungle.

JW Marriott Hotel Medan

JW Marriott Hotel Medan

The first five-star hotel in Medan, the JW Marriott Hotel features 287 guest rooms with breathtaking views, contemporary furniture, flat-screen televisions, and plug-and-play connectivity for iPods and other portable media. The JW Marriott hosts a number of restaurants, including the all-day Marriott Café; Jade Chinese Restaurant, which serves Cantonese cuisine; Prime Steak House, a formal, upscale venue serving the finest steaks; and Marriott Gourmet, which serves coffee, cakes, and sandwiches to go. Amenities and services include a spa and beauty shop, an outdoor infinity pool, concierge, and foreign exchange. The JW Marriott is approximately 12-15 minutes from Medan’s Polonia Airport.

Toledo Inn

Toledo Inn

A budget, two-three star hotel on Samosir, a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, the Toledo Inn offers budget and luxury travelers a convenient, friendly location. Toledo Inn features a number of modern, comfortable rooms overlooking a series of lush, well-manicured gardens and the clear waters of Lake Toba.

Pusako Hotel, Royal Denai, Torsibohi Hotel

Pusako Hotel

The first hotel in western Sumatra to boast four stars, the Pukaso Hotel in Bukittinggi offers world-class hospitality amidst stunning Indonesian scenery. Spread across five hectares of lush garden, with the Merapi and Singgalang mountains in the background, it is beautiful and peaceful, with the city landmarks of Jam Gadang less than two miles away. Across 165 rooms including deluxe suites and one presidential suite, the decor is modern with a traditional twist. All rooms are fully-equipped with satellite television and mini-bar and each has its own private balcony; additionally, all bathrooms are en-suite with a shower or tub. Authentic local cuisine is served in the hotel’s two dining rooms and nightly performances light up evenings at the Parenai Theater restaurant. Guests can relax around the outdoor pool or work out on the jogging track and in the fitness center while other recreational facilities include billiards, giant chess and mini basketball.


Royal Denai

In the very heart of Sumatra, Bukittinggi attracts tourists from all over the world, looking for a little Indonesian hospitality. With its elegant sweeping spires, the Royal Denai Hotel is the perfect retreat. Nestled on the hillside with views of the mountainous scenery, the hotel’s rooms and suites are sprawled among lush gardens. Accommodation is clean and comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and room service available 24 hours a day. The on-site restaurant serves a range of Indonesian dishes made with local ingredients and for lighter bites, there’s a charming coffee shop. Whether for lounging around and soaking up the sun during the day or for a refreshing dip before dinner, the outdoor pool is a great spot for relaxing; what’s more, there’s a separate area for the kids to splash about, to ensure the tranquil atmosphere is maintained.


Torsibohi Hotel

Surrounded by lush fields, rice paddies and with misty mountains in the distance, Sipirok is a dramatic and romantic destination. Visitors to the area will be immediately delighted and impressed by the authentic Indonesian exterior of the bungalows at Torsibohi Hotel with their jaunty roofs pires, geometric tiling and chalet-style porches. The rooms are simply decorated with wooden cladding for a cozy atmosphere, the beds are comfortable and decked with fresh linen. Guests hungry from a day of exploring will enjoy the authentic Indonesian cuisine served up in the Torsibohi restaurant, often accompanied by traditional entertainment by local musicians. Those traveling with children or with a sense of fun will enjoy the playground set in the midst of the cottages, on the green grass.

Pangeran Beach Hotel

Pangeran Beach Hotel

Right on the coast and perfectly located in the center of Padang, The Pangeran Beach Hotel is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Here, Indonesian hospitality meets quality amenities and guests can either explore the town and marvel at its colonial architecture or simply enjoy the facilities. The rooms are clean, spacious and modern with big windows allowing for lots of natural light, while the private bathrooms are well-stocked with fresh towels and toiletries. After a day at the beach or exploring the town, hungry diners will enjoy a leisurely meal at Angso Duo restaurant, which serves a variety of traditional local dishes as well as a range of Chinese and Western favourites. The hotel bar is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink before or after dinner. The outdoor pool enjoys views of the ocean and guests can either get active with a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center or get pampered with a massage at the spa.

Subandi Homestay

Subandi Homestay

Travelers to the picturesque town of Kersik Tuo will be wowed by the stunning scenery that surrounds the area, from the green and verdant national park and its sprawling tea fields, to the towering peak of Mount Kerinci. For a real taste of the local culture, a stay at Subandi Homestay is a must. The simple but cozy and welcoming house has four rooms available, each of which sleeps two people. Accommodation is basic but the rooms are clean and cheerfully decorated and the windows afford unparalleled views of the mountain directly opposite. The friendly owner not only speaks excellent English, but regularly delights his guests with his vast knowledge of the local flora and fauna so that intrepid explorers will be well-prepared before they head out to tackle the soaring heights. Meals are available and guests get the chance to enjoy traditionally prepared family recipes in what feels like a real home.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder Jay Tindall travels regularly to Indonesia. As well as relaxing in beautiful Bali, he loves visiting more remote areas such as Torajaland, Sumba & Kalimantan.
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