Best of the best Sumatra (SBA29)

Best of the best Sumatra (SBA29)

29 days

A holiday for an active traveller, for someone who likes to experience and has the time to travel the complete island. Not only do we travel the Gunung Leuser National Park from several locations, enhancing the chance of seeing Orang Utans. We also stop at the spots to meet the indigenous and experience the influence of ancient cultures on daily life. A holiday filled with nature trails, jungle camping and volcano far views!

  • IndividualIndividual
  • GroupGroup
  • WalkingWalking
  • CampCamp
  • SnorkelingSnorkeling

You will visit:

City : Sabang, Banda Aceh, Aceh Tengah, Aceh Tenggara, Karo, Langkat, Bukit Lawang, Samosir, Tapanuli Selatan, Bukittinggi, Limahpuluh Koto, Sawahlunto, Merangin, Kerinci, Padang

DAY 1 | Arrival Padang

We welcome you at Padang airport and drive you straight the hotel to relax. In the evening enjoy the famous Padang food in one of the small restaurants the city offers. Padang food offers you several plates of a selection of feeds which you can taste and eat. Each plate you try you have to pay for.

DAY 2 | Padang

Early pick up for a one hour drive to a fishing village with a calm sandy beach located about 20 km south from Padang. Your enjoyable snorkel/boat trip starts here. You will get on a private wooden boat and will transfer in approx. 1 hour to a tiny island off the coast of Bungus, in the Indian Ocean. En route you will pass some other small islands where we stop to snorkel, swim or stroll the island.

DAY 3 | Padang - Kersik Tuo

Scenic drive (about 6-7 hours) via Bukit Barisan mountain range to Kersik Tuo, a small village offering the best access to Lake Gunung Tujuh (the highest lake in South-East Asia) and Mt. Kerinci (the highest volcano in Indonesia).  It is a scenic drive with plenty of stops to enjoy this amazing landscape. We stop at the twin lakes - lake Diatas and lake Dibawah. Another stop is at Telun Berasap waterfall. The waterfall, which originates from Lake Gunung Tujuh, is 20-meters high and its splashes create a beautiful mystic mist. When the sun shines brightly, rainbows can surround the waterfall, creating breathtaking views. Reroute to your hotel stretched fields of tea plants create a picture-perfect view. The tea pickers bring the painting to life. If desired you can ask our driver to stop and see how tea is picked.

DAY 4 | Kersik Tuo

Today you are free at own arrangement. We can offer you several activities for the day (at personal expenses):

  1. Climbing Lake Gunung Tujuh (English: lake seven mountains), a spectacular caldera lake located at an altitude of 1,996 meters and surrounded by seven peaks and pristine rainforest with abundant wildlife. It is the part of Kerinci Seblat National Park and the highest altitude fresh water lake in South East Asia. Most of the day is spent by trekking and exploring the National Park in search of animals, birds and exotic plants. It is a hike of 4 hours up (rather steep) and a 3 hours descent a good physical fitness is therefore a must.
  2. Traditional canoe trip on a nearby river. You will be picked up from your hotel and drive for approx. 30 minutes. Followed by a one hour walk to reach the starting point of your canoe trip. It is a nice walk for average fitness. You will explore small villages and see locals working their everyday chores. On the river bank, a traditional canoe waits and takes you downstream. The trip takes about 3 hours and ends at another village where your car waits. Enjoy the nature with its flora and fauna during the trip.

DAY 5 | Kersik Tuo - Bangko

During our drive to Bangko, an impressive route through a wal of tropical rainforest we make stops at Sungai Penuh visiting Semurup hotsprings, a historical mosque built in 1874 with its giant drum and at lake Kerinci.

DAY 6 | Bangko

In a two hours drive we will take you to the edge of the Bukit Dua Belas National Park. From here you start walking in search of a Kubu settlement. Due to the nomadic life style of the Kubu the exact location of a settlement can not be predicted. It is possible that you have to drive longer/shorter or walk longer/shorter than expected. Before getting to the park, we’ll stop somewhere to buy donations to be given to the Kubu, without you cannot visit the settlement. The gifts can be sugar, cigarette, medicine, etc. After your exploration of this authentic tribe you return to your hotel. Afternoon back to Bangko and relax.

DAY 7 | Bangko - Sawahlunto

Driving over the Trans-Sumatra highway to Sawahlunto, a historical coal mining town discovered by Dutch geologist, William Hendrik de Greeve. History noted that coal mining in this town was launched on 1st December 1888 and became famous as the Ombilin mines. The town is quite small, but there is a lot to discover. And Sawahlunto today has become an attractive destination that offers nostalgic traces of an old mining town.

DAY 8 | Sawahlunto - Harau Valley

First you will do some city sightseeing of Sawahlunto. You will visit the ration warehouse museum Goedang Ransoem once the mess kitchen for the coal miners, miners’ families and hospital patients. Other places to visit are the historical mining tunnel Mbah Suro, train museum with old locomotive Mak Itam together with its wooden wagons and many more it is an interesting return into time. When finished sightseeing, departure to Harau valley, a nature and wildlife reserve surrounded by 100-200 meters high sandstone cliffs. At the bottom of the cliffs stretched vast rice fields. On the way, you will stop at the king’s palace Pagaruyung. Arrive in Harau directly transfer to your accommodation and relax. Or visit waterfall. There are several waterfalls with pools beneath (both natural and constructed) for bathing.

DAY 9 | Harau Valley

In the morning, you will follow a light walking 2-3 around the valley. It is a wonderful walk through the rice field paths, villages and some paved roads with the giant cliffs in the background. The atmosphere is quiet, unpolluted, and beauty as far as eyes could see. During the walk, you see people working on their rice fields, in the rainforest and you hear the calling of the black Siamang and Gibbon. The walk ends at a waterfall where you can swim in the pool beneath the waterfall.

Back at the hotel, you follow a cooking class at a local families’ home. You learn how to cook and experience the authentic kitchen of the Minangkabau also known as Padang food. Cooking is great way to speak to locals understand their everyday life a bit better. Minangkabau people are known for their hospitality and friendliness.

DAY 10 | Harau Valley - Bukittinggi

Leaving Harau for the highland town Bukittinggi (Indonesia for high hill), the cultural center for the Minangkabau people located at height of 930 meter. Before we arrive, we stop at the palace of Pagaruyung, a site of ancient Minangkabau kingdom where women ruled in matrilineal society. Other stops during this day can be made at a coffee making home industry in Tabek Patah, lake Singkarak or Balimbing village with 350 years old traditional houses.

DAY 11 | Bukittinggi

Today you will visit Maninjau crater lake. Before driving down to the lake stop at Koto Gadang, a small silver village Than continue down via the 44-hairpin bends. The views are great! Afternoon back to Bukittinggi for a city tour visiting the colorful market Pasar Atas located exactly in front of Jam Gadang, a clock tower that serves as the principal landmark of the city. You can also visit the remains of Dutch fort called ‘De Kock’. And proceed to view the lovely Sianok valley from above walk down to the Japanese- built tunnels from World War II. After this complete afternoon, we drive you back to the hotel to relax.

DAY 12 | Bukittinggi - Sipirok

The journey today is rather long but worthwhile drive through the amazing landscapes of Central Sumatra. The scenery of mountains, rivers, valleys and traditional villages will relieve you from weariness. Your drive is interrupted with a very special stop as you cross the equator in Bonjol. If time permits, stop at Sihepeng’s mini botanical garden to learn about tropical herbs and spices. Here you can also see how the pig-tailed macaques are trained to harvest coconuts. A final stop is made at Sijornih waterfall. Late in the afternoon you arrive in Sipirok, we directly transfer you to your hotel.

DAY 13 | Sipirok - Samosir

Today we drive to beautiful lake Toba, one of the deepest and largest crater lakes in the world. The views from your window screen are dotted with terraced paddy fields, deep ravines, jungle, villages and local market set close to the main road. From Balige we follow lake Toba and we make some stops so you can photograph the breathtaking view across the lake. Visit the typical Toba Batak village Jangga Dolok. Somewhere in the afternoon you arrive in Parapat. From here you cross the lake by boat in about 45 minutes to Samosir island.

DAY 14 | Samosir

After breakfast, we head to central Samosir to a village at higher altitude and start a 3-4 hour downhill walk through bush, over rice field paths and paved road. Along route we meet people working their fields. Enjoy the great views of lake Toba during the walk! Your walk is softly interrupted with a stop at a traditional Batak village where we have tea/coffee with a local family. A picnic lunch is provided at a cool spot overlooking the lake. After your walk, we drive you back to the hotel for a leisure afternoon at the lakes’ shore.

DAY 15 | Samosir – Bukit Lawang

We return to Parapat and continue our journey to Bukit Lawang, a small jungle village popular known for the Orang Utan rehabilitation center. It is located at the edge of one of worlds’ largest national parks; Gunung Leuser National Park containing 800,000 ha of virgin rainforest. En route we pass several towns dedicated to plantations of palm oil, rubber and cacao. Arrive in Bukit Lawang late afternoon the rest is free to discover the charms of this small town.

DAY 16 | Bukit Lawang

A local guide picks you up at your hotel and you start your National Park Jungle trekking of approx. 3 hours. Usually during this walk you’ll see some semi wild OrangUtan. They live freely in the immense park but due to their age have gotten used to the rangers and tourists and know these sometimes bring tasty easy fruit snacks. The track is not always flat but has slight ascents and descents. A true experience with nature and you most likely will encounter with orangutans, gibbons, Thomas leaf monkeys, Long- and pigtail macaques, flying squirrels, Sumatra peacocks and hornbills. If you are really lucky you can see wild orangutans high in the tree tops. Your guide will explain you many things about the rainforest. And he will show you many different kinds of plants and flowers. Your walk ends at (or near) your hotel.

DAY 17 | Bukit Lawang - Tangkahan

After breakfast, a jeep is ready to drive you off road to Tangkahan, a remote jungle settlement on the other side of Gunung Leuser National Park. Your Jeep trip takes about 3 hours and you pass some rural areas and drive rugged plantation tracks. It’s a bumpy drive but great fun! Arrive in Tangkahan, check-in to your rainforest lodge and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

DAY 18 | Tangkahan - Berastagi

In the morning, we'll head off to the Elephant rehabilitation center to watch the mahouts care for the elephants. They are washed or more scrubbed in the river which they obviously enjoy. They are fed and mingle amongst the tourists. If offered by a mahout you can help. When you are finished you return to your hotel. The first two hours of your drive to our next destination is over bumpy plantation tracks. Then an asphalt road till you reach your hotel in the cool and picturesque hill town Berastagi. The setting is dominated by two active volcanoes Sinabung (2417m) and Sibayak (2172m). It is the homeland of the Batak Karo, one of the six Batak tribes that inhabit the province of North Sumatra.

DAY 19 | Berastagi - Ketambe

Our destination today is Ketambe (also called Gurah), a tiny, quiet and remote village in the middle of the jungle. It is still part of Gunung Leuser National Park but administratively situated in Aceh province. For many years Ketambe is the starting point for short and long trekking’s for researchers, wildlife photographers, adventurers and travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of Sumatran wildlife in its natural setting. Your afternoon is free to relax and chat with other/returning trekkers. Enjoy the exciting buzz in this town there is an adventure a head of you and you can feel it in the air.

DAY 20 | Jungle Trek

We still enjoy breakfast at the lodge but then head out. First you walk along the main road, then we turn and head into the jungle. The game starts. You walk narrow and sometimes muddy trails to search for wild animals in their natural habitat. Usually Orangutan, Gibbon, Siamang, Thomas leaf monkeys, Macaques, reptiles, small mammals, many kind of birds (Eagles, Hornbills, Kingfisher etc), huge trees along with myriad of insects can be seen frequently.  A wild orang utan might also cross your path. Your guide will explain you many things about the rainforest. And he will show you many different kinds of plants and flowers. Your meals are arranged for and you will camp for the night on the river banks in a real jungle camp!

DAY 21 | Jungle Trek - Ketamben

The next morning you wake up at first light with the magical sounds of a jungle. It’s an incredible experience. You can ask to help prepare breakfast and break up camp or just sit and enjoy this moment. After breakfast, we walk further and have another day of jungle discovery ahead of us. Slowly head back to the hotel and have the rest of the late afternoon to relax at the lodge in Ketambe.

DAY 22 | Ketamben - Takengon

We drive hilly roads with endless scenic views to Takengon, the main town in Gayo highlands at an altitude of 1200 meters. Takengon is a lovely small town, featuring a large crater lake 'Lut Tawar' and surrounded by many coffee plantations. It has a cool climate and very famous for its coffee production. The journey to Takengon is rather long and tough but worthwhile. It offers a lot of scenic view of dense rainforest, rivers, rice fields, valleys and small villages.

DAY 23 | Takengon – Banda Aceh

Our unforgettable journey today takes approx. 8 hours. The first hours via a winding cliff edged road however from Bireun it is almost a straight road until Banda Aceh. The views are quite astonishing and specially very different form the jungle scenes you’ve experienced so far. Arrival at Banda Aceh we drive you straight to your hotel.

DAY 24 | Banda Aceh - Weh Island

After hiking around mainland Sumatra’s jungles, volcanoes and lakes, it’s now time to jump into the crystal-clear ocean waters of Weh island (Pulau/Pulo Weh). A tiny island surrounded with beautiful white sandy beaches and coral reefs. The waters are filled with an abundance in marine life, both in quantity and in bio-diversity. Weh island is the area where the Andaman sea meets the Indian Ocean that combination makes the island a world class snorkeling and diving spot.

From your hotel in Banda Aceh we transfer you to the port for the fast ferry to the island. Up on arrival on the island, you are directly transferred to your hotel/resort to enjoy some days of sea, sun and sand.

DAY 25-27 | Weh Island

Free to relax and enjoy the pleasures of the island.

DAY 28 | Weh Island - Banda Aceh

Your holiday is nearing its end. Via fast ferry you are transferred back to Banda Aceh. At the harbor, a becak (motor)bike taxi) is waiting for your city tour of Banda Aceh. You’ll visit some tsunami related sites like a 200-ton diesel-powered ship carried away to a village by the tsunami and a large fishing boat sitting surely on top of house in the middle of a suburban street, a truly shocking image. We also stop at the 12th century grand mosque; Baiturrahman and the war memorial of Kerkoff cemetery. The tour ends at your hotel where you can stroll around at own account.

DAY 29 | Banda Aceh - Next Destination

At the appropriate time a car is ready to drive you to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

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