Welcome to North Sumatra
For many visitors, this is the sole slice of Sumatra they’ll taste. And with good reason: here you can ogle the orangutans in Bukit Lawang, veer over the volcanoes of Berastagi, laze away on the shores of Danau Toba, skim the waves off the Banyaks and Nias, and go underwater on Pulau Weh. Overall, North Sumatra is a well-trodden but extremely worthy circuit that centres on gateway metropolis Medan.North Sumatra... Read More
Top experiences in North Sumatra
North Sumatra activities
Bath and Wash Sumatran Elephants from Bukit Lawang
At 9am depart from your guest house in Bukit Lawang when you are picked up or from the agreed meeting point to start your journey to Tangkahan in Gunung Leuser National Park. This National Park is one of the largest national parks in the world containing over 800,000 hectares of rain forest in this UNESCO World Heritage site. The car trip to Tangkahan takes approximately 2.5 hours from Bukit Lawang on bumpy unsealed roads through villages and palm oil plantations. On arrival in Tangkahan at approximately 11:30am you have the opportunity to explore Tangkahan. You can go for a walk through the village and surrounds or wander through the river to enjoy the scenery, visit a hot spring in the river and explore the small waterfall. At 1pm return to have lunch at a local guesthouse (at your own cost). At 3pm, head off to the Conservation Response Unit. Elephant bathing and washing starts at 3:30pm, where you will get to meet the elephants and wash and bath with these gentle giants in the Kualsa Buluh River. Elephant bathing finishes at 4:30pm and you will return by car to Bukit Lawang for the 2.5 hour journey. At approximately 7pm your tour concludes on your return to the village of Bukit Lawang at your guest house or agreed drop off point. Please bring a change of clothes and a towel as you will most probably get wet! Tangkahan Eco Tourism area is a hidden paradise in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the Langkat district of North Sumatra. The peaceful jungle retreat is located along the Kualsa Buluh River next to the dense rainforest, just 2.5 hours far from Bukit Lawang. It is the perfect place to lay back from strong traveling and spend a memorable time with seven rehabilitated adult Sumatran elephants and a few small calves. This tiny, remote village was built on the logging trade in the 1980s and 1990s. As the local people became aware of the damage caused by these activities, they collectively decided to stop illegal logging and transform the area into a functional, self-sustained ecotourism destination. In April 2001 the community formed the Tangkahan Tourist Institute (Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan - LPT) and fixed regulations prohibiting the exploitation of the surrounding rain forest. The Conservation Response Unit (CRU) was formed and this a team of Sumatran elephants and their mahouts help safeguard the national park to protect it from legal logging and hunting. Joining the elephants with their afternoon bathing will support this local conservation initiative.
Highlights of Sumatra
If the only thing you think of when you hear “Sumatra” is “coffee,” then we need to have a chat. If you’re looking to plunge right into a nature-filled adventure with the chance to see orangutans, here’s where you’ll want to be. Enjoy two weeks of city touring, hiking, and having a great time bonding with your fellow travellers. We’re pretty sure you’ll agree that everything is a highlight in Sumatra.
Epic Bangkok to Kuta
Get off the beaten path and head right into the wonders of Southeast Asia. On this best-of collection of Bangkok, Bali, Sumatra, and more, you'll see some of the most famous tourist areas as well as little-known marvels. With days spent on boat trips and sunny beaches, and evenings full of bonding with new friends as you enjoy the city nightlife, your schedule will be so full that the 41 days will fly by.
Indonesia on a Shoestring – Sumatra & Java to Kuta
Get ready to hit the ground running in this 28-day whirlwind tour of Indonesia’s top sights. We mean that literally, too – you’ll stay active as you hike and explore Berastagi, Tangkahan, Bukit Lawang and more. Recharge with street food crawls and coffee plantation tours, and take the time to observe amazing orangutans. Beyond that, doing it all with a group of like-minded travellers is the best way to get the most out of this outstanding and special place.
Best of Sumatra & Java
A staggeringly beautiful land of volcanoes and tropical rainforest filled with all manner of unusual wildlife, the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java call out to explorers searching for something otherworldly. This adventure mixes encounters with endemic animals with visit to coffee plantations, curiously European-like cities, and dramatic landscapes, leaving you off to explore the famous Balinese beaches. Indonesia is like another planet, right here on Earth. Beam yourself up.
Best of Sumatra
Fabled for its rainforests and wildlife, Sumatra remains a destination most travellers resign to their “someday” list. Someday is now. One of the largest islands in the world, this lush Indonesian gem is ideal for adventurers looking for something beyond the ordinary. Beginning in Medan, this 8-day trip will introduce you to the impressive super-volcano at Lake Toba, coffee plantations, village life in Berastagi (famed for its delicious passionfruit), and much more.