Welcome to North Sumatra


North Sumatra stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Strait of Melaka. From sea to shining sea, it is anything but homogeneous. The rolling landscape varies from sweaty plains to cool highlands, while the houses of worship switch between the metal domes of mosques to the arrow-straight steeples of Christian churches. In the highlands around Danau Toba are the delightful Batak, and then there’s the megalithic culture of Pulau Nias.


Top experiences in North Sumatra

Travel guides

Starting at $45.49

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North Sumatra activities

$70 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Tour: Karo Highlands and Lake Toba from Medan

You will be picked up from your accommodation in Medan between 8am – 9am to begin your drive along the fascinating route through the jungle to the mountain village of Brastagi in the Karo Highlands.  Spend time in Brastagi between 10am – 11am. In Brastagi you can view two active volcanoes, the Sibayak and the Sinabung. Brastagi was around during the colonial times a famous mountain resort because of its pleasant cool climate.   Visit the colorful fruit market Brastagi between 11:15am -11:45am. Brastagi has volcanic fruitful soil which is ideal for growing fruits like passionfruit, mangistan, Solanum Betaceum which is locally called Terong Belanda, oranges and a variety of flowers.  At 11:45am – 12:30pm drive to the traditional village of Dokan to see traditional Karo Dokan houses where people still live. In these traditional houses, named Djambur, 8 families occupy one house. Cattle, pigs and water buffaloes live below the house. You can visit a house and see their way of life.  You will drive to Sipisopiso waterfall between 12:40pm – 1:40pm via beautiful rural scenery of the Karo Batak Highlands. The Sipisopiso is an impressive waterfall flowing into Lake Toba. From here you have beautiful views over the northern part of Lake Toba, the largest Crater Lake in South East Asia. You will be on the road back to Medan at 2:40pm arriving back at your accommodation by 5:40pm.

$110 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Tour: Gunung Leuser National Park Trekking Tour with Orangutan Viewing from Medan

Depart from Medan early in the morning to Bukit Lawang Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the largest national parks in the world containing over 800,000 hectares of rainforest. The journey leads past scenic rubber and palms plantations, where you can enjoy the cool mountain's air. A hike up further into the forest offers an up-close view of incredible scenery with various tropical plants including a tangle of enormous trees, twisting lianas, palms, ferns, and as well as weird and wonderful flowers. After the tour ends you will be transported back to your hotel in Medan. Expect to be back at your hotel at around 5pm. (The trek normally takes up to 3 hours both ways).

$165 Private & Custom Tours

Private Full-Day Bukit Lawang Trekking Tour From Medan

Our tour guide will pick you up at 7am from your hotel centrally located Medan. Start your journey to Bukit Lawang, after 4 hour scenic journey you will reach at Bukit Lawang. Then start your trekking tour with our experienced guide.  Walk through the jungle looking for orangutans, discovering medicinal plants, and learning about their use. With a lot of up and down the hills to give you an enough exercise you are guaranteed to have a best day ever doing this activity with the team. At around noon there will be a short break for lunch in the jungle, with the rest of the trek continuing after. If you feel too tired to walk back, you can combine tube rafting floating down the river back to Bukit Lawang.After finish the tour our guide will drop off you at your hotel accommodation in centrally located Medang. We may also assist you for 1 night accommodation at Bukit Lawang. It will cost you extra which you can pay cash.

$260 Private & Custom Tours

3 days Medan Orangutan Bukit Lawang

3 days Medan – Orangutan Bukit Lawang (AVTJ3) Day 1Arrive at Kuala Namo airport of Medan with … …(please advise us your flight number and arrival time). We will fetch you from the airport and transfer to Hotel Deli River in a tropical garden. Hereafter you will make a city tour of Medan taking in the remaining original Dutch, English, Chinese and Malay architecture for 3 hours. In the late afternoon you go back to Hotel Deli River. Day 2Medan – Bukit Lawang (3,5 hours drive). In the morning depart to Bohorok/Bukit Lawang, the orang utan rehabilitation centre via many rubber and palmoil plantations. It takes around 3 ½ hours driving from Medan to Bohorok/Bukit Lawang, part of Gunung Leuser nature reservation in North Sumatra province. After lunch (optional) you start for 3 hours jungle trekking with an experienced local guide in the tropical primary rainforest to see orang utans, Siamang (long arm apes), Thomas Leave Monkeys, long tail macaque and varieties of birds and others wildlife. In the afternoon you return to Bohorok. Overnight stay in Bukit Lawang. Your accommodation in Bukit Lawang is located on the banks of Bohorok river. Option for accommodation: Ecolodge Bukit Lawang Cottage Sam’s Bungalow Eriono Guesthouse Batu Mandi Guesthouse  Day 3Bukit Lawang – Medan /Airport Kuala Namu. It takes 5 hours to reach kuala Namu airport from Bukit LawangToday we will transfer you to your hotel in Medan or to the airport to catch your flight the next destination. End of our services.Included  - 2 overnights accommodation in good medium class hotels in double/twin share room+ daily breakfast  - transport in airconditioned car + fuel  - driver, his meals and overnight accommodation costs- permit and local guide for 3 hours jungle trekking in Bohorok/Bukit Lawang  - entrance- and parking fees Excluded  - air tickets  - personal expenses such as: drinks, souvenirs, lunch, dinner etc.  - donations and tips

$49 Day Trips & Excursions

Half day Medan Heritage tour

The first route starts at the old central square of Medan, the Lapangan Merdeka (Independence square), in former times called Esplanade. Along this square are the central buildings of the town, some of them originating from colonial times like the Lonsum building of the British Harrisons & Crosfield company, in former days called the Julianagebouw, build in 1911, the offices of the Netherlands Indian Trading Bank and the Netherlands Trading Company build in the 1920s, the old town hall from 1908, the office of the Bank Indonesia, dating back to 1907, Hotel Dharma Deli (hotel De Boer) build in 1898 and the postoffice from 1911.  The second route The second route goes through different ethnic quarters of Medan, first through the Chinese quarter where you can still see remnants of traditional Chinese shophouses. Further on do you pass by examples of the Amsterdam School of Architecture like the Catholic Church and the swimmingpool. The second part of this route goes via the so called Sultans-kampong, the grounds of the Sultan of Deli. Here we pass by the beautiful Grand Mosque from 1906 and the Maimoon Palace from 1889, both build by Dutch architects. From the Sultanskampong we drive through the oldest street of Medan, the Kesawan, with many remnants of days gone by like the AVROS and Varekamp buildings, Tip Top restaurant, the Tjong A Fie mansion, the Stork building and the former department store of Seng Hap. This route ends in the central square.   The third route leads along the former impressive headoffice of the Deli tobacco Company followed by the oldest hospital of Medan, dating back to the 1880s and some former houses of employees of the Deli Railroad Company in the so called Serdang quarter. Here we also pass by the beautiful former headoffice of the Deli Railroad Company build in 1917.   The fourth and last route starts again from the Esplanade whereafter we drive to the former European Polonia quarter with many beautiful villa’s. We pass by the military excercition fields where once Mata Hari lived, via the old court of justice and the former house of the Resident of East Sumatra build in 1898. Via fine examples of Amsterdam School Architecture like the Immanuel School from 1938 and the former research station for the tobacco in Jalan Diponegoro, we proceed to the Indian quarter where in former times the Indian population used to live. The Indian quarter is connected to the Medan Baru quarter via the Tjong Yong Hian bridge build in 1917. The tour continues via the residence of the Governor of North Sumatra (1939), the in Amsterdam School of Architecture style build Elisabeth Hospital (1930) and ends with the impressive office of the Amsterdam Trading Company finished in 1924.

$878.68 Multi-day & Extended Tours

6 Day North Sumatra Highlights - Jungles Orangutans Lakes and Volcanoes

Bukit Lawang, Berestagi and Lake Toba  – Sumatra Orangutans Lakes Volcanoes DAY 1. Pick up from Medan accommodation at 9am. 5 hour drive in private car to Samosir Island on Lake Toba.  Accommodation at Lake Toba (standard accommodation) DAY 2. Today visit local Batak king’s residence (Raja Siallagan). Choose what you would like to do for the rest of the day (at your cost) walk around the local village or lake, hire a bicycle, visit museum and markets or just chill out by the lake. Car & driver available for your use. Optional activities include traditional dancing and Tomok markets. Accommodation at Lake Toba (standard accommodation) DAY 3. In the morning to drive to Berestagi in morning stopping at the magnificent Sipiso Piso waterfall and a traditional Batak house and village on the way (Raja Kerajaan Purba). Visit to the Berestagi fruit and flower markets Gundaling Lookout and hotsprings when you arrive at Berestagi if there is enough time. Accommodation Berestagi Hotel. (standard accommodation). DAY 4. Optional visit to Buddhist temple in morning. Drive by private car to Bukit Lawang (slow drive, some roads with potholes 7 hours). Bukit  Lawang Guesthouse (standard option). DAY 5. In the morning head off on half day (3 hour) orangutan jungle trek in Gunung Leuser National Park via rubber plantation for wildlife & orangutan spotting. Return via On the Rocks to buy a cool drink and lunch if you like. Come back through the village to have a look at the shops and souvenirs, Day 6. Leave today  to drive to Medan airport or your Medan Hotel (5 hours drive. Medan hotel at your cost). Visit Grand Mosque and Summer Palace on the way if enough time.

North Sumatra in detail