June 14 – 25, 2019
About This Tour
Indonesia is a country with over 13,000 individual islands. Sumatra is the country’s second largest island (after Java) and the sixth-largest island in the world. A range of mountains called the Bukit Barisan runs the entire 1,100-mile length of the island on its western side, providing a home for thick, tropical jungles and lush vegetation on their leeward side. Punctuating this landscape are numerous volcanoes, both extinct and active, and one – Toba – provided the planet with its most cataclysmic eruption ever 60,000 to 75,000 years ago! Toba now serves as the vessel for the world’s largest volcanic lake.
This is a lush land of mountains, jungles, rivers, streams, waterfalls, rice fields, plantations and beaches. It harbors an abundance of birds, butterflies, buffaloes, deer, mouse deer, orangutans and many other wild and exotic species. Coffee and other exports make North Sumatra one of the richest provinces in Indonesia. Nature lovers will answer this “call of the wild” to experience mysterious creatures, beautiful tropical panoramas, terraced rice fields, blue mountains, jungle covered hills, white sandy beaches, thrilling music, enchanting dances and vibrant folk arts.
NOTE: This tour uses "Best Available" accommodations in remote areas, which can be rustic. The activity level is rated "Moderate to Energetic."
- Medan, Capital of North Sumatra
- Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra *
- Bukit Lawang
- Gunung Leuser National Park
- Orangutan Jungle Trek
- Jungle Settlement of Tangkahan
- Jungle Trekking & River Safari
- Karo Plateau
- Sibayak Volcano
- Lake Toba
- Tradition Batak Village of Dokan
- Samosir Island
- Simanindo Folk Village
- Sumatra’s Rice Fields and Plantations * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Arrive in Medan
Arrange your international flights to arrive today in Medan on the island of Sumatra. Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, a representative will be carrying a sign with your name, present you with a welcome packet containing all the necessary documents and vouchers you will need for this tour, and then drive you to our hotel. Depending on your arrival time, the afternoon is free to relax and freshen up. Our group will meet for the first time this evening for a welcome drink followed by dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Overnight in Medan. (Welcome Dinner included)
Medan is the capital city of the North Sumatra province and it is the fourth most-populous city in all of Indonesia. Settled in ancient times, it has been a Karo kingdom, a Muslim Sultanate, a Dutch tobacco outpost, and finally a Far East tourist hotspot for Europeans. The city today still has nods to the various eras of its past. Our city sightseeing tour starts at the Maimun Palace built in 1888 in Malayan and Middle-Eastern style and belonging the Sultan of Deli (a Malay state in East Sumatra). Opposite the palace is Mesjid Raya (Grand Mosque Almashum) built in the same period of the Maimun Palace. Another highlight of today’s tour will be one of Medan’s finest Chinese temples, Vihara Gunung Timur. The late afternoon and evening are free. Overnight in Medan. (All Meals)
This morning after breakfast, we check out of our hotel and depart for Bukit Lawang, located roughly 60 miles northwest of Medan. This small village lies on the eastern edge of Gunung Leuser National Park, which will serve as our embarkation point for viewing orangutans in the wild. This is one of the largest national parks in the world containing almost 2 million acres of virgin rainforest. On the journey we pass through landscapes with beautiful views of various plantations and lovely countryside. Upon arrival, we settle into our hotel and you will have the remainder of the day to relax. Overnight in Bukit Lawang. (All Meals)
Orangutan Jungle Trekking
We walk along the riverside to a crossing point where we board a small canoe that ferries us to the other side of the river. We then hike up to reach the feeding platform where the orangutan orphans are fed and trained to live in the wild. It is a marvelous sight to see the orangutans coming out of the forest by swinging from branch to branch. After the feedings, we take a jungle walk about two hours deeper in the park to explore more tropical flora and fauna. We may see wild orangutans, macaques, hornbills and many varieties of tropical plants. We will be walking on narrow, often muddy and hilly paths, with rise and fall in elevation. Good physical fitness is required. After the walk, we return to our hotel and relax. Overnight in Bukit Lawang. (All Meals)
Jeep Trip to Tangkahan
Today we take an off-road jeep to Tangkahan, a remote jungle settlement on the western side of Gunung Leuser National Park. Our trip will take about 3-hours along very crude roadways deep into the rainforest, passing by some rural areas and plantations. Keep your eyes peeled for a quick glimpse of the elusive Sumatra Tiger. Upon arrival, we check-in to your rainforest lodge where we will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax. Just sitting outside and listening the calls of animals becoming more active as night falls is quite an experience. Overnight in Tangkahan. (All meals)
Jungle Trekking & River Safari
After breakfast we proceed for about 2 hours of moderate walking on a good trail system radiating out into the forest around the National Park. This walk will give a close view of incredible scenery with various tropical plants and possible sightings of the park’s primate, the Long-Tailed Macaque, along the edge of a mountain stream known as the Butterfly Ranch. We return to our lodge, followed by a tube excursion on the river. Part of this fun adventure includes a stop at the fantastic Buluh Waterfall for a natural shower, sun bathing, swimming and enjoying picnic lunch on the river banks. In the afternoon we arrive at a small village to meet some residents and see their daily activities in this remote area of wilderness. We return to our lodge for another overnight stay. Overnight in Tangkahan. (All meals)
Today we head deeper into the rainforest to a mountainous area situated on the Karo plateau at about 4,600 feet above sea level. It is the homeland of the Karo Batak, one of the six Batak tribes that inhabit the province of North Sumatra. We will make a stop to see, wander around and shop at a local fruit market, before arriving at Berastagi, our destination for the day. After checking in to our lodge, the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Berastagi. (All Meals)
We get an early start today to beat overcast skies which tend to form later in the day. We start with a half-hour drive from our lodge and then disembark the jeeps to continue walking along a broad and steep road. We will be surrounded by forest and often hear the calling of the black siamang, a gibbon native to these parts of Sumatra. After a short while the path gets narrow and you will find yourself surrounded by mountain vegetation. At last our path takes us between rocks until we arrive at the crater of Sibayak Volcano where you can see yellow fumaroles of steam on the crater floor. Our return walk may take us back the same direction we came or, conditions permitting, we may continue climbing and follow a stairway (in rough condition) to reach the Raja Berneh hot springs where we can soak and relax our muscles. We return to our lodge. Overnight in Berastagi. (All Meals)
Today we make the scenic drive to Lake Toba, one of the deepest and largest crater lakes in the world. We first stop at Dokan, a small Batak Karo village, to see several traditional houses with four interior hearths and still inhabited by eight families each. From there, we proceed to Sipiso Piso waterfall (literally means “as sharp as knife”) and Rumah Bolon, the long house of king Batak Simalungun, another Batak tribe. The buildings are very impressive and nicely situated, however no longer inhabited. From this site we continue following the lake, arriving mid-afternoon in Parapat, a small town on shores of Lake Toba. From here we cross the lake by boat to Samosir island. We will be dropped right in front of our accommodations located on the peninsula of Tuktuk. Overnight on Samosir Island. (All Meals)
Explore the natural beauty and cultural aspects of Batak Toba by visiting Ambarita village where the remnant megalithic culture of Batak Toba lies in front of traditional houses. Continue to Simanindo to see a folk dance performed by the villagers. Here we can visit a museum built in typical Batak style. We stop at Tomok village to see a very old but nicely decorated sarcophagus before returning to our lodge for the night. Overnight on Samosir Island. (All Meals)
Pematang Siantar / Medan
We cross the lake from Tuktuk back to Parapat by public boat and return to Medan passing by the town of Pematang Siantar with its vast views of rubber plantations. Upon our return, we check back into our Medan hotel. You will have the afternoon free to relax at the hotel, take a nap or do some last-minute shopping. This evening, our group gathers one last time for a Farewell Dinner in a restaurant close to our hotel. Overnight in Medan. (All meals)
You will be picked up in the hotel lobby today and transferred to the airport for your homeward bound flight. If you wish to extend your stay in Medan, please let us know on your reservation form so that we can keep your room available for another night. (Breakfast)
Entry Requirements - You will need a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in Indonesia. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry into Indonesia. Tourists from the United States qualify for a visa exemption. This is a no-fee stamp placed in your passport upon arrival for tourists traveling less than 30 days; no extension allowed and no adjustment to another visa status permitted. You must enter and exit through an immigration checkpoint at major airports and seaports. You also must have a return or onward ticket to another country and have not been previously refused entry or blacklisted.
Immunizations & Health-- No immunizations are required, but the Centers for Disease Control advise people to get a basic vaccination series prior to traveling to Indonesia. Please click here to read their recommendations.
Exit Requirements - Since 2015 all departure taxes are included in the price of your international flight.
Making Travel Arrangements to SumatraOn this tour, international airfare is NOT included. You will need to get your international air to and from Medan Knokke Airport (airport code KNO). We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who knows the best flights to get you to Medan, Sumatra, with return from that same airport. You will need to arrive in Medan by mid-afternoon on Friday, June 14, 2019. Departure is from Medan on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
Steven Goldberg / Frosch TravelToll-Free in USA: 1-800-323-1276
International guests, please call +1-312-371-9686
When calling, please identify yourself as a Toto Tours participant. If you leave a message on Steven’s voice mail, he will return your call promptly. He will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.
NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible we often must turn away last minute registrants because we relinquish hotel space and air reservations 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
WHAT TO BRINGIn Sumatra, average daily temperatures in June range from low 70s at night to 90 degrees at the height of mid-day. This is a rugged adventure, so you will want good outdoor gear that can dry quickly. Nothing dressy needed. Try to pack light and bring only one piece of luggage plus your carry-on. Create mix and match outfits, and think about layering! Pack any medications you require in a carry-on bag and leave expensive jewelry at home.
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport with 2 blank pages required.
- Long pants (2 pairs), belt.
- Long-sleeve shirts (2 – 3).
- Shorts (2 – 3).
- Short-sleeve shirts or t-shirts (5 – 6).
- Socks, underwear for 10 days.
- Waterproof hiking boots for jungle walks.
- Sunscreen and insect repellant.
- Sun hat, sunglasses.
- Rain jacket or poncho.
- Personal toiletries.
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries.
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in Sumatra is 230 Volts/50 Hertz. Sockets are type C and F. Click here to see examples and obtain more information.
- A good book for the long flights.
Money MattersThe currency unit in Indonesia is the Rupiah (IDR). Bank note denominations are 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 1,000; 500 and 100. Coins come in 1,000; 500; 100; 50; 25; 10; and 5 Rupiah. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in most cities, while Diner’s Club and American Express less so. ATMs are found everywhere in the larger cities. Please click here to see the current exchange rates.
Tipping in Sumatra: Tipping is becoming more common throughout Indonesia. Tipping a set amount is not expected but for good service leave 5000Rp or 10% or more. Click here to read more.
The Toto SpiritToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
Tour prices per personPrice: $2,500 in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Private Room: $400 additional, for a total tour price of $2,900. (Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
Deposit: $600. (Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance (main tour): $1,900 double / $2,300 single
Remaining Balance Due: March 19, 2019 (80 days prior to departure) (Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly.
Included: 11 nights hotel accommodations; hotel transfers; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; other meals as listed in the itinerary; ground transportation in climate controlled four-wheel drive vehicles; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully escorted tour, with guides added during tours.
Not Included: International airfare to and from Medan Knokke Airport (KNO); ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.