Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, it's a good idea to arrive a day early so you can attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early you may want to check out Maimun Palace - designed by a Dutch Architect and built in 1887 – 1891 it combines architecture from Malay, Indian and Islamic cultures and is now a museum. Alternatively head to Tjong A Fie Mansion - known as "the historical jewel in Medan", the 35-room, 2-storey Tjong A Fie Mansion was built in 1895 by a hakka merchant and is modelled on the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang. It now serves as a museum. The entrance fee includes a guided tour.
Jump aboard the minivan and drive to Bukit Lawang (approximately 5 hours). The first part of the journey involves quite heavy traffic, but the roads are nice and smooth. Closer to Bukit Lawang it gets bumpy and windy, so brace yourself for a bit of an adventure. The reward for the journey is the destination – Bukit Lawang a peaceful village located on the banks of the Bohorok river, right next to the Gunung Leuser National Park. In the afternoon you can take an optional tour in the countryside by Becak (cycle rickshaw) or cool off with a refreshing swim in the river. There will be plenty of time to also prepare for your jungle trek.
Set off on a trekking adventure through the Gunung Leuser National Park with an experienced guide (approximately 5–6 hours). The night will be spent camping out in the jungle. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed park spans 7,927 square kilometres, and is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems. It's the home of many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and elephants. These animals are extremely rare to see but you will get the chance to go in search for wild orangutans. There used to be an orangutan rehabilitation centre here, but now these creatures have all been returned to their natural habitat, so this is your best chance in Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. There are also 300 species of birds, and many rare plants and flowers. Today's hike is hilly (both up and down), and can be muddy and steep. The paths are mostly clear, but there are some sections where we have to climb over large fallen logs. We may stop and rest while our guides go in search of orangutans for us. Along the way our guides point out orangutan nests, edible plants for us to try, monkeys, birds, and wild orangutan. We will carry our own lunch and break for lunch along the way then continue trekking to the camp site, where the guides set up and cook dinner for the group. It's a wild, remote spot, which means maximum adventure and zero facilities! Twin share tents and boiled stream water refills are provided. You may want to bring your own water purification tablets for this night. Porters are available at a cost of 150,000 IDR per day. Please inform your leader in advance if you would like to hire a porter. You will need to prepare an overnight bag for your trek and we will leave our large bags at the hotel. Good to bring a spare set of clothes for the evening, a sleep sheet, biodegradable soap or shower gel, insect repellent, a pack towel or sarong and rain jacket. It’s possible you might encounter the odd leech but this is all part of the jungle experience.
You will wake early to the sound of Gibbons and continue our trek down river (approximately 2 hours) - your feet will get wet so strap on sandals or local rubber shoes are recommended. Back at Bukit Lawang, day rooms will be available for showers before you get on the bus. Depart early afternoon for Berastagi (approximately 5.5 hours). Berastagi is the home of the Karo people, a Batak sub-group with traditional villages (long houses). It's also a good chance to stock up on some tropical fruit for the road.
Drive (approximately 30 minutes) to the starting point of today's hike. The hike (approximately 2-3 hours) brings you to the top of Sibayak Volcano (2094 m). It's quite steep, muddy and slippery (rated 6/10 for difficulty in the dry season and 8/10 in the wet). Follow a shady jungle path which, towards the top, opens up into a more alpine setting. Long pants are essential to protect you from poisonous plants, and a trekking stick will also come in handy. After reaching the top, sit down to a traditional 'bungkus' lunch and enjoy the views. From the summit you can see (and hear) the steaming vapours escaping from the fumaroles of this active volcano. Then it's time for the descent (approximately 1 hour). Afterwards, head straight to the nearby hot springs afterwards for a soothing soak. These springs are are all built environments, more like swimming pools with naturally heated water from the local volcano, nice place to soak after a hard climb. They all have several pools (6–8) with water at varying temperatures. There are change rooms with cold water available, and snacks and drinks to buy (including beer).
Drive to Tongging Vilage (2 hours). The road from Berastagi to Danau Toba is a nice, smooth road. You will make a stop at a traditional Dokan Village where you'll find a handful of traditional houses which are still the homes of local Batak families. Then continue on and stop at Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which was formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau. Watch as water plunges from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 metres (360 feet) down to lake level. This is Indonesia's highest waterfall. Lake Toba itself, surrounded by mountains, is a peaceful spot to relax. It was formed by a huge volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago; a second eruption 50,000 years later created an island the size of Singapore in the middle of the lake – Samosir Island. Your accommodation tonight is right next to the lake and boasts nice views of the water, mountains and rice fields.
Embark on a day tour in Samosir. Visit the Stone Chairs, Simanindo Museum (in a traditional house), and a and Tomok, an ancient Batak King's grave. The island is punctuated with many ancient and modern grave sites, several of which we see on today's tour. Also enjoy a traditional Batak dance performance. The Toba Bataks have a unique religion, architecture and culture. Although they are predominantly Christian, they also practice animism. The most distinctive element of their culture is the traditional architecture – extraordinary boat-like houses with roofs resembling buffalo horns.
Drive back to Simanindo (approximately 45 minutes). From there, take a boat back to Tigaras (approximately 45 minutes). , the continue to Medan (approximately 3.5 hours). The road from Danau Toba (Lake Toba) to Medan is quite smooth, but busy, so it may be slow going in places.
The adventure comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time.