10 Days North and West Sumatra Overland Tour
Tour code SUMTJ 10
Tri Jaya Tour & Travel is specialized in tours all over Sumatra and in Cultural and Historical Tours. We bring you to the most beautiful places on the island!
Day 1. Arrival in Medan
Welcome to Sumatra! You will be greeted by your driver at Kualanamu International Airport where you will then travel to your hotel in Medan.
The capital city of North Sumatra province, Medan is Indonesia’s fourth most populous. Known as the gateway to the cultural and natural wonders of Sumatra Island, the city is surrounded by tropical rainforests, volcanic landscapes, and waterfalls.
Your overnight accommodation (subject to availability) is located 12kms outside of the city centre in a charming riverside hotel. A peaceful city oasis escape from the traffic and bustling metropolitan area of Medan.
Featured Accommodation: Hotel Deli River is located along the Deli River on Medan’s city outskirts (12kms). Here you can acclimatise, relax in comfort by the infinity pool, enjoy the Indonesian and fusion-cuisine options in their open-aired restaurant, unwind or appreciate the local wildlife from the comfort of your terrace, set amidst a serene tropical garden. A perfect place to begin your Sumatran adventure.
A tropical oasis awaits you at Hotel Deli River
Day 2. Medan to The Karo Highlands
On route to Berastagi, you can visit the capital city of North Sumatra province, Medan*. The vibrant city is rich with cultural heritage and is home to various ethnic communities which is evident in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and festivals.
Berastagi is a charming highland town located in the Karo highlands. It is known for its cool climate, scenic landscapes, vibrant markets and offers a delightful retreat from the bustling city of Medan. Nestled between two active volcanoes, Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung creates a picturesque backdrop. Berastagi offers a unique Sumatran highlands experience with its mountain views, colourful markets, and traditional charm.
Situated at an elevation of approximately 1,300 metres (4,300 feet) and 66 kilometres from Medan, the drive to Berastagi offers breathtaking views of verdant hills, terraced farmlands, and scenic landscapes. You will pass through small villages, where you can catch glimpses of local life and traditional Karo architecture. On arrival into Berastagi, sample a cup of traditional ginger tea (teh jahe) while taking in the mountainous views.
*Only available on weekdays. On weekends, you will travel to Berastagi directly from your accommodation to account for and avoid the heavy volume of local traffic travelling to the highlands for a weekend retreat.
Day 3. Berastagi
As you depart for Lake Toba, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture of Berastagi. Known for its cool climate and fertile farmlands, you can visit the Fruit & Flower market (Pasar Buah & Bunga) to explore the wide array of fresh tropical fruits, including passion fruit, oranges, durians, varieties of colourful flowers, plants on display and handicrafts. Gundaling Hill, a hilltop viewpoint, offers stunning vistas of Berastagi, active volcanoes, the Barisan Mountain range and vast plantations.
The drive to Lake Toba is a scenic and enjoyable journey that takes you through the impressive landscapes of the Karo Highlands. As you leave Berastagi, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the lush highland landscapes. The drive offers glimpses of terraced farmlands, verdant valleys, and rolling hills.
As you approach Lake Toba, you can visit the splendid Sipiso-Piso Waterfall. The waterfall cascades from a height of around 120 meters (390 feet) and is surrounded by lush greenery. It’s worth taking a short detour to marvel at the beauty of this natural wonder.
You will witness the captivating shores of Lake Toba (Danau Toba) as you gradually descend from the Karo highlands to Parapat, the gateway to the largest volcanic crater lake in the world. To reach your overnight accommodation you will take a ferry from Parapat to Samosir Island, a volcanic island within Lake Toba.
The ferry ride takes approximately 1 hour and offers charming views of Lake Toba, with its vast expanse of water surrounded by mountains and green landscapes. The ferry allows you to soak in the beauty of Lake Toba, enjoy the tranquil surroundings and will take you directly to Tuk Tuk, a popular tourist destination located on Samosir Island.
- Day 4. Samosir – tour to Tomok, Ambarita, and Simanindo
- Samosir Island lies at the heart of Lake Toba, a popular tourist destination known for its rich cultural heritage and natural attractions. The island is dotted with traditional Batak villages. You will experience the unique Batak culture, explore ancient stone tombs of Tomok, megalithic sites and traditional Batak architecture in Ambarita.
Ulos is the traditional textile of the Batak people in North Sumatra. You will have the opportunity to appreciate the traditional craftmanship of the skilled weavers that each use traditional techniques passed down through generations to create vibrant and intricate handwoven textiles.
Lake Toba and Samosir are home to several waterfalls. You will travel around lush green hills, Mount Pusuk Buhit and have magnificent views of the lake to reach these tranquil cascades, nestled amidst lush greenery.
The natural wonder of Lake Toba covers an area of approximately 1,130 square kilometers. Formed by a supervolcanic eruption that occurred around 75,000 years ago, it left behind a caldera that eventually filled with water.
- Day 5. Samosir – Padang Sidempuan.
- You will embark on your North to West Sumatra overland adventure and bid farewell to the stunning beauty of Danau (Lake) Toba. The drive to Padang Sidempuan is scenic, travelling through diverse landscapes and rural communities.You will be treated to the rugged beauty of Sumatra’s interior as you navigate through rolling hills, and wind through valleys, to the top of mountains that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. A stop at a local market along the way provides an opportunity for you to experience local culture, interact with the friendly residents, sample regional delicacies or purchase souvenirs and fresh produce.Located in the Mandailing Natal Regency, the bustling town of Padang Sidempuan is strategically located along major transportation routes. An important transit point for travellers exploring the region, it also serves as the gateway to explore Barumun Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhuddist Temples, and the Tapanuli Orangutan. Bhuddist Temples, and the Tapanuli Orangutan.
- Day 6. Padang Sidempuan – Bukit Tinggi.
- As you travel westward to Bukittinggi, the scenic journey will wind you through rolling hills and offer glimpses of majestic mountains in the distance. You will drive through lush rainforests and picturesque tea plantations.
After making the cross from North to West Sumatra, the Tugu Nol Kilometer (Equator Monument) landmark in Bonjol signifies the Equator Crossing and marks the exact location where the equator line represents an important geographical reference point in West Sumatra. Where the Earth divides into the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
The people of West Sumatra, also known as the Minangkabau, are known for their unique matrilineal culture, where descent, inheritance and social organisation are traced through the female line. Minangkabau society is characterized by strong female roles, with women often holding property rights, playing influential roles in decision-making, and maintaining a sense of communal harmony and equality.
As you travel through to West Sumatra, you will pass villages which offer a glimpse of Minangkabau architecture, characterised by the distinctive curved roofs of the traditional houses known as “rumah gadang” which differ to North Sumatra’s “rumah adat”. The charming city of Bukittinggi Is nestled in the highlands of West Sumatra and serves as a gateway to explore the regions stunning natural attractions including Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon), Lake Maninjau and the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia.
- Day 7. Bukit Tinggi – excursions to Maninjau.
- You will be provided the opportunity to witness the mastery of silver craftsmanship and immerse yourself in the artistic heritage of West Sumatra at Koto Gadang. Whether you’re interested in acquiring beautiful silver pieces or simply want to appreciate the intricate artistry, Koto Gadang offers a fascinating experience that highlights the region’s rich cultural traditions and craftsmanship.
Minangkabau villages surround the majestic canyon landscape of Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon). This picturesque canyon showcases the dramatic beauty of West Sumatra landscapes. You will admire panoramic views of the surrounding scenery from Panorama Park viewpoint which provides a stunning overlook of the canyon and its striking cliffs. In 2015 Sianok was recognised as a Geopark by UNESCO, highlighting the site as internationally important and significant for geological conservation.
For those interested to gain a deeper understanding of historical events that shaped the region and step back in time, a visit to The Japanese Tunnel provides a tangible connection to the past and serves as a memorial to the wartime period. Also known as Lobang Jepang in local language, was constructed during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II. It served as a strategic hideout and shelter for Japanese soldiers stationed in Bukittinggi.
The adventurous can opt for an active afternoon amidst the natural beauty of the canyon. From Koto Gadang you will take a leisurely walk along terraced rice fields, and forest which will then lead to the river which flows gracefully through the heart of the Sianok Canyon.
- Day 8. Bukittinggi – city tour and excursions – Harau.
- You will step back in time with a visit to Fort de Kock, a historic landmark that offers a glimpse into the region’s colonial past. This fort provides panoramic views of the surrounding city and countryside. The accompanying museum inside provides a fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibits, offering insights into the area’s cultural heritage and history.
After exploring fort de kock, you will tour to Harau valley. Also referred to as the Yosemite of Indonesia, the Harau Valley is also renowned for its stunning natural landscapes of towering cliffs or vertical rock walls and lush greenery. Harau may not match the scale or fame of Yosemite, however it offers a similar sense of awe and natural beauty. You will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the refreshing spray of cascading water from one of the many enchanting waterfalls. For bird-watching enthusiasts, the valley is home to a diverse range of avian species, including horn-bills, kingfishers, eagles, and colourful songbirds. For outdoor enthusiasts rock climbing and hiking are also possible (add in rice planting and becak).
The drive from Bukittinggi to Harau is a delightful journey through captivating landscapes, cultural heritage, and natural wonders. Along the way, you’ll pass through several traditional Minangkabau villages, where you can catch glimpses of the unique Rumah Gadang architecture with their distinctive buffalo horn-shaped roofs. The majestic presence of Mount Marapi will also be seen from various vantage point along the journey, adding to the scenic beauty of the region and backdrop during the drive.
- Day 9. Harau – Padang.
- On route to Padang, you will be offered a glimpse into the traditional customs, history, and royal legacy of the Minangkabau people with a visit to the cultural landmark of Pagaruyung Palace, where traditional Minangkabau architecture is showcased with its distinctive muti-tiered roofs and intricate woodcarvings. Ancient Hindu inscriptions dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries in Batusangkar offer insight into the ancient Indian influence and its historical significance within the region.
You will have the option of visiting Pariangan, claimed to be on the list of “most beautiful villages in the world” or Lake Singkarak, formed through tectonic activity and over millions of years. Pariangan is one of the oldest and most well-preserved traditional Minangkabau villages in West Sumatra. Visitors can experience the warmth and hospitality of the local community, learn about their matriarchal society, and set on the slopes of Mount Marapi, makes an ideal spot for photography and nature enthusiasts. Lake Singarak is a natural wonder with its blue waters and surrounding scenic landscape, it offers a serene escape for nature lovers.
You will travel through the charming countryside of West Sumatra, the Anai Valley adorned with a beautiful river and waterfall. As you reach Padang, you will be treated to views of the Indian Ocean and West Sumatra coastline.
The capital city of West Sumatra, Padang is a vibrant and bustling destination that combines rich cultural heritage, coastal beauty and renowned for its distinct cuisine. The city is famous for its spicy rendang, flavorful curry, and savory fried snacks. The city is filled with local restaurants, called rumah makan, where you can indulge in authentic Padang dishes. Take the opportunity to try traditional Padang dishes, served in the unique style of nasi padang, a traditional meal consisting of rice accompanied by various flavorful and spicy dishes served in small plates.
Other city attractions include the iconic Siti Nurbaya Bridge, Muaro Padang Beach, and the bustling Padang Market.
Day 10. Padang.
- Included on the final day of your tour is an airport transfer. Bid farewell to Padang before departing with unforgettable memories to your next destination.
- Padang serves as a gateway to the stunning natural attractions of West Sumatra. From here, you can embark on further adventures to places like the Mentawai Islands, Rimba Ecolodge, and one of the other thousands of Indonesian islands.
- Pristine beach near Padang
- Price :
The price of the ten-day tour of North and West Sumatra (tour code SUMTJ 10) is, per person, for a group of:
- 2 to 3 persons US $ 950,- p.p.
- 4 to 6 persons US $ 800,- p.p.
- 7 to 10 persons US $ 700,- p.p.
- Single room supplement US $ 420,-
The price is inclusive of :
- overnight accommodation in good medium hotels based on twin share bedroom
- breakfast daily
- transport in comfortable air-conditioned minibus or minibus
- the driver, his meals and overnight accommodation costs
- ferry Parapat – Samosir vice versa
- excursions as mentioned in the program