10 Day North to West Sumatra Overland Tour
Tour code SUMTJ 10
Embark on an extraordinary 10-day tour that will sweep you through the captivating wonders of North Sumatra, where rich cultural heritage meets awe-inspiring landscapes. From the picturesque hills of Berastagi to the serene shores of Lake Toba, and even venturing into the cultural heartland of West Sumatra, this journey promises an unforgettable adventure that will immerse you in the beauty and charm of Indonesia’s diverse and captivating regions.
10-Day Tour Overview
|Day 1 Medan||Day 6 Bukit Tinggi|
|Day 2 Berastagi||Day 7 Lake Maninjau excursion|
|Day 3 Lake Toba||Day 8 Harau|
|Day 4 Samosir||Day 9 Padang|
|Day 5 Padang Sidempuan||Day 10 Airport|
Day 1. Arrival into 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.
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.
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. More information, enquire within.
Day 3. Berastagi – Lake Toba
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 Danau (Lake) 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 – Tomok, Ambarita, Sightseeing Tour
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.
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.
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, Buddhist Temples, and the Tapanuli Orangutan.
Day 6. Padang Sidempuan – Bukit Tinggi
The westward journey to Bukittinggi offers glimpses of majestic mountains in the distance, lush rainforests, and picturesque tea plantations. On route, signified by a border gate, you will make the cross from North to West Sumatra. In Bonjol, the Tugu Nol Kilometer (Equator Monument) landmark 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 are also known as Minangkabau. Known for their unique matrilineal culture, Minangkabau culture is characterised 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. Their descent, inheritance and social organisation are traced through the female line.
Travelling through West Sumatra offers a glimpse of Minangkabau architecture. The traditional houses known as “rumah gadang” which differ to North Sumatra’s “rumah adat”, are characterised by the distinct “buffalo horn” curved roofs, considered as a symbol of prosperity and strength.
Bukittinggi Is an enchanting city nestled in the highlands of West Sumatra which 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 – Lake Maninjau Excursion
Koto Gadang offers an interesting experience that highlights the region’s rich cultural traditions and craftsmanship. You can acquire beautiful silver pieces or simply appreciate the intricate artistry.
Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon) is a picturesque canyon showcasing the dramatic beauty of West Sumatra landscapes. From Panorama Park you can appreciate panoramic views of the surrounding scenery and overlook the canyon with its striking cliffs. Recognised as a Geopark by UNESCO, Sianok is an internationally important site for geological conservation.
A serene and enchanting natural wonder, Lake Maninjau was formed within the caldera of an ancient volcano. To reach the lake, you will wind through the famous 44 curves. The tranquil waters are surrounded by lush green hills offering panoramic views and a peaceful escape.
Day 8. Bukit Tinggi – City tour & Excursion – Harau
Step back in time with a visit to Fort de Kock, a historic landmark that offers a glimpse into the region’s colonial past. The fort provides panoramic views of the surrounding city and countryside. The accompanying museum offers insight into the area’s cultural heritage and history.
Harau Valley, sometimes known as the Yosemite of Indonesia, is also renowned for its stunning natural landscapes of towering cliffs, vertical rock walls and lush greenery, offering a similar sense of awe and natural beauty. Relax and enjoy the refreshing spray of cascading water from one of the many enchanting waterfalls.
For birdwatching enthusiasts, the valley is home to a diverse range of avian species, including hornbills, kingfishers, eagles, and colourful songbirds. For outdoor enthusiasts rock climbing and hiking are also possible. (add in rice planting and becak).
The majestic presence of Mount Marapi, the most active volcano in Sumatra, will be seen from various vantage point along the journey, adding to the scenic beauty of the region and backdrop during the drive. West Sumatra is a treasure trove of natural wonders, making it an enchanting destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
Day 9. Harau – Padang
On route to Padang, a visit to the cultural landmark of Pagaruyung Palace will offer a glimpse into the traditional customs, history, and royal legacy of the Minangkabau people. Minangkabau architecture is also showcased with its distinctive multi-tiered roofs and intricate woodcarvings.
In Batusangkar, ancient Hindu inscriptions dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries offer insight into the ancient Indian influence and its historical significance within the region. From Batusangkar, you will have the option to visit 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.
Set on the slopes of Mount Marapi, 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 and learn about their matriarchal society. Lake Singarak is a natural wonder with its blue waters and surrounding scenic landscape, offering a serene escape for nature lovers.
As you travel through the charming countryside of West Sumatra, you will pass 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 mouth-watering 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.
The price for the above program based on:
|2 to 3 people is US$ 950,- per person|
|4 to 6 people is US$ 800,- per person|
|7 to 10 people is US$ 700,- per person|
|Single supplement is US$ 420,- per person|
- Overnight accommodation in good medium hotels based on twin/double/triple share room
- Breakfast daily
- Transport in comfortable air-conditioned car or minibus + fuel
- Private driver, his meals and overnight accommodation costs
- Transport + Passenger Ferry from Parapat – Samosir, return
- Excursions as mentioned in the program