Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera) is an island in western Indonesia and part of the Sunda islands.It is the 6th largest island in the world, an area of 473,481 square km, and a population of nearly 55 million people. The people of Sumatra are multi-lingual, multi-diverse and multi-religious, there are over 52 languages spoken.
A majority of the people in Sumatra are Muslims(87%) while 10% are Christians, 2% are Buddhist and 1% Hindu. Sumatra has a wide range of vegetation types which are home to a rich variety of species, including 17 endemic genera of plants.Unique species include the Sumatran Pine which dominates the Sumatran tropical pine forests. Sumatra is home to 201 mammal species and 580 bird species such as the Sumatran ground Cuckoo, the island has about 300 freshwater fish species as well.
Famous are the Sumatran tiger, elephant and orangutan, in 2008 the Indonesian government announced a plan to protect Sumatra’s remaining forests with its incredible flora & fauna. Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee, small-holders grow Arabica coffee in the highlands while Robusta is found in the lowlands. Arabica coffee from the regions of Gayo, Lintong and Sidikilang is typically processed using the Gilling Basah(wet hulling) technique which gives it a heavily body and low acidity.
Today you arrive in Kualanamu airport Medan. Then you drive about 4.5 hours to Bukit Lawang, a small tourist village situated on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park. Bukit Lawang is the most accessible place to spot the orang utans in the park. And the park is one of the largest national park in the world containing over 800,000 ha of virgin rainforest and home to an impressive number of mammal species like tigers, orang utans, gibbons, elephants and rhino’s. Enroute stop at oilpalm plantation and local market. Arrival in Bukit Lawang, free to relax. Enjoy the scenery from the veranda of your hotel room.
First we bring you to the feeding platform of orang utans. The platform was built to help the orang utans that have been released to the wild after their rehabilitation. As they are semi-wild, they are sometimes having trouble finding food on their own in the wild. Then they can come to the feeding platform for some milk and bananas. Wild orangutan occasionally come to the platform too. So the feeding platform is meant as the first place for the orangutans come to for help rather than plantations or village where conflicts can occur. When the orangutans are getting enough food on their own, they will not come to the platform because the food they find in the wild is more exciting than just milk and bananas! So although it is a marvelous sight to see the orangutans at the platform, it is also good news when they do not show up, as this means they are surviving well in the wild without help. From the platform you will follow a 2-3 hours jungle walk searching for more tropical flora and fauna. It is not a flat walk but involves some ups and downs. A bit hard but in return you get a very nice experience. You have a big chance to see gibbons, thomas leaf monkeys, longtail and pigtail macagues, flying squirrels, Sumatra peacocks and hornbills. A wild Orangutans might cross your way. Your guide will explain you many things about the rainforest. And he will show you many different kind of plants and flowers. Jungle walk ends by the river side from where you start your tubing experience. You will float down the river on car tubes about 20 minutes till your hotel. It is a fun rafting and a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery. The rest of day is free at leisure.
Those looking for a place far from tourists and achieve a truly authentic jungle village experience and has no problem with basic accomodation, then Besitang is the place! It is an area of conservation and restoration on the border of Gunung Leuser National Park. Tourism has recently been introduced to this area by Yayasan Leuser International (YLI) to give impetus to its conservation efforts and enable the community to benefit from the rain forest in a positive way, whilst raising awareness of environment issues. There is very little tourist infrastructure in this area.
It is a 2.5 drive plus 45 minutes over bumpy road that ends at Pantai Buaya (Tekong village) where a motor canoe awaits and then takes you upstream Besitang river to the guest house. The canoe trip is about 45 minutes and beautiful as you can see rainforest, plantations and villages by river side. Afternoon to relax, or take a walk to Aras Napal Kiri village and explore the surroundings.
You have some activities before leaving, and all are included in the price. If you want to wake up early we bring you into the jungle for wildlife spotting. Return to the guesthouse for breakfast afterwards. Take an elephant riding on about one hour through the forest path. After the riding, join and help mahouts bathing the elephants in the river. It is a nice experience cause you can get up close and personal with the elephants. You are allowed to wash and scrub them. Also chance for you to hand feed the elephants. If time permits you can explore another village, Aras Napal Kanan. Journey back by canoe to Tekong village where your car awaits. Take a short rest before boarding the car for your next destination, Berastagi (1300m). It is a cool and picturesque hill town flanked by two active volcanoes Sinabung (2417m) and Sibayak (2172m). It is the homeland of the Batak Karo, one of the six Batak tribes that inhabit the province of North Sumatra.
Scenic drive to lake Toba, one of the deepest and largest crater lake in the world with stop at Dokan, a small Batak Karo village with a number of traditional houses still inhabited by eight families each. Visit picturesque Sipiso piso waterfalls that plunge from height 120 meters. Stop at Pematang Purba to see wooden palace (Rumah Bolon) of the former king Batak Simalungun. Stop at Simarjarunjung for magnificent view of lake Toba. Somewhere afternoon you arrive in Parapat, the main tourist resort which lies on the very shore of lake Toba. From here across the lake by boat on about 45 minutes to Samosir, a volcanic island in the middle of lake Toba. You will stay in Tuktuk, a peninsula on the eastern coast of Samosir island.
Explore the natural beauty and cultural aspects of Batak Toba by car. Visit Ambarita, Samosir’s most interesting Batak Toba village. Ambarita is known for its unique ancient courtyard, made up of stone chairs and tables. This courtyard served as a court of justice. Visit the home of king Sidauruk in Simanindo village and witness Batak Toba folkdance called Tor tor performed by the villagers. Here you can also visit a museum built in typical Batak style. On the way back to your hotel, visit Tomok to see a very old but nicely decorated sarchopagus, the old tomb of king Sidabutar.
Across back the lake by boat on about 45 minutes to Parapat. Proceed to Medan passing by town of Pematang Siantar and Tebingtinggi. Most of the views en-route are plantation of oilpalm, rubber and cocoa. Arrival in Medan, you will get a city tour visiting the Maimun palace built in 1888 in Malayan and Middle-East style and belonging the sultan of Deli. Visit the grand mosque Almashum built in the same period of the Maimun palace. Visit the colorful Chinese temple, vihara Gunung Timur. Transfer to your hotel and relax.
Transfer about 1.5 hours to Kualanamu airport. Tour ends.
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