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Six days around North Sumatra

An itinerary that combines two unique highlights of North Sumatra:
The Orangutan Sanctuary and Lake Toba

The Gunung Leuser National Park
covers 950,000 hectares of virgin tropical rain forest and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Park is mostly mountainous with 11 peaks over 2,700 m and named after the tallest, Mount Leuser which rises to 3,466 m. Most of the area is steep and inaccessible and it is one of the two remaining habitats for Sumatran orangutans. A rehabilitation center was established here in 1973 and today there are around 5,000 orangutans in the area. Other mammals surviving in the park include elephants, tigers, rhinoceros, deer and leopards but unfortunately they are all increasingly rare.

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world and the result of the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. About 900 meters above sea level the lake is 100 km (62 m) long, 30 km (19 m) wide and 500 meter (1,657 ft) deep. The surrounding countryside is rainforest. Samosir Island in the lake is the cultural centre of the Batak tribe who are mostly Christians.

Day one: Arrival - Medan (no meal)

Arrival in Kuala Namu International Airport.
Meeting service and transfer to the hotel of your choice.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Top Indonesia recommends:JW Marriot Hotel Medan

Day two: Medan - Bukit Lawang (B,L)

At 8.30am our guide and driver will take you on a three hour drive to Bukit Lawang, a small village on the bank of the Bohorok River and the main access point to the Gunung Leuser National Park from the east side. Here we check you into the Bukit Lawang Cottage. This is a simple lodge but the best accommodation available. You will have to do without air-conditioning and hot water but seeing the orangutans is a magical experience and from the lodge it is only a short hike to the rehabilitation center. To encounter wild orangutan in the jungle is very difficult unless you go deep into the bush on a trek of several days but in Bukit Lawang, you meet them near the rehabilitation centre and at the feeding platform during the morning and afternoon feeding sessions.

Day three : Bukit Lawang -Lake Toba/Samosir Island (B,L)

We suggest an early start for the scenic 10 hour drive to Lake Toba. We pass through the town of Brastagi and make several stops along the way at places of interest such as the Sipisopiso waterfall and the Long House of Batak King Simalungun. When we reach Parapat, a resort town on the shore of Lake Toba we take a boat to Samosir Island where you will stay for two nights. We check you into Toledo Inn, which once again is relatively simple accommodation, but the best available.

Day four: Samosir Island (B,L)

You have a full day to discover the natural beauty of the island and the unique megalithic history of the Batak. You visit several traditional villages such as Ambarita, where you find the stone Court of Justice. In the village of Simanindo you witness a folkdance performed by the villagers. In Tomok you see the sarcophagus of Batak King Sidabutar. When you return to the hotel in the afternoon there is still time to go for a swim in the clear water of the lake.

Day five : Samosir Island - Medan (B,L

After crossing back to Parapat by boat we start the return trip to Medan. Passing through the town of Pematang Siantar and a landscape of vast palm-oil and rubber plantations the trip will take about five hours. In Medan we visit the city’s principal sights such as the Maimoon Palace, the black domed Grand Mosque and the Buddhist Vihara Borobudur temple. We check you into the hotel of your choice.

Day six : Medan - departure (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. At the appropriate time, our guide will meet you at the lobby to take you to the airport for your flight to the next destination.

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