Rich with ancient tradition and jaw-dropping natural wonders, Sumatra exudes a captivating mystique. From the panoramic delights of the Sibayak Volcano summit, to the stunning Gayo Highlands, to the thriving marine eco-systems off Pulau Weh, this remarkable journey walks you through steaming jungles, over rocky outcrops and across pristine shores. Along the way, meet welcoming villagers on a homestay on Lake Toba and see how the people of Banda Aceh rebuilt after the devastating 2004 tsunami. The spirit of beautiful Sumatra will completely captivate and leave you wanting more.
Warning - This is a new trip for us!
Whilst we have been operating in South East Asia for 20 years now and have had a team of researchers travelling in the area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is the first year of operating this trip. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong! We usually make this warning when we head to new destinations - and usually we find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones. But the warning is sincere, and if it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out. Any improvements to our itinerary are noted immediately on our website, so before booking and travelling please go to www.intrepidtravel.com and enter this trip code in the trip finder to check for any updates.
Day 1 Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's cosmopolitan capital, is a fascinating melting pot of cultures. Arrive early to discover Chinatown's colourful markets, sample tasty Indian food and shop for traditional Malay arts. Perhaps head further afield to visit the Batu Caves or delve into history at the Orang Asli Museum before haggling for a bargain at the night markets.
Days 2-3 Lake Toba
Take a flight to Sumatra, Indonesia, and travel through rubber and palm oil plantations to reach Lake Toba. Home to the delightful Batak Toba people, Lake Toba is the world's largest volcanic lake and the perfect place to indulge in fresh fish and admire the unique architecture. In free time, why not shop for traditional weaving or woodcarving, or take a refreshing dip in the lake.
Days 4-5 Berastagi
Visit Sipiso-piso waterfall and Simalungun Palace, home to the last Batak king, before stopping for a barbecue lunch in a lakeside village. Continue to Dokan village and experience an unforgettable evening of Batak Karo hospitality during a homestay. The next day, hike through the jungle to the peak of the majestic Sibayak Volcano, spotting gibbons, monkeys and perhaps a slow loris along the way. At the top, soak up impressive views of the surrounding highlands before descending to soothe tired muscles in the Semangat Gunung hot springs.
Days 6-7 Ketambe
Discover the secrets of the jungle in the magical Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the world's most diverse ecosystems and home to many endangered species including tigers, elephants and rhinoceros. Join local guides on treks through the rainforest to search out orangutans, as well as rare and edible plants, and spend a night camping by the river.
Days 8-9 Gayo Highlands
Travel to Indonesia's stunning Gayo Highlands, taking in spectacular views of rolling hills blanketed with coffee plantations. Explore the mysterious Loyang Koro Cave then spend free time soaking in hot springs, sampling the famous local brew or simply breathing in the fresh mountain air while enjoying the views.
Days 10-11 Banda Aceh
Meet the warm locals of Banda Aceh who courageously rebuilt their city after it was devastated in the 2004 tsunami. Join Network for Tsunami Aceh volunteers on a tour of the area, including a sobering memorial park, to fully appreciate the extent of the disaster. Take a boat trip to a nearby island, enjoy local cuisine at a night market and stop by the sprawling Putroe Phang Park.
Days 12-13 Pulau Weh
Bask in the tropical delights of Palau Weh, where cliffside huts, palm trees and unspoilt beaches await. Journey through lush jungle to discover secluded bays and embark on a snorkelling tour of the island's stunning coral reef. There is also the option to go scuba diving or, if pure relaxation is in order, simply snooze in a hammock.
Days 14-15 Kuala Lumpur
Bid farewell to beautiful Indonesia and return to Kuala Lumpur for a final spot of shopping or sightseeing. The Sumatran Highlights adventure wraps up here.