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Sumatra and Eclipse tour
Nature & Wildlife Educational/ learning Sumatra and Eclipse package
Education / Learning Wildlife viewing Sumatra and Eclipse package

Sumatra and Eclipse

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
13 days
From: $ 2,400 $ 185 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Annular Eclipse - The opportunity to view the solar eclipse from the vast open rice paddies of Padang Sidempaun
  • Bohorok - Encounter orang-utans in the wild whilst trekking through the jungle in Bukit Lawang.
  • Samosir - Travel by boat to visit remote Batak villages, learning about their unique ancestral traditions.
  • Bukittingi - Discover the 'Indonesian Grand Canyon' on a walk through the lush forests of West Sumatra.

Short Description

Join us on a comprehensive tour of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Travelling through rugged landscapes and discovering unique wildlife, we trek through jungles to spot orang-utans in the wild, scale volcanoes for sunrise and enjoy tribal village encounters. This itinerary has been organised to coincide with the annular eclipse, due on the 26th December 2019 where we plan to witness this spectacle from the remote paddy fields of Padang Sidempaun.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Padang

Destinations

Indonesia

Cities & Attractions

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join trip in Medan

Description

Join the trip in Medan, where today is free at leisure. Medan is Indonesia's third largest city and is the capital of the island of Sumatra. Through colonisation and centuries of prosperous trading, Medan has grown to become home to a number of diverse ethnic groups including Chinese, Tamils, Malay, Batak natives and the Dutch. This interesting blend of cultures has made the city into a veritable melting pot, with a wonderful mouth-watering array of food to try from street vendors, curry houses and noodle bars.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Explore the city of Medan; Afternoon drive to Bohorok

Description

This morning we set out on foot to explore the metropolis of Medan. We start with the jewel in the city's crown, the Great Mosque or Masjid Raya Al Mashun. Taking its influences from Arabia, India and Europe, it is a beautifully ornate piece of architecture and we have the opportunity to enter inside to witness the daily rituals of the locals. We then move onto the Dutch-built Maimoon Palace, the former royal palace of the Sultanate of Deli and an excellent example of colonial buildings in Indonesia.
We leave the city behind after lunch and head into the jungle. Our route snakes north on occasionally potholed roads, past lush rice fields before these give way to swathes of palm trees lining the road. We will see many palm plantations on our travels in the next few days, and whilst the palm oil crop is controversial, our Leader will offer explanations from a local's perspective.

We plan to arrive in Bukit Lawang in the late afternoon, with the rest of the day at leisure.
As we are staying in the jungle and on the fringes of the national park , our accommodation is clean and basic, with no hot water or air conditioning. The showers are refreshing after time spent in the rainforest, and the room temperature is kept cool with a number of fans.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Morning rainforest walk to spot wild orang-utans. Afternoon optional walk in rice fields

Description

We leave our lodge today on foot, crossing the river via a footbridge and into the national park, past locals swimming and bathing. Here we begin our three to four hour search for wildlife, accompanied by a local guide with intimate knowledge of the surrounding rainforest, so the chances of spotting the 'men of the forest' are very good. Bukit Lawang was originally set up as a sanctuary in 1973, helping to rehabilitate orphaned orang-utans, but in the past few years the last gentle giant was successfully re-introduced into the wild, so the feeding platform has closed down and now the orang-utans forage and fend for themselves. The orang-utans are now interspersed throughout the area, and with a bit of luck we should be able to enjoy spending time observing them in their natural habitat. Other wildlife we are likely to encounter include the endemic Thomas leaf monkey, long-tail macaques, slow loris, snakes, Sumatran peacock, flying squirrels and mouse dear. Also present in the jungle are Sumatran tigers, rhinos and wild elephants, but the chance of encountering these are incredibly rare.

We return to our lodge for lunch, where the rest of the afternoon is free. It is possible to organise a massage, or to take a walk through nearby rice fields to learn more about the harvesting of the Indonesian staple of 'Nasi'.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - Drive to the hill station of Berastagi; explore the colourful fruit market

Description

Our journey today takes us from the lush green jungles of Bohorok, through small villages before the jungle starts to give way, with the road snaking upwards as we start to gain altitude. Berastagi sits at 1400 metres above sea level, this elevation brings cooler climes and offers a welcome respite from the heat of the equatorial jungles. It also brings with it a change of scenery as thick rainforest and palm trees are replaced with tall pine and cedar trees. We check into our hotel, where, on a clear day, the rear of our hotel has wonderful views to the nearby Sinabung Volcano and its frequent mini-eruptions. This afternoon we will visit the town's fruit market, a colourful place the locals visit on a daily basis to pick up their eclectic range of produce. Because of the varying climate, exotic fruits like papaya, durian, red guava and lychee sit alongside the more recognisable broccoli, carrots and apples.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 5 - Optional sunrise climb of Sibayak volcano. Drive and then boat to Samosir Island.

Description

We rise early this morning for the relatively easy walk up to the crater of Mount Sibayak (2,212 metres), an active volcano with a dried-up crater at its peak. We start the journey by vehicle, snaking our way up the hairpins of the lower volcano to a small rest area half way up. It is here where we continue our journey on foot to the summit. The walk starts steeply but quickly eases off to a more gentle gradient, and it should take around 1 ½ hours to reach the crater (total ascent approximately 300-400 metres). There are several active gas holes to be found around the crater, hissing and spewing out billowing sulphurous gases. The last eruption here was well over a century ago, but it still remains the site of geothermal activity, with the vents producing crystalline sulphur which can be found littered over the crater rim. We return along the same path, meeting our vehicle and heading back to the hotel to freshen up before we drive onto Lake Toba and Samosir Island.
The drive to edge of Lake Toba takes a couple of hours, and we stop here at a scenic viewpoint for some lunch. We then continue along a road skirting around the edge of the lake, with traditional Batak houses beginning to pop up along the route. On arrival in the small market town of Parapit, we board our ferry to Samosir Island, an island located in the middle of the lake and our night stop for the next two nights.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Travel by boat to the Batak villages dotted around Lake Toba, learning about their unique customs and rituals

Description

At 100 kilometres long and 30 kilometres at its widest point, Lake Toba is the largest crater lake in the world. It is also home to the Batak people, an ethnic group of people that are indigenous to this area, along with other parts of inland Sumatra and western Java. They are known for their colourful hand-made shirts and garments, as well as their eye-catching homes with large pitched roofs that arch up into the sky, resembling the hull of the boats they use to fish.
After our lake-side breakfast this morning, we board our boat and head up the lake for the settlement of Tomok. Here we find a small traditional Batak village and learn about how the chief presides over the village, how law and order is kept, and how cannibalism used to play a part in the punishment of crimes. We then move onto Simanindo, where several Batak families still live and practice their ancient traditions. We are invited to explore their interesting homes and may even have the opportunity to witness some of their spiritual dancing.
This afternoon can be either spent relaxing at our lake-side hotel where we can take a refreshing dip in the lake, or perhaps visit the village of Ambarita with its handicrafts market and Batak graveyard.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Drive through Toba Highlands to Padang Sidempuan

Description

After a leisurely breakfast we catch the ferry back to the mainland and drive southwards along the shores of Lake Toba. Passing rice paddies, churches and Toba houses with their distinct arched roofs, we then make our way up into the Toba Highlands. We plan to break the 225 kilometre journey every couple of hours to take in some of the interesting scenery along the way. The route takes us past pineapple, coffee and cacao plantations, and we have the chance to stop at the natural hot springs at Siphoholon. In total the drive should take approximately eight hours.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Visit morning market and the house of tribal chief.Optional afternoon exploring Bahal Temples

Description

This morning we head out on foot to explore the lively central market, witnessing locals going about their daily business bartering for their groceries and produce. We then move onto the house of the former chief of the Mandailing Tribe where we share tea and learn about local customs and how the Mandailing people have adapted to live in modern-day Indonesia.
This afternoon there is the option to drive approximately two hours to the Bahal Temple Complex. Made up of three main temples and located in an isolated valley with no surrounding settlements or vegetation, not much is known about these temples and why they are here. Interestingly there is no known association to kingdoms at that time, but they are similar in style to other 13th Century temples found in Java and other parts of the Indonesian archipelago. We have some time to explore the complex and surrounding areas before returning to Padang Sidempuan.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 9 - Eclipse viewing from the rice paddies of Padang Sidempuan

Description

An annular solar eclipse of the sun will take place today, 26th December 2019. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun line up perfectly, but due to its distance from the earth, the moon does not completely cover the sun and a 'ring of fire' , or 'annulus' remains.

We plan to head out to the vast rice paddies of Padang Sidempuan, away from the town and any potential light pollution. The eclipse is scheduled to begin at 10:14 AM, with maximum eclipse occurring at 12:06 PM. The eclipse will end at 2:04 PM. Eclipse glasses will be provided to allow you to view the event safely.


Please note whilst Sumatra enjoys an equatorial tropical climate and rain falls throughout the year, there are generally two seasons. The drier season runs from February to August, and the wet season from September to January. The date of the eclipse means this trip will run within the wet season. Rains in the wet season seldom fall all day, they tend to be very heavy downpours that fall for 1-2 hours, before clearing up again. Whilst weather is very difficult to predict in advance, it is estimated that there is approximately a 12% chance of clear skies at that this time of year. We are not able to make any guarantees regarding the weather conditions and the likelihood of seeing the eclipse.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 10 - Drive to Bukittingi, stopping at spice gardens and hot springs en route

Description

We have a long drive ahead of us today as we travel to Bukittingi, located in the Minangkabau Highlands nearly 1,000 metres above sea level. Although the drive is long, at approximately 9-10 hours, it is scenic, driving past waterfalls, lakes and through sections of tropical rainforest. As we pass from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, we stop for some photo opportunities in the town of Bonjol, a town that straddles the equator. We plan to arrive in the late afternoon, where we can make the most of the cooler, refreshing temperatures that the elevation of this hill station provides.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 11 - Morning walk in Sianok Canyon, afternoon free

Description

Today we have a chance to stretch our legs after the long drive of the previous day. We make our way on foot to the impressive Siankok Canyon, measuring at a depth of 150 metres and a width of around 200 metres. The walk takes us along areas of lush vegetation, through small pockets of forest and alongside the river. It is not uncommon to see long-tailed monkeys playing in the trees, along with the chance to spot gibbons, deer and wild boar. The walk ends in the village Koto Gadang, a village known for its silverwares. We spend some time witnessing the local craftsman working by hand using the silver, before returning to Bukittingi, where the rest of the afternoon is free to explore or enjoy the refreshing climate.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 12 - Morning drive to Padang, free afternoon with the option to visit the beach of museum of West Sumatra

Description

We set off this morning for the coastal town of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra and a historically significant trading port in the days of the Dutch East Indies. The afternoon is free to explore the town, with the option to visit the museum of West Sumatra. Architecturally an interesting building in its own right, it houses a number of exhibits that offers an introduction to the Minangkabau people and their way of life. There is also the option to relax on the white sands of Bungus Bay beach. For those that like spicy food, we find ourselves in the culinary home of the famous Padang Curry, the spicy dish served in creamy coconut curry sauce, and there are some excellent restaurants to choose from.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 13 - Trip ends in Padang

Description

The trip ends this afternoon in Padang.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 2,400
Price Per Day: $ 185 per day
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Start DateFinish DateSingle Land OnlyTwin Share Land OnlyDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-18-2019Dec-30-2019$ 2,930$ 2,400Yes3+ spaces available Reserve

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Stride Featured in

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Sumatra and Eclipse

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Company Reviews

Wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
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Details

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Please note that the accommodation in Bohorok, Berastagi and Samosir Island do not have air conditioning. In the jungles of Bohorok, the rooms are kept cool with a number of fans, whereas Berastagi and Samosir Islands are situated at elevated altitudes, resulting in much cooler and more comfortable evenings.

Guides

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s)

Trip ID#:

explore-SUME

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