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Day 1: Arrival in Medan
Arrive in Medan and transfer to our hotel. Our adventure begins in Medan, with its Dutch architecture and Asian culture. Tonight we meet as a group for dinner and orientation.
Day 2: Drive to Bukit Lawang
Our morning city tour includes Sultan Deli Palace, Great Mosque, Chinese Temple and Kesawan Area the old center of Medan city. In the afternoon, we leave Medan and depart for the 97 km drive to Bukit Lawang, an orangutan rehabilitation reserve. On the way, watch the transformation from urban life to the jungle. Visit rubber and oil-palm plantations before a relaxing evening in Bukit Lawang. Overnight in Bukit Lawang.
Day 3: Orangutan Rehabilitation Reserve
We start out with a short walk along the bank of the Bohorok river to the canoe station to cross over the river to the Reserve. The Orangutan feeding station site occassional changes but typically is about one hour uphill hike. This is where we will observe the Orangutans in an intimate and natural setting. Following the feeding, we return to our guest house for an optional swim in the river.
Day 4: Brastagi - Batak Village
Today we have a short drive to a Batak Karo traditional village. Here we will spend the morning learning about Batak Karo life and culture with a local family. Back in Brastagi. we visit the fruit and veg market and the town's unique church. In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel in Brastagi. Overnight in Brastagi.
Day 5: Lake Toba - Samosir Island
We have an early morning departure from Brastagi to beautiful Lake Toba, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Formed by a prehistoric volcanic eruption, Lake Toba is one of the highest (900m.) and deepest (450 m.) lakes in the world. Along the way, we visit Sipiso-piso waterfall, Rumah Bolon, and the Batak Palace where the last King reigned until 1949. Upon arrival at Lake Toba, we will transfer to a ferry boat for the short crossing to Samosir Island where we will spend the next few nights.
Day 6: Lake Toba
A free day to walk or bike around the dramatic scenery of Samosir Island, or just relax and enjoy the view looking out upon this magical crater lake. For those interested, you will have the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon walk to spend some time with a local Batak family in their home.
Day 7: Lake Toba Boat Excursion
Today we have a boat excursion around Samosir Island, the original home of the Batak people. In the morning, we embark on a journey to visit the Batak Toba traditional village at Tomok and see the old tomb of Sidabutar Kings. We will continue by boat, visiting Ambarita, an old Batak village where we learn about the ancient Batak judicial system. See the stone chair and table where execution took place for the ancient tribal chieftains. We continue by boat to the Batak Toba market village at Tomok and see the old tombs of Sidabutar Kings. In the evening, experience Batak Toba traditional dance.
Day 8: Minangkabau Highlands - Padang Sidenpuan
We have an early morning departure from Samosir Island by ferry boat, to travel south through the Minangkabau Highlands to the town of Padang Sidenpuan. Enroute, we will discover the vast array of agricultural crops grown in this fertile land and visit a traditional market at Balige. Arriving in town in the evening, here we will take local transport to our restaurant for dinner.
Day 9: Bukittinggi
Today, we continue driving south, across the Equator at Bonjol Village, to the delightful town of Bukittinggi. Although this is a long drive, the scenery on the way is absolutely spectacular, providing numerous vistas of rivers winding their way through beautifully terraced mountains. Pass through the tropical forest of Rimba Panti where we will stop to learn about the world's most exclusive coffee. We arrive in the early evening to the charming town of Bukittinggi. the town is nestled between two volcanoes, 3,000 ft. above sea level, and is widely known as the cultural and craft center of the Minangkabau people.
Day 10: Cultural West Sumatra and the Singgalang Walk
Today, experience the rural beauty during our hike known as the Singgalang walk. The 10 km walk takes us from one village to the next as we travel through the beautiful countryside between the smoldering Merapi and Singgalang volcanoes.
Day 11: Bukittinggi and the Minangkabau Culture
Today, we will travel into the Minangkabau countryside and visit a Minangkabau cultural village in nearby Padang Panjang in order to gain insight into this interesting - and ancient - matrilineal society.
Day 12: Tribal Mentawai on Siberut Island
Today is a full day of adventure including an ocean crossing, a river journey, finally concluding with a hike to our tribal home. To elaborate on our journey, we depart Padang after breakfast, as we embark on our remote journey to Siberut Island by speedboat which should take between 5-6 hours. One should always keep an eye out for dolphins. Once we reach Siberut, we transfer to our motorized canoe for another 2-3 hour journey on the river to tdestination. Once we arrive, porters will take your overnight bag and you will begin your hike through the jungle. Conditions on Siberut can be very muddy, but the experience will remain long after the mud washes off.
Day 13: A Day in the Life of the Fascinating Tribal Mentawai
We will spend the entire day with the Mentawai in their home, learning about their beliefs, culture, dance, cuisine and virtually any and all aspects of their existence. Their homes are on stilts, made of wood with thatched roofs. The Mentawai are a tribal people living a very traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle with strong 'animist' or spirit beliefs. The Uma is a central home and gathering spot for the surrounding tribal homes. One or more 'medicine men' or shaman normally live in an Uma. Activities on the island will include making tribal clothing, preparing sago, the staple food of the Mentawai. After lunch, we depart for the port village of Rorogot.
Day 14: Speedboat to Padang, Farewell Dinner
Today we have our return ocean crossing by private speedboat to Padang. This evening we will enjoy our farewell dinner to reflect on our great memories of our Sumatra adventure!
Day 15: Depart Padang
Depart Padang for your homeward flights or continue your ElderTreks Indonesian Adventure by flying to Yogyakarta to start Java/Bali
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