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Day 1: Arrival in Medan
Upon arrival, we 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, the 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 arriving at our hotel for a relaxing evening in Bukit Lawang.
Day 3: Orangutan Rehabilitation Reserve & Elephants of Tangkaha
We start out with a short walk along the bank of the Bohorok river to the canoe station where we 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 in Gunung Leuser national park.
Day 4: Jungle Hike, to Brastagi
This morning we have our last chance to explore the majestic jungle surrounding Bukit Lawang. Enjoy a morning swim or just relax before lunch.
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 (450m.) lakes in the world. Along the way we visit Sipiso-piso waterfall and Rumah Bolon, 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 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 executions 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 a Batak Toba traditional dance.
Day 7: 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, there will be an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon walk to spend some time with a local Batak family in their home.
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, we will take local transport to our restaurant for dinner.
Day 9: Cross the Equator, to Bukittinggi
We continue driving south, across the Equator at Bonjol Village, to the 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 town of Bukittinggi. The town is nestled between 3 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
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
We 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: Sianok Canyon, the Great Wall, Japanese Tunnels
Today we hike in beautiful Sianok Canyon, which is very close to Bukittinggi. We follow the "Great Wall" through the canyon and make several stops, including the Japanese Tunnels (built by the Japanese during the 2nd World War), and Kota Gadang, a small village where they make silver jewelery. We can meet locals along the way at their homes or working in the rice fields. We may even see the occasional Macaque monkey.
Day 13: To Padan, fly to Jakarta, drive to Carita
We depart the cool climate of the highlands and descend through beautiful scenery to the seaside capital of Padang. From here we fly to Jakarta, Java as we temporarily leave Sumatra, returning the next day. We drive to the coast on the Sunda Strait, which separates Java from Sumatra, and overnight in our seaside lodge in Carita.
Day 14: Speedboat to Krakatoa, hike to viewpoint, drive to Lampung
We set out by speed boat, crossing the Sunda Strait to the remote, but fabled, volcano of Krakatoa and Anak ("child of") Krakatoa. Perhaps the single greatest destructive force in modern history happened in 1883 when Krakatoa exploded, creating massive tsunamis and changing the earths climate for several years. Today only a part of the steep rim or wall of the original caldera remains. Close to the original caldera remnants is the volcanic island of Anak Krakatoa. The island first emerged from the ocean in 1927. The lower portion of the island is already lush with tropical plants which supports the wildlife that live there. We hike up the island, where the landscape changes from lush and tropical to a harsh, rocky, volcanic landscape. From our viewpoint we can see what remains of Krakatoa, which looks like a vertical green wall. Turning around we see the top of Anak Krakatoa, still active and often spewing smoke.
Day 15: To Way Kampas National Park, Night Walk
After a relaxing morning, we depart for Way Kampas national park. The night is full of mystery and intrigue. The sounds of the jungle can be overwhelming and captivating. A myriad of birds, insects and animals create a beautiful wild symphony! We are also on the lookout for wildlife and birds as the jungle is very much alive.
Day 16: In Search of Sumatran Rhinos, Tigers & Elephants
This morning, (providing permits have been issued) we will have the extremely special experience of seeing a Sumatran rhino up close. Under the supervision of the veterinarian, you can attend the morning feeding at the Rhino Breeding Sanctuary, located within the national park. There are 5 rhinos at the breeding sanctuary including a Sumatran rhino calf, Andatu, born at the breeding centre in June 2012. Way Kampas has about 40% of the world's remaining Sumatran rhinos. It is thought that there are no more than 100 rhinos in the wild. If permits are not issued, we can enjoy a jungle safari in search of rhinos, tigers and elephants, monkeys and birds of Way Kampas.
Day 17: Jungle Boat Journey
We set out early for our river excursion in search of wildlife including the endangered and rare Sumatran elephant, rhino and tiger, which are all protected. While tigers and rhino are only spotted on occasion, the elephant, gibbons, macaques and over 400 recorded bird species, including the endemic white winged duck, can be seen along the river from a park boat. We return to our lodge for lunch and to relax during the heat of midday. In the late afternoon, we can enjoy our final safari in search of wildlife.
Day 18: Lampung, Farewell Dinner
This morning we will have our last jungle excursion before returning to our ecolodge for a relaxing morning. You may choose to just relax at the lodge with a myriad of butterflies and birds that can be seen right from your room.
Day 19: To Jakarta
Enjoy a relaxing morning, where you can go for a swim, a workout or visit the spa.
Day 20: Departure
Depart Jakarta for our homeward flights or continue your ElderTreks Indonesian Adventure by flying to Yogyakarta to start the Java/Bali/Komodo tour.
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