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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. Overnight in Medan.
Day 2: Drive to Bukit Lawang
Morning city tour visiting Sultan Deli Palace, Great Mosque, Chinese Temple and Kesawan Area the old center of Medan city. Depart for the 97 km drive to Bukit Lawang in the afternoon, 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: Bukit Lawang - Orangutan Rehabilitation Reserve
A morning hike, of about one hour, (uphill) along the bank of the Bohorok river to the canoe station for a ride over to the Reserve. 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. In the afternoon we will depart for the half-day drive to the mountain town of Brastagi stopping at Sembahe river. Enjoy the evening in the colonial resort nestled between two volcanoes. Overnight in Brastagi.
Day 4: Brastagi - Batak Village
Today we have a trip by minivan and then by foot, travelling from Brastagi to a Batak Karo traditional village at Peceren. Here we will spend the day learning about the village history and culture from a village historian. In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel in Brastagi. Overnight in Brastagi.
Day 5: Lake Toba - Samosir Island
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, visit Sipiso-piso waterfall, Rumah Bolon, and the Batak Palace where the last King reigned until 1949. The King's youngest son will share his tale of historical events as well as some very touching personal stories. 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. Overnight in Samosir Island.
Day 6: Lake Toba
A free day to walk or bike around 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. Overnight on Samosir Island.
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 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. In the afternoon experience a Batak Toba traditional dance. Overnight on Samosir Island.
Day 8: Minangkabau Highlands - Padang Sidenpuan
A morning departure from Samosir Island by ferry boat, to travel south through the Minangkabau Highlands to the town of Padang Sidenpuan via Sibolga for a spectacular view of the Indian ocean and bay of Sibolga. En route 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 late afternoon, and if there is time we will visit the incredibly colorful and interesting central market. Overnight in Padang Sidenpuan.
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 see the resident monkeys. Arrive in the early evening to the charming town of Bukittinggi is nestled between three volcanoes 3,000 ft. above sea level, and is widely known as the cultural and craft center of the Minangkabau people. Overnight in Bukittinggi.
Day 10: 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. Overnight in Bukittinggi.
Day 11: Cultural West Sumatra and the Singgalang Walk
Today, experience the rural beauty during our hike known as the Singgalang during our volcano walk. The 13 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 12: 12 - Visit the Tribal Mentawai on Siberut Island (or optional stay at an Island resort)
Please note: for those who simply do no want the basic and somewhat primitve living conditions on Siberut Island (however fascinating the experience may be), we do offer an option of relaxing at the tropical island resort of Cubadak. See below for description of both options. We ask all group travelers to confirm whether they want the option of tribal Siberut Island (2 nights of on the island followed by 1 night on Cubadak Island) or the option of the tropical resort on Cubadak for all 3 nights. No changes to this option 30 days prior.
Day 12: 12A - Visit the Tribal Mentawai on Siberut Island
Today is a full day of adventure including a drive from the mountains to the coast, an ocean crossing, a river journey, finally concluding with a hike to our tribal home. To elaborate on our journey, we depart Bukkittinggi after breakfast, driving to the coastal port city of Padang, where we embark on our remote journey to Siberut Island. We depart from Padang Port to Siberut Port by speedboat which should take between 3-4 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 the village port of Rorogot. Once we arrive, porters will take your overnight bag and you will begin your 1.5 to 2 hour hike through the jungle. Conditions on Siberut can be very muddy, but the experience will remain long after the mud washes off. We spend this evening in an Uma , a traditional/extended family home in the jungle, The Uma is very basic and primitive with no facilities. There is a thermal mat to sleep on the floor of the long-house and mosquito netting is provided. The facilities are one with nature. We bathe in the nearby creek or river. Although staying in a tribal home is not for everyone, it is truly an unforgetable experience to connect with a a traditonal tribal people who are rapidly vanishing from our planet. Dinner and overnight in a tribal Uma in the jungle on Siberut Island.
Day 12: 12B - To Cubadak Island
We depart Bukkittinggi after breakfast and drive to the coastal port city of Padang, where we embark on our boat journey to Cubadak Island.
Day 13: 13A - A Day in the Life of the Fascinating Tribal Mentawai
We will spend the entire day with the Mentawai, living 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 'anamist' or spirit beliefs. We will be staying in an Uma which is a central home and gathering spot for the surrounding tribal homes. One or more medicine men normally live in an Uma. Activities on the island will also include making tribal clothing, preparing sago-the staple food of the Mentawai, and taking short hikes around the village. Overnight in a tribal Uma in the jungle on Siberut Island.
Days 13 - 14: 13B - Cubadak Island
You can choose to hike, swim, snorkle, windsurf, suntan, scuba dive (optional; not included) or do absolutely nothing in this beautiful, tropical paradise.
Day 14: 14A - Depart Siberut Island. Speedboat to Cubadak Resort; Farewell Dinner
Enjoy the morning with the waking village before we embark on our hike back to the port of Rorogot for our canoe ride to Siberut Port where we will board our private speedboat for our journey to Cubadak Island Resort. This evening we will have our farewell dinner. Overnight on Cubadak Island.
Day 15: Depart Cubadak for Padang; Departure Padang
Depart Cabadak Island by boat to Padang, where you will be driven to the airport for your international flight or to connect to the Java/Bali tour.
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