Sumatra Wildlife Holiday – Orangutans and Elephants

A 7 day wildlife odyssey in the heart of the Sumatran rainforest. We spend a few days at an elephant sanctuary in Tangkahan before heading to Bukwit Lawang. We head to the Orang-utan sanctuary and later, a spot of jungle camping. This is a great short trip which can be tailored to suit, or simply added on as an extension to another Indonesian adventure.
Our stay at Cubadak Island was amazing, it really is paradise island, and we would love to return one day.
– Paul & Gemma

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Day 1: Airport – Bukit Lawang/Bahorok

Upon arriving at the Airport, we drive to Bukit Lawang and pass through vast rubber and oil palm plantations. Bukit Lawang is one of the main access points to the incredible rainforest of Gunung Leuser; one of Indonesia’s oldest national parks established in 1980 (covering an area of some 7,927 km² in northern Sumatra, straddling the border of North Sumatra & Aceh provinces) and which encompasses some of the most spectacular Montana and equatorial forest in Asia and well known as Orangutan Station or Orangutan Care Center.

It is one of Sumatera’s last rainforest wildernesses and its wildlife includes most of Sumatera’s extensive range of mammals and hundreds of bird species. The area is wild and enchanting with raging rivers and stunning jungle scenery. Popular activities here include trekking, rafting and of course visiting the Orang-utans at the feeding station, which was established in 1973 to assist captive Orang-utan readjust to life in the wild and to preserve the decreasing number of orangutan population.

Upon arrival in Bukit Lawang, we cross the river on a hanging cable plank bridge to the hotel.

Over night in Bukit Lawang.

Day 2: Airport – Bahorok Trekking (B,L)

After breakfast at the lodge, we have a trek. (6 – 7 hours). We head to the surrounding rainforest that is located at the Eastern edge of Gunung Leuser National Park and we have the amazing opportunity to observe various tropical plants including a tangle of enormous trees, twisting lianas, palms, ferns, and weird & wonderful flowers and hopefully to see wild animals. A simple traditional picnic lunch will be provided.

We head back to the lodge in the afternoon.

Note: Feeding twice a daily : 09.00 and 15.00 pm

Day 3: Bahorok – Tangkahan (B)

After breakfast at the lodge, by 4×4, we head to Tangkahan Rainforest (another entrance to Gunung Leuser National Park) crisscrossing the main road passing several small villages with some countryside, as well as rubber and oil palm plantations which line either side of the highway interrupted by low roofed local houses.

Upon arrival in Tangkahan, we will head out on a 1 hour Elephant Trek. It takes roughly 20 minutes to reach a small elephant sanctuary just outside the national park and here we will meet the elephants and their mahouts that live there. The elephants come mainly from the Aceh province in the far north of Sumatra and have been rescued from illegal loggers or people who kept them as pets. As well as this eco-tourism venture that keeps local people employed and the elephant less worked, they are also used for patrols of the rainforest to help prevent illegal poaching and deforestation.

Afterwards we head back to the lodge.

Overnight at Tangkahan.

Day 4: Explore Tangkahan (B)

After breakfast at the lodge, we head into the jungle (on foot) for about 3 hours. If we are lucky we can see Gibbons, Macaques, Orang Utans, Bears, etc. . Afterwards we have a river cruise and ‘tubing’ before heading back to the lodge. The Afternoon is to be spent at leisure.

Overnight in Tangkahan.

Day 5: Tangkahan – Berastagi  (B)

After breakfast at the lodge we head to Parapat via Berastagi and pass through Medan, driving on the forested foothills of the Bukit Barisan where s-turns provide panoramic views to the delightfully cool and picturesque town of Berastagi through the Nature Reserve of Sibolangit (which lies on an escarpment overlooking the lowlands).

On arrival in Berastagi, proceed for accommodation.

Overnight in Berastagi

Day 6: Berastagi Tour (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, we will tour Berastagi which offers magnificent views. We will travel back via a scenic back road across the Karo Plateau that skirts the northeastern edge of the Toba caldera to Berastagi.

Stops en-route include the Dokan village where we will see a glimpse of the way of life of the karo Batak tribe and their typical open plan housing in which eight related families live together .

We will continue, stopping at Tongging Hill located at the Northern rim of Toba basin with a nearby vantage point and enjoy spending time in a gazebo, which offers great vistas over the village at the Lake’s edge & the fall known as Sipiso piso, which shoots out a cave at the edge of the plateau & plunges 120 m straight down to a small gushing stream below.

Afterwards drive up back to Berastagi, where, on arrival we visit the Fruit Market which sells a variety of fresh local fruits, flowers, vegetables & other goodies.

Then proceed to the hotel.Free for leisure after this.

Overnight Hotel

Day 7: Berastagi – Airport (B)

After breakfast at the hotel at the appropriate time, we will proceed driving down the main road through to the Airport to catch the flight for onward destination.

Note: Berastagi – Airport : ± 3 – 3.5 hours drive

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Pioneer Expeditions
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
byMichelle & Jonathan onPioneer Expeditions
North Sumatra & Bali

What an amazing holiday, which appealed to both adults and our 10 and 5 year old alike. We spent one week in North Sumatra, with a perfect mix of adventure and exploration. We fed the orangutans in the wild, washed and fed elephants, tubed down a river, climbed up and into a volcano crater and were given in depth insight into the culture and workings of Indonesian by our very attentive guide. Our 10 year old loved having her hair washed with fruit and being given a mineral mask taken from the bank of the waterfall. Our 5 year old loved the jungle treks. So many happy memories and incredible moments. The second week was all about relaxation and luxury in both Ubud and North Bali. The hotels were stunning and all the more welcome after a week of adventure. I'd recommend Pioneer Expeditions to anyone looking to break away from the all-inclusive home-from-home holidays.

byPaul and Gemma onPioneer Expeditions
Tailormade Indonesia

We would like to thank all you guys at pioneer expeditions that helped make it a holiday to remember. We would also like to thank our guide, Elle. She was a great help and really made us feel at home, whilst also giving us a good mix of traditional culture and nature. Our stay at Cubadak Island was amazing, it really is paradise island, and we would love to return one day. Once again we would like to thank everyone at Pioneer for a great holiday and would recommend you to friends and family

  • Duration7 days / 6 nights
  • Price£1,150$1,595
    Excluding international flights (Medan).
  • Tailormade DeparturesMay - Nov

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