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Explore Sumatra Highlights

batak traditional house

Sumatra Toba Highlights representing the highlights of the wonderful place in Sumatra, the largest island in Indonesia and the sixth largest island in the world. Explore Sumatra Highlights is a combination package of Sumatra tour to the interesting places in Sumatra and this Sumatra tour package has including Toba lake, the biggest lake in the world where Samosir island situated and the Batak people are living. contacting the people in Samosir island on toba lake to see the Batak culture is another great experience out of the wonderful nature around the samosir island and toba lake.

West Sumatra is of stunning beauty and diverse. As the roads are narrow and distances long, we have designed a tour to enjoy West Sumatra at more leisurely pace without spending all days in the car. You can easily extend your stay without getting bored but we believe this tour will make the most out of your time.

Last but not least, Padang is the port to reach the Mentawis. Featuring some of the best waves it has been long on the map of die-hard surfers. But inland live the Mentawai people – one of the last truly indigenous cultures with their own language, religion and culture. For those who are interested and willing to live among them for a couple of days without the usual comfort this place will be truly amazing. Please contact us for further information.


Day 01: Arrival Medan

Upon arrival at the airport, greet and transfer to the hotel for accommodation.

Day 02: Medan – Berastagi (B)

Breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a short city tour of Medan; the provincial capital of North Sumatera, which is a cosmopolitan city of over 2 million inhabitants and a booming commercial center for the region’s huge oil and agro businesses. It’s a sprawling and bustling metropolis, its busy streets are lined with new offices and shopping blocks and thronged with minibuses and noisy motorized becak. The pre-independence population of Chinese, Indians, Javanese and Europeans has been swamped by an influx of indigenous Sumaterans predominantly Bataks, but also Acehnese, Malays and Minangkabau.

The visits will be at the Great Mosque with its imposing tiled archway with royal burial ground and one may see also the tall water tower adopted as a symbol of the municipality of Medan back along the main street. One block to the west across the single track railway is the Sultan’s Palace; the ceremonial palace of the Sultans of Deli with its yellow trim & typical east coast Malay architecture with living quarters occupied by the Sultan’s families.

Then, proceed driving up on the forested foothills of the Bukit Barisan mountains; Sumatera’s dominated topography being a spine of rugged volcanic mountains running down the west coast where its two highest peaks (Mt. Leuser – 3.381 M in the north and Mt. Kerinci – 3.800 M in the west) give their names to two massive national parks, where S-turns affords rewarding panoramic view through the Nature Reserved of Sibolangit, which lies on an escarpment overlooking the lowlands to the delightfully cool and picturesque town of Berastagi; a  verdant plateau, which is as Northern Sumatera’s green grocer. Stops en-route at the Church of Mary Annai Velangkanni; the uniqueness of the church lies in the originality of its Indo – Mogul architecture (Tamil Nadu), ornaments & displays of color resembling a towering temple and the Market Place; one of traditional food market in town, which displays an overwhelming quality and variety of fresh produce, meat, fish & chickens sold amidst a splendid chaos of noises, which are mass & crowds of shopper.

Upon arrival in Berastagi, having a visit to the smaller replica of The Shwedagon Pagoda officially titled Shwedagon Zedi Daw, also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda with 46.8 meters height, which is constructed with almost all of the pagoda components came from Myanmar. Then, proceed driving up on the western edge of town to Gundaling Hill (1.496 m) rises some 110 m Above the surrounding plateau with a park at the top provides good views of volcanoes, which is dominated immediately to the north by smoking Mt. Sibayak (2.094 m) & further to the west is higher Mt. Sinabung (2.451 m) and to the Fruit Market selling wonderfully fresh fruits, flowers, vegetables & other goodies. Afterwards, transfer to the hotel for accommodation.

Day 03: Berastagi – Parapat – Samosir Island (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. Driving on the scenic back road across the Karo Plateau that skirts the northeastern edge of the Toba caldera with stops en-route at the Dokan Village being another popular Kara Village, the Tongging Hill; located at the Northern rim of Toba basin with a nearby vantage point offers great vistas of the lake and the fall known as Sipiso piso, which shoots out a cave at the edge of the plateau and plunges 120 m straight down to a small gushing stream below, Pematang Purba to see the wooden palace (Ruma Bolon) of the former Simalungun ruler built in the style of traditional adat house, which is said to be more than 200 years and has been restored as a museum and also a visit to the hill top guesthouse of Simarjarunjung offering magnificent views back across the Lake.

Then, the road leads via panoramic view that follows a forested ridge overlooking the Lake to a refreshingly cool town at night & tolerably warm town during the day called Parapat; a small rocky peninsula jutting into the Toba Lake as the gateway to track down the vestiges of traditional Toba culture and to acquaint the colorful but notoriously forthright & aggressive Batak people inhabit a cluster of spectacularly beautiful & fertile volcanic basin at the northern end of Bukit Barisan range.

On arrival in Parapat, cruising on Lake Toba to the central isle of Samosir where colorful Toba Batak villages cling to the shore for accommodation.


Cruising to hotel & back to Parapat would be by public ferryboat, which sails back & forth every one hour and last at 18.00 is truly great travel experience. However, it can equally become an uncomfortable condition due to the inevitable delays and stops at certain piers to pick up & discharge passengers.

In case of late arrival due to traffic or irregularities caused or arising from circumstances beyond our control, pax may take a private ferryboat as it sees fit and recover the costs thereof from the pax.

Day 04: Lake Toba Tour (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. Cruising on Lake Toba passing lovely coves with white sandy beaches & picturesque villages for a day cruise by private ferryboat. First disembarkation would be at Ambarita Village, which has an archaeologically important meeting place for the King of Siallagan that supposedly served as a kind of hall of justice & for those who condemned would be executed in an adjacent clearing with ancient stone walls that were once topped with a thick fence of thorny bamboo.

Then, proceed cruising to Simanindo Village, which is up to the Northern end of the Island known as site of some of the best Batak Toba traditional houses (stand on foundations of piles braced with cross beams forming a space beneath the house where buffaloes were once stalled where walls are covered with graceful flowing & spiral decoration to protect the occupants and friezes with figures & three dimensional carved protective monster at the corner & top of the façade) particularly that of King Sidauruk, which is now a museum and a chance to watch Toba Batak folk dance performed by the villagers and then a short cruise to Tao Island for a brief respite and possibly swim in the tranquil water of Lake Toba.

Proceed by boat to Tomok Village. Inland walking on the road lined with souvenir shops up to a site to visit one of the Island’s most famous sights – the 200 years old boat shaped sarcophagus of King Sidabutar surrounded by those of his descendents.

Afterwards, cruise on Lake Toba back to the hotel for accommodation.


Those areas may not have lifeguards, depth markings or non-slip surfaces around them. Firstly take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout & depth of the water and making special note of any submerged objects.

In the event of an emergency know how to get help or reach any lifesaving equipment available.


Small kit of miscellaneous toiletry items, such as soap, shampoo, towel, etc.

Avoid bathing when alone, at night or after consuming alcohol.

Day 05: Samosir Island – Parapat – Padang Sidempuan (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. At the appropriate time, cruising on Lake Toba by public ferryboat back to Parapat.

Upon arrival in Parapat, proceed the drive to the south as the highway winds up into the same Bukit Barisan mountains’ range, which affords rewarding views back across the lake and more hospitable landscape of rice fields against a backdrop of a primary forest dotted with small villages, which are set back off the road and superbly decorated adat houses in clumps of bamboo following the sinuous Silindung Valley through deep ravines & dense forest across steep fern covered slopes to Sipirok or Padang Sidempuan; one of the main market towns in South Tapanuli Regency and known for its salak palm fruit (snake skin fruit), which is well grown on the slopes of Mt. Lubuk Raya (1,886 m).

En-route stop at the Smallholder’s Pineapple field to consume fresh flesh, which is cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit possibly flowering in 20–24 months & fruiting in the following six months, the Jangga; an example of traditional adat building with animistic, anthropomorphic carvings & friezes mostly painted in the traditional colors of red, black & white, the Porsea where the Asahan River drains Toba to the east & fertile sawah dotted with villages border the Lake, the market place of Balige at the southern end of the Lake with a large pasar built in the traditional Tapanuli style & a burial monument to the last Batak priest king; Sisingamangaraja XII, the Sipoholon being a small settlement with hot springs water contains sulfur & iron with various other minerals reputed for their medicinal properties at the temperature of normally between 36.5 – 37.5 °C and other scenic views. Accommodation is at the hotel either in Sipirok or Padang Sidempuan. Lunch, which is at own account, is served at Tarutung; a small town located in Silindung Valley being the administrative center of North Tapanuli District.

Day 06: Padang Sidempuan – Bukittinggi (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. Then continue driving south on the same mountain range up to Bukit Tinggi; the cultural capital of the Minang realm and home to Minangkabau people known far & wide for the canny business sense, ubiquitous, distinctive architecture, spicy hot cuisine, wonderfully friendly people and matriarchal ways, which fully favors women with property & land, where the eyes are soothed by more rice fields dotted with neat little huts and bridges by the river.

Stop, which is by chance, will be made at the Aek Sijornih Waterfall being a cascade waterfall, which water descends a series of rock steps, the Sihepeng’s local mini Botanical Garden featuring tropical plants commonly found in latitudes that are described as the “monsoon tropics” used both as a herb & a spice with an attraction of a well trained pig tailed macaque (if available) acted as coconut harvester, the Purba Village; being the center of a huge Islamic Koranic School with hundreds of tiny huts, the Usortolang Village to see the remnant of the Mandailing Batak typical houses, the Rimba Panti; a forest reserve with bubbling sulfurous hot springs water stays at an even temperature of 63°C claimed medical value for having a very high mineral content, the Bonjol Village where the equator line is marked by a monument called Tugu Khatulistiwa built over the main road being a unique experience standing in both hemispheres simultaneously and other sites of interest. Accommodation at hotel in Bukittinggi.

Day 07: Bukittinggi Tour (B)

Breakfast at the Hotel. Having city sightseeing tour featuring Fort de Kock; a fort built by the Dutch erected at the edge of a steep sided ridge functioned as hilltop outpost with stone ruins and few cannons left being an excellent spot to take in a view of Mt. Merapi, which occasionally vents puffs of smoke that is connected by suspension bridge to a museum of Minangkabau culture, which is housed in a traditional rumah gadang complete with thatched roof & flanking granaries.

Afterwards, proceed walking to Jam Gadang; a clock tower being  the principal landmark of the city with a miniature of Minang house on top located in the centre of the city close to the main market of Pasar Atas; the lively & colorful central market, which spills out into the street with stalls & open air stands with brightly colored plastic wares run by assertive Minang Ladies selling a wide variety of fresh food and a variety of alternative lifestyle products and then continue driving to the lovely Sianok Canyon; part of a tectonic rift valley, which has sheer walls & flat bottom offering a haunting early spectacle as dawn caresses the peak of Mt. Singgalang in the background blankets of mist drift around the canyon’s 100 m cliffs with paths lead down into the Japanese built tunnels.

Afterwards, driving on the road, which skirts the foot of Bukit Kapasan crosses a lush valley up to Embun Pagi to view the fascinating landscape overlooking the entire Lake Maninjau; a lake set inside of an ancient crater with stop en-route at Koto Gadang village, which is well known for its silverwork and Embun Pagi, where the view is breathtaking (if it is not clouded) with stalls selling brightly colored straw handicrafts. Accommodation is at the hotel in Bukit Tinggi.

Option 1


Then, driving on the same road back to Bukit Tinggi for accommodation and dinner.

Option 2


Afterwards, proceed driving down on the road winds down through 44 hairpins locally known as KELOK 44, which turns sharply on the narrow road to Maninjau village (470 m) at the edge of the lake.

Beside small vehicle, driving down to & up from Maninjau lake would only allow a medium size coach (max. 20 seat) due to the windy narrow road

The lake shimmers on windless days and its transparent waters teem with fish, which may swim to the surface at the drop of a crumb. This is one of good places to relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Besides doing water activities (swimming, canoeing and even boating or water skiing), another activity is walking through picturesque villages.

Then, driving back on the same road up to Bukit Tinggi for accommodation and dinner.

Day 08: Minangkabau Tour (B)

Breakfast at the Hotel. Afterwards, driving on the roads that loop over dramatic passes separating the volcanoes to the stunning Harau Canyon; a broad geological cleft whose 100 m granite walls enclose a lush 315 ha nature reserve comprising a valley floor of rice paddy dwarfed and hemmed in by shear sandstone cliffs with several (hidden) waterfalls to possibly bathe & pools.

Afterwards, proceed driving on a detour across Bukit Tinggi to Batusangkar being a lively and scenic town surrounded by a majestic rice terraces where local countryside is dotted with Rumah Adat and used to be the site of an early Dutch fortification; Fort van der Capellen built in 1821, which is now the town’s police station with stop at the Palace of Pagaruyung known as Balai Janggo in Padang Seminyak.

Then, drives up over the low crater wall and down to Singkarak Lake passing through the charming hilltop village of Balimbing to proceed the trip back to Bukit Tinggi with a chance (if time permits) to stop en-route at Pandai Sikat; a small village famous for its woodcarving, weaving the traditional gold and silk songket on large shuttle loams & embroidery. Accommodation is at hotel in Bukit Tinggi.



Small kit of miscellaneous toiletry items, such as soap, shampoo, towel, etc.


The fire destroyed the palace in Feb ’07 and it is now being reconstructed on the same site since the 20th Jun ’07, which restores its former magnificence.

Day 09: Bukittinggi – Padang Airport (B)

Breakfast at the Hotel. At the appropriate time, driving to Padang’s BIM Airport through deep ravines and dense forest across steep fern covered slopes that afford fantastic views of the lush tropical vegetation of Anai Valley viewing its 40 meters waterfall & rapids cascade and magnificent rack-pinion railway with its arch-shaped truss bridge alongside the highway built to span physical obstacles over valley, which was constructed early this century to catch the flight of onward destination.

Sumatra, Indonesia
9 Days

Explore Sumatra Toba tour

Sumatra Toba tour representing the highlight of the wonderful place in Sumatra, the largest island in Indonesia and the sixth largest island in the world. Explore Sumatra toba tour is a combination package of Sumatra tour to the interesting places in Sumatra and this Sumatra tour package has including Toba lake, the biggest lake in the world where Samosir island situated and the Batak people are living.

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