This 10-day program provides a truly unique opportunity for students to experience the best of Sumatra on an all-inclusive tour program (all activities, food, drinks, accommodation, flights etc.). From the bustling city of Medan to a relaxing remote uninhabited island experience in Pulau Banyak; from jungle trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park watching Orang-utans, to working with endangered sea turtles as part of an award-winning conservation program. This tour allows students to gain significant insight into successful conservation and livelihood projects, the importance of sustainability in island communities, and to gain practical knowledge of basic survival principles.
Example itinerary for a 10-Day Tour Program:
Day 1: Selamat Datang!!!: Arrive in Medan
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by our local and international guides and transferred to your accommodation. You will be introduced to Sumatran culture by your guides through a presentation of the itinerary of your exciting and unforgettable ten-day journey. Become acquainted with traditional Indonesian cuisine at a local restaurant in Medan for dinner.
Day 2: Medan-Bukit Lawang : Explore a hidden bat cave!
Depart to Bukit Lawang where you will stay in the rainforest at a locally managed ecolodge. You will learn how your stay here will contribute to the conservation of critically endangered Sumatran Orang-utans. We will take a short hike to a bat cave featuring amazing stalactites and a population of roosting micro-bats. There is time to explore the village and engage with the local community to experience local customs and culture.
Day 3: Gunung Leuser National Park: Venture into the depths of the jungle
Experience an adventurous and challenging jungle trek where you will have a chance to see critically endangered Sumatran Orang-utans, Hornbills, Thomas Leaf monkeys and other extraordinary native wildlife. Learn details from experts about endangered wildlife, useful and interesting native plants and their fragile, diminishing ecosystem. You will spend the night in a valley, next to a river on the edge of the forest, where you can enjoy a cooling swim and a bath after a long days trek.
Day 4: Bukit Lawang: Gunung Leuser National Park
Enjoy a tropical breakfast along the river whilst spotting more incredible wildlife. Set off on a river adventure returning to the ecolodge via inner-tube! You will then assist planting at an eco-farming centre – a local initiative collaborating with the ecolodge’s ecotourism project. Travel back to Medan in the afternoon.
Day 5: Medan – Singkil: Astonishing views
Early morning transfer by road to Singkil, stopping at the remote fruit market in the mountain village of Berastagi. Enjoy breakfast overlooking Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world! Take a scenic lunch at a restaurant, with views over Gunung Leuser National Park. Continue our jouney to Singkil through the heart of the tropical rainforest-covered mountains, accompanied by sounds of langurs, gibbons and birds. Check into our accommodation in Singkil and have a traditional Acehnese dinner.
Day 6: Singkil – Pulau Banyak: Cultural immersion!
Journey from Singkil to Pulau Banyak by speed boat. Once settled into our accommodation, a traditional lunch will be provided by our host’s wife. Visit a local school or oval to play games or sports with the kids. We will also assist with teaching English to local children. In the late afternoon, learn about sea turtle conversation and Yayasan Pulau Banyak (the local NGO working towards community conservation and eco-tourism) and explore the island on your own.
Day 7: Pulau Banyak to Pelambak Kecil: Catch your own food!
We each take a sea kayak to the uninhabited island of Pelambak Kecil. Learn how to set up camp and go fishing your dinner! Explore the island and its lovely coral reef by kayak or go snorkelling. Assist in preparing your own dinner and spend the evening relaxing and listening to stories and folklore about the Banyak Islands by campfire.
Day 8: Pelambak Kecil – Pulau Bangkaru: Treasure Island!
After enjoying breakfast on the beach, travel to the Sea Turtle Research Station in Pulau Bankaru via speed boat. Take time to explore parts of this magical island paradise – much of it almost inaccessible, unexplored and filled with amazing plants and wildlife. Learn more about these living dinosaurs through hands-on assistance joining the patrol team walking their undisturbed nesting beach. See endangered leatherback (if you are lucky) and green turtles (almost certainly) and have an unforgettable experience watching them digging their nest and lay their eggs.
Day 9: Pulau Bankaru-Pulau Balai: Children protecting the environment
Early rise for morning beach patrol to look for turtle tracks and learn about the issue of marine debris. Before departing back to Pulau Balai, spend ½ an hour cleaning up the beach by collecting/ sorting the debris. Enjoy lunch upon arrival at Pulau Balai. Have some free time before watching local traditional story telling for children where they learn about protecting their environment..
Day 10: Pulai Balai – Singkil- Medan (Polonia International Airport): Reef to Rainforest to Airport!
Pack up and prepare for a long but incredibly beautiful journey over the reef, through the rainforest to Polonia International Airport in Medan. Enjoy a great local meal for lunch en route.
Highlights of your tour:
- See nesting sea turtles
- Uninhabited, remote, unexplored islands
- Jungle trekking
- Experiencing local customs and cultures
- Fishing for your dinner
- River tubing
- Orang-utans in the wild!