TRIP OVERVIEW:

TOUR OPERATED BY: G Adventures
TRIP CODE: AEID
DEPARTURE DATE: 1st November 2015

Get ready to hit the ground running in this 28-day whirlwind tour of Indonesia’s top sights. We mean that literally, too – you’ll stay active as you hike and explore Berastagi, Sipirok, Tangkahan, Bukit Lawang and more. Recharge with street food crawls and coffee plantation tours, and take the time to get up-close and personal with orangutans and elephants. Experiencing it all with a group of like-minded travellers is the best way to get the most out of this dynamic country.

Below is our review of the trip plus the full itinerary from G Adventures and links to our corresponding blog posts.



TRIP REVIEW:

This tour from G Adventures acts as a really good introduction to life in Indonesia. It was great to travel from the remote and primitive parts of Sumatra all the way down to the tourist hub of Bali and see how the lifestyles and culture of the local people changes and adapts.

The first 10 days of the tour which allowed us to bathe elephants, go jungle trekking to see wild orangutans, tube down rivers, climb a volcano and ride scooters around Samosir Island in Lake Toba was excellent. After this the pace of the tour dies down and there are a lot of back to back long journeys on the bus. This combined with the fact that you are travelling through the most religiously conservative areas of the tour kind of sucks the energy out of the trip a little and it feels much more like a coach trip than an adventure holiday. Having said this things do pick up when you get to Yogyakarta and the fantastic Mount Bromo which is an real highlight.

The biggest disappointment we had was that the itinerary on the web (see below) and the one in the G Adventures app did not match aspects of the actual tour and as a result we missed out on some activities we were looking forward to as they simply were not available. This has never happened to us on a G Adventures Tour before and we have let them know so hopefully the itinerary (both web and app) will get updated to reflect the actual tour.

Accommodation provided ranged from the fantastic to the grim, luckily the better accommodation outnumbered the not so great. There were 3 or 4 hotels where at least one person in the group requested a room change due to bed bugs (mostly in Sumatra, not so much anywhere else) but having said this most people were unaffected the whole trip.

The trip included two homestays, not normally something we look forward to, which were fantastic and redefine what our past experiences of homestays has been. The first was more like staying in a nice hostel with dorm rooms, a ping pong table and great dinner buffet provided by the hosts. The second in Bali was more like staying in a resort hotel, truly fantastic, everyone wanted to stay longer.

Food and drink along the tour can get a little tiring, a lot of the places we ate, especially on travel days were very basic roadside restaurants / cafes and the food options are largely the same wherever you decide to eat… anyone for fried rice or noodles.

Overall we made some great friends and saw some amazing things that will be vivid in our memory always and from that point of view we really enjoyed our time in Indonesia even if the tour was not quite what we were expecting all the time.

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Volcanoes (Bromo & Sibayak)
  • Temples (Borobudur & Prambanan)
  • Bathing Elephants
  • Wild Orangutans
  • Cultural activities and dancing
  • Scooter riding
  • Taking in the 3 islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali
  • Breakfast included every day, unusual for a G Adventures tour

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • Itinerary incorrect and the following were not available to us: Rafting, Kayaking, Teaching kids English, Street food crawl, Learning to surf on Red Island
  • Not as YOLO as a YOLO tour could and should be
  • Amount of time on the bus, many back to back long travel days
  • Food options when on the road (travel days) are very limited
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We would love to here about your experiences on the Indonesia in Depth – Sumatra, Java, Bali tour.
Or, if you are planning on taking this tour and have any questions you would like answered please use the comments section below.
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FULL ITINERARY:

Day 1 – Medan

Arrive at any time.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting 1h

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour.

Day 2 – Medan/Tangkahan

Enjoy a morning tour of Medan. After, traverse bumpy roads to reach the small jungle community of Tangkahan. Opt to go hiking.

Medan City Tour
Take in the dynamic city of Medan on a guided tour. Visit a number of highlights, including Maimoon Palace, a 30-room palace built by the sultan of Deli in 1888. Be wowed by the building’s interior design and its Malayan, Mogul, and Italian influences.

Minibus Medan – Tangkahan 5h 100km
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 3 – Tangkahan/Bukit Lawang

Travel across bumpy roads to Bukit Lawang, located close to Gunung Leuser National Park.

Minibus – Tangkahan – Bukit Lawang 6h
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 4 – Bukit Lawang

Visit the orangutan viewing platform and opt to go jungle trekking in Gunung Leuser NP.

An orangutan rehabilitation centre was set up in 1973 to help orangutans released from captivity to learn the skills they will need in the wild. Once they are released into the wild, they are monitored and still provided with some supplementary food until they’re 100% ready to fend for themselves. We visit a platform when they are being fed.

Gunung Leuser National Park is located nearby and a great place to do some wildlife trekking in this large jungle park.

Walking Bukit Lawang 2h
Lace up your shoes and get to the next stop under your own power.

Orangutan Feeding Platform Visit Bukit Lawang
Visit a feeding platform located in the forest near an orangutan rehabilitation centre where rangers provide supplemental food to orangutans that have been released back into the wild. Learn about these rust-coloured beauties and the rehabilitation project from park rangers.

Free Time Bukit Lawang Full Day
With easy access to nature and a national park, this is the perfect jumping off point for some trekking. Get out there and see it all.

Optional Activities
Jungle Trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park Bukit Lawang
Trek through the jungles of this large national park that is home to orangutans, gibbons, monkeys, and more.

Day 5 – Bukit Lawang/Berastagi

Orientation walk upon arrival. Free afternoon with the option to visit the local hot springs.

Minibus Bukit Lawang – Berastagi 7h-8h 160km
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Orientation Walk 30m-1h
Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Free Time Berastagi Afternoon
Get out and explore, taking advantage of the cooler weather of the highlands.

Optional Activities
Hot Springs Berastagi
Relax in the local hot springs near Berastagi. Soak sore muscles and let all your cares melt away.

Day 6 Berastagi

Opt to hike a volcano or tour traditional villages.

Free Time Berastagi Full Day
Take advantage of the cooler highland climate and explore the beautiful surroundings.

Optional Activities
Sibayak Volcano Hike Gunung Sibayak
Rise before the sun to hike Sibayak — it’s a must-do activity! Set out early to catch a remarkable sunrise and take in the stunning views of the valley and countryside. Watch your footing; although Sibayak is one of Indonesia’s more accessible volcanoes (2094m or 6870ft), its path can be a bit confusing at times and slippery after the rain.

Hot Springs Berastagi
Relax in the local hot springs near Berastagi. Soak sore muscles and let all your cares melt away.

Day 7 Berastagi/Samosir Island

Travel to the world’s largest volcano lake, Lake Toba.

Minibus Berastagi – Samosir Island 8h 190km
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 8 Samosir Island

Chill out and swim in the warm waters of the lake or opt for some culture by visiting local Batak villages.

Free Time Samosir Island Full Day
Get out and explore all Samosir Island has to offer. Free time is yours to use any way you wish.

Optional Activities
Tombs in Tomok Visit Tomok Bolon
Take a trip back in time and visit the tomb of King Sidabutar in Tomok, a village 5km (3 mi) from Tuk Tuk. Learn about Batak history and the legend of the king. See the monument’s ornate carvings, and visit others close by, including another royal tomb said to be used as a fertility shrine.

Swimming
Grab your bathing suit and go for a refreshing swim.

Day 9 Samosir Island/Sibolga

Drive through beautiful scenery on this travel day, finishing at a town on the Indian Ocean on Sumatra’s western coast.

Minibus Samosir Island – Sibolga 8h
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 10 Sibolga/Panyabungan

Take in the landscape on another travel day. Break up the journey with an overnight stop in Panyabungan.

Minibus Sibolga – Panyabungan 8h
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 11 Panyabungan/Bukittinggi

Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival after a half-day of travel, including a few interesting stops along the way.

Minibus Panyabungan – Bukittinggi 5h
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Orientation Walk 30m-1h
Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Day 12 Bukittinggi

The itinerary is incorrect here as it is not possible to go Rafting or Kayaking

Enjoy a free day to go rafting or kayaking, or check out some sights, like Sianok Canyon or the Japanese Caves built during World War II.

Free Time Bukittinggi Full Day
Bukittinggi is a great jumping off point for nearby activities; get out there and explore.

Optional Activities
Sianok Canyon Visit Bukittinggi
Visit this long and steep canyon. Enjoy viewing this beautiful spot from above at a 2-storey observation tower in Panorama Park, or walk down to the canyon floor through the Great Wall of Koto Gadang.

Japanese Caves Visit Bukittinggi
Check out an underground network of bunkers and tunnels built during by the Japanese during World War II. Enter through Panorama Park.

Day 13 Bukittinggi/Padang

Spend the final evening on Sumatra with the group at a beach hotel in Padang.

Minibus Bukittinggi – Padang 2h 30km
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Free Time Padang Afternoon
Get out and enjoy some free time on the beach.

Day 14 Padang/Jakarta

Fly to Jakarta and start exploring the island of Java.

Some travellers may be leaving the tour in Padang and others may be joining the tour in Jakarta. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.

Plane Padang – Jakarta
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

Optional Activities
Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos
You may be a seasoned pro at group travel by now, but there will likely be some new travellers joining the group. Sit in on the welcome meeting to meet the newest members of your group and learn about the next leg of your tour.

Day 15 Jakarta/Cianjur

Venture to Cianjur via Bogor, visit the floating villages, and opt to teach English to local children. Experience local life by spending the night at a homestay. The homestay is located on the outer ring of Cianjur, and accommodation is multi-share.

Private Vehicle Jakarta – Cianjur 3h30m
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Optional Activities
Gunung Mas Tea Plantation Visit Gunung Mas
Stop by the 100-year-old Gunung Mas, or ‘Golden Mountain’, Tea Plantation. Learn how tea is hand-picked and processed continually throughout the year. Enjoy a cup straight from the source.

Day 16 Cianjur/Bandung

Enjoy an orientation walk of the sprawling city of Bandung, then take some time to explore independently.

Depart the homestay and travel to the sprawling city of Bandung, Indonesia’s third largest city.

Private Vehicle Cianjur – Bandung 2h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Orientation Walk 30m-1h
Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Free Time Bandung Afternoon
Get out and explore the city.

Day 17 Bandung/Yogyakarta

Travel from Bandung to Yogyakarta on a scenic train journey.

Train Bandung – Yogyakarta 7h
Climb aboard, take your seat, and enjoy the ride.

Days 18–19 Yogyakarta

Spend free time visiting local sights such as the Buddhist Borobudur temple complex, Javanese temples, or Mt Merapi.

Free Time Yogyakarta
Get out and explore Yogyakarta and its surrounding attractions.

Optional Activities
Borobudur Temple Complex Excursion Borobudur
Take in the stunning artistic and architectural marvel that is the Buddhist Temple complex of Borobudur, a not-to-be-missed World Heritage Site. Learn about its interesting history and restoration; the site lay undiscovered under layers of volcanic ash until 1815, when Sir Stamford Raffles, then Governor of Java, ordered the area to be cleared.

Kraton Palace Visit Yogyakarta
Take in the royal splendour of this impressive 18th century palace, built by the Sultans of Yogya. Kraton is one of the finest examples of Javanese palace architecture and is essentially a walled city — it has its own market, schools, and even mosques.

Taman Sari Water Castle Visit Yogyakarta
Enjoy a visit to this castle built in the 18th century as a pleasure park for the Sultan. Check out the intricately carved gates and the bathing complex and tower, from where the Sultan would watch his concubines frolicking in the water.

Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet Show Yogyakarta
Get a taste of Indonesian theatre with a twist and enjoy a traditional shadow puppet show. These puppets are made with leather and chiselled with precision.

Kota Gede Visit Yogyakarta
Shop (or window shop) for a stunning hand-beaten bowl. If silver is more your thing, you can find fine silver filigree within this historical district known for its impressive silver work.

Day 20 Yogyakarta/Tawangmangu

Enjoy an optional stop to explore the Prambanan temples, then opt to continue on to the Sukuh Temple with its erotic carvings. Follow this with a beautiful walk through small villages and farms to Tawangmangu.

Begin the day with an easy 2.5 hr drive. On the way, we have the option of stopping at Prambanan to explore the largest Hindu temple complex in Java by foot. This visit allows for approximately 1.5 hrs of exploration, and anyone who chooses not to visit the temple can visit an art market located near the temple.

Also opt to visit the Sukuh Temple, known as a fertility temple with erotic carvings. From there, walk approximately 3 hrs through small villages and along agricultural land, finishing up at a waterfall. A walk up a staircase ends in the village of Tawangmanggu, where the evening is free to enjoy as you wish.

Private Vehicle Yogyakarta – Tawangmangu 3h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Optional Activities
Prambanan Hindu Temple Complex Excursion Candi Prambanan
Tour Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple complex in Java. Learn about the temples’ history; built between the eighth and tenth centuries, these temples now stand as one of the most outstanding works of Hindu art. View their intricate design, particularly on the Shiva temple.

Sukuh Temple Visit Sukuh
Visit the Sukuh Temple, a 15th century Javanese-Hindu fertility temple. Watch out if you’re feeling bashful — the carvings on this temple are decidedly erotic.

Day 21 Tawangmangu/Malang

Take a scenic journey to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

Travel to to the second largest city in East Java.

Spend the afternoon checking out the gorgeous parks, bird and flower market, Singosari temple, Jago temple, Kidal temple, or just relaxing with a cup of local tea.

Private Vehicle Tawangmangu – Malang 8h-9h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Optional Activities
Singosari Temple Visit Malang
Explore the grounds of this impressive Hindu temple, built around 1300. This structure takes us back in time, to when Hindus once ruled East Java before the arrival of Islam.

Jago Temple Visit Malang
Visit this 13th century Hindu temple and admire the five stone statues housed inside.

Kidal Temple Visit Malang
Explore this ancient Hindu temple, built around 1248 and restored in the 1990s.

Day 22 Malang/Bromo

Continue travelling east across Java to reach Mt Bromo.

Today’s drive takes us through the tropical winding landscape of Eastern Java, climbing ever upwards and further out of the heat towards the grandeur of Mt Bromo. Part of the Tengger Calder, the largest volcanic range in the area, Mt Bromo is a distinct site — it blew its top off completely and is constantly smouldering with white smoke.

Minibus Malang – Bromo 5h
It’s bigger than a van, smaller than a bus, and just the right size for adventure.

Day 23 Bromo/Red Island

The Itinerary is incorrect here, we did not go to Red Island at all. Instead we went to Kalibaru! So no surfing on the beach as advertised.

Enjoy an early morning hike to view the enchanting moonscape of Mt Bromo, then travel to a sweet surf camp on the beach.

A pre-dawn trek across the “sea of sand” to watch the sunrise over the crater’s rim is a must, popular with both tourists and the local Buddhist Tenggerese, who can be seen giving offerings of food to receive blessings from the Supreme God Hyang Widi Wasa.

Mount Bromo Visit Gunung Bromo
Visit magnificent Mt Bromo (2,392m), one of the most spectacular sights in Indonesia. Enjoy stunning views and be amazed by the volcano’s strange beauty seemingly from another world.

Private Vehicle Bromo – Red Island 8h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Day 24 Red Island

The Itinerary is incorrect here, we did not go to Red Island at all. Instead we went to Kalibaru! So no surfing on the beach as advertised.

Enjoy a surf lesson in the morning, then use free time to explore the nearby fishing village, do some more surfing or chill out in a hammock.Free Time Red Island Half Day
Spend more time on the beach or explore the local village—the choice is yours.

Surfing Lesson
Grab your swimsuit and get ready to hang ten! Learn how to find and ride the waves with surfing lessons from local experts. Enjoy the fresh sea air, and try to spot local marine life while enjoying the waters.

Day 25 Red Island/Pemuteran

The Itinerary is incorrect here, we did not go to Red Island at all. Instead we went to Kalibaru! So no surfing on the beach as advertised.

Head to Bali and the beach with time to relax or explore the national park.Private Vehicle Kalibaru – Ketapang 1h30m-2h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Ferry Ketapang – Gilimanuk 45m
Get to the next spot on your route aboard a convenient and efficient ferry boat.

Private Vehicle Gilimanuk – Pemuteran 1h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Free Time Pemuteran Afternoon
Get out and explore the beautiful beaches of Bali.

Optional Activities
Snorkelling Pemuteran
Grab a snorkel and dive into the water. The waters are calm, visibility is clear, and the sea life and coral are colourful and aplenty.

Day 26 Pemuteran

Chill out in Bali. Opt to take a snorkelling or diving trip to Menjangan Island.

Free Time Pemuteran
Get out and explore coastal Bali, or enjoy a day lounging at the beach. The choice is yours!

Optional Activities
Diving in Menjangan Island Pemuteran
Go scuba diving at the West Bali National Park surrounding Menjangan Island. Enjoy two dives at one of the best dive spots off Bali.

Snorkelling Pemuteran
Grab a snorkel and dive into the water. The waters are calm, visibility is clear, and the sea life and coral are colourful and aplenty.

Day 27 Pemuteran/Sanur

Travel to Sanur via hot springs and pristine cascades before a final night out with the group.

Today’s drive is a journey, highlighting the spectacular natural diversity and intense cultural wealth that makes Bali such a sought after destination.

Our journey takes us across the entire island of Bali, through the rich tropical jungle, passing by idyllic terraced rice fields, quaint scenes of local village life, and eventually passing through the thriving metropolis of Denpasar. We then arrive at our overnight destination on the magnificent beaches of Sanur.

Private Vehicle Pemuteran – Sanur 4h
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Day 28 Sanur

Depart at any time.

Departure Day
Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.