A traveller by the name of Brett on THorn Tree has posted a great report of his 10 day trip to Bukit Lawang and Lake Toba North Sumatra.
It is an excellent report with loads of information for any traveller with a similar time frame wanting to make the most of their time.
Sumatra- A quick and adventurous dash from Australia
I have recently returned from a 10 day trip to Indonesia. I havent been back to Indo in a few years aside from Bali so it was refreshing to recall how wonderful the journeys are in this country.
Not sure what you will learn from this but for now its just an itinerary to show what is possible in Sumatra in a short period of time. If you want a quick blast from your everyday life without travelling too far out of the Asian region then come here. Sumatra is amazing!!
Day 1- Mel - Singapore
Day 2- Singapore
Day 3- Singapore to Medan
Day 4- Medan to Bukit Lawang
Day 5- Overnight Jungle Trek in BL
Day 6- BL to Medan
Day 7- Train to Terbing Tingi and then car to Parapat for Ferry to TukTuk , Lake Toba
Day 8- Tuk Tuk, Lake Toba
Day 9- Tuk Tuk Lake Toba
Day 10-Tuk Tuk to Medan/ Medan to Singapore (Big Travel day)
Day 11- Singapore to Melbourne
This is in no way an ideal itinerary. I very much envy those of you on the road for months. But 10 days was all we could do and it will stay in my mind forever.
**Jungle Eddy and Firman in Bukit Lawang- Their humourous and insightful overnight trek is a great way to spend some time in the Gunung Leuser National Park. Just beautiful rainforests and wonderful collection of Orang Utans, the crazy leaps of the Thomas Leaf Monkey and a plethora of far off sounds that you hear but never know what made that sound. The people in Bukit Lawang were all very warm and friendly and I hope their new village brings them good luck in the future.
**Driving to and From BL in a rental Car!! - Andreas and Nicky at Yoga Car rentals were fantastic. They met us at the airport in Medan and handed over the keys to the Avanza and we were away. I learned to drive a manual car in Bali when I was 16 so the road rules - basically biggest goes first i think- werent too difficult to grasp. Its about 3.5 hours each way and the road is pretty dodgy in some parts.
**Train ride from Medan to Terbing Tingi. - The train is always a wonderful way to see the countryside. At one stop the carriages seemed to be inundated with buskers, food hawkers, and specialty goods sales men all wondering up and down the aisles looking for a sale.
**Tuk Tuk in Lake Toba: Wow - Lake Toba is one of the most beautiful geographic environments you will EVER see.The caldera contains a massive lake and in the middle is an island with way too many resorts on it. I cant imagine how this place was ever full the way it is now. Its all beautiful and maintained but just not many tourists in some areas of the island. It did feel like it was picking up though from my conversations with some of the local Batak boys. I hope so for their sake as they are very welcoming and genuine people. They also like to have fun and sing along with a beer on a saturday night - Lesoi!!
Wow Brett, you sound like you had an amazing trip. I did a similar route on a bicycle and had a ball. Sumatra rocks, esp Lake Toba.
Good report, I also enjoyed my time at Toba, Cheers!
Thank you so much for posting such an informative report. Really great information for any traveller and esp for those with a short time frame like you had.
PS I will cut and paste this report onto Indahnesia.com where it will remain forever.