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Published: 02-Jul-2020

Written by: Jessica McKelson

Explore our selection of the best add - on travel destinations in North Sumatra

 There are so many incredible things to see and do in this region alone that it would be easy to fill up several months exploring. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of time, so we’ve picked our top four favourite experiences in North Sumatra that we recommend as 'add-ons' to complete your travel experience.

1. Batu Rongring 

Experience our newest North Sumatran jungle paradise over 3 days in Batu Rongring. Camp overnight in this secret jungle location packed full of amazing rivers, caves and waterfalls which you will be dying to explore. Keep your eyes open for orangutans, gibbons, hornbills, bats, reptiles and a huge array of wildlife in this spectacular rainforest which you won’t want to leave!

This 3 day experience is only 2 hours away from Tangkahan and Batu Katak. It is one of Raw Wildlife Encounters newest locations, helping the local community develop sustainable income via ecotourism.

"The wildlife is amazing. The culture is so RAW and you really feel special, as you discover the beauty of the Karonese people. The rainforest is breathtaking, with so many hidden gems to explore. But my favourite location is our Rimba Lestari Ecolodge." says Jess McKelson. "This gives you the tranquility, peace, wildlife and rainforest environment for you to enjoy your private getaway."


2. Tangkahan - Walk with Elephants 

In Tankgahan you can experience these spectacular moments when you join the rescued elephants from the Conservation Response Unit as they roam through their natural jungle habitat. After joining the experienced mahouts to help bathe the elephants in the river, you will walk alongside and observe these incredible gentle giants for two hours in the Gunung Leuser National Park. Learn about their social structure, eating habits, group behaviour and the battles facing the wild elephants of the area as you relax in the jungle with the experienced guides and mahouts of Tangkahan. A unique experience that you will never forget.

Our 3-day Hidden Paradise Tour is one of our NEW favourite Indonesian Tours. If you are considering a short 3 day optional stay,  we can blend this tour with one of our other packages and you will have one Indonesian journey that will be highly memorable and exclusive to your travel desires!

Image - Liam Lynch Photography, Tangkahan 

3. Lake Toba

This captivating 4 day tour takes you to picturesque Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world, and to Samosir Island situated in the middle of the lake.  The ferry ride over to Samosir Island in the middle of Lake Toba makes you feel immediately like you’re on holiday on your way to a resort. I love mixing with the locals and this is the perfect opportunity – from the bustling markets of Parapat on the mainland where the ferry departs, to the traditional live music you might be lucky enough to be serenaded by on the way over.

Different lake activities make you appreciate the world’s largest caldera volcano, responsible for the most violent eruption ever known. Sunrise over Lake Toba will blow your mind, as will the views in the highlands (hire a scooter and drive up!) Tiki-touring through the winding roads of the highlands gives you ample opportunity to chat to locals and appreciate their traditional way of life.

Lake Toba offers the perfect mix of exploration over 4 days and relaxation and is a must-see on my list.


4.  Ketambe Forest, Aceh

We've saved our favourite for last! The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the few remaining rainforests to harbour the endangered orangutan, and the only place that allows the orangutan, elephant, tiger and rhino to all co-exist together. We'll introduce you to  the rainforest where you will visit the wild orangutans, explore the rainforest for hornbills and other amazing critters and finish off camping at the hot springs. For 3-4 days you will camp and enjoy the most incredible rainforest ecosystem. The trek is easy-medium status. 

This new tour will be an add on option to any guided tour advertised with set dates. We encourage you to enquire about booking this for 2020: Email -

As you can imagine we have a number of popular tours on offer in the region, including our signature tours which are all lead by our Wildlife Leaders and include our Auckland Zoo Eco Adventures; Rainforest Retreat;  North Sumatran Highlight and our NEW  Orangutan Haven Tour.

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