Isles of Indonesia: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan & Sulawesi

Cultural tour of Indonesia

A journey through Indonesia is an experience of many different cultures. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago with over 18000 islands – some of which are not even inhabited. Islands have the natural tendency to be over protective of their culture so are quite different than the nearest mainland. With that large numbers of islands, Indonesia is probably the world’s most diverse nation. The country is also known for its rain forests and orangutans which we will also visit using traditional boats. Our 15day journey has been tailored to take us across parts of this huge archipelago to experience a diversity - in history, culture, landscape, beliefs and traditions. We will thus experience Sumatra in the north; Java in the centre; Kalimantan in the east and Sulawesi in the south. In short, a kaleidoscope of Indonesia.

Tour Information
Duration : 15 days
Minimum : 02 persons
Maximum : 08 persons
Price (From) : US$ 3595
Includes international air
Day 01: Arrive Medan
(D)
Day 02: Medan/Samosir Island (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 03: Samosir Island Exploration
(B, L, D)
Day 04: Samosir/Parapat/Berastagi (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 05: Berastagi/Medan (Drive)/Jakarta (Flight)
(B)
Day 06: Jakarta/Pangkalan Bun (Flight)/Orangutan Sanctuary (Boat)
(B, L, D)
Day 07: Pondok Tanguy and Camp Leakey (Boat)
(B, L, D)
Day 08: Pangkalan Bun/Semarang (Boat) (Flight)/Yogyakarta (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 09: Borobudur
(B, L, D)
Day 10: Prambanan
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Yogyakarta/Makassar (Flight)/Toraja Land (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 12: Toraja
(B, L, D)
Day 13: Toraja
(B, L, D)
Day 14: Toraja Land/Makassar (Drive)/Bali (Flight)
(B, L)
Day 15: Depart Bali
(B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Medan

Arrival at Medan the northern city of Medan where we are cordially welcomed and transferred to our hotel. Hotel checkin starts at 2PM. Medan is well connected with flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali). The city is home to several ethnic groups including Javanese, Batak, Chinese, Mandarin, Malay, Minangkabau, Karo and South Indian each speaking their own languages plus Bhasha (the national Indonesia) and of course English which is also widely spoken. Evening, we are introduced to Sumatra and this beautiful city visiting the majestic 30 roomed Maimoon Palace built around 1890 and is an Istana (Royal Palace in Bhasha). Then we explore the Palace of Sultan Deli and the Grand Mosque of Medan both known for their architecture and colours. Culminate the day with a delicious welcome dinner of local and regional specialities.
Overnight: Arya Duta Hotel, (Deluxe Rooms) Medan (1 night) (D)

Day 02: Medan/Samosir Island (Drive)

Terraces of Grain. Samosir Island North Sumatra, Indonesia.

After breakfast, we explore further Medan seeing more sites and street scenes. After lunch consisting of typical Sumatran specialities, we take a scenic drive to the Parapat Mountain and the stunning Lake Toba. Enroute we see the North Sumatran rubber, oil palm and cocoa plantations depicting the life styles of rural Sumatra. We meet with Indonesians from all over the country and different walks of life as we cross on ferry Lake Toba reputed to be the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Overnight: Samosir Villa Resort, (Standard Rooms) Samosir Island (2 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 03: Samosir Island Exploration 

Today we spend the time in the Samosir Island with its traditional villages of Tomok (the place of the old tombs of the Sidabutar Kings). At Ambarita, we see stone chairs and tables where the fate and execution of the enemies took place. This was the practise when cannibalism was still being practised – the era of the Sialagan Kings. At the Simanindo Batak Museum we will see a compact exhibition illuminating Batak tribal culture with wood carvings and traditional costumes. Lunch at a local Samosir restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 04: Samosir/Parapat/Berastagi (Drive)

After a brief ferry ride to Parapat, we continue to Brastagi in the Karo Highlands. En route, we visit the historical village of Pematang Purba which is a site to see. It has tribal houses of the Simalungun Batak chiefs that are now part of the museum. After touring the Palace of King Simalungun we visit the Sipiso Piso waterfall where we have a magnificent view of the falls. At Brastagi we visit the traditional fruit market, truly a lively place. Time permitting, we will also view Gundaling Hills known for its two active volcanoes. Hot lunch at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Hotel Grand Mutiara, (Superior Rooms) Berastagi (1 night) (B, L, D)

Day 05: Berastagi/Medan (Drive)/Jakarta (Flight)

After breakfast a leisurely drive to Medan where we visit the Tjong File Mansion, former residence of a famous Chinese merchant. The architecture here is exceptionally interesting - a mixture of Victorian and Chinese with an exceptional collection of art works. We now bid farewell to Sumatra with a short flight to Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta.  We are transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Swiss Bell Bandara Bandara Hotel, (Superior Rooms) Jakarta (1 night) (B)

Day 06: Jakarta/Pangkalan Bun (Flight)/Orangutan Sanctuary (Boat)

Pondok Tanggui, Tanjung Putin National Park, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

An early morning flight gets us to Pangkalan Bun gateway to the world of Orangatuns. We drive to the pier in Kumai from where we board our Klotoks - a traditional wooden river boat specially designed to help navigate amongst the streams of Tanjung Putin National Park. The park serves as an orangutan rehabilitation centre, where orphaned or formerly captive orangutans are trained to live in the wild. We view the daily hour-long feedings of the orangutans from the jungle platforms. The river cruise will be our first of many real experiences in the rainforest watching birds and wildlife. Enjoying delicious Indonesian lunch cooked onboard we navigate the river viewing the birds and wildlife. The 2hour boat cruise gets us to Tanjung Harapan, where after a short walk in the jungles to reach the feeding station. We will be looking out for orangutans in their natural habitats and have closee views before navigating up river to the Rimba Lodge for a 2-night stay.
Overnight: Rimba Eco Lodge, (Emerald Rooms) Pangkalan Bun (2 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 07: Pondok Tanguy and Camp Leakey (Boat)

Day exploring nature at its best! We are in for more exciting sightings of orangutans as we take our boat to the feeding station at Pondok Tanguy. Here orangutans are fed in the mornings. After a short jungle walk, we return to our boat and continue to explore the rainforest enjoying another delicious lunch prepared by our boat crew. Arrive at the famous Camp Leaky established in 1971 by orangutan researcher Biruté Galdikas. Trek through the jungles using an easy path directly to the feeding station located here. After an exciting day, we take our boat back to our lodge for the evening. (B, L, D)

Day 08: Pangkalan Bun/Semarang (Boat) (Flight)/Yogyakarta (Drive)

After a 3 hours boat cruise and drive appreciating the rural landscape and a hot lunch at a Semarang restaurant we take a flight get to the historical city of Yogyakarta. Welcome in the traditional Javanese style. Evening is free at leisure. Located in the heart of Yogyakarta, The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – a MGallery Collection, is luxury accommodation with a colonial landmark from the early 1900’s. We will enjoy a comfortable 3-night stay.
Overnight: The Phonenix Jogja, (Superior Rooms) Yogyakarta (3 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 09: Borobudur

Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia

Our tour of this historical city starts with a visit to the Kraton, the Sultan’s Palace located in the city centre. The palace was the hub of the Mataram Islam kingdom and is now a center of the Javanese arts and culture. We then head to the Borobudur Temple complex. This famous Buddhist temple, dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs and around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of Buddha. After lunch, at a local restaurant we visit the 9th Century Mendut Buddhist Temple. Evening, we are in for a treat of a delicious Yogyakarta dinner followed by an artistic theatre performances featuring a beautiful ballet of Ramayana. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Prambanan

Today we visit the stunning Prambanan Temple Compounds, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of 240 Hindu temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the Indonesian version of the Ramayana epic. We will also see  masterpieces of stone carvings dating back to the 8th century AD. Lunch at a local restaurant with the afternoon free to enjoy and explore Yogyakarta. Perhaps visit Malioboro, a well-known shopping promenade that sells all sorts of beautiful Indonesian batiks and carvings. Evening, is an optional Wayang kulit performance, the famous shadow puppet theatre of Java recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The stories are usually drawn from Hindu epics, like the Ramayana or Mahabharata. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Yogyakarta/Makassar (Flight)/Toraja Land (Drive)

Traditional homes of the Toraja's people on Sulawesi island. Indonesia

An early morning flight gets us to Makassar, from where we start our journey to the famed Toraja Land. The drive will take us through the most picturesque landscape of South Sulawesi and includes a typical cuisine lunch at Barru Beach. Rantepao is a cool city, approximately 800m above sea level. We arrive at Tana Toraja early evening. It has a unique cultural set in stunning scenery with bright green rice terraces, tall limestone outcrops and bamboo graves set against a backdrop of blue misty mountains. Traditional Tongkonan houses stand proudly in this setting and in many ways the impacts of globalisation and tourism have not impacted the way of life. In fact, very little has changed in the last 100 years. Evening is free to visit the local bazaar and have personal encounters with the friendly Sulawesi people. We have a 3night stay at our heritage hotel.
Overnight: Toraja Heritage Hotel, Toraja Land (3 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 12: Toraja

Two full days at Toraja to allow us to witness the incredible Toraja. Our day begins with a visit to the market in Rantepao which draws people from all over the region for produce like fruits, vegetables, farming tools and live fish. We also visit the adjacent livestock market which is even more interesting and maybe louder followed by a visit of the royal family tombs at Suaya, a cliff-side gravesite guarded by wood-carved painted effigies, called tau tau. We see the huge trees in Kambira where babies and small children, after death, are traditionally buried in trees. The belief is that they will continue to grow with the tree. The Torajans do not bury their dead underground or in a cave. Before the corpse is placed in such a "tomb", it is laid to rest for a short period in the Tongkonan (the clan house). The belief is that the soul of the deceased would not leave, as long as the body is still at home. Afternoon, we visit Londa, the natural cave grave and the Kete Kesu village famous for its hanging graves and traditional woodcarving craftsmen. Lunch at a local restaurant in Rantepao with a lovely view of the rice fields. The Torajans are famous for their spectacular, expensive and rather gruesome burial rites. After a person's death, the body is kept, often for several years, while money is saved to pay for the actual funeral ceremony, known as tomate. During the funeral, which may last up to a week, ritual dances and buffalo fights are held, and animals sacrificed buffaloes ferry the soul of the deceased to the afterlife. Should there be a funeral ceremony taking place, we will attempt to attend one. (B, L, D)

Day 13: Toraja

Man painting a traditional Toraja design on piece of wood, Kete Kesu, Toraja Land, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Another interesting and culturally rich day as we see the unique 'Tongkonan' houses each decorated with several buffalo horns decorating their front doors. Later, we visit a traditional cotton weaving village of Batutumonga, which is surrounded by the highland area and has a beautiful landscape. After lunch here we visit Lo' ko mata, known for the unique graves placed on rocky slopes. We have time to walk across the villages Pana and Tikala and have a wonderful opportunity to meet the local folks villagers and maybe help them conversing in English. (B, L, D)

Day 14: Toraja Land/Makassar (Drive)/Bali (Flight)

Our journey touching some of the many islands of the world's largest archipelago is now coming to an end as we drive to Parepare town where we have lunch and then to Makassar Airport for our flight to Bali. Upon arrival we are transferred to Sanur in Bali. We overnight at the environmentally friendly 428 roomed hotel bordered by sandy beach set in lush topical gardens. The resort is known for spectacular ocean views probably the ideal resort to end this interesting journey.
Overnight: Prama Sanur Hotel, Bali (1 night) (B, L)

Day 15: Depart Bali

After breakfast we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight. If you would like to extend your stay please contact us. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates & Prices (Main Tour)

We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

2022 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Sep 04 & Nov 06 US$ 3595 US$ 655 - -
2023 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Mar 05, May 28, Jul 09, Sep 15 & Nov 19 US$ 3780 US$ 685 - -
2022 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Sep 04 & Nov 06 CA$ 4674 CA$ 852 -  
2023 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Mar 05, May 28, Jul 09, Sep 15 & Nov 19 CA$ 4914 CA$ 891 -  


Notes

N/A


Inclusions (Main Tour)


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 41 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking tour guides
  • Entrance fees to museums, orangutan sanctuaries as per the itinerary
  • Boat and ferry rides as per the itinerary
Not Included
  • Within tour airfares currently at US$ 680 per person (subject to change)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips/gratuities
  • Visas and camera fees at sites
  • Any Vaccination or PCR fees

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 08 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.

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