4th Nov 2023 - 13th Nov 2023
10 days/Indonesia /Challenging
This four-day trek gives you an insight into Sumatra’s natural beauty and biological diversity as well as a great opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
This trek requires stamina, a good level of fitness, a positive mental attitude and bucketloads of determination as you will be trekking on steep and uneven terrain through hot and humid primary jungle and stay in basic campsites well off the beaten track.
Along the way you’ll learn traditional jungle survival skills such as identifying edible fruits and plants as you gain a deeper understanding about the complex ecosystem and how the local communities thrive here.
If you’re lucky you may encounter some of the local wildlife such as orangutan, gibbons, hornbills, pig tail macaques, Thomas leaf monkeys and lizards. Although more than 100 tigers live in the area it is extremely unlikely that we will spot any in the wild. You will however attend a talk by a local tiger conservation expert and learn about conservation and anti-poaching efforts in the region. On the final day there will be a chance to visit a local animal rescue centre.
This tour is graded as challenging for someone already at a good general level of fitness, due to the hot, wet and humid climate, carrying your own backpack each day (your backpack could weigh 6-7kg), the hilly, uneven and rough jungle terrain and basic accommodation and bathroom facilities.
You must arrive in Sumatra fit and prepared for this challenge. You should start training at least 6 months before departure to ensure the best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge.
Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the actual trek and is the best way to prepare your body for the numerous ascents and descents involved.
Increasing your cardiovascular endurance, core strength and leg strength will also benefit you greatly so resistance workouts should be added to your training regime in addition to plenty of hill walking. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, couch to 5k, MyFitnessPal etc. If you attempt to complete the challenge without training it will make the trek unnecessarily difficult and may be detrimental to your experience, and the experience of your team mates.
The climate in Sumatra is hot, humid and wet all year round. It cannot be stressed enough that the distinction between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons is not marked, and while weather patterns and rainfall is unpredictable it will generally be hot and wet for most of the trip. October is the wettest month, but November historically sees approx. 136.7mm rainfall per day and you are likely to experience short sharp showers throughout the day, often in the middle of the afternoon. Temperatures historically reach up to 30°C during the day and drop to around 23°C at night although it may feel cooler at higher altitudes. The humidity is high, usually at least 83% every day.
Please note: the temperatures and conditions given here are historically accurate but climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.
The terrain varies greatly on this trek, from overgrown jungle paths to good open tracks and smaller paths. You can expect uneven and often slippery ground underfoot. There will be a number of steep ascents and long descents so you must arrive in Sumatra fit and prepared. You must be prepared to climb over overgrown vegetation, tree roots and other jungle obstacles. The paths can be muddy and slippery after rain. This trek is not easy.
During the trek you will spend each night camping in jungle clearings set up as temporary camps. In the jungle camps you will sleep in tents (two sharing a three-man tent). You need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (cotton or silk) and a mosquito net.
There are no showers so you should bring a pack of baby wipes for general hygiene. It may be possible to bathe in some of the streams near camp; if you do this you must use natural, bio-degradable products which will not contaminate the water (products from Lush.co.uk are great for this).
Basic toilets are available at camp, as is cold running water for washing. If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must inform the guides you are stopping and find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag and carried to camp.
Sumatran food is traditionally very spicy with lots of chilli, lemon grass, ginger, garlic and coriander. The spiciest food tends to be from Padang in West Sumatra.
Meals are cooked by your trek team and will comprise of various simple local dishes served with rice or noodles. Plates, mugs, cutlery and other equipment are provided for you and dietary requirements can be catered for if we are notified in advance.
You will be accompanied by first aid trained English-speaking guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking, culture and nature in the region. You will also be accompanied by a team of local support staff, a Different Travel Company UK tour manager and Cats Protection representative.
You must be at least 18 years old to participate on this trek unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old, but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.
The trek can be undertaken by anyone with a good level of fitness, who is healthy and determined.
Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure or someone who would like to take part in a life-changing fundraising experience in the beautiful landscape.
E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport & copy
ATM card + credit card(s)
Cash (£ Sterling)
Travel insurance information
LED head torch
Trainers/camp booties for evenings
Non-cotton Trek trousers
Non-cotton long sleeve top
Non-cotton socks + underwear
Waterproof jacket + trousers
Sun hat with wide brim
Neck cooling ‘Cobber’
Buff www.buffwear.co.uk (for dust)
Casual attire for travel days
Wet wipes* (small pack)
Toilet paper* (1-2 rolls)
Sun cream (SPF 30+)*
Small travel towel
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks* (for used toilet paper)
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters/blister plasters (Compeed)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Throat lozenges (optional)
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses
Video Camera + charger
Portable battery pack
Suitcase for checked luggage
Daypack (25-30 litres)
Dry bag/rucksack liner
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak) plus 1-litre water bottle or
3x 1-litre standard water bottle
Water purification (optional)
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)
Favourite tea/coffee/choc (optional)
Ear plugs (essential)
Sleeping bag (comfort -5°C)
Silk sleeping bag liner
Pyjamas (use your thermals for trek)
Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please ensure you pack your boots in your hand baggage in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or goes missing.
*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options.
London – Medan
Fly to Medan on indirect overnight flights, arriving the next day.
Upon arriving in Medan you will transfer to the hotel and, depending on flight times, you will have the rest of the day to explore at your leisure. We will gather for a welcome dinner and briefing about the days ahead.
Medan – Bukit Lawang – Gunung Leuser National Park
After an early breakfast we take the scenic drive to Bukit Lawang (approx. 4 hours) where we will stop for lunch. This afternoon we cross the river and start our trek up into the hills of the Gunung Leuser National Park. We will set up camp close to the river.
Trekking: Approx. 4 – 5 hours
Gunung Leuser National Park
Over the next few days we will trek into the dense jungles of the national park, a UNESCO world heritage side, and experience the unique sights and sounds of the rainforest. It is hoped that you will encounter a wide range of wildlife over the next few days including orangutan, gibbons, hornbills, pig tail macaques, Thomas leaf monkeys and lizards. More than 100 tigers live in the area, but it is extremely unlikely that we will spot any. Though our expert guides will be keeping an eye out for pug marks and other evidence that they are living in the area.
Trekking: Approx. 5 – 6 hours
Gunung Leuser National Park
Today we leave the area frequented by the day trekkers and make our way deeper into the jungle. You will get a greater understanding of the ecosystem of this unique island as our guides share their survival skills. They will point out the native plants and explain how they are used in traditional food and medicine and demonstrate how there are used for making tools and building materials.
Trekking: Approx. 5 – 6 hours
Gunung Leuser National Park – Bukit Lawang
It’s the last day of trekking today as we make our way through the jungle in the morning. After lunch we make our way back to Bukit Lawang – by river tubing down the Bohorok River. This is an exhilarating and amazing experience but there is an option to walk if you prefer.
Trekking: Approx. 4 – 5 hours
Today is a free day to relax and enjoy the peaceful riverside surroundings of Bukit Lawang. You can take part in a range of optional excursions – including another chance to see orangutans. This afternoon a local tiger conservation expert will talk to you about the history of the Sumatran tiger and the efforts being made to ensure its future on the island.
Bukit Lawang – Medan
We head back to Medan today and will spend some time visiting a local animal rescue centre before a celebratory farewell dinner.
Medan – UK
We will transfer to the airport for our return over-night flight back to the UK. We will arrive back on Monday 13 November 2023.
N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather, the ability of the group, wildlife movements and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.
Registration fee: £330
Self-funded: £1745 trip costs
You will also need to budget for airport taxes and fuel surcharges not included (currently approx. £325).
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.
If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.