Circumnavigation of Sumatra

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Tour Description

Join us for our Sumatra expedition, an in-depth immersion in Indonesia’s largest island and its wealth of unspoiled wilderness and traditional cultures. Meet the Batak peoples and learn about their unique dress code, religious beliefs, and customs. Watch as young boys prove their manhood on Nias Island by jumping over six-foot-high stone megaliths. And—a true highlight of Sumatra adventure travel—view orphaned orangutans at Bukit Lawang Orangutan Rehabilitation Station as well as some of the 580 bird species recorded in this region.

Sumatra and Indonesia Expedition highlights include:

  • Customized tour of Singapore at the beginning of your Indonesia expedition, includes the National Orchid Garden and Sultan Mosque.
  • Special, permission-only visit to Lhokseumawe for a cultural performance and hiking in the surrounding forests.
  • A high point of Sumatra adventure travel: a visit to Gunung Leuser National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site sheltering over 15,000 square miles of tropical rain forest.
  • Afternoon drive to a nature reserve in the hills above Bengkulu—where the world’s largest flower, the rafflesias, are often found.
  • Relaxed and comfortable ambiance aboard the 110-guest Clipper Odyssey, perfectly suited and well-equipped for an Indonesia tour.

What to expect:

While Sumatra and Indonesia adventure travel require a relatively low level of exertion, we do ask that you be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, on uneven and often slippery paths, and in crowded areas. We plan our Sumatra tours for seasons when the temperatures will be the most comfortable—expect upper 70°sF to low 90°sF. You may be required to wear a head scarf or remove shoes during visits on this trip. Before departure, we will send a list of recommended reading and suggested clothing.


Day 1-2

Depart USA / Singapore

Depart on your independent flight to Singapore. Upon arrival transfer to the Clipper Odyssey for embarkation and overnight pier side.

Day 3

Singapore / Embark Clipper Odyssey

After a morning at leisure and lunch onboard enjoy an afternoon tour of Singapore. Visit the National Orchid Garden and the colonial heart of the city. The Sultan Mosque on Arab Street offers stunning photographic opportunities and in Chinatown, we visit the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple. Return to the Clipper Odyssey this evening and set sail.

Day 4

Malacca, Malaysia

This morning we explore Malacca, a 14th-century port city ruled by Malaysian princes, the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese—a tumultuous history brilliantly illustrated at the Ethnographical Museum. We visit the former official residence of the Dutch Governor, the impressive Christ Church, Baba Nyonya Museum, and the Portuguese fortress, known as A’Famosa, built in the 16th century. Enjoy lunch on board and spend a relaxing afternoon at sea.

Day 5

Belawan, Sumatra / Brastagi

From the port of Belawan we depart on a full-day tour to Brastagi in the Karo Highlands, at over 4,000 feet. As we travel away from the coast we experience the refreshing cool highlands. Enjoy wonderful views of volcanic mountains as we make our way to Peceren, a Batak Karo tribal village, where we observe the intricately carved traditional dwellings and witness daily life. Enjoy a delicious Indonesian lunch, followed by a visit to a fascinating market filled with local fruits and vegetables. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight pier side.

Day 6

Gunung Leuser National Park

Today we visit Gunung Leuser National Park. A special highlight is the opportunity to view endangered Sumatran orangutans during feeding time at the park’s Bukit Lawang Orangutan Rehabilitation Station. These endearing animals are orphans who are being reconditioned to live in the wild again.

Day 7

Expedition Stop

Pending permission, this morning we disembark in Lhokseumawe for a cultural performance. In the afternoon we explore the area by foot and search the lush forests for endemic birds and wildlife.

Day 8-10

Banda Aceh

Today, we visit Banda Aceh and witness firsthand the effects of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. The power of the tsumani is evident as we see a 250-foot ship perched several miles inland in the same location it was deposited after riding the massive wave. We also visit the Tsunami Museum, built in the shape of a ship with its roof resembling a tidal wave. Before returning to our ship for lunch, we are treated to a cultural ceremony and performance by the Achenese People.

Day 9

Gunung Leuser National Park

Gunung Leuser National Park, together with Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks, make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site sheltering over 15,000 square miles of tropical rain forest. Having visited the eastern side of the park, today we approach from a different angle to explore the western side. We board Zodiacs to travel upriver and search for a multitude of bird species including the red billed malkoha and rhinoceros hornbill.

Day 10

Nias Island / Cross the Equator

Well off the main trade routes, this island has retained its unique cultural heritage, including wonderful examples of tribal art and architecture. We visit a traditional village, and watch a thrilling stone jumping demonstration, where talented local athletes leap over six-foot-tall stone megaliths, a rite of passage designed to train them for warfare and defense.

Day 11

Siberut Island, Mentawai Islands

Today we board Zodiacs and journey upriver to a small village for a walking tour and cultural performance. The dense virgin rain forest along the river shelters some 134 species of birds and rare species of monkeys, such as the Kloss gibbon, pig-tailed langur, and Mentawai langur. Return to the ship for lunch then enjoy an afternoon snorkel or glass-bottom boat tour over the island’s fringing coral reefs.

Day 12

Padang / Solok

Today the ship docks at Telukbayur Harbor near Padang where we are greeted with a pier-side welcome, then board coaches for a drive to the village of Solok. Here we meet the Minangkabau, whose society is founded on matrilineal traditions combined with Adat, a nature-based philosophy, that has remained intact even as they have adopted a strict Muslim faith.

Day 13


The British East India Company established a pepper-trading center and garrison here in 1685, and maintained their presence for 150 years before ceding it to the Dutch in 1824. In the afternoon we drive out of the city to a nature reserve high in the hills above Bengkulu where the world’s largest flower, the rafflesias are often found.

Day 14


Today we visit Krui Village, known for their fine weaving; many ikats from this region are displayed in museums around the world. Enjoy a welcome ceremony and cultural presentation, including a weaving demonstration and opportunity to shop for ikats, and go on a nature walk in the nearby Bukit Barisan National Park.

Day 15

Ujung Kulon National Park, Java / Krakatoa Island

This morning we stop on the southwest tip of Java to visit Ujung Kulon National Park, a World Heritage Site. This national park includes the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest, it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rain forests on the Java plain. Many species of flora and fauna can be found here and we search for specialties such as the Javan lorikeet, Sunda coucal, and Javan kingfisher.

This afternoon the ship approaches the Sunda Strait and the fascinating volcanic island of Krakatoa, which is world-famous for its cataclysmic eruption in 1883, with a roar heard from Perth to Rangoon, and a cloud of ash and pumice that stretched 16 miles into the sky. We have splendid opportunities to photograph this legendary island as the ship slowly cruises past.

Day 16

Way Kambas

This morning we arrive at Way Kambas National Park, one of the oldest parks in Indonesia established to protect important flora and fauna in southern Sumatra. We board our Zodiacs for a river exploration as we search for such avian species as the black-thighed falconet, blue-rumped parrot, and whiskered treeswift. With luck, we may spot the rare white-winged duck.

Day 17

At Sea

Our lecturers recap our experiences as we spend a relaxing day at sea. Celebrate the end of our circumnavigation with a festive captain’s farewell dinner.

Day 18

Singapore / Disembark Clipper Odyssey / USA

After an early breakfast, we disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for independent flights homeward.


Pricing Information

Clipper Odyssey

One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

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