Sumatra Vegan Tour

Orangutan on the Island of Sumatra

Join the VegVoyages Foundation and Vegan Travel Asia on a very intimate and unique adventure in support of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). Proceeds will go toward sponsoring the work of SOCP, which is the welfare and conservation efforts of the Sumatran Orangutan. This unique adventure also aims to raise funds for the current VegVoyages Foundation programs.

Join us on this adventure, visit Lake Toba – the Largest Volcanic Lake in the World, lend a hand and meet the incredible team at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, and learn first-hand about the fight to save the orangutan and Indonesia’s rainforests!

What's included?

Vegan Meals

32 Vegan meals
(11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 10 Dinners)

Accommodation

11 Nights Accommodations
(a combination jungle eco-retreat, charming lakeside bed & breakfasts, a 5-star hotel, and a really cool convent with the coolest sister “vegan” chief we have ever met)

Tour Transport

  • Private Air-Conditioned Mini Bus
  • Boats
  • Airport transfer by Private Car

Also Included

  • Donation to Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
  • Donation to Orangutan Haven Sanctuary & Education Center
  • Donation to Compassionate Citizens of the Future (Plant-based focused) Educational Afterschool Program in Cambodia.
  • Donation to Carbon reduction program through Induction Stove programs in Nepal – helping to reduce carbon emissions at the same time alleviate acute respiratory problems among mothers and daughters in Nepal
  • Sponsor grassroots spay and neuter program in Sumatra.
  • Vegan Welcome Package (includes local vegan snacks, batik hand fans, tote bag, etc.)
  • Complimentary Refill Water Bottle and Unlimited Drinking Water

Even More Included

  • Live Music and Folk Dances
  • Vegan Meet-up Dinner with Local Vegans
  • Vegan Meals with Local Families
  • Vegan Cooking Class
  • Volunteering at Orangutan Haven
  • Fruits Tasting Sessions
  • Special Guests of Indonesia’s leading vegan and animal rights activists in Sumatra.
  • Traditional Indonesian massage therapy treatment
  • Complimentary Juices, Hard Drinks, and Beers on “Dinner & Drinks” nights
  • Community Carbon Offsets to Offset 100% of Group’s Carbon Emissions
  • All Guide Fees
  • All National Park Fees
  • Daily Local Language Lessons
  • Daily Local Cultural Lessons
  • Conservation and Protection Awareness Talks from Frontline Experts in Indonesia
  • Jungle Trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park
  • River Tubing at Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Airport Pick Up
  • Airport Drop Off
  •  …and all other activities, entertainment, and entry fees as per the itinerary

What’s NOT included?

International airfare, domestic flight from Jakarta to Medan (if any), personal travel insurance, gratuities/tips, laundry, Indonesia visa fee (if applicable), and other items of a personal nature.

Tour Dates & Pricing

Sumatra – Vegan Tour 2024

$3,895 (USD)

All Vegan Travel Asia by VegVoyages Adventures runs on a twin share basis. If you are a single traveler, we will pair you up with another single traveler of the same gender. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip, upon making a booking, please select “yes” for Single Supplement and the cost shown below will be added to your total adventure cost.

$595 for 12 days: The VegVoyages Foundation First Annual Fundraiser Trip to Island of Sumatra

What your funding will be supporting?

Donation to Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP):

SOCP is a collaborative initiative based in Indonesia which works on all aspects of conservation of the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis).

By donating to SOCP we will support:

  • the protection and preservation of critically endangered orangutans and their habitats
  • contributing to their long-term survival.

Donation to Orangutan Haven Sanctuary & Education Center:

The Orangutan Safe Haven Sanctuary and Education Center is a visionary sanctuary designed to provide a permanent home for orangutans that cannot be reintroduced into the wild. As a one-of-a-kind facility, it will serve as a remarkable resource for education, conservation, and recreation.

By donating to the Haven and Education Center, we will be helping:

  • to provide a safe haven for rescued orangutans
  • to offer rehabilitation, care, and education programs
  • to promote their well-being and raise awareness about orangutan conservation.

Donation to Compassionate Citizens of the Future (Plant-based focused) Education Afterschool Program in Cambodia:

Afterschool Program is a project by VegVoyages Foundation which offers equitable education access to students in rural Cambodia while incorporating values of compassion, environmental consciousness, and conservation through our separate curriculum. Through interactive sessions and engaging activities, this program equips children with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices that benefit their health, animals, and the environment, fostering a more sustainable and compassionate future.

By supporting this program, you’ll assist in:

  • Providing curriculum to a new batch of students.
  • Taking students visit Animal Sanctuary
  • Engaging the students’ in community work

Sponsoring grassroots spay and neuter program in Sumatra:

Management of stray population specially dogs have been a huge problem in this region. By sponsoring a grassroots spay and neuter program in Sumatra, you actively contribute to addressing the challenge of managing the stray dog population in the region. Your support plays a crucial role in controlling the stray dogs and reducing conflicts between humans and dogs in the community, creating a safer and more harmonious environment for all.

Donation to Carbon Reduction Program in Nepal:

Through Induction Stove Programs in Rural Baglung, Nepal, we are helping to reduce carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuel/ firewood-based stoves. This program assists in:

  • Provide access to clean energy
  • In minimizing the risk of acute respiratory problems among mothers and daughters in Nepal.

Our 12-day vegan journey begins in the bustling historical city of Medan, Sumatra. A testament to the island’s ethnic diversity and reflective of the diversity of Indonesia as a whole, Medan is the economic, political, and social capital of North Sumatra, and is the largest city on the island. Sumatra is also the largest island in the country, but it is just one of the 17,500 plus islands that make up Indonesia – the largest archipelago in the world!

From Medan, we’ll head out into the rainforest to one of the few places in the wild that orangutans still call their home. As guests of the incredible team behind the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program – we’ll spend our time with them both in the rainforest and at their extraordinary sanctuary learning about and supporting the important conservation efforts they are doing to save the critically endangered orangutans and these great apes’ habitat – which in turn, saves countless of other species who call this ecosystem their home as well.

We’ll also visit the stunning and truly epic – Lake Toba. Created roughly 75,000 years ago after a massive volcanic eruption said to be the biggest volcanic blast on the planet in over 2.5 million years, Toba is the second largest lake in Southeast Asia and is so big it has an island (actually a peninsula) the size of Singapore at its center. In the cultural heartland of the ancient Batak people, we’ll learn about the rich culture and traditions of the Toba Batak tribe. Historically rumored to be a fierce tribe of savage headhunters, the Batak people’s “reputation” kept them to a great degree isolated from others, which in turn kept their traditions and customs very much alive and intact. 

On our VegVoyages Foundation’s 1st Annual Fundraiser Trip, we invite you to join our friends and us in the fight to save the orangutan and Indonesia’s rainforests, while at the same time also supporting important programs, compassionate education and outreach, and social initiatives for animals, women, and children in Indonesia, Cambodia and Nepal on our vegan journey to the island of Sumatra!

Itinerary

Get day to day insight of the tour.

Day 1 MEDAN

Selamat datang ke Sumatra (welcome to Sumatra)! The largest island in Indonesia and the 6th largest island in the world! With just over 60 million people, Sumatra is home to over a dozen different ethnic groups, 6 religions, and 52 languages. Its geographical location has played an important role in its history and diversity as it sits along the ancient trading routes on the Melaka Strait, one of the world’s most important historical maritime trading bodies of water. Once called the “Island of Gold” because of its rich gold deposits in its formidable mountains, Sumatra is made up of some of Indonesia’s most stunning and dramatic landscapes. Full of stories and steeped in legends that seem to jump right out of the pages of a classic old adventure novel, with volcanic highlands protected by once fierce headhunters and its thick jungles home to rhinos, tigers, and of course – our favorite of the great apes, orangutans – Sumatra is like no other!

Sumatra was not just visited by powerful empires but was also home to one of the greatest kingdoms in all of South East Asia – the legendary Srivijaya Empire that ruled from the 7th to 13th centuries. As traders and merchants arrived searching for their riches, the island’s influence and natural resources caught the eye of the Europeans. Marco Polo visited in 1292, followed later by the British and Dutch who set up trading outposts and garrisons along its coast forever affecting the future of the island and its people. To understand our journey over the next 12 days, it is important to understand the story of Sumatra, and what better place to do that than in the capital of North Sumatra – where the culturally rich diversity and intriguing history of the island is ever so evident. After checking in, you may want to relax before we meet in the late afternoon for our Orientation Meeting where you’ll have a chance to get to know your fellow travelers better while we discuss the adventure ahead. After, we’ll settle down for a fantastic feast of Indonesian-Medan-Chinese-Minang-Javanese classics all specially veganized for us! Since Medan is known as a foodie town because of its ethnic diversity – be ready to eat!

Highlights of the Day: 

  • Detailed Orientation Meeting where you will get to know your fellow travelers and adventure leaders better as we discuss the adventure ahead and have our Introduction to Orangutan Conservation and Sumatra’s History, Cultures, and Diversity Presentation. During our orientation, we’ll also discuss local customs, traditions, etiquette, greetings, polite ways to address people, polite ways to sit, cultural dos and don’ts, respectful ways to dress, and more. We’ll also have our first Bahasa Indonesia language lesson!
  • Your first official “Taste of Sumatra” – where we’ll enjoy a variety of mouthwatering local fusion dishes specially veganized for us.
  • Introduction to the Eating Etiquette of Indonesia where we’ll learn how to eat Indonesian food properly following local eating customs and etiquette.


Vegan Meals
Included: Dinner and Drinks

Day 2 MEDAN

Selamat Pagi (good morning)! After breakfast, we’ll join a longtime local resident of the city and set out to explore the many faces of Medan learning about its different communities, cultures, and history – a microcosm of the island of Sumatra, and what could be said of Indonesia, as a whole. Medan’s strategic location on a patch of elevated marshy land between the Deli and Babura Rivers that exits to the Melaka Strait was a coveted strategic location. In the 16th century, the Portuguese noted a small settlement here (which they eyed). This settlement grew into an important trading center that developed in the second half of the 17th century under the control of the Deli Sultanate who made it their capital after seceding from Aceh in 1669. The Deli Sultanate was originally established by the wealthy Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam, which made its fortunes in the lucrative pepper spice trade. The Dutch would make Medan their economic and administrative center in this part of Indonesia in 1886 setting up big tobacco plantations followed by rubber, coffee, cocoa & palm. These plantations, along with the port to ship these commodities, needed massive amounts of labor, so the Dutch did what they always did – they “imported” bonded and contracted labor (often working under harsh conditions) – and regional traders and merchants followed suit arriving in tandem with the city’s growth. After exploring the city, we’ll settle down for a vegan feast of local Indo classics.

Though outside of the archipelago it would be hard to find someone who could name a dish from Indonesia, Indonesia actually has wonderfully tasty and diverse cuisines! You have to remember what brought the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, and before them the Indian, Arab, and Chinese traders to the archipelago. Spices of course! This maritime trade, which lasted for centuries, had a very big influence on the country’s cuisines that developed largely as a result of the fusion between local ingredients and cooking traditions and the cooking traditions of the spice-seeking merchants and laborers from India, the Mid-East, China, Thailand, and subsequently, Europe. The trade also introduced new ingredients brought by the Europeans from the Americas – which were quickly adopted into local cuisines (one such item being the magnificent chili!). Indonesia’s cuisines are as varied as its well over 300 different ethnic groups, with local cooking styles and recipes changing from island to island, province to province, village to village, and home to home. After lunch, we’ll introduce you to a traditional Indonesian massage treatment to get you ready for the days ahead. As the colors of the day turn to night, we’ll join local vegans for a special meet-up dinner at our favorite vegan spot in Sumatra, which is a “vegan institution” here, where we’ll be guests of the city’s eldest and most passionate vegan.

Highlights of the Day: 

  • Special vegan fusion breakfast feast of traditional dishes from around the archipelago.
  • Join a longtime resident of Medan who will introduce us to the city’s rich and diverse cultural history as we explore the city’s historical streets, palaces, mosques, and temples.
  • Traditional Indonesian massage treatment.
  • Join the city’s leading local vegan activists for dinner at our favorite vegan restaurant in Sumatra where we’ll learn about the growth of veganism in Medan and in Indonesia in general.


Vegan Meals
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 3, 4 & 5 GUNUNG LEUSER NATIONAL PARK

After learning about Indonesia’s rich cultural diversity, people, and history – we’re ready to head out to the rainforests of Sumatra! But before we do, we’ll visit the headquarters of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program where we’ll learn about the different projects being implemented to help save the orangutans and other animals that call Sumatra their home. The island of Sumatra is also known for its coffee the world over, so this morning when we meet up with the team from SOCP and YEL, we’ll also sample Orangutan Coffee (NO, this has no relation in any way to Luwak Coffee) – which is an innovative project supported by the PanEco Foundation and SOCP to illustrate how economics can work in harmony with conservation. The Orangutan coffee project helps farmers operate ecologically friendly coffee plantations without clearing rainforests.

Then off to the rainforest we go! As guests of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, we’ll spend the coming days learning firsthand about the incredible fight to save the orangutans of Sumatra and their habitat and helping out where we can. At approximately 7,927 square kilometers, the lush tropical mountainous jungles of Gunung Leuser National Park are home to many critically endangered species, including Sumatran Rhinos, Sumatran Tigers, Sumatran Elephants, and of course one of the most intelligent of the great apes – the Sumatran Orangutans. Sumatra is one of just two places on earth where the Orangutan can be found in the wild, the other place is on the island of Borneo. In a never-ending struggle as their environment is encroached upon, the Sumatran Orangutan faces a constant battle to survive.

Arriving at our eco-lodge on the edge of the rainforest, this will be our home for the next 3 days where you’ll meet with the experts from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program and the Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem (Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari – YEL), who’ll be introducing their ongoing conservation efforts to save the Orangutans and their vital threatened habitat. On the frontline of the battle to save the Orangutans and their habitat for two decades, these organizations are leading the battle to save the orangutans and their habitat.

Waking up every day to the sounds of the jungle, the river below, and possibly some monkeys bouncing on your roof, we will spend two of the days here venturing deep into the jungle with the local team in the hopes of sighting some of these beautiful and extraordinary creatures. The Sumatran Orangutan interestingly has different habits and a different lifestyle than their cousins in Borneo – they have their own “culture” as such. Returning to our jungle huts by the river after our treks, you’ll have time to freshen up and catch your breath before we meet up for delectable evening vegan meals and refreshing drinks.

Highlights: 

  • Staying at a sustainability-focused eco-lodge at the edge of the rainforest.
  • In-depth presentation from the leading frontline activists of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) on the plight of the orangutans and the fight to save their habitat.
  • An in-depth presentation about the Gunung Leuser National Park, what we should be observing, and how we should respect the rainforest by key members of the SOCP and leading local naturalists.
  • One-day educational jungle hike into the National Park, with a focus on observing the Orangutan where it is supposed to live – in the wild, its survival traits from building nests to finding food.
  • One-day educational jungle hike into the National Park specifically focused on observing the important role the rainforest plays in the lives of the Orangutan and the hundreds of other species that call it their home.
  • Experience the thrill of going down the river at the heart of this part of the rainforest on giant tubes tide together into makeshift rafts.
  • Sunset hike and visit to a cave.
  • Introduction to Orangutan Coffee with a tasting session.
  • Evening Discussion and Slide Presentation on Wildlife Conservation in Indonesia.
  • Daily specially prepared vegan buffets highlighting the local dishes from the local communities.
  • Nightly local drinks and vegan snacks.


Vegan Meals
Included: Breakfasts (x3), Lunches (x3), and Dinner & Drinks (x3)

Day 6, 7 & 8 ORANGUTANS HAVEN

After breakfast overlooking the river, we’ll continue our journey traveling out to the remarkable Orangutan Haven, where we will be helping out at this extraordinary sanctuary for the next 3 days.

This vitally important sanctuary is set up over 48 hectares by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program to provide a home for orangutans who cannot be released back into the wild due to health or disability reasons. Located amongst “reclaimed” palm oil plantation land at the edge of the rainforest, the Orangutan Haven is a “safe haven” as such where orangutans that are not able to return to the wild can live out their days in optimal welfare conditions on islands created in line with their original habitat. Some of the orangutans that the SOCP receives, cannot be returned to the wild as they would not survive. Given that orangutans can live to 40 or 50 years, the Haven has been created to provide these individuals the best possible care and welfare for the rest of their lives, on large naturally vegetated islands. At the Haven, we will join the team of Dr. Ian Singleton and the SOCP/YEL for three days helping out on various projects providing a better home and outreach for the orangutans of Sumatra.

Originally conceived as a sanctuary for orangutans that cannot be released into the wild, the Orangutan Haven is also becoming a unique resource for education and conservation. It is becoming both a sanctuary as well as an education center with the long-term focus of trying to change the mindset that has brought the Sumatran Orangutan population to the brink and hopefully, providing hope for a better future. The goal of the education center at the Haven is for people to learn more about the orangutans that cannot be released, the reasons they cannot be, and the plight of their wild counterparts in Sumatra’s rainforests. The Haven wants people to better understand the impact their own daily decisions have on orangutans and the countless other wildlife species that share their habitat with them. In this way, the orangutans at the Haven will not only have a vastly improved environment for their own welfare, but they will also be serving as conservation ambassadors and educating visitors, allowing them to continue to play an important role in the survival of their species and their natural rainforest habitat.

The goal of the Orangutan Haven is to develop a unique and comprehensive educational resource for the entire region, promoting animal welfare, species and ecosystem conservation, and sustainable development. So, get ready to roll up your sleeves, as we spend the next 3 days helping out wherever we can in this extraordinary project.

Highlights:

  • 3 days of helping out at an extraordinary sanctuary set-up to save the Orangutan. We’ll be helping out wherever we can from planting trees to maintaining the island enclosures and surrounding grounds, to helping in the preparation of Orangutan meals and assisting in education campaigns on the grounds of the Orangutan Haven – a vital voice for Orangutans and other species fighting for survival in the wilds of Sumatra!
  • Staying well-off-the-beaten-track next door to the Haven in the shadows of palm plantations, on the borders of Batakland and at the edge of secondary rainforest home to birds, monkeys, and other wildlife, on the edge of a small river.
  • In-depth presentation from the leading frontline activists of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) on the ongoing work being done to save the Orangutan and preserve their habitat.
  • Nightly fruit tasting sessions – enjoy everything from fresh rambutans to mangosteens and our favorite – durian!
  • Daily specially prepared vegan meals highlighting the local dishes from the different communities of the area – including the Batak tribes of the region, all 100% veganized especially for us.
  • Nightly local drinks and vegan snacks.
  • Tree planting community carbon offset session.


Vegan Meals
Included: Breakfasts (x3), Lunches (x3), and Dinner & Drinks (x3)

Day 9, 10 & 11 LAKE TOBA

Our journey today takes us to a village on the island at the center of the stunning volcanic Lake Toba. Danau Toba (Danau means lake), or just Toba, as it is referred to locally, is the world’s largest volcanic lake stretching 100 kilometers long and 30+ kilometers wide. It is also home to what is believed to be the biggest explosive eruption on Earth in millions of years (this happened between 69,000-77,000 years ago)! With its stunning scenery, clear blue warm water, beautiful mountains touching clear blue skies, rolling hills, serene villages, and traditional Batak homes that dot the skyline, the Batak heartland is truly a sight to behold! The Batak people over the centuries earned the reputation of being the “headhunter” tribe of Sumatra. Mostly living around the Lake Toba area, they kept themselves away from the outside world, living in relative isolation in their lands for many centuries.

Settling down at our home for the next three days, we’ll be staying on the placid shores of the lake surrounded by picturesque fields and forests accompanied by a mellow laid-back pace. Here, we’ll learn about the Batak way of life, enjoy delicious Batak dishes specially veganized for us, and explore the countryside. 

While in Toba, we’ll also have a unique cultural culinary experience where we’ll learn to make vegan versions of some of this region’s most famous dishes – with a focus on Batak cuisine! Batak cuisine is known for being “hardcore non-veg”, so it will be a real treat as you learn to make the vegan versions of Batak comfort food! So be ready to keep busy, but also have plenty of time to relax, as we also take in the fresh mountain air and gorgeous vistas, enjoy the magic melodies the Batak are so well known for, and learn about life in the Batak heartland.

Highlights: 

  • 3 nights stay well off the beaten path on the shores of Lake Toba, the second largest lake in Southeast Asia.
  • Bicycle into the surrounding countryside learning about life in the Batak heartland home to rice paddies, small villages, terrific tombs, and epic views.
  • Batak Vegan Cultural Culinary Experience – Vegan Cooking Class of our favorite Sumatran dishes.
  • Learn about the history, culture, traditions, and customs of the Batak people as guests of the local community.
  • Special dinners featuring regional favorites specially veganized just for us.
  • Traditional Batak folk music and dance by local students of Batak culture.
  • Peaceful boat ride on the beautiful waters of Lake Toba.
  • Special festive farewell party – Batak style, where we’ll enjoy drinks, local snacks, and Batak melodies accompanied by a delicious vegan Batak feast.


Vegan Meals
Included: Breakfasts (x2), Lunches (x2), and Dinner & Drinks (x2)

Day 12 LAKE TOBA TO MEDAN

Saying goodbye to the shores of Lake Toba, we’ll make our way by boat and van back to Medan where we’ll have our last lunch together before heading to the airport. If you are departing back to your home country on this day, please make sure your flight departs after 7 PM in case we have some delay during our journey. Terima kasih banyak-banyak (thank you very much) for joining us on our VegVoyages Foundation’s 1st Annual Fundraiser Trip to the Island of Sumatra adventure!

Highlights of the Day: 

  • The Journey Home… From the Shores of Toba to Medan and then to the airport, we’ll make our way by boat and bus back to Medan as the journey home begins.
  • Special lakeside breakfast.


Vegan Meals
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

pack up your bags for the new adventures!