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Travel Tips and Information

Visa Information

Visa Free

As from 2015, citizens from 90 countries can obtain a 30 day free visa from Medan Airport, Kuala Namu. However, you must show onward travel otherwise Immigrations is likely to charge you the standard $35 for a VOA 30 day visa. This visa can not be extended and you have leave on the 30th day. The day you arrive counts as your first day.

Visa On Entry

This visa is for anyone wanting to stay longer than 30 days, as it can be extended without leaving Indonesia, hence visitors can stay for 60 days. Citizens from 62 countries can apply for VOA at most Indonesian airports, costing $35. If visitors are wanting to extend then this needs to be done a week for the visa expires at the local immigration office. Here that is Medan. Visa extention now costs IDR 500,000 for another 30 days.

Visa Prior to Arrival

A 60 day visa can be obtained prior to travel to Indonesia. Visitors can apply at the local Indonesia Embassy/Consulate in their country, or within Asia, the only place is the Indonesian Consulate in Penang, Malaysia. However, they require that you have a sponsor letter.

The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival and have a valid return ticket.


Currency and Money

The currency in Indonesia is Rupiah.

Banknotes: 1000 rp, 2000 rp, 5000 rp, 10,000 rp, 20,000 rp, 50,000 rp and 100,000 rp                                   

There is NO ATM in Bukit Lawang or next village so all visitors should take money at the airport when arriving.


The maxium amount visitors can withdraw at one time is 2,500,000 rp if the note demonination is 100,000. There are two ATMs in Bahorok (about 30 minutes) but these ONLY accept MasterCard & Maestro. Visa cards can be difficult to withdraw money from and regularly there are issues with them.


It is best to bring a couple of cards with you in case this happens. In an emergency, money can be taken from a couple of offices in Bukit Lawang, but there is a 7% charge on foreign cards. Money can be also be exchanged in Bukit Lawang, but do not expect a great rate! 

Note: In the surrounding villages and attractions, people generally only accept cash.

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What To Bring

  • Shorts and T-shirts

  • Long trousers, leggings and long sleeved top for the evenings.

  • Swimming trunks (for men), swimsuit, shorts & singlet (ladies) - this is a muslim country, its polite to be respectful

  • A day backpack, 20 - 35 ltrs for trekking

  • Pair of walking shoes, trainers or boots with socks

  • Sandals or flipflops

  • Raincoat or poncho

  • Plastic bags or sealable bags to keep electrical items in

  • Hat or cap

  • Insect repellent (can also buy here), suncream, hand sanitizer

  • Head torch or torch can be useful

  • Personal medical kit - items can be bought here like, paracetemol, plasters etc.

  • Reusable water bottle, cultlery and straw to help reduce to the plastic in here

  • Container or something to put cigarettes butts in if you're a smoker

  • Optional: Camera, Mobile Phone, Binoculors, Go-Pro/Action Camera


We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.


Sumatra is placed right next to the Equator, so it is tropical. It is hot and humid, so one minute it can be dry and the next it's raining.


There are two seasons in Sumatra, the dry and the rainy season. Typically the dry season is from April to October and the rainy season from October to March. The wettest months are usually December and Janaury.


However, more recently the weather in Bukit Lawang is very unpredictable with no distinct seasons. Even when it is the dry season, as Bukit Lawang is next to the rainforest, there can be heavy showers in the afternoon or evening. Temperature throughout the year are generally between 26 - 33 degrees celsius. 

Sumatra Facts

  • Sumatra is largest island in Indonesia and the 6th largest island in the world

  • Sumatra is c.1,110 mi (1,790 km) long and c.270 mi (435 km) wide and is fringed with smaller islands off its western and eastern coasts. 

  • The Bukit Barisan, a volcanic mountain range with more than 30 active volcanoes, traverses its length, reaching 12,467 ft (3,800 m) at Mt. Kerinci.

  • North Sumatra is a province and its capital city is Medan

  • Lake Toba, located in North Sumatra is a large natural lake formed by the caldera of a super volcano. It is largest volcanic lake in the world, some 500m deep. The island within it, Samosir, is the size of Singapore

  • There are many different ethnic groups on the island, speaking over 52 different languages. The common language is Bahasa (language) Indonesian. However, within ethinic groups and locations, they speak their own ethnic language (Malay, Javan, Karonese etc.) and dialect

  • The majority of people in Sumatra are Muslims (87,1%), while 10,7% are Christians, less than 2% are Buddhist and Hindus

  • Sumatra the last place on earth where 5 large mammals still co-exist; Sumatra Orangutan, Elephant, Tiger and Rhino and Sunbears.

  • Sumatra holds some of the richest and diverse forests in the world

  • There are more than 15,000 plant species known, with 17 endemic genera. Here in North Sumatra,  the forests contain unique species like the Rafflesia Flower Rafflesia arnoldii (the world's largest individual flower), and the Titan arum Amorphophallus titanum (the world's largest unbranched inflorescence).  

  • Sumatra is home to 201 mammal species and 580 bird species

  • Sumatra has the highest loss of natural forest in Indonesia, due to the expansion of paper and pulp agriculture and oil palm agriculture

  • About 12 milliion hectares of forest has been cleared in the last 22 years, nearly a 50% loss. Read more here


Why Travel with Us?

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How we Help

By working with the local community we can make small changes