Sumatra itinerary day by day

Sumatra is a great destination for traveling in Indonesia. It’s less visited than some other islands, but still relatively easy to travel around. We spent amazing 22 days on this island. We already wrote about our favourite places in Sumatra and here’s our Sumatra itinerary day by day that might help you organize your trip.

sumatra itinerary

Above is the map of our journey and below is our Sumatra itinerary with the places we have visited.

Day 1: Medan – Tangkahan

Day 2: Tangkahan – Bukit Lawang

Day 3: Bukit Lawang

Day 4: Bukit Lawang – Berastagi

Day 5: Berastagi

Day 6: Berastagi – Singkil – Banyak islands (Palambak Island)

Day 7: Palambak Island

Day 8: Palambak island

Day 9: Palambak island – Taliana Island

Day 10: Taliana island – Pandan Island

Day 11: Pandan Island – Asok Island

Day 12: Asok Island – Singkil

Day 13: Singkil – Padang

Day 14: Padang

Day 15: Padang – Siberut Island

Day 16: Siberut Island

Day 17: Siberut Island

Day 18: Siberut Island – Padang

Day 19: Padang – Rimba Eco Lodge

Day 20: Rimba Eco Lodge

Day 21: Rimba Eco Lodge – Padang

Day 22: Padang – Kuala Lumpur

We visited some great places and experienced amazing things we will never forget. We had also quite a lot of time, but if you are on a shorter holiday you can easily adjust the itinerary to the number of days you have.


We mostly traveled with rented car with a driver – we found it more convenient than travel by local buses, paying for 3 tickets and wasting a lot of time and energy. Usually we asked for our transport at the place we were currently staying and compared the prices with those that a local tour operator gave us before our departure to Sumatra. For traveling to and between the islands, we took speed boats and local fishermen boats.


There are quite a few good places to sleep even if you are on a budget. The ones we stayed in you can find here.

If you are looking for a place to chill out for a couple of days, away from the tourist places, then the Banyak archipelago would be just what you need. We didn’t see a place like this till now. Crystal clear water, isolated islands and friendly local people.


For a trip to Sumatra like ours (without Padang and the visit to Mentawai tribe on Siberut) we would suggest at least ten days. But please don’t hurry, especially if you are traveling with kids.


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  • January 27, 2017 - 9:20 am

    nicoletta - great blog and pictures, we are planning our family trip and it’s really useful !

    • January 27, 2017 - 9:36 am

      Ana - Hi Nicoletta! Thanks, I’m so glad you found useful information here. Enjoy in your family trip (Sumatra I guess?) and if you have any questions just let me know! Cheers, AnaReplyCancel

  • June 8, 2017 - 2:53 pm

    michelangelo - Hi Ana, your blog entries about Sumatra are really inspiring. We’re going to be there for 16-17 days next August.
    We’re a family of three (me + my wife + our lil Tito who will be 7 months old by then), and we will be travelling by bycicle!
    We would like to visit Bukit Lawang first and then start cycling in Berastagi, to Lake Toba first and then to the coast to Singkil.
    That will make for about 350km by bike, that I am quite sure we can cover in one week.
    We would really like to go to Banyak Islands too, but I wonder if we have enough time. The plan would be to charter a boat from Singkil to Palambak or Tailana. Then after 3-4 days on the islands and back in Singkil, we’d charter a car to Medan for flying back home. Do you think it makes sense to go to Banyak for only 3-4 days? Did you charter a boat to Palambak or did you take the ‘public’ route via Balai? Is it easy in Singkil to find boats to the islands, and then back to mainland? How long does it take?ReplyCancel

    • June 12, 2017 - 8:13 am

      Ana - Hi!
      Thanks! Yes, we really recommend to go there, because is very special and if you have 3-4 days it’s fine. We chartered a speed boat from Singkil to Palambak that we arranged in advance (we have a contact of the indonesian guy who helped us with arranging transportation in Sumatra if you need it) and the boat was already waiting for us when we came to Singkil. It took us 2,5 hours to get to Palambak island. I’m sure you will have great time, especially traveling by bicycles!ReplyCancel

      • June 13, 2017 - 8:23 am

        michelangelo - Many thanks for the reply. I would really appreciate if you could share the contact for arranging the transportation. Was it expensive? Would you recommend advance reservation for the accomodation in Palambak too?ReplyCancel

        • June 14, 2017 - 7:30 am

          Ana - The local tour operator is mr. Rega ( The speed boat is expensive if you compare it to the public boat (it was around 100 EUR), but for us it was worth it. Yes, I think is a good idea to make advanced reservations on Palambak. We were there in February and we were alone, but in August can be more people there.ReplyCancel

    • September 6, 2017 - 9:30 am

      Orsolya Sarmasy-Acs - Hey Corel Family,

      My husband and I are planning our Sumatran travel. Actually we had a route planned but after reading your blog we decided othervise, changed our original plan and instead of Nias, we are heading to the Banyaks 🙂
      Since there is limited info on the web, I would be supergrateful if you could help me out with practical details about travelling and accomodation. We will probably go there from Bukit Lawang and thinking about a rented or shared car to catch. Did you go directly from Bukit Lawang, or you went back to Medan before? Have you considered flying with Susi Air or it’s just simpler to have a car rented?
      And about the accomodation: How did you managed booking in advance? I tried hard to contact them but no response yet..

      Sorry for the loads of questions.. And anyway, your blog is just fantastic, it is so good to read 🙂

      Have a nice day,

      • September 7, 2017 - 12:06 pm

        Ana - Hi Orsolya,
        we’re so glad you found useful info here! 🙂
        From Bukit Lawang we went to Berastagi and from there with a rented car with a driver directly to Singkil. It simply wasn’t an option for us to fly. It was easy – at every place we stayed at, they were ready to help us and arrange transport.
        Did you try this email for Palambak island resort: This is the contact of the owner. If it still doesn’t work, you can try to contact mr. Rega from Jakarta ( He helped us to arrange booking (but then we didn’t have the owners contact yet).
        Happy planning and all the best once you will be on Sumatra!

  • June 27, 2017 - 7:55 am

    nico - Hello ANA,
    our trip is approaching and we can’t wait to get there
    I was wondering whether did you take any malaria prophylaxis for traveling to Sumatra ?
    another inquiry:
    what would you suggest as a beach destination the Banyak Islands or Mentawai Islands, I’m afraid we won’t make it to both so we have to choose.


    • July 2, 2017 - 7:19 pm

      Ana - Hi Nico,
      yes, we took anti malaria pills for traveling to Sumatra.
      Mentawai is more a surfers destination and accommodation there is little more expensive than on Banyak. But both places are really great. 🙂
      Safe travel to Sumatra and enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2017 - 5:40 pm

    Viki - Hi Ana,
    Great blog! Where did you stay in Siberut?ThanksReplyCancel

    • July 5, 2017 - 7:08 pm

      Ana - Hi Viki, thanks! 🙂
      My husband went on a few days trek on Siberut and stayed in the jungle, in tribal villages. The guide arranged everything.ReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2017 - 12:28 pm

    Nico - Hi Corel Family
    We are back from 3 amazing weeks in Sumatra and your blog itinerary and suggestions have been precious to us, especially for the kids friendly advice
    Keep traveling and well follow

    • September 7, 2017 - 12:13 pm

      Ana - Hi Nico,
      thanks for getting back! I’m so glad you had great time on Sumatra and that our suggestions helped. What was the highlight on your trip? 🙂 Do you have a blog or Instagram account so I can follow back? 🙂

      • January 10, 2018 - 9:50 pm

        Helen - Hi Ana
        Just planning our trip to Sumatra in Feb. Did you stay in Singkil overnight?ReplyCancel

        • January 11, 2018 - 8:02 am

          Ana - Hi Helen,
          no, we didn’t stay in Singkil overnight, so I can’t help with that, sorry. We arranged that our speedboat was waiting for us just at our arrival to Singkil and on the way back the overnight car to Padang was already waiting for us near the harbour. All together it was a very long journey and quite tiring, but we rested once we arrived to Padang. 🙂
          Have a safe and amazing trip to Sumatra!

          • January 13, 2018 - 2:21 pm

            Helen Harban - thanks: will report back!! Have just altered out jungle trek plans having read your info. Thomas retreat looks great!

          • January 15, 2018 - 10:13 am

            Ana - Great! Looking forward to hear your report! 🙂

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