A journey in search of Sumatra's iconic pitcher plants!
- Cost: £2,350 per person for 16D/15N (all inclusive from start point to end point)
- Start Point: Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
- End Point: Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Dates: To be agreed jointly with group members (email us for details). We recommend June, July or August 2018.
- Group Size: 6–10
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
The island of Sumatra is one of the major centres of Nepenthes endemism, with nearly a third of all known species described from this island alone. On this extraordinary adventure across Sumatra, we aim to visit some of the most iconic species in the genus. In addition to Nepenthes, the mountains we visit are home to numerous orchid species, while there are opportunities to visit the spectacular giant blooms of Rafflesia and Amorphophallus if in bloom.
This itinerary is designed to take in the greatest possible number of species in the time available. As such, a number of different mountains are visited in quick succession; although the hikes are non-technical, they are in some cases long and strenuous, thus a high level of enthusiasm and good fitness are pre-requisites!
Day 1: Medan to Padang flight. Following pickup, we drive south to a large protected area that includes a number of volcanoes; it is home to a wide diversity of plants and animals, including the endangered Sumatran Tiger.
Day 2: We ascend our first mountain, hiking to over 2000 m elevation where we break camp for the evening. Although this is tiger territory and the group is required to stay together, there are opportunities to explore the nearby forest before nightfall.
Day 3: Today we hike to a ridge overlooking our camp in search of the unusual Nepenthes aristolochioides. The mountain is also home to red and green forms of N. gymnamphora as well as the striking N. singgalana.
Day 4: We descend to the jump-off point and drive north to our next site of interest.
Day 5: Today is a rest day, but to keep our muscles primed, we journey to a nearby valley in search of Nepenthes adnata. Nepenthes longifolia, N. albomarginata and occasional other lowlanders are sometimes seen. If in flower, there is also a chance to encounter Rafflesia arnoldii, the world's largest bloom, and possibly Amorphophallus titanum, the world's largest compound inflorescence!
Day 6: Travelling onwards, we arrive at the base of our next mountain by evening, with a view to ascend tomorrow.
Day 7: Following an early breakfast, we make a one day ascent of the mountain; this is a long but non-technical trek of 5 hours to the summit. We encounter N. gymnamphora, and thereafter N. izumiae and N. jacquelineae and potentially their hybrid. We start our descent to the base by 2pm, arriving in the lowlands around 6pm. After dinner, we travel to the base of our next mountain, where we check in to our lodge and overnight. A long but hopefully rewarding day!
Day 8: We climb the steep slopes of the mountain to the pre-summit campsite where we overnight. Nepenthes naga is documented on this mountain as a high epiphyte and may be difficult to spot.
Day 9: Following an early breakfast, we ascend 1 hour to the nearby summit where N. jamban, N. lingulata, N. izumiae and N. spec 'taminii' can be found, along with few, but large plants of N. dubia. We start to descend by noon to the base of the mountain, arriving by sundown. We dine and overnight in a nearby town.
Day 10: A well-earned rest day in which we travel to a town located near the base of our next mountain.
Day 11: In the early morning, we travel to the jump-off point and begin our climb, gaining as much elevation as possible before camping close to a small stream.
Day 12: Starting as early as possible as it is a long day of trekking, we pack up camp and, with our day packs only, ascend to the summit; en route we encounter Nepenthes gymnamphora, N. rhombicaulis, an epiphytic species similar to N. ovata and, for those who are able to make the summit, N. flava. We descend to the base arriving towards sunset. We return to town for dinner and a well-earned rest.
Day 13: Today is a proper holiday. We travel to the coast, stopping en route to study N. sumatrana. After a quick lunch, we head into the hills to visit a very rich site for lowland species, including N. sumatrana, N. longifolia, N. rafflesiana, N. ampullaria, N. gracilis, N. eustachya red and N. eustachya white, along with their hybrids.
Day 14: We travel towards Lake Toba via a site known for its black N. tobaica. We check into our accommodation close to the lake.
Day 15: We travel to the volcanic slopes of Mount Sibayak via the former site of Nepenthes rigidifolia. Although this species has been rendered extinct by poaching, N. spectabilis abounds and the rare N. rigidifolia x spectabilis hybrid may remain.
Day 16: We return to Medan in time for a farewell lunch and flight departures from early afternoon onwards.
Medan is served by various airlines including Silk Air (Singapore), Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang) and Garuda Indonesia (Jakarta, Singapore). Many find it most economical to fly to Singapore and catch low-fare flights to/from Medan (e.g. AirAsia, Silk Air or Lion Air).
Adventure Rating: Moderate
- After the expedition, visit Bukit Lawang in the Leuser National Park in search of the Sumatran orangutan, the longer haired cousin of the Bornean orangutan, as well as Thomas's leaf monkeys, two species of gibbon and macaques (2D/1N) - Make a special trip before the main expedition to see Nepenthes inermis in the wild, along with N. singgalana, climbing a separate mountain near the Kerinci National Park (3D/2N) - We can also set up treks in the Gunung Leuser National Park, or organise further trips to climb Nepenthes mountain in Sumatra, other parts of Indonesia, or Malaysia and the Philippines nearby. To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!