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Medan- Bukit Lawang- Lake Toba

Posted by ccfashionfox on 9/9/2015 at 15:45


I am flying into Banda Aceh from Pulau Weh and I want to see Bukit Lawang and Lake Toba while I am in Sumatra- I know I am going to need to fly into Medan but which is the best way to go in terms of ease of travel (if there is such a thing) MEDAN -BL-TOBA-MEDAN or MEDAN-TOBA-BL-MEDAN.

Any travel advice would be hugely appreciated.

I need to fly out of Medan to go to Bali- is 8/9 days for BL & TOBA do-able? I am a solo female traveller first time to Indo (although I have travelled to many places in SEA solo before but feel a little edgy about Sumatra)

Thank you

#1 ccfashionfox has been a member since 9/9/2015. Posts: 1

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Posted by JPClancy on 9/9/2015 at 21:58

Hey there,

It is quite easy to get form Medan to Bukit Lawang and likewise to get from Medan to Lake Toba , I was riding a motorbike through here so I didn't have to catch public transport, but you pass buses either way.

However from what I know, there is no buses from Bukit Lawang to Lake Toba and visa versa. The bus from Medan to Lake Toba takes about 6 hours, however that is depending on traffic and the bus driver, it could realistically take 10 hours. The best way to get to Lake Toba is from Medan and the same with Bukit Lawang. Bukit Lawang takes about 2-3 hours form the centre of Medan on a bus.

Lake Toba is far more interesting, greater scenery, you can take hikes all around, get onto the island in the middle of Lake Toba and spend your days exploring and relaxing. Lake Toba is far better than Bukit Lawang in my eyes, the reason why you would want to go to Lake Toba first is because if it does take longer than expected to get there, or something happens, you still have the time to get back to Medan to get to Bali. So the timetable I have given you can change depending on your travel.

If you have 9 days, I would go do it like this:

Day 1: Medan>Lake Toba
Day 2:Lake Toba
Day 3:Lake Toba
Day 4:Lake Toba
Day 5:Lake Toba>Medan
Day 6:Medan>Bukit Lawang
Day 7:Bukit Lawang
Day 8:Bukit Lawang>Medan
Day 9:Medan>Bali

Hope this helps,


#2 JPClancy has been a member since 9/9/2015. Posts: 2

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Posted by amnicoll on 10/9/2015 at 06:43

second this simply on the basis you are nearer Medan at the end

Also look for others who may want to share a car between Toba and BL you may be lucky

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 971
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Posted by mooball on 11/9/2015 at 10:22 TF writer

It's actually a pain in the arse to get to Lake Toba from Medan despite the two places being popular. You can find the details on how to get there on travelfish under the Medan section. Getting from Lake Toba to Bukit Lawang or vice versa takes all day unless you can find a charter vehicle. And when I say all day, I really do mean it. The worst part is that the bus stations in Medan are miles apart. So you'll arrive from Lake Toba at one end of town and have to get to the bus terminal on the other side of town for Bukit Lawang. The quickest way is catch a becak/bentor between the bus stations.

I also agree that Lake Toba is a much more enjoyable place than Bukit Lawang these days. I really was disappointed with Bukit Lawang when I last visited. Not only have the guides ramped up their prices for trekking, there is a big disco that goes on multiple times per week right on the edge of the jungle and just does not fit the vibe of the place at all.

#4 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 439
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Posted by sambalgoreng on 12/9/2015 at 20:07

Use Medan as hub if you go to Pulau Weh by flight and then Toba and Bukit Lawang by land. Check Garuda but this is not daily. From Medan airport to BL via Binjai and onwards to Toba there are many recent discussions and tips in the other travel forums which you know.

#5 sambalgoreng has been a member since 25/9/2014. Posts: 32
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