A journey that deepens the soul

Albertina Banks with her tour group at the entrance of Gunung Leuser.

By Abbey Cannan

Noosa local Albertina Banks has been an Indonesian language and culture teacher since the mid 1990’s and she is now taking small groups to North Sumatra three times a year for an adventure that contributes to the ecological and cultural preservation of the UNESCO region.

“My recent visits to North Sumatra show the importance of how eco-tourism plays a vital role in contributing towards the preservation of this UNESCO biosphere listed region,” she said.  Albertina said she takes people on a journey that truly deepens the soul with interesting eco-culture experiences such as a short trek at Bukit Lawang into the jungle of Gunung Leuser National Park to see Orangutans, Gibbons, Thomas Leaf monkeys still living free.

“Together with the region’s unique pristine tropical rainforests that essentially sustain these amazing primates, as well as many other unique species, importantly in order to prevent their extinction, eco culture tourism contributes significantly to their preservation. Not only does it enable local communities to gain adequate income to support their families but also enables them to play a very important role in the conservation of a ‘global common heritage’ that every single person in the world has a right to,” she said.

The 13 day tour also includes Berastagi, a vibrant agricultural town straddled by two volcanoes, 1500 meters above sea level. A short trek to the summit of dormant Mt. Sibayak, followed by bathing in hot spring pools, a visit to a volcanologist monitoring station of the active Mt. Sinabung and a traditional Karo culture long house, are also fascinating eco-cultural experiences. The tour finishes with five days at Lake Toba, a huge crater lake, listed as one of the top 10 natural wonders in the world. Traditional cooking in a traditional home, a visit to a Weavers’ village and participating in Eco Projects, also contribute toward the preservation of this UNESCO listed region.

“These are the core reasons why I decided to take small groups of Australians to experience this region’s fascinating ecological diversity,” she said.

For more information on this journey, visit Facebook: sumatraecocultureadventures or email albertinabanks699@gmail.com.


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