Feel SPECIAL every day on this hassle-free, adventure for over 60s

Welcome to

The

LAND CRUISE

Exploring stunning North Sumatra and Java

An escorted tour with the best features of an ocean cruise, but without the big boat and those vast expanses of ocean. Instead, beautiful landscapes through panoramic windows plus warm, welcoming people and new experiences every day.

Lion Air jet climbs out of Jakarta

BY PLANE …

Luxury Tourist Coach, Jakarta

BY LUXURY COACH …

WHOOSH High Speed train travels viaduct

BY HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ...... AND BY SPECIAL PANORAMIC TRAIN

Panoramic Train Carriage Java

Special places and experiences in the REAL INDONESIA – the 99.7% that’s NOT Bali. Places you not only will never have seen before, but which you may not even have known existed. A marvelous adventure, and you will love it.

SAFE

HASSLE-FREE

COMFORTABLE

VALUE

Your health, safety, and security are priority concerns. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Handling travel details like Visas, admissions, transport, luggage, laundry etc, can be a pain. We take care of them so you don’t have to.

The idea that adventure must mean ‘roughing it’ is a myth. We go high-end for our accommodation, travel, and food.

Please compare our rate per day of less than US$250 with rates being asked for similar high quality tours or ocean cruises.

So, just what is a 'Land Cruise'

First,  it has nothing to do with Toyota 4 x 4 utility vehicles. Rather, we are unashamedly picking the eyes out of what cruise ship companies have been doing for years to make ocean cruising one of the most popular holiday options for senior travelers.

Features like predictability and superior service that makes you feel SPECIAL – everything organized and provided for you, requiring minimal effort on your part. You just turn up with your valid passport and be ready to board before sailing time. From then on you can enjoy being spoiled and having everything taken care of and mostly included in the price of your tour package.

We asked the question: Why should you have to take an ocean cruise to find a hassle-free package holiday like that with almost everything included in the price except your drinks and discretionary personal spending?’

Creating something new, unique, and so much better

So, we sat down and created the Better Tours ‘PLANE, TRAIN AND LUXURY COACH LAND CRUISE’ package with the kind of features that make ocean cruising so popular.

Then we added refinements that we know will make senior travelers love it even more. Like FREE professional laundry services every three or four days, and devising a complimentary luggage handling system to ensure you don’t have to lug your bags around.

We even give you a complimentary day pack filled with handy stuff like a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, Band Aids, a water bottle, a power plug adaptor, a flashlight, and much more – even a strip of  Paracetamol tablets and a roll of toilet tissue (we try to think of everything). It means you don’t have to run around getting these things together before you travel or immediately you arrive. That’s convenience.

Next, we priced it RIGHT to provide exceptional VALUE. You will see what we mean when you look through the list of the adventures and experiences inckuded in our itinerary, and the comprehensive benefits included in the almost all-inclusive up-front cost.

Our CUSTOM ITINERARY is the real key to what  makes the Better Tours LAND CRUISE truly outstanding. We have included ‘MUST SEE’ attractions essential to a North Sumatra and Java tour, but we also have have added many other off-the beaten-track experiences which we know will surprise and delight you. 

See the complete descriptive itinerary HERE.

We even impressed ourselves with the outcome, and we hope you will feel the same way. We look forward to seeing you soon in Indonesia – one of the most diverse, interesting, and beautiful countries on earth

The Better Tours LAND CRUISE package

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Happy older woman traveler

Pic UNSPLASH

An escorted, guided small-group tour of THREE fascinating weeks

Twenty-one days (and 21 nights) consisting of one 5-star overnight transit in Kuala Lumpur, 8 days and nights in North Sumatra, and 12 days and nights in Java.

(Ocean cruises are usually seven to 10 days – if longer they can become a tad boring. But not our Land cruise we need time to see and experience more, with plenty of interest every day.)

Sights to see - experiences to remember

If you have not yet had an opportunity to spend extended time in Southeast Asia, you will be unaware of just how much there is to see and experience in the REAL INDONESIA – the fascinating regions and stunning places beyond Bali.

We go to SIX major cities and take in the recognized attractions like the iconic Borobudur and Prambanan temple complexes in Yogyakarta. But we also take a day cruise on magnificent Lake Toba, see Orangutans in the wild at Bukit Lawang, ride a 350km an hour high-speed train, take a staircase to the rim of the Mt Bromo volcano to peer into the bowels of the Earth, and taste artisan coffees at the oldest continuously operating coffee plantation in Java.

These are but a few of our LAND CRUISE experiences – If you have not yet done so then CLICK HERE to see the full descriptive itinerary. Start with the Quick Access to Itinerary Highlights table of contents and then click through to the details.

Yes, it’s long. Because there is something new and interesting every day!

Over most of the 75 years since it achieved Independence, Indonesia’s leaders have focused on building the new nation. Apart from Bali, tourism ranked as a second order priority.

That began to change with the election of President Joko Widodo in 2014. His Government recognized the economic, cultural, and social benefits international visitors could bring.

A warm welcome assured

His administration eased entry requirements, built infrastructure like new regional airports and better roads, encouraged investment in hotels and attractions, set standards, supported training in hospitality skills, and launched promotional programs.

Over the five years immediately prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic international visitors to Indonesia almost doubled.

Today we are the beneficiaries – those new airports, new roads, new rail links, upgraded hotels and resorts, and trained tourism industry workers are standing ready to welcome us on our North Sumatra and Java Land Cruise. 

The Real Indonesia has become an EASY as well as a MEMORABLE place to visit.

Good reasons for joining the LAND CRUISE tour

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Quality HIGH-END Accommodation

Historic four and five-star luxury hotels or relaxed and comfortable resorts throughout. We subscribe to the principle that adventure does not have to mean roughing it. We choose beautiful lodgings with character, facilities, traditions or histories that make them special and memorable. Typically, they are among the best available places to stay in each location.

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Ground Travel by SPACIOUS Luxury Coaches

We choose big 40 to 50 seat coaches for our small groups except where the roads are too difficult. We like a bit of space in our ride and we don’t  want to be crammed in like sardines. (It’s that comfort thing again.)

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Memorable and Scenic Train Journeys

It’s going to be a thrill for the little girl or boy inside you when you travel from Jakarta to Bandung at up to 350km an hour on Southeast Asia’s first high-speed train. A few days later you will be surprised and delighted at the quality and comfort of the train and the variety and beauty of the landscapes when we take Indonesia’s new ‘Panoramic’ rail car from Bandung to Yogyakarta. The scenery is glorious.  

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All Tour Flights are Included

Your tour price includes an international flight from Kuala Lumpur International airport to Medan, a domestic flight from Medan to Jakarta, and a tour-end flight from Surabaya to your choice of Singapore or Bali.

Batak dancers in traditional costume
Hotel Orangutan Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra

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All Breakfasts are Included

Typically you will have a choice of Western or Indonesian breakfast dishes in an international hotel buffet setting, including cereals, fruits, juices, meats, eggs, potato, rice, noodles, toast, pastries, pancakes, sweets and tea or coffee. A couple of breakfasts will be aboard trains and one in a coffee plantation.

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20 lunches are Included

Some in interesting places – like a picnic in the jungle, a luncheon in a beautiful tea plantation, and another by a waterfall on a lake day-cruise.

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18 Dinners are Included

You will enjoy food adventures featuring diverse Indonesian and international cuisines with 18 group dinners over your 21 evenings. Indonesia is famous for its food diversity, and it would be a shame to pass it by. But we will always ensure there is a Western option for the less adventurous. (We have deliberately reserved three evenings for you to enjoy a ‘night out’ to sample delicious Indonesian or international foods of your choice, perhaps together with friends made on tour.) Just for fun, we also enjoy a special HIGH TEA in the delicious surroundings of Surabaya’s famous Majapahit Hotel.

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Special Welcome and Farewell Receptions

We arrange an al fresco luncheon on our first day in Indonesia as an opportunity to get to know each other. We include a fun (but important) briefing and distribute your complimentary day packs (See 13 below). Then on our final night together in Surabaya we will have a chance to reflect on our tour experiences, be presented with our tour photo album mementos, and say our good-byes. Complimentary drinks and snacks followed by main meals for both events.

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Culture in Action in Memorable Shows

The spectacular Ramayana ballet, is a tour highlight. It is performed by a cast of 200 on a massive stage with the iconic Prambanan Temples as backdrop (it’s said to be the world’s longest running live presentation). We also experience Bandung’s heartwarming traditional music performance by kids from the famous Pak Udjo music school, and traditional and contemporary Batak music and dance at Lake Toba.

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Older couple having discussion

IMAGE FREEPIC

We pay ALL Admissions and Related Fees

Entry fees and admission to National Parks, attractions, and performances are included in your tour price.

We also pay local guide fees and levies to permit use of cameras as required. You pay personal discretionary spending only.

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Complimentary Shirts, Hats, and Daypacks

The sun can be fierce in Indonesia so a hat with brim is a necessity. We also present you convenient, lightweight daypacks filled with handy essentials. Think fold-up umbrella, sunscreen, tissues, hand towel, sarong, bottle of water, flashlight, band-aids, paracetamol caplets etc. – plus it’s somewhere to carry your handphone and camera etc. The stylish shirts are a souvenir (and also are intended to help ensure we don’t lose anyone).

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Free Indonesia Travel Essentials Handbook

A preview copy of INDONESIA TRAVEL ESSENTIALS, the soon to be published comprehensive e-book guide to hassle-free travel across Indonesia’s islands. It contains the key information we have accumulated from living and traveling in Indonesia, and researching for our websites and briefings. It is in a handy digital format for easy reference

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An Informed Hosting Crew who Explain & Listen

You are escorted throughout by a well-informed, capable, and truly helpful Western and Indonesian support team who speak English and Indonesian. They are joined as we go by informed, and professional English-speaking guides with specialized local knowledge. (We also bring a professional videographer/cameraman to capture some of the special moments we will experience.)

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Daily Briefings with Your Feedback

We make a point of a chat before or after dinner with pertinent information about highlights of what we will be doing and seeing each day. Your experience of the places we visit will always be enhanced if you know their back stories and what to be looking out for. It’s also an opportunity for us to hear your feedback, requests, and suggestions.

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We take it easy - NO Rushing

We believe in making it easy and taking our time. We also believe in scheduling periods for rest and recreation along the way. We don’t do much rock-n-roll or wild dance parties, we don’t climb cliffs, or shoot the rapids. Instead, we explore intriguing and fascinating places, attractions, and lifestyles on and off the beaten track and take the trouble to see, understand and appreciate. That’s what satisfying travel experiences and great memories are all about.

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Limited Numbers for Better Support

We typically limit guest numbers to 20 to 22 (plus accompanying coordinators, hosting team, and specialist local guides). Small groups mean our team can give you more attention, and also means you have plenty of room to spread out on the big coaches.

Traditional Massage session Indonesia
Tourist looking at crafts on sale in market

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Shopping and Pampering at the RIGHT Price

There will be souvenir shops or stalls at just about every attraction you visit, and the prices are usually OK. But the real bargains are to be found in the malls and markets of cities like Jakarta, Bandung, and Yogyakarta. Our team will give you tips on where to look, what to look for, and how much to pay. Likewise for ridiculously cheap massages and hair, nail, and beauty treatments. You will feel like a new you.

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Prudent Sickness and Accident Precautions

We avoid silly risks, and we believe in prudent and sensible precautions in case of accidents or unanticipated illnesses. Our key staff are trained in first aid and CPR, and we carry a defibrillator and First Aid Kit. We require guests to have appropriate travel insurance and can recommend suitable insurers.

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Personal Safety and Security Precautions

We know from our years of experience in Indonesia that it ranks among the safest countries you will ever visit. Reputable international statistics confirm our view. None-the-less we take all appropriate precautions to ensure your visit is safe, easy, comfortable, and hassle-free. And we brief you on sensible routine precautions you can take to protect you and your stuff.  

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Plenty of Fun and Lots of Laughs

Being prudent doesn’t mean being stuffy. We like a laugh and plenty of fun. So, tune up your smile, dust off your favorite jokes or party pieces, and pack your harmonicas or ukulele. We are certainly not karaoke tragics, but neither are we averse to a sing-along on the coach – we have a few song sheets on hand just in case (and probably a spare guitar somewhere near).

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We handle E-Visa Costs and Hassles

We take away the hassle of securing your Visa-on-arrival (VOA) to enter Indonesia – simply supply your details and we will handle the application to secure your Indonesian Visa on-line in advance of your departure. Or if you prefer, we will guide you through the process. The Rp500,000 fee is included in your tour price. We will accompany you to ensure all runs smoothly at the Arrivals desk in Medan – It should be a breeze.

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We handle the Luggage Handling

One of the more irksome aspects of touring is lugging your luggage from destination to destination. NOT on our tour – we will have porters or helpers on hand to take care of your bags at airports, hotels, and for coach transfers and train journeys. And WE PAY for their services (but they probably won’t object to a small tip if you think it is warranted 😊)

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We make sure you can Use Your Electricals

You need to be readily able to power your hair dryer, laptop, tablet, phone charger or other appliances. So, we include a basic universal power adapter for all guests in your complimentary travel day pack. We also will LOAN you a step-down converter gratis should you have 110-120V appliances or electronics. Then you can use them safely on Indonesian mains electricity which runs at 220-240 volts.

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We help you Stay in Touch with Home & Family

If you have an unlocked cell phone, we will help you register it soon after your arrival so that it will connect through the Indonesian phone networks. This will enable roaming and low-cost VOIP phone calls. We also will show you how you can easily and reliably stay in touch with family or business associates back home with FREE high-quality calls using WIFI. These work even if your phone is locked

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We sweat the small stuff so you don't have to

The little things that go wrong can spoil an otherwise delightful holiday. So, we try to anticipate and head them off before they can happen. Like arranging frequent FREE commercial laundry runs with pickups and deliveries on selected days rather than expensive hotel laundry services. Or helping you access reliable money changers, and ensuring you avoid leaving your credit or debit card in an ATM because the sequence for transactions is different. We even brief you (in a fun way) about local etiquette and customs so that you can be confident you won’t inadvertently embarrass yourself or your Indonesian hosts. And more…

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Complimentary Photo Album and Video of Memories

At our Surabaya farewell dinner we present you with an album of photo memories to take home . You ALSO will receive, a professionally created video of highlights from your Indonesian adventure to share with family and friends. It will be forwarded digitally after about four weeks – we need the time for editing.

Here’s what isn’t included in your tour price

International airfares to and from home – Our tour starts in Kuala Lumpur and ends in Singapore or Bali. (If you wish, we will advise on suitable connecting flight options from your home country.)

Alcoholic drinks – Except for our complimentary receptions and Lake Toba day cruise.

Discretionary personal spending – tips, personal shopping and pampering, cell phone charges, excess baggage fees, etc.

Travel insurance – From the insurer of your choice or well-regarded specialist companies whom we can recommend. Policies should include repatriation cover.

The 21-day 'Land Cruise' tour of North Sumatra and Java

$5,230

$249

US$ – Per Person TWIN SHARE

PER DAY

DIVERSITY is what makes Indonesia so SPECIAL

Aerial view of central Jakarta

South Jakarta at dusk – With around 34 million people the Greater Jakarta metropolitan area is in the world’s top three biggest cities.

The other 97% - We call it the REAL Indonesia

Everybody knows beautiful Bali – one of the world’s leading holiday destinations. But Indonesia consists of 17,506 other islands. They hug the Equator for 5,500km to form the world’s longest archipelago nation.

Bali represents only 0.29% of Indonesia’s land area and is home to just 1.7% of Indonesia’s 280 million people.

The rest of Indonesia has hundreds if not thousands of stunningly beautiful places like Bali, often with even more fascinating cultural traditions, natural wonders, rare wildlife, and iconic monuments and attractions .

Rapidly improving infrastructure including modern airports, new tollways and rail links, quality hotels and resorts, and excellent visitor services have now have made them accessible

Staircase to the crater rim of Mt Bromo volcano in East Java

Would you believe a staircase to the rim of a volcano? This is famous Mt Bromo in East Java.

Places most of the world still doesn't know about

At present Indonesia beyond Bali receives only a trickle of Western  visitors. Mainly because most of the world simply has no idea of the variety of different experiences Indonesia offers. Others are nervous about visiting a Muslim majority country.

Tens of thousands of travelers who would LOVE what awaits them in the REAL Indonesia are thus missing out, big time. And the warm and  welcoming local Indonesian people who live there are missing out too – more international tourists boost opportunities and incomes.

Our mission is to make it easy for visitors experience the best of Indonesia beyond Bali, and to contribute to fostering genuine cultural appreciation, understanding, and people to-people relationships. 

kids playing traditional anklung at Pak Udjo music school show

Children perform traditional music at the Pak Udjo music school in Bandung. It’s a wonderful show.

Unrivalled diversity - truly a cultural smorgasbord

Indonesia’s inhabited islands are home to more than 1,000 recognized ethnic groups who between them speak more than 700 living languages.

These extraordinary numbers translate into a cultural smorgasbord – a challenge, a magnet, and a delight for the curious.

Different ethnicities, cuisines, religions, languages, traditional costumes, landscapes, history, arts and crafts, music, ceremony, and world-famous heritage icons make Indonesia one of the planet’s most intriguing countries. Amazingly, despite all the differences Indonesia is notable for broad national harmony and stability.

It also happens to be stunningly beautiful and has been described as ‘The Emarald of the Equator’. There are breath-taking landscapes from sandy beaches to lush green jungles, sculpted rice terraces, rushing rivers, imperious mountains, and smoldering volcanoes.

Expanse of Lake Toba waters

The vast expanse of Lake Toba, created by a massive volcanic eruption around 74,000 years ago. We day-cruise here.

A destination that's super kind to your budget

Western visitors to Indonesia are invariably surprised and delighted at how far their home currency will go – you get a lot of Indonesian rupiah for your dollars, Euros, or Great Britain pounds.

And they will buy you much more than you might expect – with US dollars you can typically buy as much as three times what you could get with the same money back home.

That’s why we can offer such  value – quality hotels and resorts, luxury coaches, executive class trains, more than 90% of meals, all tour flights, all admissions, hosts and guides to smooth hassles, and many extras. All for less than than US$250 a day.

And you can afford to pamper yourself like a celebrity with massages, reflexology, aroma therapy, and hair, nail, and beauty treatments, and still have spending money left over to shop for bargains as well.

Who does the 'LAND CRUISE' tour suit?

The MATURE

Our tours are designed to suit Over 60s. This doesn’t mean that mature younger folk cannot join, but they need to be aware we have done with shooting rapids, scaling mountains, chasing big waves, and rocking and rolling at all-night parties. And, a reminder, we don’t believe in rushing.

The CURIOUS

Our tours best suit mature and CURIOUS people who want to experience different cultures and lifestyles and to learn, understand and appreciate. People who want to see great and famous attractions, but also wander off the beaten track to add an extra dimension to their experience.

The MOBILE

Our tours require some walking and climbing (jungle tracks, volcano staircase etc.). If this is a struggle, we will arrange assistance or an alternative activity. However, our founder is aged 82 and recently underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery. He handles it all with a smile, so you too should be OK. 

The 21-day 'Land Cruise' tour of North Sumatra and Java

$5,230

US$ - Per Person TWIN SHARE

$249

PER DAY

Development and Marketing

Meet key members of the 'Land Cruising' team

The roads less travelled are where the good stuff is. We seek it out for you. And most importantly, we do it all safely, securely and in COMFORT!

Doug Cole Profile pic

DOUG is an Australian and founder of Better Tours Indonesia. He has lived and traveled widely in Indonesia and Southeast Asia for more than two decades.

As a former journalist and broadcaster, he has come to admire Indonesia and is frustrated that so many Western travelers are so ill-informed about this amazing country and consequently pass it by.

He is committed to helping in some small way to put this right. Bringing more Western people to see and experience Indonesia for themselves through Better Tours is part of that effort.

Doug also is currently completing a book of comprehensive advice and tips on travelling Indonesia safely, hassle-free and in comfort, under the working title ‘Exploring Indonesia the Easy Way’.

Carly Day Portrait shot

CARLY is an ex-zookeeper, veterinary nurse, and writer from New Zealand whose love story with Indonesia started back in 2009, when her zoo work took her deep into the jungles of Sumatra to work with rehabilitated orangutans.

She found herself returning year after year and spending more and more time in places that came to feel like home.

The call of Sumatra became too strong in 2015, so Carly left her job, sold everything, and jumped on a plane.

Carly is now married to Agung and together they run the Exploring Sumatra YouTube channel and Blogsite as well partnering with Better Tours Indonesia.

Portrait of Agung of Exploring Sumatra Channel and website

AGUNG (left) grew up with nature in a small village on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, Southeast Asia’s largest nature reserve.

He loved animals and exploring the jungle, making it inevitable he would become an eco-tourism jungle guide and ranger.

He also taught himself English while working in restaurants, including in the Gili Islands, just across the water from Bali.

He is now a skilled videographer, photographer, and video editor, and, with wife Carly, is building the popular Exploring Sumatra YouTube channel. He also deserves a masters degree in Being Charming and Helpful.

GLENN (right) is our contracted professional videographer, drone pilot and photographer who will be most responsible, along with Agung, for your complimentary photo albums and tour videos. Consider them as our back-ups for your memory bank.

Glenn studied English at university level and is a fluent English speaker. He also has qualifications in hotel and tourism operations.

He also is one of the most obliging and helpful young men you will ever meet and will be right there should you need assistance. (And he plays a mean guitar.)

Profile Pic Glen Firdaus

The team who make the magic happen

Better Tours Indonesia is partnering with tour operator PT Graha Lamina Perkasa and licensed Indonesian Travel Agency DIVAtour as providers of LAND TOUR Operations and Logistics services.

Operations and Logistics

Laura Graceful of PT Graha Lamina Perkasa

Super efficient LAURA is from the North Sumatra Batak community and is a co-director of PT Graha Lamina Perkasa. Along with husband Adriaan, she plays a key role in coordinating hotel, transport, attraction and restaurant bookings for our guests. 

Laura also has a master’s degree in law from a Russian university (though she admits it is not a lot of use in Indonesia) and is fluent in English, Russian, Indonesian, and her home Batak language. She is a registered translator for both Russian and English.

Laura was probably destined to be involved in tourism – her Dad was a sea captain on the Holland American Cruise Line.

By the way, her smile is a constant – you can even feel it over the phone.

Adriaan Nasoetion of PT Graha Lamina Perkasa

ADRIAAN is the Principal of PT Graha Lamina Perkasa and our overall Tour Manager. He has a background in Logistics and Training in the Hospitality industry, making him the ideal coordinator for our high quality LAND TOUR package. 

Adriaan is the son of Batak/Dutch father and a Dutch mother and lived in the Netherlands for a time. He speaks fluent Dutch, English and Indonesian.

He initially undertook college studies in Canada and later completed law studies at an Indonesian university. He holds certifications in Health and Safety and as a trainer at ISO level.

He and Laura are working towards a Grand Plan for a quality North Sumatra Home Stay where they can host visitors from around the world.

Profile Pic of Syaiful

SYAIFULLAH is our cheerful, helpful, and irrepressible Indonesian Tour Leader. He has a degree in English for Education and lectures in English for Tourism at a Pekanbaru university. He is working towards a doctorate with a dissertation on new methods for teaching English.

Syaiful founded DIVAtour, a licensed travel agency, in 2015 and takes Indonesian and international educational and social tour groups to destinations in Sumatra, Java, Bali, and nearby Southeast Asian countries. He is also a licensed tour guide and a member of both the Indonesian Tour Guide Association and the Indonesian Travel Agency Association.

Syaiful enjoys wide respect in his community and amongst colleagues in tourism and education. He is an accomplished public speaker and presenter and uses social media to promote his tours, especially Tic Toc.

Syaiful is one of those rare people who sees problems as simply minor challenges or irritations to be fixed.

The 21-day 'Land Cruise' tour of North Sumatra and Java

$5,230

US$ - Per Person TWIN SHARE

$249

PER DAY

Beautiful places to dine ...

Restaurant and art gallery - the Melati Restaurant, Hotel Tugu, Malang

YES … food adventures are an important part of the Better Tours LAND CRUISE

Delicious foods to try ...

Dining while surrounded by beautiful and historic art and collectibles when we gather for dinner at the Hotel Tugu’s highly rated Melati Restaurant in Malang. Superb Indonesian and international food.

Array of Indonesian foods