A Rough Guide To Sumatra

medan sumatra

Sumatra Travel Guide

If you don’t know what Sumatra holds then read on. Sumatra is rich in beauty, it boasts unique mountain landscape, lakes and endless beaches. It is the fifth largest island in the world and the second largest Indonesian island.

When holidaying in Sumatra you’re going to need a considerable amount of time, Sumatra has plenty to offer, you won’t want to miss a single thing and by the end of your time there you will be planning your return trip.

So, What Is There To Do In Sumatra

1.Kerinci Volcano

Let’s start with Kerinci at over 9,000 feet it is the highest volcano in Southeast Asia and even rises above the magnificent Mt. Fuji in Japan, and Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani.

If your one for adventure and you don’t mind a physical or mental challenge then this is for you. You will notice whilst trekking up that it is set and protected within the Kerinci Seblat National Park, its unforgiving with a straight up hike along a ridge trail with no switchbacks.

whilst you’re hiking up make sure you stop to take in the view of the Kayu Aro tea plantation, rice fields, Rawa Bento Wetlands and MT Tujuh in the distance, it is truly amazing.

Tea Plantation

Once you do arrive at the top, I’m sure you will agree the view is outstanding, it will leave you breathless, literally!  You will thank yourself for not turning back, its definitely worth the struggle.

Whilst hiking you come across a forest where you might be lucky enough to see Yellow-handed Mitered Langurs, lizards, and birds. You will also notice the sweet sound of the Siamang gibbons and may also spot an entire family of them.

2.Exploring Toba

lake toba

You will find that Sumatra is the perfect place for nature lovers, you can go on a trip to Lake Toba and explore picturesque foothill areas, waterfalls and coffee plantations.

Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. In the centre of the lake, there is the island of Samosir, where you can learn many interesting facts about the history and life of local residents.

There are many craft and souvenir shops on the island, where you can buy gifts for a loved one or a little keepsake for yourself, which is always nice for when you have returned home.

3.Visiting a Hot Spring in Samosir Island

hot springs

If you have a love for hot springs, then this is the place for you. Sipoholon pools brings a variety of health benefits plus radiant, glowing skin. It is surrounded by beautiful orange and white limestones, Sipoholon hot springs make for a relaxing spot, be sure to have this on your list.

Extremely skilled motorbike drivers can brave the uneven road higher into the hills to see the source of the hot springs. The views of Lake Toba from above the hot springs are amazing and will leave you wanting more, it’s the best place to snap many photos of Lake Toba.

4. Tuk Tuk A Place For Everyone

Tuk-Tuk is by far the most popular tourist destination on the island and is home to countless budget accommodation options which is quite handy if your travelling on a budget.

Tuk Tuk,  is on the east side of Pulau Samosir, across the lake from Parapat, the main ferry port on the mainland.


On the west side of Pulau Samosir is the town of Pangururan. The area of Pulau Samosir is sparsely populated and is very popular for exploration by motorcycle, with only the town of Dolok having any semblance of development. You’re not going to find skyscrapers there or even a McDonalds, so be prepared, it is Asia.

5. Visit Sipiso Piso Waterfall


Lake Toba is littered with waterfalls, but Sipiso Piso – at 120 meters high – is Indonesia’s largest waterfall. At the northernmost tip of the caldera, it flows right into the Lake itself.

The Sipisopiso is a plunge waterfall, It is formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau that hurls itself from a cave in the side of the lake Toba caldera some 120 meters down to lake level.

Its beauty brings many a traveller to see how magnificent it is. Nature has a wonderful way of presenting itself for sure.

6.Gunung Leuser Reserve

Another popular landmark is located in the northern part of the island, Gunung Leuser Reserve. Whilst walking through the foothills you can see rare species of plants, and also meet the inhabitants of these places, including wild bulls, tigers and Sumatran rhinos.

The park area reaches up to 3,404m to the peak of Gunung Leuser which gave the area its name and protects a wide range of ecosystems.

This rainforest is insanely biodiverse, with approximately 700 different species of animals. There is more than 175 mammals, 320 birds, 190 reptiles and amphibians.

Because of the great differences in altitude and the diversity in soil, the Gunung Leuser National Park has also an enormous wealth of plant species that will amaze you even more.

flower rare

There is 45% of recorded plant species in the West Indo-Malayan region are found in this area. The flora contains approximately 10.000 plant species, including the spectacular Rafflesia Arnoldi and Amorphophallus titanum, the biggest and the highest flower in the world.

Traditional lifestyle

Culture and traditions of local people are very intriguing, to say the least. Before you embark on the trip of a lifetime to Sumatra you have to become familiar with rules of conduct and learn about some of the intricacies of the local way of life.

A vast part of the local population adheres to the Muslim faith, that’s why rules are very strict on the island, covering many parts of your body is a must. Naturally, when dining, it isn’t prohibited to have a meal with a glass of wine, but appearing in public while intoxicated is not the way to go.

Due to religious traditions, the locals don’t eat pork, so it will be extremely difficult to find pork dishes on the island.

islam culture children

The locals have are very friendly and have a hospitable attitude towards tourists from distant lands. Indigenous people are always happy to help, so you can always ask them a few questions regarding the island if you wish too.

Its always best to use a few good manners with indigenous people, a simple please and thank you will go far.

7.Temples, Museums and Places To Go

If your a little unsure as to what to do on a few days of your holiday to Sumatra, then check out some of the ruins of ancient temples and stunning beaches with dark sand, unspoiled nature and palaces – those are main attractions of Sumatra.

Each city of the island cherishes historical monuments; the most interesting attractions are located in Medan.

medan sumatra

There is also the Masjid Raya mosque, which is very different yet truly amazing in terms of architecture; its main decoration is the black dome. The mosque was built in 1906 and is one of the main symbols of Sumatra.

Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman is large and can be located in the centre of the city of Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia.

It is of great symbolic significance to the Acehnese people as a symbol of Acehnese religion and culture, especially since it survived the devastating 2004 tsunami intact, it is without a doubt magnificent.


Bukittinggi is famously known for its natural attractions; there are two beautiful lakes called Maninjau and Singkarak. In the vicinity of the city lies a lot of attractive reserves; they will appeal to those who want to explore the local flora and fauna.

Many tourists come to Bukittinggi to visit the remarkable Ngarai Sianok Canton where you will see giant rock cliff faces and many trees. Bukittinggi has a remarkably cool climate due to its elevation of over 900 meters above sea level.

This is most definitely the place to go if you prefer a little time away from the usual tourist trails.  Bukkitinggi receives a small number of visitors that use the town as a base for nearby hikes or to take cultural tours to the Minangkabau highland.

lake people

We hope you enjoyed reading a little about Sumatra. It is a beautiful place that has a lot to offer every tourist. when travelling every tourist will experience something different, if Sumatra is not for you then there are plenty of other islands to explore in Asia.


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