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What to see in Sumatra

Sumatra Attractions

Sumatra may not be the first stop on many travellers' Indonesian itineraries, but this island is still a very popular tourist destination and boasts some fantastic attractions and activities that will appeal to all kinds of people. Depending on the pace you want to set, a trip to one of the Mentawi islands, Batu or Nias Island is a must as they are fantastic locations for surfing, windsurfing and scuba diving. Those wanting something a little more relaxing will love a cruise down the Siak River back in West Sumatra.

The holiday resort of Lake Toba in the north makes the perfect location for a relaxing holiday break, while the glistening Lake Maninjau offers retreat from the bustling tourist-packed beaches and frenetic outside world. A hike to the Mertua Waterfall in Pekanbaru is a must for all nature lovers, as is a visit to the Kerinci Valley and National Park which boasts a remarkable collection of Sumatran Rhinos. For a brush with orangutans, visit the Gunung Leuser National Park in the north, or for the ultimate wildlife experience, visit the Burbak Wildlife Reserve near the strait of Melaka to view clouded leopards, Malayan sunbears, otters and gibbons.

Bukittinggi, which served as headquarters for the Japanese army during WWII, is worth exploring to visit the King Palace, Tuo Belimbing Mosque, or even Lake Singkarak. With all these great attractions and so much more, visitors will find there is more to this popular island than just its abundant natural beauty.


A great place to stop off for travellers en route to the holiday resort of Lake Toba, the town of Berestagi is famed not only for its passion fruit, but also for the two active volcanoes on its doorstep:…

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Bukit Lawang

The little village of Bukit Lawang is situated on the eastern banks of the pretty Bahorok River, facing one of the grandest forest areas in South East Asia, the Mount Leuser National Park. With its…

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Bukittinggi, or 'high place', is situated on a hill and set among majestic mountains, green plantations and rice terraces. One of the friendliest and most easy-going cities in Sumatra, it is home to…

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Lake Maninjau

Lake Maninjau is set like a burning sapphire stone in the crater of the mountain and is a spectacularly beautiful place to relax and unwind. It is a caldera lake, located in west Sumatra, and is thought…

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Lake Toba

The holiday paradise of Lake Toba, sparkling like a precious stone, is embedded in the northern highlands of Sumatra and is surrounded by steep and fertile mountains. Filling in a giant volcanic crater,…

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Nias Island

Famed for its right-hand reef breaks, Nias is a key surfing destination for many travelling through the area, with the best known surf spots being Sorake Bay and Lagundri Bay. But this fascinating…

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The capital of Sumatra, Padang offers a compact and enjoyable cross-section of Sumatran life and its various cultures. Many surfers stop here on their way to the Batu or Mentawi Islands, but the town…

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