Sumatra is a large island stretching between the Malay Peninsula and Java, and is world-renowned for its dense jungles, smoking volcanoes and unforgiving waves. While Sumatra may seem like an unruly tropical wilderness, spend some time among the diverse cultures that populate the island and discover the unifying reverence of nature that has kept harmony here for centuries.
Visit the southernmost province of Sumatra, Lampung, and go on a trekking trip through the Way Kambas National Park to spot elusive Sumatran elephants and rhinoceros or summit the notorious Mount Krakatau. Laze on the beautiful beaches of Krui or spot dolphins in Kiluan Bay. Nearby, you’ll find fantastic snorkeling and granite beaches in the picturesque province of Bangka-Belitung.
West Sumatra is the home of the Minangkabau people, the highland market city of Bukittinggi and the twists and turns of the amazing road that is Kelok Sembilan. Explore peaceful lakeshores in this province or test your skill on the wild surf of Mentawai.
Experience the historical unity of the island’s Muslim and Christian populations in North Sumatra, which contains the island’s largest city, Medan. Meet Sumatra’s most famous resident, the orangutan, in a sanctuary in Bukit Lawang or take in some of the region’s spectacular lake scenery at Lake Toba. The prominent religion in this area is Batak, while northerly Aceh is predominantly Muslim. Visit Aceh to go diving and snorkeling at Pulau Weh and Singkil or delve into the hillside jungles of Gunung Leuser National Park to spot elusive primates. Be sure to book a local guide when embarking on a trekking adventure to experience a safe and informative journey through the Sumatran wilderness.
With diverse cultures and influences, Sumatra also has a delicious mix of cuisines. Try spicy Malay-inspired dishes, Chinese delicacies and provincial specialties.
Reach Sumatra by ferry to Dumai from Malaysia or by flying into one of the island’s major airports. Make use of these airports when exploring the different provinces, as bus transport can be slow and rough. Private cars and taxis are also available. Visit Sumatra between May and September to make the most of the drier weather. Sumatra is warm year-round, presenting great conditions for trekking, diving and surfing.