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Sonnenuntergang auf Sumatra, Bild: franshendrik Tambunan / shutterstock

Sumatra – island with unique landscapes

Sumatra is part of Indonesia and is the second largest island in the state. It belongs to the large Sunda Islands and has several offshore islands. In the middle of the primeval island runs the equator. Sumatra is also known for the Sunda Strait, which has a length of 40 kilometers and separates it from the neighboring island of Java , and the Strait of Malacca.

The breathtaking scenery of Sumatra

Lake Toba, Sumatra
View of Lake Toba, Image: GlebSStock / shutterstock

Sumatra enchants its visitors above all with its fantastic landscape, which consists of rainforests, swamps and volcanoes. The beautiful lakes, the imposing mountains and the extensive beaches are also fascinating.

In contrast to many islands that are characterized by tourism, Sumatra still has a high level of originality. There are only a few conurbations and plenty of untouched jungle. The beaches look idyllic and overcrowded metropolises are rarely found on the island.

Sumatra is particularly suitable for people who love nature and adventure and are willing to give up some comfort. Instead, they will get an insight into the breathtaking natural landscapes of the Indonesian island.

Best time to visit Sumatra

The climate on Sumatra is characterized by its proximity to the equator. It is tropical and humid, so there is rainfall throughout the year.

The best time to visit Sumatra is from late April to mid-October. The hottest temperatures around 33 degrees Celsius are reached between April and July. The time between the end of October and the beginning of March is less suitable for a trip, because it rains the most then.

How to get to Sumatra?

The best way to reach Sumatra is by plane via Kuala Namu International Airport, which is located in the capital Medan. However, there are no direct flights from Europe to Medan, so a flight must be via other Asian cities such as Jakarta, Bangkok or Singapore . From there, you will take an Indonesian airline to Sumatra.

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From Java, Sumatra can also be reached by boat via the ferry port of Merak, which heads for the port of Bakauheni. The boat trip takes about two hours. There is also a bus line that runs from Java by ferry between Jakarta and Bandar Lamung in the south of Sumatra.

Getting around Sumatra

To bridge long distances on the Indonesian island, a plane is recommended. From Medan Airport, other cities such as Banda Aceh or Padang can be reached. There are also local bus lines that can be used to reach any tourist destination on the island. There are also some minibuses or coaches.

However, larger buses only run on a few routes. The cheapest travel option for a trip through Sumatra is regional minibuses, but they are sometimes overcrowded.

Some tourists also hire a private driver, which is both convenient and cost-effective, especially for couples, families or smaller groups.

Medan and its interesting sights

On Sumatra, a visit to the island’s capital Medan is worthwhile. Located in the northern part of the island, the city is the cultural and historical centre of the island and was built at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Maimun Palace, built between 1887 and 1891, is particularly worth seeing. It was built by order of the Sultan of Deli and served as a residence for a time.

Other attractions in the capital include the Moroccan-style Grand Mosque, built in 1906 by an architect from the Netherlands, as well as various Dutch-style buildings. These include the Tirtanadi Water Tower, which is also Medan’s landmark, the post office and the town hall.

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Explore Sumatra’s nature in Gunung Leuser National Park

Sumatra, Gunung Leuser
Elephants in Gunung Leuser National Park, Image: Sertan Yaman / shutterstock

One of the most fascinating attractions of North Sumatra is the Gunung Leuser National Park. It is one of the largest nature reserves in Indonesia and can be found in the provinces of Aceh and Sumatra Utara.

Many animal species have found a way to retreat in the national park. While hiking, numerous species can be discovered, such as tigers, Sumatran rhinos or wild bulls. The park is also home to the Sumatran orangutan as well as some species of birds, reptiles and amphibians.

The Gunung Leuser National Park is not the only attraction of this kind. Sumatra is home to around a dozen parks spread across the island. Its diverse flora and fauna is worth a detour. The landscape, which is located in the middle of crater lakes and primeval forests, remains unforgettable. Animal lovers will get their money’s worth.

A fantastic natural setting

Sumatra scores with its magnificent landscapes. The 30 or so volcanoes such as the Kerinci dominate. It is also Sumatra’s largest elevation. At its foot are the tea plantations worth seeing. Other natural spectacles include Lake Maninjau and Lake Toba. They were once formed by powerful eruptions of a supervolcano.

The island of Somosir, which is located in Lake Toba, is also worth a visit. On it, the Batak culture can be admired. The stone sarcophagi of the Sidabutar royal family, which are about 400 years old, are a popular attraction. Another attraction is Tuk-Tuk beach.

Beaches in Sumatra

There are several attractive beaches on Sumatra. Bintang Island is especially popular with young travelers. There is an optimal beach recreation possible. Numerous resorts offer a quiet location as well as inexpensive hotels. Nightlife enthusiasts will get their money’s worth in the discos and pubs on the coast.

Culinary specialties

If you are interested in local cuisine, you can stop off at one of the regional restaurants. A variety of cheap rice dishes await. Delicacies also include seafood and fish dishes