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Explore Sumatra

orangutan sumatra

Explore Sumatra

Sumatera – the westernmost and second largest island of Indonesia (approximately 473,970 sqm) is fringed with smaller islands off its western and eastern coasts. With 1,790 km in length and 435 km in width, the island has Bukit Barisan – a volcanic mountain range with more than 30 active volcanoes, traverses its length reaching 12,467 feet at Mount Kerinci. Sumatra has something for everyone to explore – lush rainforests inhabited by exotic flora and fauna, cascading rivers, sparkling crater lakes, beautiful white sandy beaches, impressive volcanoes, limestone caves and an incredible diverse array of traditional ethnic groups who inhabit some of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes of the world.

Explore the legendary charm and highlights of North and West Sumatra where vast rain-forests are inhabited by exotic wildlife, towering volcanoes dominate the skyline and scenic waterfalls gush down into verdant valleys by driving overland.

Lake Toba is one of the most awesome natural wonders of the world – a crater lake with the mystical island of Samosir at its centre and home to the Toba Batak; one of the ethnic groups predominantly found in North Sumatra including the Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing; groups with distinct – albeit related – languages and customs. Toba Batak are known traditionally for their weaving, wood carving and especially ornate stone tombs. The area surrounding Lake Toba is home to many fascinating villages; each one the setting for performances of ancient dances.

Bukit Lawang, also in north sumatra is home to rainforests inhabited by exotic wildlife, framed by towering volcanoes and waterfalls cascading down into verdant valleys. In the village of Tangkahan, a team of elephants and their mahouts work together to maintain a fledgling national park, where visitors can join these gentle giants at work and play in the pristine rivers and jungle paths of the region. Just upriver, the village of Bukit Lawang is the perfect place to see orangutan in the wild. The apes here have grown used to human interaction, so expect some up close and personal encounters.

Tangkahan is sometimes mentioned as the ‘hidden paradise in Sumatra’. It is definitely hidden and for many a paradise. Tangkahan is an interesting place in many ways. Interesting for what it has to offer and an interesting background. The elephants, the jungle, and the clean rivers are obvious attractions. What makes Tangkahan different is that it is a good example on how community based eco-tourism can stop illegal logging, improve livelihood, and develop a sense of pride amongst the locals. This development on the border of Leuser National Park where the bigger river Batang Serangan meets the smaller river Sungai Musam is the hidden paradise of Tangkahan.

Berastagi is about 66 kilometers from Medan City. Berastagi is flanked by 2 active volcanoes, namely Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Near Mount Sibayak, there are hot springs. Berastagi itself is located at an altitude of more than 1300 meters above sea level, making this city one of the coldest cities in Indonesia.

Aceh was dessimated by an earthquake and tsunami in December 2004, Aceh has since recovered, thanks to international aid and the indomitable spirit of the Acehnese themselves.  Today, the region has been rebuilt and regenerated, and is emerging as one of Indonesia’s most rewarding new tourism destinations. Visitors can witness many poignant and dramatic relics of the disaster, from the area’s Tsunami Museum, to fishing boats on rooftops and a 12,000-ton trawler beached inland. Aside from tangible reminders of the disaster, Aceh is home to jungles teeming with wildlife, misty mountain peaks and endless swathes of empty beach, beyond which a heavenly halo of coral gardens is beckoning.

Pulau Weh, or Weh Island is kilometre zero for Indonesia; the westernmost outpost of the archipelago, with an otherworldy beauty befitting its remote location. Weh is home to white sandy beaches and breathtakingly blue ocean, framed by the curving arches of palm trees and bathed in warm sunshine. For those who love snorkelling, diving, or simply enjoying the picture-perfect escapism of a signature tropical island, Weh is the way to go.

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