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At 1,100 miles long and 270 miles wide (1,770 by 434 kilometers), Sumatra is the sixth-largest island in the world, and home to 50 million people. Originally named "Samudra", for ocean, Sumatra sits astride the Straits of Malacca, a maritime choke point through which all seaborne traffic to and from East Asia must pass. Long contested by a variety of colonial powers, including the Dutch, British, Japanese, and Chinese, Sumatra today is a major tourist destination. While it sustained severe damage and loss of life in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Sumatra has since begun a slow recovery, and tourism is again on the rise.
Particularly noteworthy sights and activities include a visit to Bukittingi, home of the matriarchal Minangkabau people; touring coffee plantations and sampling the notoriously expensive kopi luwak; and a wildlife safari in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
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Our General Manager Victoria Hilley loves getting away from it all in Bali, and meeting the amazing orangutans of Kalimantan.
Sumatra features some of the largest surfing swells in the world, rivaling Hawaii and Australia. Catch massive waves under the brilliant sunshine.
Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Sumatra is known for its heavy volcanic activity. One former volcano is Lake Toba, which, 70,000 years ago, erupted in a massive explosion that killed off almost all plant and animal life at the time – including much of the human race. Today, however, the crater is a gentle, picturesque lake ringed by forests and the distinct, angled houses of the Batak minority.
Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. Tour the coffee plantations and taste some of the choicest blends, including Arabica, which is exported to countries around the world.
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park
Perhaps the best example of the astonishing diversity of plant and wildlife on Sumatra, Bukit Barisan Selatan is home to the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Sumatran Elephant. Nature lovers and photographers will be happy to see that the Tiger, Rhino and Elephants live freely within their natural habitat, and are protected within the bounds of the park - designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Additionally, coffee is also grown in the park –about 450 square kilometers.
Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
Visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center at Bukit Lawang, located 45 miles, or 72 kilometers, from Medan. You can go rafting on the river nearby and watch the orangutans as they come up to the riverbank. From here, travelers can also make a two day overnight hike into Gunung Leuser National Park.
Visit Bukittinggi, home of the Minangkabau people, who are excellent craftswomen and live in one of the world's last true matriarchal societies. Once a major destination on the Southeast Asian travel circuit, Bukittingi has slowly fallen from prominence, though there are a number of interesting attractions in the area. Among them are the Lubang Jepang, or Japanese caves, a series of tunnels dug by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, and considered a marvel of military engineering; Lake Maninjau, a large crater lake an hour from Bukittingi; and the Jam Gadang, a cluster of food stalls surrounding a clock tower built by the Dutch.
Explore stunning and intriguing Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s most exotic islands, on this thrilling 14-day journey. You’ll have the unique opportunity to spot rare wildlife, drive to remote villages deep in the jungle, observe ancient sites, hike Southeast Asia’s highest active volcano, and relax on picturesque beaches.
See the best of North Sumatra, Indonesia, on this remarkable 6-day luxury journey. You’ll get up-close and personal with the elusive orangutan at a sanctuary in Gunung Leuser National Park, take in the natural beauty of Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake, and interact with locals on Samosir Island.
On the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, surrounded by lush rainforest and on the bank of the Bohorok River, environmentally-savvy guests can relax in nature and comfort at the Bukit Lawang Eco-lodge. Run by YEL, the Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem, the profits from the tourism attracted by the lodge go straight back into the preservation of the environment and the community that cares for it. Its proximity to the national park makes it the perfect base for jungle treks, caving and discovering the rich and diverse flora and fauna of the Sumatran rainforest. The cozy cottages comprise a range of accommodation configurations and all are simple but clean and comfortable, with ceiling fans, mosquito nets and outdoor bathrooms with jungle showers. The lodge’s restaurant serves traditional Indonesian dishes made with local ingredients and enjoys views of the river. The outdoor pool is the perfect place for a relaxing dip after a long day in the jungle.
Located in Berastagi, a mid-sized town in central Sumatra, the Grand Mutiara comprises 123 elegantly furnished rooms and suites. All of the Grand Mutiaraâ€™s rooms and suites contain plush beds, wide-screen televisions with international channels, and tea and coffee makers, while the suites feature private balconies. There are several eateries at the hotel, including Markisa Terrace, a relaxed, upscale outdoors restaurant; the all-day Lotus Restaurant, which serves Chinese, Western, and Indonesian cuisine; and a casual, comfortable coffee shop serving light, simple fare. Amenities include a luxurious swimming pool, an elegant gazebo, karaoke room, billiards room, and a meeting hall. The Grand Mutiara is approximately an hour and twenty minutes from the closest airport at Medan.
JW Marriott Hotel Medan
The first five-star hotel in Medan, the JW Marriott Hotel features 287 guest rooms with breathtaking views, contemporary furniture, flat-screen televisions, and plug-and-play connectivity for iPods and other portable media. The JW Marriott hosts a number of restaurants, including the all-day Marriott Café; Jade Chinese Restaurant, which serves Cantonese cuisine; Prime Steak House, a formal, upscale venue serving the finest steaks; and Marriott Gourmet, which serves coffee, cakes, and sandwiches to go. Amenities and services include a spa and beauty shop, an outdoor infinity pool, concierge, and foreign exchange. The JW Marriott is approximately 12-15 minutes from Medan’s Polonia Airport.
Pangeran Beach Hotel
Right on the coast and perfectly located in the center of Padang, The Pangeran Beach Hotel is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Here, Indonesian hospitality meets quality amenities and guests can either explore the town and marvel at its colonial architecture or simply enjoy the facilities. The rooms are clean, spacious and modern with big windows allowing for lots of natural light, while the private bathrooms are well-stocked with fresh towels and toiletries. After a day at the beach or exploring the town, hungry diners will enjoy a leisurely meal at Angso Duo restaurant, which serves a variety of traditional local dishes as well as a range of Chinese and Western favourites. The hotel bar is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink before or after dinner. The outdoor pool enjoys views of the ocean and guests can either get active with a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center or get pampered with a massage at the spa.
The first hotel in western Sumatra to boast four stars, the Pukaso Hotel in Bukittinggi offers world-class hospitality amidst stunning Indonesian scenery. Spread across five hectares of lush garden, with the Merapi and Singgalang mountains in the background, it is beautiful and peaceful, with the city landmarks of Jam Gadang less than two miles away. Across 165 rooms including deluxe suites and one presidential suite, the decor is modern with a traditional twist. All rooms are fully-equipped with satellite television and mini-bar and each has its own private balcony; additionally, all bathrooms are en-suite with a shower or tub. Authentic local cuisine is served in the hotel’s two dining rooms and nightly performances light up evenings at the Parenai Theater restaurant. Guests can relax around the outdoor pool or work out on the jogging track and in the fitness center while other recreational facilities include billiards, giant chess and mini basketball.
In the very heart of Sumatra, Bukittinggi attracts tourists from all over the world, looking for a little Indonesian hospitality. With its elegant sweeping spires, the Royal Denai Hotel is the perfect retreat. Nestled on the hillside with views of the mountainous scenery, the hotel’s rooms and suites are sprawled among lush gardens. Accommodation is clean and comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and room service available 24 hours a day. The on-site restaurant serves a range of Indonesian dishes made with local ingredients and for lighter bites, there’s a charming coffee shop. Whether for lounging around and soaking up the sun during the day or for a refreshing dip before dinner, the outdoor pool is a great spot for relaxing; what’s more, there’s a separate area for the kids to splash about, to ensure the tranquil atmosphere is maintained.
Located in the heart of Bandar Lampung, the sprawling capital of Sumatraâ€™s southern Lampung province, the Sheraton Lampung lies minutes away from the business district and government offices, and approximately 45 minutes from the nearest airport. . Overlooking the pool and lush gardens, its 107 guest rooms and suites offer a relaxed atmosphere and feature widescreen televisions, the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, cable, telephones, in-room safes, and Internet access at an additional cost. Dining options include the Pandanwangi Restaurant, serving regional and international cuisine, a bake shop, and snacks and drinks at a bar and the poolside terrace. The Sheraton Lampung does offer a business center, currency exchange, sauna, and health club.
Travelers to the picturesque town of Kersik Tuo will be wowed by the stunning scenery that surrounds the area, from the green and verdant national park and its sprawling tea fields, to the towering peak of Mount Kerinci. For a real taste of the local culture, a stay at Subandi Homestay is a must. The simple but cozy and welcoming house has four rooms available, each of which sleeps two people. Accommodation is basic but the rooms are clean and cheerfully decorated and the windows afford unparalleled views of the mountain directly opposite. The friendly owner not only speaks excellent English, but regularly delights his guests with his vast knowledge of the local flora and fauna so that intrepid explorers will be well-prepared before they head out to tackle the soaring heights. Meals are available and guests get the chance to enjoy traditionally prepared family recipes in what feels like a real home.
A budget, two-three star hotel on Samosir, a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, the Toledo Inn offers budget and luxury travelers a convenient, friendly location. Toledo Inn features a number of modern, comfortable rooms overlooking a series of lush, well-manicured gardens and the clear waters of Lake Toba.
Surrounded by lush fields, rice paddies and with misty mountains in the distance, Sipirok is a dramatic and romantic destination. Visitors to the area will be immediately delighted and impressed by the authentic Indonesian exterior of the bungalows at Torsibohi Hotel with their jaunty roofs pires, geometric tiling and chalet-style porches. The rooms are simply decorated with wooden cladding for a cozy atmosphere, the beds are comfortable and decked with fresh linen. Guests hungry from a day of exploring will enjoy the authentic Indonesian cuisine served up in the Torsibohi restaurant, often accompanied by traditional entertainment by local musicians. Those traveling with children or with a sense of fun will enjoy the playground set in the midst of the cottages, on the green grass.