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.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sumatra features some of the largest surfing swells in the world, rivaling Hawaii and Australia. Catch massive waves under the brilliant sunshine.
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
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.
- 6 days / 5 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $1,700
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.
- 14 days / 13 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $4,400
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.
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.
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.
Indonesia Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
- Frank Beyer
A Great Wall, volcanoes, orangutans, and more in a Sumatra you never knew existed.
- Anna Elisa Sida and Matteo Maimone
Anna Elisa Sida and Matteo Maimone travel to Sumatra for a unique look into the dwindling Mentawai tribe.
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