Top 15 Best Places to Visit in Sumatra, Indonesia

Most Beautiful Tourist Attractions in Sumatra

Surfing in Nias photo via Depositphotos

Sumatra Bucket List: Top 15 Places to Visit in Sumatra, Indonesia

This island is truly made for the adventurers of the world. Featuring dense rainforests with the most amazing flora and fauna and the best beaches and islands, there’s something for every tourist. Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s largest islands, and as such, it’ll be hard to choose the best places to visit on the island. This list puts together 15 of the top destinations you need to check out when in Sumatra.

Mount Leuser National Park

Buluh River at Mount Leuser National Park by arry f firdaus via Wikipedia CC
Buluh River at Mount Leuser National Park By arry f firdaus from buitenzorg, Indonesia – flickr: Buluh River #1, CC BY-SA 2.0, CC

This vast national park is as untouched as a rainforest can get these days. Visitors can trek through the dense vegetation, and if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a wild elephant, rhino, or even tiger.

You can also find the Bukit Lawang Rehabilitation Center at the edge of the reserve, where you can see many semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat.

Mount Sibayak

The View of Sibayak Volcano in Sumatra Island, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos
The View of Sibayak Volcano in Sumatra Island, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos

This mountain is actually a dormant volcano that overlooks the town of Berastagi in northern Sumatra. It hasn’t erupted in over a century, so you have nothing to worry about.

It’s a straightforward but long hike to the top, and many people choose to stay overnight or climb really early in the morning to catch amazing views of the sunrise and the surrounding area.

Pulau Weh

Pulau Weh by Axel Drainville via Flickr CC
Pulau Weh by Axel Drainville via Flickr CC

Located in Sumatra’s island’s westernmost point, Weh Island is a host to some of the clearest turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches. This paradise is a fairly well-kept secret, so you can expect fewer crowds.

It’s best to rent some scuba gear or go snorkeling as there’s a whole other world to discover underwater where marine wildlife still thrives.

Mentawai Islands

Mentawai Islands Sunset photo via Depositphotos
Mentawai Islands Sunset photo via Depositphotos

If you’re looking to catch some waves, this collection of about 70 little volcanic islands just off the Padang city coast in West Sumatra is known to be an excellent surfing spot. You can also go for a swim or rent some equipment to do other water sports.

The islands also provide a great opportunity to trek through some of the rainforests at the beaches’ edge.

Air Terjun Sipiso Piso

Aerial view Sipiso-piso waterfall in Sumatra, travel destination in Berastagi and Lake Toba, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos
Aerial view Sipiso-Piso waterfall in Sumatra, travel destination in Berastagi and Lake Toba, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos

You can find Sipiso Piso on the way to Lake Toba from the town of Berastagi. Among the green scenery, watch as water splashes down 120 meters from Indonesia’s tallest waterfall onto the rocks below.

To get a closer look, there’s a trail you can trek to reach the bottom, and the area makes for a great photo opportunity.

Kerinci Seblat National Park

Kerinci Seblat National Park by Carsten ten Brink via Flickr CC
Kerinci Seblat National Park by Carsten ten Brink via Flickr CC

This national reserve is the largest on the entire island and is a true sanctuary for its inhabitants. This is a great place to go bird watching or simply exploring.

The forest is home to thousands of tropical plant species, hundreds of bird species, and a few endangered mammals. You might even happen by a Sumatran tiger or Sumatran Rhino!

Mount Sinabung

Volcano Mount Sinabung at North Sumatera photo via Depositphotos
Volcano Mount Sinabung at North Sumatera photo via Depositphotos

If you’d like to see an active volcano, your next stop should be Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra; just a few kilometers away from Lake Toba. It erupted in 2010 after being dormant for hundreds of years, and since then, it has periodically been spewing ash and smoke.

Tourists are, of course, not allowed to climb, but you can drive close enough to get a good look at the majestic scene.

Lake Maninjau

Lake Maninjau photo via Depositphotos
Lake Maninjau photo via Depositphotos

Found in the town of Bukittinggi in the western part of the island, this majestic lake is known for its emerald waters. This volcanic lake is surrounded by lush forestry and climbable hills that provide the stunning landscape’s fantastic viewpoints.

You can also relax in the many shops around the areas you wait to snap a photo of the amazing sunset.

Lake Kaco

Lake Kaco photo by IDed Kerinci via Facebook
Lake Kaco photo by IDed Kerinci via Facebook

You can find this forest lagoon deep in the Kerinci Sebat National Park. It’s a fairly difficult and long trek to Lake Kaco, but many find it to be worth the journey once they see this intense blue and clear body of water.

You can even take a dip in the refreshing pool as you take a break and prepare for the journey back.

Mount Kerinci

Mount Kerinci photo via Depositphotos
Mount Kerinci photo via Depositphotos

Also located in the Kerinci Sebat National Park, this volcano is the tallest in Indonesia and the highest point in Sumatra.

The journey to the top and back down will take two to three days, but it’s better to stay at the highest point overnight to catch the most stunning sunrise over the clouds. You can hike up on your own or hire a local guide.

Way Kambas National Park

Elephants in the Way Kambas Conservation Centre by Michael Tanadi via Wikipedia CC
Elephants in the Way Kambas Conservation Centre By User:michael tanadi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

This national park in Southern Sumatra is taking steps towards the conservation of the Asian Elephant and Sumatran Rhinoceros with their Recovery Program. Visitors can actually interact with a few of the trained elephants in their care.

You can go on a guided jungle trek in the area where there are various rare birds and wild monkeys!

Nias

Surfing in Nias photo via Depositphotos
Surfing in Nias photo via Depositphotos

Though lesser known than Bali, Nias is considered a competitor for having one of Indonesia’s best surfing conditions. However, in Nias, you don’t have to think too much about large crowds of tourists!

Tourists can rent equipment, relax at the guesthouses or explore along the shore of this pristine beach.

Sianok Valley

Sianok Valley photo via ASEAN Youth Organization FB Page
Sianok Valley photo via ASEAN Youth Organization FB Page

You can reach this iconic canyon in a few minutes by car from the town of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra. You may hire a tour guide to help you navigate through the jungle and hike to its top.

But if you’re not up for that, you can enjoy its beauty from the nearby park that offers panoramic views of the valley and the surrounding landscape and rice fields.

Medan

Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni in Medan by Ronald Tagra via Wikipedia CC
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni in Medan By Ronald Tagra – https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamsky/10965322655/, CC BY 2.0, CC

As the largest city on the island of Sumatra, Medan is always bustling with activity. Though often treated simply as a jumping point from which to reach the natural sights of the island, this city is a must on your itinerary if you’d like to try excellent examples of Indonesian cuisine.

It’s locally recognized as a real culinary destination and should get you fueled up for your next adventure!

Lake Toba

Samosir Island, Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos
Samosir Island, Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia photo via Depositphotos

This body of water in Northern Sumatra is known as the largest volcanic lake in the world. You can jump in for a swim or take a boat to Samosir Island in the middle. The lake is also surrounded by hills and jungles that provide an excellent vantage point for seeing as much of this phenomenon.

The island of Sumatra is one that certainly caters to the brave. So if you’d like to get out of the concrete jungle and breathe in the fresh air of the forest, a tour through this amazing place should be at the very top of your itinerary.

Sumatra Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your visit to Sumatra, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities in Sumatra, Indonesia. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Sumatra, Indonesia? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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