12 Things to do in Sumatra Indonesia

Lake Toba Sumatra Credit to LisArt

Things to Do in Sumatra – If you want to experience visiting the pristine and authentic place with less touristy then Sumatra is your destination. It is less crowded than Bali and Java.




Sumatra (also known as Sumatera) is one of the main island in Indonesia, and is the 6th largest island in the world.

It is known with its beautiful nature, marine life, friendly people, the world’s richest ecosystems, unique cultural and social life.

Sumatra is indeed a must visit place in Indonesia for a true adventurous travelers.

1. Visit the beautiful Weh Island where the world-class diving spot is

Weh Island is absolutely one of a must things to do in Sumatra. Pulau Weh is one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia that worth visiting located in Aceh Province. It offers the beautiful marine life and is also known with its world class diving spots.

Therefore, if you are into scuba diving then you definitely should visit Pulau Weh, and even if you are not, you could still enjoy the nice snorkeling and tranquil island life.

Getting in to Weh Island now is can also be done by flying from Kuala Namu airport Medan. Garuda Indonesia flies 3 time per week to this island. This is a good option if you prefer to fly directly from Medan. But if you want to check out the mainland Banda Aceh, you can fly to Banda Aceh from Medan, and then catch either fast boat (45 minutes from Banda Aceh) or slow boats (2,5 hours from Banda Aceh)

Weh Island, Sumatra Indonesia by TR
Weh Island, Sumatra Indonesia by TR

2. Visit Banda Aceh and its Tsunami Memorial Museum

Banda Aceh was one the worst town affected by tsunami in 2004. If you want to have the picture of what happened back in 2004, then make a visit to the poignant Tsunami Memorial Museum. This is also the mainland before you are taking a boat to the Weh Island.

3. Trekking at the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

Sumatran jungle is the home for uncommon and small populations of critically endangered Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros and also the popular Sumatran orang utan.

Trekking in Sumatran jungle means you will witness the beautiful jungles wildlife, volcanoes and lakes at the same time. It is the importance of the 25,000 square km rainforest that, in 2006, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This including Bukit Lawang, Gunung Leuser National Park, and mount Mount Kerinci as part of the Kerinci Seblat National Park.

4. Visit the Sumatran orangutan sanctuary in Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang is a popular tourist destination located on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. Bukit lawang is also the main access point to the Gunung Leuser National Park from the east side.

It is where you can enjoy the jungle trekking where one of the most bio diverse regions of the world, the home for the species like orangutan, tigers, rhinos, elephants, leopards, pangolins or cobras.

5. Surfing in the world class surfing spot Mentawai island

Mentawai is located in West Sumatra, made up by a cluster of volcanic islands. It is a paradise for those who are into surfing, the waves is spectacular!

You can get here by taking a ferry from Padang (capital city of West Sumatra) to the largest of the islands, Siberut, and from there you can venture to smaller islands that boast better surf breaks like Pulau Sipora.

Surfing at Mentawai Island - Credit to Bruno Ahlgrimm
Surfing at Mentawai Island One of must Things to Do in Sumatra – Credit to Bruno Ahlgrimm

6. Have a great adventure by climbing the highest volcano in Southeast Asia Mount Kerinci

Take an adventure to climb Mount Kerinci and have a great hike through the rain forest on, amazing landscape, surrounding views of lake, crater and smoke and witness spectacular views from the top, and this mountain is not as busy as Rinjani.

7. Watch the dolphins at Kiluan, Lampung

Don’t expect fancy hotels here but if you want to have quiet time, enjoy the nice snorkeling and watch the dolphins this is your place. There are a number of hotels owned by the locals by the beach where you can stay in.


8. Visit the world’s largest lake, Lake Toba (Danau Toba)

Visiting Lake Toba is one of the most popular things to do in Sumatra.

Lake toba is one of the most iconic attractions in Indonesia located in the North Sumatra Province.

The largest Crater Lake in the world, and formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago. But now this beautiful lake is safe even for swimming.

Lake Toba is known for being the home for the Batak people who are one of the main indigenous groups in Sumatra. While you are on your lake toba trip take a chance to visit the Tombs of The Batak Kings Samosir Island and traditional Batak houses and dances.

Here’s the ultimate guide to Lake Toba. 

Lake Toba Sumatra Credit to LisArt
Lake Toba Sumatra – Credit to LisArt

9. Enjoy a nice hike and views at mount Sibayak

Mount Sibayak ‎is an active volcano located at the edge of Berastagi town in North Sumatra and the last eruption was in 1881 with elevation‎: ‎2,212 m (7,257 ft). Hiking mount Sibaya is worth doing when you are in North Sumatra.

Enjoy the views of the crater and the town and Mt. Sinabung and you can enjoy local meals at one of the restaurants before or after the summit and there are some restaurants and shops nearby.

10. Try Sumatran Coffee and Aceh Coffee

Sumatra beans are known for their earthy flavor and dark Sumatra beans are infused with dark, full richness you can try it in either in north Sumatra or visit one of the coffee shops in the mainland Banda Aceh.

11. Don’t miss the everyone favorite food Nasi Padang

And the next things to do in Sumatra is trying a real Nasi padang. It is everyone favorite food in Indonesia and probably will be yours too. Yes you can find Padang Restaurant in all over Indonesia, but what about tasting the real Nasi Padang at where it is originally from?

However, it is quite spicy though for the non Indonesian, so just make sure to ask the advice from waitress which menu is less spicy.

12. Make a trip to Anak Gunung Krakatau (Child of mount Krakatau)

If you start your trip from Jakarta, visiting mount Krakatau (also known as Krakatoa) is definitely worth doing. Enjoy a nice hike with a beautiful natural surroundings, a very special black volcanic beach sand and being able to observe ecological succession taking place as nature re-establishes itself following the destruction.

Krakatoa is known with its most deadly volcanic eruption in August 1883 and killed over 36,000.

In 1927, Krakatau had awakened after 44 years of calm and therefore it was named as Anak Krakatoa. This volcanic mountain has continued to erupt periodically, so stay safe!

Anak Krakatau Javier Castro
Anak Krakatau Credit to Javier Castro



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