Straddling the equator, Sumatra is the 6th largest island in the world, full of untamed jungle, raging rivers, active volcanoes, stunning crater lakes, remote hill tribes, UNESCO-recognised rainforest and abundant wildlife. The whole island is fast-gaining a reputation as a hotspot for adventure and is one of the few places left to see orangutans in the wild.
Often referred to as ‘adventure island’ Sumatra offers plenty of opportunities for those who enjoy hiking, trekking and the prospect of seeing wild orangutans swinging from the trees deep within the steamy jungle. Off the tourist track, this is an island of wild and rugged allure, which will appeal to those moved by natural beauty, abundant and endangered wildlife and traditional tribal culture. The mountain range of Bukit Barisan runs the length of the island, protecting the thick tropical jungle and lush vegetation of western Sumatra and the endemic species here include the Sumatran tiger, orangutan, rhino and elephant. There are also over 50 ethnic minority groups all with their own traditions, costumes and lifestyles.
The capital city, Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia, located on the northeast side of the island and is an interesting brew of ancient cultures, Dutch colonialism, glitzy shopping malls and mobile phone shops. Within easy reach is Bukit Lawang in the north of the island within Gunung Leuser National Park, famous for the Bohorok Rehabiliation Centre, a conservation success story that has helped the orangutan population to both survive and thrive. Another highlight of the park is the chance to get up close and personal to Sumatran elephants in the village of Tangkahan at the Elelphant Camp, another conservation project designed to protect these Asian elephants. For scenic beauty and tribal culture, southwest of Medan lies the largest volcanic crater lake in the world, Lake Toba, where you will find Samosir Island and have the chance to explore the traditional villages of the Batak people.