10 Things Locals Do in Sumatra That You Should Try

The island of Sumatra is one of the most beautiful islands, located in the wild west of Indonesia.

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The island of Sumatra is one of the most beautiful islands, located in the wild west of Indonesia. It is where the tropical landscapes, blustering volcanoes, unique culture, and diverse rainforests reside. Sumatra carries all of those amazing things and places—and more, once you explore the under-visited places like the locals!

From lakes to volcanoes, there are plenty of places to visit and a lot you can do in Sumatra. Here are the best things to do In Sumatra that we have listed down to get you started on exploring the western part of the neighbouring island of Java.

Jungle Trekking in Bukit Lawang

Sumatera, Bukit Lawang, Bridge, Orang Utan Sanctuary

Bukit Lawang is a tiny village located in the northern part of Sumatra and on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park. Bukit Lawang is the place where travellers visit Gunung Leuser and also widely known for its Orangutan Sanctuary, and the best way to experience Bukit Lawang is through jungle trekking. Jungle trekking through the rainforest of Sumatra is a true adventure, it would let you catch sight of orangutans and some other wildlife living in their wild habitat—and if you are lucky enough, you can see the Sumatran tiger, elephant, deer, wild pigs and other wild animals of the tropical rainforest.

Discover the City of Medan

Medan, Indonesia, City, Explore

The major metropolitan city in Sumatra and the third-largest city in Indonesia. Medan is much said to be the same as some other urban cities in Indonesia, but there is more to discover through a peek of its cultural history—the diverse culture has turned Medan into multicultural heaven among their urban landscape with strong Dutch-colonial charm. Whether you are looking to indulge yourself in gastronomic adventures or revel among the breathtaking sights, Medan is the ideal place for a perfect getaway.

Explore Samosir Island

Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatera, Indonesia

Samosir Island is a volcanic island situated within the huge crater of Sumatra’s Lake Toba—the largest volcanic lake in the world. The island was formed due to the massive volcanic eruption thousands of years ago and is now home to the fascinating Batak heritage and culture, as well as their unique traditional houses. The island offers not just beautiful scenery and a naturally heated lake to swim in, but also some fresh air and an off-the-beaten adventure path, like chasing to the most magnificent and tallest waterfall in Indonesia, Sipiso Piso waterfall that resides on the northern side of Lake Toba.

Catch Sunrise at Mount Sibayak

Mount Sibayak

An adventurous trip to Sumatra will not be complete without climbing to the peak of mount Sibayak where you want to catch a sunrise. Mount Sibayak is located in North Sumatra and is closest to the town of Berastagi, Medan. The summit rises to 2,212 meters above sea level, providing magnificent views of Berastagi and all the surrounding landscape that you will ever witness.

Taste the Native Flavors in Padang

Minangkabau dish, Padang culinary

Another popular destination in Sumatra, but is known to be the home of where the best Indonesian food lives. The most desirable Padang cuisines are the typical Nasi Padang—a platter of cooked steam rice served with an array of side dishes that are cooked with the jumble of herbs and spices. Yes, and the biggest draw of the city and the best way to discover the hidden gem of Padang is through a native culinary adventure.

Surfing in Mentawai Island

Mentawai Island, Indonesia

Not only the Mentawai island is home to the exotic rainforest, unique flora and fauna, but Mentawai island is also surfing heaven for surfers. Located in the West of Sumatra, the idyllic beaches and the big legendary waves are what draws the island. To be able to visit Mentawai, you will have to first go to Padang in West Sumatra and make your journey by ferry. Mentawai is the best place, especially for those looking for a little off the beaten track adventure.

Lake Maninjau

Lake Maninjau

Lake Maninjau is a large crater lake in West Sumatra, Indonesia with several villages bordering it. Situated in Agam District, lake Maninjau has the best natural scenery after Lake Toba and is the perfect spot to experience a local rural lifestyle or to watch the sunsets. The lake possesses crystal clear water, and as you make your way to the lake will give you a breathtaking view, from the scenery of rice paddy fields to the traditional Minangkabau architectural houses.

Experience Bull Race in Batusangkar

Bull Racing, Pacu Jawi, Batusangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia, Bull

The greatest way to experience the authentic spectacle of the skilful sport in West Sumatra is through the Pacu Jawi Bull race—a traditional festival of the Matrilineal Minangkabau culture in Batusangkar, Tanah Datar, West Sumatra Indonesia following the rice harvest season.

Discover Banda Aceh

Baiturrahman Mosque, Banda Aceh

The capital and largest city in the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia was once devastated by the disastrous 2004 tsunami. But today, Aceh has woken up and rebuilt into a wonderful city to be explored. As home to Arabica Gayo coffee, the city itself will appeal to those looking for someplace a little off the map with tons of wonderful sources of nature to explore. From diving, snorkelling, to hiking to the top of mountains and volcanoes.

Banyak Island

Pulau Banyak, Exotic Island, Banyak Island, Sumatera

Lies in the north of Nias and southeast of Simeulue, off the western coast of Sumatra. Banyak island, just like the name translated as “many” island is a group of more than 60 inhabited islands in Aceh, and it is all about the serenity and tranquillity—from the crystal clear waters, white-sand beaches, coconuts, and palm trees, to the bungalows that sit right on the ocean, it is the best place to let the soul swing in paradise. Especially if you are looking for a getaway far, far away from the crowds and everything else, Banyak Island is just the perfect place.

Sumatra is truly the island of extraordinary landscapes, it sparks with life and vibrates under the beauty of nature. The wide variety of idyllic scenery and attractions offers something exciting for everyone beyond the ordinary, not to mention Sumatra holds the lushness of culture that is so different and unique.