Sumatra Island in Indonesia, points of interest

Where is the island of Sumatra on the world map

Sumatra, an island in Indonesia, is interesting not only for its nature: impassable jungle and mountainous landscapes, but also for its sights.

The capital of Sumatra is the city of Medan. It is home to 1.5 million people. This place is a major industrial center and is famous for its amazing cultural heritage.

The island of Sumatra belongs to the Zod Archipelago and is the fifth largest of all the islands in the world. It is situated near the peninsula of Malacca, from which it is separated by a strait.

The island got its name from the word sumatai, which translates as “being behind the water”. The island of Sumatra is washed on all sides by numerous bays, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

History of Sumatra

Archaeologists have been conducting excavations for several years, which have shown that the first people came here around the 2nd century BC. It is also found that for a long time the island was inhabited by representatives of three different cultures.

Since the 2nd century AD, the first states began to appear in Sumatra. The most famous is the state of Srivijaya, the modern capital of which is located in Palembang. Srivijaya waged regular wars, which resulted in the annexation of Java and the Malacca Peninsula.

After the 10th century, the island of Sumatra began to be referred to in documents as “the Island of Gold. The reason is that at that time the first gold mines appeared here.

After a few centuries, the kingdom fell into decline. It was caused by feuds among the influential statesmen. Srivijaya split up into several principalities amongst which only Pasai was able to grow economically.

At the end of the 13th century Sumara was visited by the famous Marco Polo. The beauty and uniqueness of the island made an indelible impression on him. Some time later, Dutch missionaries and traders arrived in Sumatra and founded numerous villages on the coast.

During World War I, Sumatra was spared, as the Dutch government was on the neutral side, but during World War II, the island did not escape occupation by the Japanese. After the liberation, Sumatra declared the independence of Indonesia, of which it is a part.

Weather in Sumatra

The location of the island in relation to the equator plays a major role in shaping the climate. The climate is equatorial, it is moderately hot and humid.

There are no particular temperature variations. It ranges from +25 to +27 degrees.

All precipitations fall in the form of short showers.

The population of the island

Currently, the population of the island is 50.6 million people, which makes Sumatra the 4th most populous place in the world. Nationally, there are most of the Indonesians, who are divided into smaller nationalities. In addition, the island is home to many Chinese, Thais, Indians and Vietnamese. Indonesian or Malay is recognized as a state language in the whole territory of Sumatra.

The local population leads an active way of life and is engaged in agriculture and different kinds of industries: textile, processing.

Among the larger cities, Medan stands out, with more than 2 million people.

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Flora and fauna

More than 30% of the entire territory of the island is occupied by tropical forests. Palms, ficuses, bamboos, and vines grow here. Higher up, evergreens and laurel trees appear in the forests. Maples, oaks, and chestnuts are also found. Alang-alang, an endemic of Sumatra, grows on flat surfaces.

The island’s animal life is as diverse as its plant life. There are over 190 different species of mammals. There are also a lot of reptiles (250), tropical fish (270) and more than 450 species of birds. Among this rich fauna there are endemic forms that live only on the island of Sumatra.

Tourism and Recreation

Tourism in Sumatra was started relatively recently by the authorities. The climate and other natural conditions of the island are ideal for creating a variety of tourist sites.

Almost the entire coast is covered with sand, which is washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean. Because of volcanic activity, it has acquired a pleasant brownish hue.

A lot of places on the island, where there are coral reefs. This creates ideal conditions for diving and snorkeling. On the beaches, sheltered from strong winds, in recent years, there are a lot of fans of windsurfing.

For lovers of natural beauty created a huge number of eco-tours, leading deep into the equatorial forests.

And how can you do without the sights. On the island of Sumatra a lot of monuments. We will take a little excursion to the most interesting of them.

Lake Toba

This is the largest lake in Indonesia. It was formed more than 70 thousand years ago and is of volcanic origin. Its coast has an unusual view, as it is almost completely overgrown with conifers.

Tourists are always offered a boat ride on the lake, and no one ever refuses. Water here is crystal clear and transparent. If you look closely, you can see fish swimming somewhere in the depths.

Lösser National Park

Lösser National Park gets its name from the mountain of the same name on its territory. The park itself stretches for 150 kilometers through two regions of Indonesia. Since its inception, this place has attracted travelers and scientists from all over the world. This is due to the fact that the entire area of the park is divided into several ecosystems.

Because of its uniqueness Lösser Park was included in the World Heritage List. Numerous tourists come here not only for the beauty of the equatorial rainforest but also to see the Sumatran orangutan population. It is also home to rhinos, elephants, tigers, and a Bengal cat.

Bukit Lawang Village

This small village is located in the park of Lössem. Bukit Lavang is the best place for active tourism. Almost every day here you can see holidaymakers from different countries. On holidays locals come here to take a break from the city.

There are several hotels built near the full-flowing river. Most of the rooms have free access to the river, and there is a mesmerizing view of the surrounding landscape.

Great Mosque in Medan

Located in the city of Medan is the Great Mosque. It is considered the main attraction of the island as well as a famous monument of antiquity. The shrine was founded during the Dutch colonization. Until today, it is maintained in its original form.

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Another name for the mosque is Masjid Raina. It was built in 1907 by a Dutch architect in the Muslim style.

This place is still considered to be the main religious building in the city. The people of the province attach special importance to this place and consider it a symbol of religious culture. After the devastating tsunami in 2004, it is even more revered because it has survived.

Tomok Bologna Village

Discover the traditions and customs of the Toba Tobac tribe in the island’s many villages. The most colorful is considered the village Tomok Bologna. It consists of huge wooden houses with roofs covered with thatch. All the dwellings are set on small hills that help avoid flooding. In front of each of them stands a barn with grain. Its size is so huge that the barn is often used as a bedroom.

The most beautiful place in the village is considered the public house. It is decorated with unusual, beautiful ornaments, combining red, black and white colors. An invariable attribute of this place are buffalo horns.

The houses of the locals were traditionally divided into three areas: a pen for livestock, a large living room and a sanctuary where family relics were kept.

Over time, the connection with the past is gradually lost. With the advent of modern infrastructure, the appearance of the village is changing. And no one can say for sure that after another natural disaster the houses will be restored to their original form.

Orangutan Rehabilitation Center

This national sanctuary was created to protect and increase the population of orangutans. It was founded in 1973. This is one of the few places in the world where you can still see wild orangutans. In total, there are more than 5,000 individuals in the reserve.

The main task of the rehabilitation center is to accustom the animals to life in the wild. For many years orangutans were domestic animals in Indonesia, but by the end of the 20th century their population had drastically declined. And now the staff of the reserve seeks to increase the number of orangutans and to adapt them to live independently in the wild.

There are excursions to the tropics, where you can not only see these amazing animals, but also admire the surrounding beauty.

Sultan’s Palace

Sultan’s Palace or Istana Maimun is located in Medan. The palace was built during the colonization period and today is a striking representative of that era. Thanks to frequent restorations, the architects have managed to keep it almost in pristine condition.

Near Istana Maimun running a souvenir shop, which presents a huge selection of jewelry by Indonesian craftsmen. All of it is created with the traditions and customs of Indonesians and is considered a great reminder of the color of the country.

Sipiso Piso Falls on Lake Toba

Sipiso Piso is located on the Lake Toba. This huge waterfall (120 m) is a spectacular sight, capable of surprising any tourist. Sipiso Piso is unique in that its waters are taken from an underground river flowing just under the plateau.

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There is a legend that the waterfall was formed during the battle of the underground dragon with the spirits of the lake. You can admire the beauty of falling water from several landscaped viewing platforms.

Sarcophagus of King Sidaboutar

The tomb is located near the village of Tomoka, just behind the market. This is where the Batak king himself and his relatives are buried. This place goes back more than 200 years.

The tomb has an unusual finish and is decorated with beautiful expensive ornaments. Numerous tourists constantly come here to touch the antiquity and feel the special atmosphere of this place.

Not far from the Sidabutar tomb are the Batak houses, where a marionette festival is held every year. This festival is very popular among the local population and tourists.

Aceh Museum

This is one of the oldest museums in Indonesia. It has a large collection of ancient objects found in the area of Aceh. Much of it is privately owned by the scholar Friedrich Stameshaus. Until 1933 he held the post of curator of the museum and after his retirement he sold half of the collection to the Amsterdam Institute.

After the declaration of independence, the museum became state property. Some of the rooms were restored and a new additional building was built, where conferences and exhibitions are held today.

Polonia Airport

It is the first airport on the island with international connections. It got its name from the name of the place where lived the Polish baron. At the end of the 19th century, this man received permission to establish a tobacco plantation in Medan.

In 1924, the first plane landed here. At the steering wheel sat a test pilot who made the flight from Holland. It was at this moment that the first runway appeared in Polonii. After that, the city authorities allocated money to complete the airport.



In the west of the Malay Archipelago is the sixth largest island in the world, Sumatra. As part of Indonesia, it is part of the Greater Sunda Islands. The area of Sumatra is 473,000 sq. km. The population is more than 50 370 000 people. The capital of Sumatra is Medan.

Geographical position and topography of Sumatra

The island of Sumatra, whose photo can be seen below, is located on the world map in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and the equator divides it into two equal parts. The length of the island is approximately 1.8 thousand square kilometers, width – 435 km. From neighboring Malacca, Sumatra is separated by the Strait of Malacca, and from Java – by the Sunda Strait.

The island of Sumatra on the world map

The southwestern coast of Sumatra is mountainous, with the Batak and Aceh plateaus. Fault zone divides the mountain range Barisan in two chains, composed of Paleozoic rocks: limestone, quartzite, crystalline schists. The east of the island is a swampy plain.

On the island of Sumatra there are 12 active volcanoes, as well as many extinct. The highest point of Sumatra is an active volcano Indrapura, or Kerinci, which is more than 3,800 meters above sea level. Other major volcanoes are Merapi 2,891 m and Dempo, 3,159 m high.

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The island of Sumatra is characterized by high seismicity. Earthquakes with an amplitude of up to 7-8 points are possible here. In 1883, the erupting volcano Krakatoa, located near Sumatra, submerged an entire neighboring island. And the infamous Sumatra tsunami of 2004, caused by an underwater earthquake, caused enormous damage to its southern and western coasts.

Climate of Sumatra

The area where the island of Sumatra is located is dominated by an equatorial climate characterized by high temperatures and humidity. The average temperature is between +25 and 27 degrees Celsius. Winds blow from the northeast during the winter and from the southwest during the summer. The eastern part of the island receives up to 1000 mm of rainfall per year. Western Sumatra can receive up to 4,000 mm of rainfall, and up to 6,000 mm in the mountains. Rainfall is almost non-existent from May to September, with most rain falling in the fall and winter.

Climate of Sumatra

Cities of Sumatra

Tourists visiting the island usually visit the following places:

  1. Medan is the largest city on the island and is the administrative center of North Sumatra. The famous Great Mosque and the Sultan’s Palace are located here.
  2. Bugittingui, a city with a cool, comfortable climate, offers its visitors a bullfight, excursions to Lake Maninjau and Singkarak, as well as trekking through volcanoes and mountains.
  3. Palembang – in this city during the summer harvest festival you can watch the regatta with the participation of Indonesian racing boats. There are interesting museums and a zoo with exotic animals.
  4. Berastagi (Sumatra) is a small town high in the mountains on the Karo Plateau. It is the starting point for climbing the volcanoes Sinnabung and Sibayak. Here you can visit the waterfall Sipiso Piso, located in the north of Lake Toba.
  5. Padang is a port town in Sumatra. It is connected by ferry to Jakarta, there is also an airport that takes international flights. Around the city there are excellent beaches for a comfortable holiday.
  6. Jambi is located on the Hari River. The city is famous for its textile painting artisans.
  7. Banda Aceh is located in northern Sumatra. Here is the oldest museum in Indonesia, and in the center of the city stands the Great Mosque.

Attractions of Sumatra

Many tourists want to get to this exotic island. Life here is very different from Europe. Of what to see in Sumatra, it is important to name:

  1. Lake Toba was formed on the island of Sumatra more than 75 thousand years ago in the crater of a volcano. Surrounded by pristine beaches, deep gorges and high mountains, the waters of this lake attract tourists from all over the world. Around this lake in Sumatra are plantations where Arabica coffee is grown.
  2. Samosir Island is located in Indonesia in North Sumatra. It is the best resort for those who prefer a relaxing beach vacation in Sumatra. On Mount Belirang you can swim in the thermal springs. In the village of Ambarita it is interesting to see the stone thrones that have been used since ancient times for important events until today.
  3. The island of Palambak, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, attracts those who want to relax in solitude. On this practically uninhabited island from the amenities of civilization there are only a few bungalows and a small restaurant.
  4. Isle of Veh is particularly popular with divers. The clearest beaches of Sumatra with emerald water and beautiful coral reefs attract many tourists to the island of Veh. Here you can see whale sharks and giant stingrays.
  5. Krakatoa Volcano – its visit includes a boat tour to the islands that remained after its eruption. Here you can visit the coral islands of Sebesi and Sebuku, as well as Sertung beach.
  6. Gunung Leser National Park is the largest nature reserve in Southeast Asia. Here you can observe various animals and birds in the wild, rafting on the river, climbing mountains or hiking.
  7. The Bohorok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sumatra is located in the village of Bukit Lawang. It was created to help the primates living there adapt to the wild.
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Hotels in Sumatra

The island has a variety of hotels for all tastes and pockets:

  • JW Marriott Hotel Medan is a 5-star hotel in the center of the Sumatra metropolis of Medan with modern, well-appointed rooms, a pool and gym;
  • Santika Premiere Dyandra Hotels & Convention-Medan is a stylish 4-star hotel with a conference center, spa;
  • Aston Jambi Hotel & Conference Center, a 4-star hotel located in Jambi, provides its guests with a full range of services;
  • Horison Siantar Hotel is an excellent 3-star hotel with non-smoking rooms that will provide its guests with a comfortable stay.

Sumatra Restaurants

For a taste of the national dishes of Indonesian cuisine, you can visit one of the restaurants of Sumatra:

  • Restaurant Garuda is a whole network of authentic restaurants that are located throughout Sumatra, and especially in its northern part, the establishments will treat you to meat, fish, and vegetable dishes;
  • Jenny’s Restaurant – a restaurant located on Samosir Island, the traditional dish is crispy fried fish caught in Lake Toba;
  • Tip Top Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Sumatra, but that doesn’t make it any less popular. It offers fried rice, delicious cakes, and even homemade ice cream and is located in Medan on Ahmad Yani Street.

If you come to Sumatra, dreaming of shopping, pay attention to the shopping centers available in each city:

  • Sun Plaza – This mall, located in Medan on Jl. Ainul Arifin & Diponegoro/Polonia Street, offers a selection of brands such as Franco, Mango, and Zara;
  • A modern shopping complex in the city of Palembang is located at Jln. PON IX, 30137, where you can buy trendy shoes, clothing, souvenirs, jewelry;
  • Batik Tanah Liek Citra Monalisa in Padang, where you can buy batik fabrics and finished products.

How to get to the island of Sumatra?

When traveling to Sumatra, keep in mind that the easiest way to get to the island is by plane. Medan is the main airport in Sumatra, Kuala Namu, which receives flights from many cities in Indonesia as well as from other countries, such as China and Thailand. From the airport you can take a train, a shuttle bus, or a cab to the center of Medan.

To travel by car from Singapore to Sumatra, you can take a ferry. However, such a trip will take you a very long time and may not be safe.

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