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Enter the jungle: amazing experiences you ONLY find on Sumatra

Young orangutan hanging in a tree in the jungle on Sumatra, Indonesia

Sumatra is not the next Bali. But if you love natural wilderness, wildlife and exploration, it's a winner!

Discover the wild beauty of Sumatra, an Indonesian island of untamed jungles, majestic mountains, and vibrant culture. It hasn't fallen prey to mass tourism yet which is a huge plus if you ask us! From the orangutans of Bukit Lawang to the traditional villages of Batak, join us as we explore the treasures of this enchanting island.

Indonesia and its many, many islands
As an archipelago, Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands, with about 6000 being inhabited. Crazy right?! The five largest are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Sulawesi and Papua. The capital and largest city is Jakarta (For now at least, as Indonesia is working on moving the government to a new capital on Kalimantan). Indonesia has a diverse culture, with over 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 languages spoken. The population is predominantly Muslim, but there are also significant numbers of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Indonesia is known for its beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife and rich cultural heritage. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its temples, traditional dances and delicious cuisine.

Tropical diamond in the rough

Sumatra is an island full of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Unlike Bali, which is known for its beaches and nightlife, Sumatra offers a different kind of adventure. The island is home to exotic wildlife, such as the Sumatran tiger and elephant, as well as traditional villages where you can learn about local customs and cooking. It's also a hiker's paradise, with its many volcanoes, hot springs, and waterfalls. If you can do without the luxury resorts, Sumatra offers a chance to really escape the crowds and experience something unique, making it a must-visit destination for any traveller heading to Asia.

In addition to the natural beauty and cultural experiences, Sumatra is also known for its delicious local cuisine. The island's diverse landscape, including the mountains and coastline, offers a variety of ingredients and flavours. Here you can try traditional dishes such as Nasi Padang, a type of Indonesian rice dish with various meat and vegetable options, or Mie Aceh, a spicy noodle soup. Sumatra is also a prime destination for coffee lovers, as the island is home to some of the world's best coffee beans, including the famous Sumatra Mandheling and Gayo varieties. If you want, you can tour a coffee plantation and learn about the traditional methods of growing and processing coffee. Either way, you will get a taste of the culinary side of Sumatra.

Green mountains and Lake Toba on Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Toba is truly one-of-a-kind

Being the biggest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake on earth, Lake Toba is an impressive sight to behold. The lake is over 100 kilometres long, so you can imagine the area has plenty to see and do. We suggest kayaking around the lake, to see the area from a different perspective. Once you've done your exercise, take a relaxing bath in one of the natural hot springs in Pusuk Buhit. There are also lots of hikes to take nearby the lake, and plenty of villages where you can sample the local food culture. 

Blooming rafflesia flower on Sumatra, Indonesia

Secrets of the jungle

Step into the heart of Sumatra's wild jungle and discover a world of tropical beauty and biodiversity. Explore the lush rainforests, where towering trees and exotic plants provide a canopy overhead and colourful birds and monkeys swing through the branches. Take a hike to see majestic elephants and the elusive tigers, which call this jungle home. Visit the local communities, and learn about their traditional way of life and culture. If you're lucky, you might even come across a blooming rafflesia flower, one of the largest flowers in the world. It might be impressive, the smell is not something to like about this biological wonder.

Luckily, there are other sights to see as well! Some of the best places to visit in Sumatra for jungle exploration are Bukit Lawang, Berbak National Park, and the Leuser Ecosystem, all of which offer unique experiences and are known for their conservation efforts. Experience the wonder and awe of Sumatra's jungle, while supporting conservation and local communities in the rainforest. 

Our tip: Tangkahan!

Tangkahan is a hidden gem located in the heart of Sumatra's jungle, known for its lush greenery and rich biodiversity. This small village is tucked away in the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most biodiverse places on earth, and offers visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the jungle while supporting conservation efforts. Visitors can take a dip in the crystal-clear mountain rivers, go on elephant-trekking adventures, or explore the jungle on foot with a local guide. Visitors can also learn about the conservation efforts in the area, where the local community has joined forces with NGOs to protect the endangered Sumatran elephants and tigers, and the Leuser Ecosystem. Visitors can also explore the traditional way of life of the local community, and the beautiful waterfall in the village. Tangkahan is a perfect destination for travellers looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers adventure, culture, and conservation in one package.

Sumatran tiger in the green jungle on Sumatra, Indonesia

Super suitable for the active traveller

Sumatra is known for its diverse landscapes and outdoor activities, making it a great destination for active travellers. The west coast of Sumatra is known for its excellent surf spots, while the northern side of the island offers great diving opportunities. Of course, there are also plenty of (single and multiday) trekking opportunities in the previously mentioned national parks like Bukit Lawang and Kerinci Seblat. Here avid trekkers can explore lush rainforests and see a variety of wildlife while camping out in the Jungle. 


Some of the best surfing spots around Sumatra: 

  • Mentawai Islands: The Mentawai Islands are located off the west coast of Sumatra and are known for their consistent swell and high-quality surf breaks. Some popular spots include Lances Right, Macaronis, and Telescopes.

  • Telo Islands: The Telo Islands are located off the north coast of Sumatra and offer a variety of surf breaks for all skill levels. Some popular spots include Lance's Left, Bawa, and T-Land.

  • Lakey Peak: Lakey Peak is a reef break located on the south coast of Sumbawa island, known for its long, fast, and hollow left-hand wave.


Diving in Sumatra:

The finest diving spots on Sumatra are to be found around Pulau Weh, a small island located off the northwest coast of Sumatra. It's known for its excellent diving opportunities. The island is situated in the Andaman Sea, which is known for its clear waters, healthy coral reefs, and diverse marine life.

Some of the best diving spots on Pulau Weh include Rubiah Island, Gapang Beach and Iboih Beach, all home to a variety of marine life like tropical fish, sharks and turtles. The most popular diving spot, Sabang Bay, is also home to octopuses, seahorses and many more unique species. 

White sandy beach with small wooden board on Sumatra in Indonesia

Uncover the secrets of Sumatra yourself

At KILROY, we love Indonesia. It's affordable, there's a lot of adventure to be had and the food is amazing. We can't think of a reason not to visit, and Sumatra might be the best of all. Who can resist seeing the endangered orangutans in their own habitat?! If you're just as excited, use the button below to hit us up and plan your own Indo-getaway. 

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