Sumatra is located in the Indian Ocean and is the 5th largest island in the world. The island is as diverse as can be. From dense tropical rainforest with refreshing waterfalls, colorful underwater world, endless rice paddies, paradise beaches to spacious green gorges full of traditional Minangkabou houses. All of this without the crowds from Java & Bali.
The Mentawai Islands – Paradise on earth with extremely good waves and indigenous tribes.
Bukittinggi – A good base to explore the Minang highlands in West Sumatra. The Harau Valley and Minangkabou culture are definitely not to miss.
Bukit Lawang – Ultimate jungle trekking with the possibility to spot uran-utang!
Lake Toba – The biggest lake of South East Asia. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island called Tuktuk to sit back, relax and marvel at the stunning views.
Pulau Weh – An island in front of the coast of Northern Sumatra with beautiful beaches and underwater world.
Vulcano’s – There are 34 (!) volcano’s on Sumatra, pick your favorite one for an early morning climb and sunrise view from the top.
Best time to travel Sumatra
The dry season is the best time of the year to visit Sumatra which starts in May and ends in September. The best months are June and July. The wet season starts in September with regular afternoon showers and progresses through to Jan/Feb with longer periods of rain.
Sumatra is pretty big and we travelled a lot going from one side to another. There are a lot of cheap domestic flights available (Air Asia, Lion Air and Wings Air). You can also choose to take a bus or mini-van, these are the cheapest options, though not always safe and it takes a lot of time.
The official language spoken on Sumatra is Indonesian Bahasa. But Acehnese is spoken in Aceh and on the Mentwai Islands they speak Mentawai.
For the Dutch; you need a passport, which is still valid for at least six months upon arrival. For a stay shorter than thirty days you won’t need a visa. You do need to be able to show your booked flight out of Indonesia.
Sumatra has a great deal of budget to midrange accommodations, hotels, guesthouses and homestays.
DTP and hepatitis A are recommended when traveling to Indonesia and there is malaria on Sumatra.
In Indonesia you pay in ruppiah. Check the up to date rate of the ruppiah here.
Compared to Holland, in the summertime there is a 5 hour time difference and during winter it’s 6 hours later.
Indonesia uses the same plugs as in Holland.
You can’t drink water from the tap. Always check if the bottled water you buy is sealed.
Before booking a ticket always check the up to date travel advice (Dutch).