Located in western Indonesia, Sumatra Island is the sixth largest island in the world. Know more on weather, history, tourist places and how to reach Sumatra in Indonesia.
Sumatra Island, Indonesia
Sumatra Island in Indonesia - Sumatra is a complete tourist destination-sunny beaches, rich flora and fauna, large rivers and great history. Sumatra has the richest wildlife in Indonesia and hence it is known as "Africa of Asia". It is full of tropical rainforests and if you are a wildlife lover then Sumatra is the ideal place for you. Trekking is another option that you can opt for in Sumatra. Sumatra attracts fewer tourists than its neighbors like Java and Bali. So if you are looking for a quiet holiday away from maddening crowds then Sumatra fits the bill perfectly.
History of Sumatra Island
The first large empire to make Sumatra its home was Sri Vijaya Empire- the first Hindu kingdom of Indonesia-in the 7th century. In 10th century the Arabs established their Sultanate of Achin (now Aceh) in a part of Indonesia. By the 14th century, most of the power of Sri Vijaya Kingdom waned and Sumatra came under the direct control of Javanese rulers. Later on, in the 17th century, the Dutch established their control over Sumatra. In 1942, during Second World War, Sumatra came under the control of Japan and remained so for a year. When Indonesia attained independence and became a republic in 1949, Sumatra became a part of Indonesia. But, the Achinese protest against the Indonesian government continued and in 1958 a full-scale rebellion was launched by the army officers. Internal struggles and problems have still not waned and it is advisable to check the current situation before going to Sumatra.
Weather of Sumatra
Sumatra is located on both sides of the equator in equal halves; hence it is divided in two climatic zones. In north of equator October to April is the rainy season, while May to September is the dry season. In south of equator, rainy season is from December to February.
Best Time To Visit Sumatra Island
The best time to visit Sumatra is in September and October. It is the beginning of the rainy season and generally there are no torrential rains during this period. One can travel to inner countryside without much of a problem during this time.
Sumatra Tourist Attractions
Medan: Medan is the capital of Sumatra and an ideal gateway for those wanting to explore this island. The architecture of the city shows strong Dutch influence. Some of the better-known attractions in the city are Istana Maimoon, Masjid Raya, building of Bank Indonesia, and High Court, Bukit Barisan Military Museum, and the Museum of North Sumatra.
Berastagi: The beautiful town of Berastagi is located in karo highlands about 70km from Medan. The town is dominated by two volcanoes-Gunung Sinabung and Gunung Sibayak. There are plenty of trekking and wildlife options in Berastagi. The town is famous for its fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Lake Toba: Situated at a height of around 1000 metres above the sea level, this picturesque lake is located at a distance of 175 km from Medan. The lake surrounds the densely populated island of Samsoir and its cool upside countryside is covered with tobacco, rubber, and palm oil plantations.
Danau Ranau: The beautiful mountain lake of Danau Ranau is in the Bukit Barisan Mountains of southern Sumatra. It is one of the least spoiled of Sumatra's mountain lakes, and offers cool and quiet atmosphere.
Aceh: Aceh lies is north Sumatra. It is strikingly beautiful but not very popular among visitors as it is infested with insurgency. Islam is the predominant religion in the country and people represent different ethnicity like Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil, and Arab. Some of the popular destinations here include extension of Gunung Leuser National Park, beaches, Orang-utan rehabilitation centre (one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centres in the world).
One of the most popular places for shopping in Medan is Jln Jend A. Yani. The place is full of souvenir and art shops. Some of the souvenirs that you can look for here include paintings, antiques, batik, statues and carvings. Ulos (hand-woven cloths) and accessories made of seashells, boar-tusks and buffalo horns are some other good bargains here.
How To Reach Sumatra
Medan has an airport connected to Jakarta, Penang, and Singapore. Daily flights from Medan to other cities in Sumatra are available as well. Direct flights to other cities of Sumatra from Java and places outside Indonesia are also operational.