Sumatera is the second largest island in Indonesia and possibly one of the richest in terms of natural resources and beauty. The Bukit Barisan Mountains stretch for most of the island’s length plunging steeply to the sea in the west and rolling onto swampy plains in the east. Perfect cone-shaped volcanoes peak above thick jungles where rare Sumatran tigers, orangutan and rhinos still roam. Sculpted canyons, mighty rivers, thunderous waterfalls, idyllic lakes and exotic beaches are all a part of this multi-faceted island straddling the equator and home of one of Indonesia’s largest nature reserves, the Mount Leuser National Park.

The north of the island around Aceh is the home of Indonesia’s first Islamic Kingdom and still known for its devout population. Further inland is the homeland of the largely Christian Batak tribes, centered round Tapanuli and Lake Toba, while Bukit Tinggi and Padang in the west are home to the distinctive Minangkabau culture.

The western off shore islands of Nias and Mentawai have traditionally played only a minor part in the politics and the history of the region and have thus remained relatively unchanged, while the Riau island in the busy Straits of Malacca in the east have colourful and illustrious histories stretching back for centuries. Whatever you want, you’ll find it in Sumatra!