The world’s largest volcanic lake, Lake Toba, may be found in North Sumatra, and within it sits the island of Palau Samosir. Palau Samosir has quickly gained a reputation amongst travellers as a relaxing spot and local activities include trekking, bicycling and visiting quiet villages in the interior.
Berastagi, once the preferred countryside retreat of the Dutch traders in nearby Medan, is a popular base for trekking to the active volcanoes Gunung Sinabung and Gunung Sibayak. Also nearby are traditional Koro Batak villages with their traditional thatch-roofed longhouses on stilts.
Sumatra is home to many endangered species including orangutans and these forest apes are perhaps the island’s biggest attraction. The most reliable chance to see orangutans is the twice-daily feedings at the Orangutan Feeding Centre at Bukit Lanang.
Sumatra’s islands also hold great appeal for travellers. Palau Weh is a paradise for snorkellers and divers while the Mentawai Islands are an established destination for surfers.