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North Sumatra

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel within 7 kilometres of the Mount Sinabung crater in Kalo Regency, North Sumatra due to ongoing volcanic activity .

For many visitors, the northern part of Sumatra bordering Aceh is their primary focus. With good air connections to Medan, from here you can trek in search of orang-utans in Bukit Lawang, climb volcanoes from Berastagi, laze away on the shores of Danau Toba, skim the waves off the Banyaks and Nias, and easily venture further north to Pulau Weh or south to Padang and the Mentawais.

North Sumatra stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Strait of Melaka. From sea to shining sea, it is anything but homogeneous. The rolling landscape varies from sweaty plains to cool highlands, while the houses of worship switch between the metal domes of mosques to the arrow-straight steeples of Christian churches. In the highlands around Danau Toba are the delightful Batak, and then there’s the megalithic culture of Pulau Nias.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North Sumatra.