The province of North Sumatra stretches across the island of Sumatra between the Indian Ocean and the Strait Malacca. It borders Aceh province on the northwest and Riau and West Sumatra provinces in the southeast. It has an area of 72,981  km². The province contains a broad, low plain along the Strait of Malacca on which the provincial capital, Medan, is located. In the south and west, the land rises to the mountain range that runs the length of Sumatra; the mountains here are dominated by Lake Toba, formed from the caldera of an ancient volcano. Several large islands in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra are currently part of North Sumatra, most notably Nias Island and the Batu Islands.


Bukit Lawang - Bohorok

This place is for the adventurous, accessible through Sumatra's inland wilderness, crossing rivers and going over steep hills. The area lies south of the Mount Leuser National Park, a rehabilitation center for orang utans in Bukit Lawang, which was inaugurated in 1973,. Orang utans living here are of Sumatra and Kalimantan origin.


Berastagi, a tourist town, is another lovely town located in the Karo highlands. The town is known for its plantations and various kinds of flowers, vegetables and fruit, most famous of which is the Marquisa passion fruit. It's 66 km southwest of Medan and is 4.594 feet above sea level. There is a pleasant colonial-style hotel with a golf course. Other new hotels can also be found. From Gundaling Hill a clear view of Mt. Sibayak and Mt. Sinabung volcanoes can be seen.

Lake Toba - Parapat

The town of Parapat is the main tourist resort and lies on the very shore of Lake Toba. This lake is about 50 miles long and 16 miles across, with a depth of about 1,400 feet. In Parapat live Batak Toba and Batak Simalungun tribes, and are happy and easy going people. They are known for their lively and sentimental love songs. Recreational sports in Parapat are among others swimming, water skiing, motor boating, canoeing, fishing. Golf is at Sally golf course (19 holes), about 5 km from Parapat. Parapat is 176 from Medan and can be reached in 4 hours by bus. The climate in Parapat is cool and dry, making Parapat an ideal place to relax. Many hotels, bungalows, villas, rest-houses welcome visitors. Small shops sell souvenirs such as Ulos (local woven cloths) and specific fruits locally grown.

Samosir Island

The island of Samosir is right in the middle of Lake Toba, covering an area of 329 square miles. This island is the original home of the fiercest but kind hearted Toba Bataks. It can be reached in half an hour by boat from Parapat. The villages of Tomok, Tuk-tuk, Siallagan, Ambarita are recommended for traditional Batak Toba houses, and local dances. This island has many hotels, bungalows, and rest houses.

Nias Island

This island lies off West Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. The villages of Bawomataluo and Hilisimae are curions places to visit, where visitors can see performances of traditional war-dances and thrilling high- jump sports, i.e. people making dangerous leaps over 2 meter-high stones. Typical scenes are dancers clad in traditional costumes with bird feathers on their heads, a hall for the Chief-of Tribe built on wooden logs with stone chairs weighing up to 18 tons. There are daily flights from Medan to Nias island.

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