Sumatra is largest and most western of the Indonesian islands. It is a truly wild island with the long spine of the Barison mountain chain running down the western side and is mostly covered in tropical rainforest. Despite losing a large quantity of this in recent years to agriculture, there are 10 national parks, 3 of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These parks protect the endemic animals such as the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran orangutan.
This wild natural beauty includes volcanoes, many of which are active, and hills with picturesque mountain villages, where you can base yourself for trekking and visits to impressive waterfalls.
In the northern highlands you can relax at Lake Toba. This is the largest volcanic lake in the world and estimated around 70,000 years old. The lake surrounds Samosir Island, the cultural centre and home to the Christian Batak tribe.
There are a string of remote tropical islands along the west coast which are famous amongst surfers but also a picture postcard paradise for relaxing and snorkeling. For the more adventurous you can travel north to the strictly Muslim area of Aceh and learn more about their heritage, visit the Tsunami museum and dive Pulau Weh.