Best things to do in North Sumatra and sightseeing in North Sumatra
Tuk Tuk - North Sumatra
An island on a Caldera lake created by possibly the most significant geothermal event in human history, this is a place to relax in one of the lake facing cottages, swim in the warm freshwater, and enjoy the fresh delicious food. It’s easy to get stuck here but if the lazing gets too much, hire a motorbike and head out to explore. There is a viewpoint about 1.5 hour drive away and hotsprings. The hotsprings were a disappointment, as hotsprings in Asia generally tend to be. I wasn't too fussed about the viewpoint either. Stay on Tuk Tuk, relax and enjoy the Batak hospitality. There is a tiny lovely library, and did I mention the magic mushrooms.
Berastagi - North Sumatra
This is the site of the 2010 volcanic eruptions. This small city is the gateway to two volcanoes, Gunung Sibayak and Gunung Sinabung. Sinabung is bigger, prettier and dangerously active so we weren’t allowed to climb it. Gunung Sibayak is an easy climb, offering amazing views of the town and of smoking Sinabung.
Bukit Lawang - North Sumatra
The main draw to Sumatra for me was the Orang-utans. Gunung Leuser National Park is the native habitat of the Sumatran Orang-utan and Bukit Lawang is a small tourist village at the park’s entrance. Located by a rapid river, the village is home to smiling faces of travellers and locals. There is a feeding platform that tourists can visit twice a day to watch the rangers feed the semi-wild orang-utans. Most people come here to trek in the jungle, for 1-3 days. The trekking service is slightly pricey but among the best I’ve seen. The prices are fixed and set by the park, and it covers the cost of hiring a guide (compulsory), food and camping overnight with the option of travelling back on a local rubber raft made of inflated tubes tied together. Loads of fun!