Top 5 Things to Do in Canggu, Bali

While backpackers looking to party flock to Kuta to spend a hazy night gouging themselves at Sky Garden, and yogis looking to eat, pray, love may find themselves physically and spiritually in Ubud, I found myself instead in a next upcoming hotspot of Bali – Canggu.

Full of cute cafes, fun bars, trendy shops, and decent surfing waves, Canggu is attracting a beautiful crowd looking to escape the cluster of neighboring Seminyak and Kuta. The town is much more mellow, dotted with lush, green rice patties, along cobblestone roads filled with surfers on scooters. It has a small town feel with all the luxurious amenities.

Scooters through Canggu Shortcut, Bali, Indonesia

Scooters through the “famous shortcut” in Canngu, Bali

Here’s our top 5 things to do in Canggu during your visit in Bali:

Eating heathy and local around Canggu

Good coffee and beautiful, bright nalu bowls (Bali’s answer to acai bowls!) are reason enough to make your way to Canggu. Like other places in Bali, there are plenty of affordable healthy eats – it’s probably one of the easiest places to be vegan throughout all of Asia. Some of my favorite haunts include Crate for nalu bowls, quinoa salads and peanut butter shakes from Peloton, a matcha green tea latte and sweet potato toast from Avocado Cafe, and poke bowls with large chunks of freshly caught tuna at Poke Poke. If you’re looking for something more local, there are plenty of Warungs (local food stalls) including my personal favorite, Warung Heboh where it’s buffet style and you pay by item rather than weight which means you can pile heaps on for a cheap and filling meal!

Coffee, desserts, avocado toast at Crate, smoothies, juices, salad at Peloton in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

From left: Coffee and desserts and avocado toast at Crate; Smoothies, juices and salad at Peloton in Canggu, Bali.

Party, drink and live band in Canggu

While Canggu’s nightlife may be a bit more subdued than in other parts of Bali, you can still have a great out and get up early to surf, depending on how many Bintang beers you’ve had the night before. One of my favorite places to drink has to be Pretty Poison in Canggu. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, there’s an emptied out swimming pool in the back where skaters show off their tricks to an adoring and attractive crowd sipping on their beers and cocktails. Other must visits include Old Mans, which turns into a party after dark, live rock band included on Friday nights, and Deus, a restaurant/bar/motorcycle shop with a big backyard that gets filled to the brim on Sundays as visitors sway to the live reggae band. There’s also free tacos and tattoos on Tuesday. For a fun day party, Finn’s Beach Club is a trendy and affordable alternative to the more popular Potato Head Beach Club, while the Lawn by Old Man’s Beach is a cheap and great place to curl up on a bean bag. and buy a beer while chatting with the friendly staff who occasionally break out their guitars to serenade lucky guests.

Live Band on Friday nights at Old Man's in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Live Band on Friday nights at Old Man’s in Canggu, Bali

Chill with spa and massages at Canggu

If you’re still feeling stressed or just simply looking to pamper yourself, there are a few good places for massages, facials, and other spa treatments in Canggu. While prices may vary, Goldust is a popular spot that comes highly recommended. While it’s a bit pricier than other places in Canggu, the bit of extra cash you spend goes a long way in terms of luxury. Always #TreatYoSelf, especially when on holiday.

Goldust, best spa and massage in Canggu Bali, Indonesia

Goldust, best spa and massage in Canggu, Bali

Shopping at markets in Canggu

If you’re looking to take home something unique and fashionable from Bali, Canggu has a decent amount of boutiques and markets filled with trendy goodies. Old Man’s Market which occurs on the last Saturday of every month is a top hit with fashionistas. There’s also a Sunday market by People’s Café with clothes and jewelry made by local artists. And nothing is better than bringing home a bathing suit, the perfect souvenir to remember your wonderful time in Bali.

Jewelry shopping at Sunday's Market in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Jewelry shopping at Sunday’s Market in Canggu, Bali

Surf at the trendiest spot in Canggu

Of course, no trip to Canggu would be complete without surfing. While Canggu is a becoming a trendy spot amongst beautiful sun seekers, it’s first and foremost a town for surfers. You can take a cheap lesson or rent boards in various sizes right by the beach. The best surf spot for beginners would be Old Man’s beach, while Echo Beach and Berawa are also nice for more seasoned riders. While it’s not exactly empty, the water isn’t as crowded as other neighboring areas.

Surfing babes and new friends at Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Surfing and new friends at Canggu, Bali – what else do we need?

With its burgeoning popularity, new hot spots for eating, partying, drinking, shopping and massaging are likely to pop-up in this little slice of paradise. What’s your favorite places and things to do in Canggu? Do share with us!

-> Find the best hotel deals in Canggu *

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Top 6 Local Restaurants (Warungs) To Eat In Sanur, Bali

Sanur may not be on everyone’s hit-list to visit in Bali but when it comes to cuisine, it has one of the best local restaurants (warungs) around. While you can get toasted sandwiches and burgers aplenty here, if you scratch beneath the surface you will find a world of hidden culinary gems. Many of the best places to eat in Sanur are local restaurants call warungs, which can range from basic restaurants to more of a cafe type atmosphere, or even just a buffet style glass case with a few chairs and tables set up in front of it. Often the food at a warung is simple local fare so if you are looking to try some traditional Indonesian local cuisine then this is the place to find them.

Sari Bundo

Open 24 hours a day so you can satisfy a craving at any time of the day or night, Sari Bundo is a traditional Nasi Padang joint on Jalan Danau Poso that can be spotted a mile away thanks to its iconic stacked plates in the window. The food is traditionally from Padang in Sumatra so you will find favorites like beef rendang, a spicy beef dish, and sayur nangka or jackfruit curry. You can either just go up to the window and choose the dishes you want atop a plate of rice, or you can sit at a table and let them bring the food to you which can be quite the experience. Tiny dishes, sometimes up to twenty, will be placed in front of you along with a plate of white rice, and you can then choose which ones you want to pour over your plate. You only pay for the dishes you touch and you are absolutely not expected to eat everything in front of you!

Address and Telephone: Jalan Danau Poso 95, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan; +62 361-281389.

Warung Jawa Moro Seneng

Located directly next to Sari Bundo, and also open 24 hours a day, Warung Jawa is a hit amongst locals in the know thanks to its rock-bottom prices but heaps of local flavors. Warung Jawa serves Javanese style Nasi Campur or mixed rice and you can choose from local favorites like chicken curry, slices of omelet, and vegetable dishes, all piled high onto of a plate of rice. The food is served buffet style so just point to what you want and pay for the number of dishes you have selected. The food here is perfect washed down with a cooling glass of teh manis dingin (iced sweet tea) and this is definitely the place to come if you want some local food on a budget.

Address: Jalan Danau Poso No.78, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan.

Warung Jawa at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Jawa at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Balifan

Warung Krishna

For some of the best Balinese food in Sanur head to Warung Krishna, a little out-of-the-way place on Jalan Kutat Lestari. It may be a little outside of the main tourist hub of Sanur but it is definitely worth it and you can expect Balinese staples like fish satay and lawar, a dish of mixed vegetables, shredded coconut and herbs. Service takes place at the buffet bar next to the tills in the restaurant, so just go and have a look and pick whatever you fancy. They also do a delicious sauce made from pickled chillies which are not to be missed, although be warned that this is a pretty spicy choice so it’s not for those who can’t take a little heat. To get here you need to cross over the bypass and then head down Jalan Tirta Nadi II and turn left onto Jalan Kutat Lestari.

Address and Telephone: Jalan Kutat Lestari No.04, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan; +62 361 281661.

Warung Krishna at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Krishna at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Good Food Bali

Warung Dapur Sanur

Another place to eat along Jalan Danau Poso, but this time at the far end towards the bypass, is Warung Dapur Sanur, which is noted for its healthier take on Indonesian food. To that end, Warung Dapur Sanur serves a range of healthy choices such as brown or red rice instead of the usual starchy white, and then adds to this with a choice of nasi campur dishes like fried tempe or tempeh (compressed soybean cake) and both vegetarian and meat curry options. Aside from the toothsome Nasi Campur buffet bar at the front of the restaurant, you can also order Javanese and Manado dishes like bakso (meatball soup) and bubur Manado, a kind of rice porridge from Sulawesi.

Address: Jalan Danau Poso No.15, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan.

Warung Dapur at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Dapur at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Balikutours

Warung Pantai Indah

If you like your dinner to come with a view then this is definitely the place to come. Warung Pantai Indah is a little beachfront cafe located on Pantai Indah and alongside selling the coldest beer on the beach (they claim), they also serve a range of Indonesian and Western dishes. One of the best choices here is the beef or chicken satay or meat on skewers, which comes served atop its own miniature grill over charcoal for a deliciously smoky flavor. They also do delicious curries infused with coconut milk, all with a gorgeous sea view. Drinks come in the form of the aforementioned cold beer or you can go for a freshly picked coconut opened in front of you. The entrance to the beach and Warung Pantai Indah is opposite Bali Deli on Jalan Tamblingan.

Address: Pantai Indah, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan.

Warung Blajong

Warung Blajong at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Blajong at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Let’s makan

For another hit of Balinese cuisine, try Warung Blajong on Jalan Danau Poso. This restaurant is more upscale than the local warungs or cafes in the area but the food is fantastic and the prices reasonable. Come to Warung Blajong for local Balinese classic dishes like siap betutu or roasted chicken, as well as pepes (food wrapped in Banana leaves) such as be pasih (fish grilled in banana leaves). If you are new to Bali then this is a great place to come to try a range of Balinese food in a less hectic setting than a local warung and friendly staff are on hand if you need some help choosing what to order or want some of the dishes and cooking methods explained.

Address and Telephone: Jl. Danau Poso No.78, Sanur Kauh, Denpasar Selatan; +62 361 285613.

Sanur is indeed not the best-known stop in Bali for its food but all you need is a little local knowledge and a hunger for finding the best dishes around, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Even just a few days here will take you on a whistle-stop culinary tour of some of the best places to eat in Bali that include Sumatran, Javanese, Sulawesi and Balinese cuisines. Tuck in!

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Top 10 Things to Do in Bintan Island

Bintan Island that forms a part of the Riau Archipelago in the South China Sea is a perfect getaway for friends and families in Singapore with its wide array of things to do. A 45-minute ferry ride will transport you to a world of white sandy beaches, clear blue sea, great Indonesian cuisine, and a bevy of outdoor activities.

The ferry ride also adds to the most important part of a holiday – the journey. And all the more because it is so convenient. There are multiple rides a day from Tanah Merah, Singapore to the three ports in Bintan: Badar Bentan Terani, Tanjung Pinang – the capital, and Bintan Lagoon Resort. The last one is perfect if you are booked into this particular resort, like I was, as the ride takes you directly there. But if you want to add a road trip to the journey, get off at either of the former two ports and take a car to your resort. I’m glad I took the Bintan roads one-way as they were spectacular.

Drive from the port to Bintan Lagoon Resort, Indonesia

Drive from the port to Bintan Lagoon Resort. Photo by author

While there’s plenty to do on the island, here’s my personal top 10 things to do in Bintan Island for you to pick from:

Immerse in history and culture
 at Senggarang Village

The history of a new place has always appealed to me. It’s like hearing the story of a faraway time and then seeing the evidence for real. Bintan, though a small island, is steeped in rich historical and cultural stories, especially due to its strategic placement on the Indo-China trade route. While being pivotal to Malay support system, the island also became home to many Chinese migrants who came in large numbers and settled here. Senggarang Village is the first Chinese establishment. The quaint village is a mixture of houses of different styles and architecture, and shops in sheds. Being an open community, the doors of most houses are left ajar and you can sneak a peek into the lives of these people. One of the nice things to do here is to take a charming walk along the village, which has quite a few temples, Banyan Tree Temple being one of the most interesting ones.

Getting there:
Located just outside the capital of Bintan Island, Senggarange Village is easily accessible via small ferry rides, locally known as Pongpong, which will get you to the other side for Rp5000-10,000 for a single ride.

Fishing village at Bintan Island, Indonesia

Fishing village at Bintan Island. Photo by Frank Starmer

Get the best shopping bargain in Tanjung Pinang

I found Bintan’s capital, Tanjung Pinang – a small and friendly town – to be a great hub for trying out local food, picking up souvenirs, and learning about the island’s culture. Shopping in this town is quite affordable as the wares are mostly local and handmade. While the concrete shops offer a diverse range of electronic goods, dried food items, and antiques, the street peddlers provide the best bargains with their colorful display of Javanese batik cloths, gems, local artefacts, and handcrafted toys.

If a shopping mall is your thing, head straight to the newly constructed Plaza Lagoi mall located in Lagoi Bay. Spread over almost 1,000 sq. meters, the contemporary retail space houses over 60 shops catering to fashion, Indonesian gifts, artefacts, and convenience stores.

Play golf at resorts and clubs

Bintan is definitely a golfer’s paradise and it is one of the top activity to do here. It has four spectacular golf courses – two in Bintan Lagoon Resort, one in Laguna Bintan Golf Club, and one in Ria Bintan Golf Club. The Bintan Lagoon Resort by far boasts the most luxurious ones: the Jack Nicklaus (Sea View) course and the Ian Baker-Finch (Woodlands) course. Since I stayed at this resort, I could indeed see the golf courses in all their glory. Ria, on the other hand, gives Bintan Lagoon stiff competition as golfers flock to this resort which boasts of having all 27 holes at its Ocean and Forest courses designed by the ace golfer, Gary Player.

Being a spectator, I would take in the sights of the rolling green courses against the blue skies while sipping on a cool cocktail. Simply looking at the soothing landscape would take away all stress and elevate my holiday mood.

Golfers at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, Indonesia

Golfers at the Bintan Lagoon Resort. Photo by author

Indulge in spa and massages

Speaking of de-stressing, the one and only thing that can completely relax you is a great spa treatment. If you’re from Singapore where massages and spa treatments don’t come cheap, this is the place to completely unwind and indulge in a luxurious Balinese body massage or even a Thai massage. Most resorts offer a range of treatments to soothe the body and mind, where you would be paying for the ambience as well as the service.

A little exploration in and around the island and I found that you could get cheaper massages in the local spas near Pasar Oleh for as much as Rp500,000 for a 90-minute body massage, although you may have to compromise on the ambience.

Eat fresh and highly affordable seafood/local food

Sebung Village, the sleepy little village near Sebung River, actually serves the best seafood in Bintan. I binged on everything from lobsters, prawns, mussels, freshly caught fish, crabs, and more. Fresh, delicious, and highly affordable, the seafood gets served in restaurants built on stilts that offer you a beautiful view of the mangrove river at the same time.Additionally, the capital, Tanjung Pinang, has an active night food bazaar called Akau, where you will find a wide range of delicious local snacks to satisfy the taste buds. One must-eat item on your list should be the ‘otak otak’, which is basically fish meat cooked Indonesian style and comes wrapped in coconut leaves.The resorts also lay out quite a buffet but, of course, for a higher price. If you happen to stay at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, don’t forget to try their Wasabi Prawns.

ATV ride at the Bintan Lagoon Resort, Indonesia

ATV ride at the Bintan Lagoon Resort. Photo by author

Try out some outdoor activities like ATV

Being an island destination, Bintan does not disappoint where water sports are concerned, you will find plenty of things to do. As most resorts face the beach, you can easily avail these activities in the water sports centers. November to March are ideal for boogie boarding, wind surfing, and long boarding as the north-easterly winds give the water that perfect swell that is a surfer’s delight. On the other hand, April to October sees calmer waters that make it ideal for jet skiing, water skiing, and, of course, diving and snorkelling.

On land, you can try your hands at ATV rides, mountain biking, and adventure treks. Your resort will help you with bookings and transfers. I had the best time in Bintan Lagoon Resort with ATV and Segway rides. You can also hire bikes and cycle within the huge resort, but since I didn’t have time, I’ve left that to my next visit.

Visit the Bintan Elephant Park

Eight Sumatran elephants run the show here. They are trained to perform delightful tricks like 360-degree turns on their hind legs and then jiving to some disco music. The show timings are at 10:00 hours Monday through Thursday, and at 10:00 and 15:00 hours Friday through Sunday. Tickets are priced at S$34 per adult and S$28 per child.

Greetings from a Sumatran elephant, Indonesia

Greetings from a Sumatran elephant. Photo by Nonprofit Organizations

The park also lets you interact with the gentle giants – you can feed them and learn about their living habits, behavioural patterns, as well as dietary habits. You can ride on their backs and take a tour through the forest, which is a one-of-a-kind experience. It would be best to avail the combo packages for ride and show, which range from S$34-39 for adults and S$25-31 for children, depending on the duration of the rides. Located in Lagoi, it’s an easy ride from your hotel as the concierge will be only too happy to book the transfers.

Sunbathe and dip in clear blue sea at Trikora Beach


The local beach lies along the eastern shores of the island and is a perfect spot for sunbathing or dipping in the sea. I found the on-rent cabanas dot the beach a good enough way of relaxing for a mere Rp2000 (SGD 0.20) for the entire day. The sea boasts of three different hues of blue on a clear sunny day, and you get lovely local food in the beach shacks. My beach sauntering led me to a fishing village close by, marked by the fishermen’s stilt houses built to catch/breed fish, locally known as ‘kelongs’. While it’s interesting to watch the fishermen concentrate on their chores, there’s another section that’s busy making boats from the scratch. Though camera-shy, these people are quite friendly and have a ready smile for tourists wandering close to them. In addition, close to the beach lies the Santa Maria Cave, which is home to a Mother Mary statue atop a half globe. It was apparently built by a Dutch priest in the 18th century that still sees people gathering there every Sunday to pay their tribute.

Trikora Beach at Bintan Island, Indonesia

Trikora Beach at Bintan Island. Photo by Adamina


Getting there:
To get to Trikora, there are two options: you can reach it from the south via Tanjung Pinang main port or approach it from north from the Bintan resort area. The former is the preferred and, more importantly, pocket-friendly option. It’s more than an hour’s ride either way. Once you reach the capital’s ferry station, you can grab a taxi to the beach, or if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on behind the bikes of the ready takers outside the ferry station. You can also hire bikes from there for the day. But make sure you settle on an agreeable price first before they ‘take you for a ride’.

Solve the mystery of the Snake River Temple

This 300-year-old temple is by far one of the most interesting places in Bintan. Also known as Sungai Ular Buddhist Temple, the Snake River Temple is accessible only by boat from Tanjung Pinang and looms up suddenly at the mouth of the Sungai Ular or the Snake River. The structure has a mysterious aura surrounding it, and its walls are covered with paintings of the horrors and torture methods of Chinese hell.It is also a popular destination for Chinese pilgrimage, and the ride is made interesting by the winding river lanes through the mangroves that instill in you a sense of adventure. If paganism and traveling off-the-beaten-track are what fascinates you, this one’s worth a look.

White sand beach at Bintan Island, Indonesia

White sand beach at Bintan Island. Photo by Thomas Timlen

Marvel at the Grand Mosque at Penyengat Island

A short boat ride from Tanjung Pinang, the Penyengat Island houses the then-ruler Raja Haji’s formidable stone fortress. Amid the tombs that dot the entire island, the citadel stands right in the middle and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the entire island. Take your selfies and family clicks at this viewpoint. Some of the tombs belonged to people who helped shape the history of this place e.g. the Bugis Princess who received the island as her dowry and the poet whose work somewhat forms the basis of modern Bahasa Indonesia. The highlight of the island, however, is the Sultan of Riau Grand Mosque which was built with a curious mix of egg white and lime as cement.

Sultan of Riau Grand Mosque at Penyengat Island, Bintan, Indonesia

Sultan of Riau Grand Mosque at Penyengat Island, Bintan. Photo by Achmad Rabin Taim

I found Bintan Island absolutely delightful, with its beautiful palm-fringed beaches, delicious seafood, great shopping spots, rich cultural heritage, the quaint little temples, and smiling, friendly faces. Easy accessibility is yet another advantage for this value-for-money getaway. So for the next short holiday, drop by the beautiful Bintan island. It certainly won’t disappoint and you will find yourself busy with all the activities it has to offer. I’ll definitely be going back one more time.

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Top 10 Must Visit Places in Sumatra

The island of Sumatra, located to the west of Java, is home to rich landscapes, blustering volcanoes, and unique culture that makes it a fascinating if under-visited stop on the tourist trail. The tourism infrastructure is more basic in Sumatra than other areas, but for those who make the journey, a trip across this diverse island is a rewarding experience, and some of the highlights include tropical islands, limpid crater lakes, enchanting wildlife, and bustling cities, to name but a few.

Here we take a look at the Top 10 Places to Visit in Sumatra.

Mentawai Islands

Just off the coast of West Sumatra lie a cluster of volcanic islands that make up the Mentawai Islands, a hidden gem perfect for those who want some surf and sand that is firmly off the beaten track. Travel here is not too arduous if you take a ferry from Padang to the largest of the islands, Siberut, and from there you can venture on to smaller islands that boast better surf breaks like Pulau Sipora.

Mentawai Islands, Sumatra, Indonesia

Mentawai Islands, Sumatra. Photo by Claire

Medan

The largest city in Sumatra, Medan is often maligned as a tourist spot and only used as an entry and exit point for the nearby Lake Toba and Bukit Lawang, although to miss Medan altogether is to miss a trick. Internationally it may not be well known, but within Indonesia is it considered one of the country’s premium foodie destinations, particularly in neighboring Java, and visitors flock here just to eat and drink their way around the city. If you are using Medan is your main entry point on to other things in Indonesia, then at least make sure to sample some of its culinary delights before you leave, such Soto Medan, a spicy coconut milk based soup often eaten for breakfast and Mie Aceh, curried fried noodles.

Medan Grand Mosque, Sumatra, Indonesia

Grand Mosque, Medan, Sumatra. Photo by Ismail Batubara

Lake Toba

As you move around North Sumatra, one of premium attractions here is Lake Toba, which has the claim to fame of being the largest crater lake in the world, having been formed by a massive eruption of a now dormant volcano, or, if you believe the local legend, by a magic fish. Lake Toba is known for being the home of the Batak, one of the main indigenous groups in Sumatra, and the tombs of Batak kings of old as well as traditional Batak style houses can all be visited at Lake Toba.

Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Holmes Nainggolan

Padang

Padang is yet another place in Sumatra that is raved about by domestic travelers and largely ignored by international tourists. One of the main reasons that foreign tourists go to Padang is to move on to other places like the Mentawai Islands, and so the city has a wide range of accommodation options and facilities, but the biggest draw here is the food. Widely touted as the best food in the whole of Indonesia (a lofty claim in a county with over 17,000 islands) Padang food comes in the form of the ubiquitous Nasi Padang, a range of small plates of vegetables, curries, and accompaniments like tofu or tempe (compressed soybeans) served with rice.

Bukit Lawang

Orang Utan Sanctuary at Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia

Orang Utan Sanctuary at Bukit Lawang, Sumatra. Photo by Arian Zweger

To the north of Medan, you will find Bukit Lawang, most well known for its Orang Utan sanctuary that aims to rehabilitate these precious primates and reintroduce them into the wild. Bukit Lawang lies at the beginning of Gunung Leuser National Park, a protected area of jungle that stretches up into Aceh Province and due to its unspoilt charms it’s is a great place to go trekking and check out some of the local flora and fauna.

Pulau Weh

Pulau Weh is arguably one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia, but unfortunately, most visitors never make the trip up there to find out. Located off the coast of Aceh Province, Pulau Weh has some of the best diving and snorkeling in Indonesia and is thankfully far less crowded than other beach locations, while still having just enough visitors to ensure that tourists will be well catered for.

Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Pulau Weh, Sumatra. Photo by Chalz

Banda Aceh

The capital of Aceh Province, Banda Aceh has sadly become synonymous with the devastating tsunami of 2004, although a trip here also offers a glimpse into a very different way of life to the rest of Indonesia. The Tsunami Museum, in particular, is an extremely moving experience, and the majestic Grand Mosque is an example of the beauty of Islamic architecture and is also well worth a visit to learn more about this conservative corner of the country. As Aceh is also famous for its coffee, visitors shouldn’t miss a trip to one of Banda Aceh’s most famous coffee shops, Warung Kopi Solong.

Nias

Bali may claim it has the best surfing in Indonesia but Nias has a well-established surf scene for those in the know. The island of Nias is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds at Kuta, and there is just the right mix of facilities like guesthouses with a serene and unhurried atmosphere that is often lost in frenetic Bali. Aside from the surfing, Nias has some amazing local rituals such as stone jumping.

Nias, Sumatra, Indonesia

Nias, Sumatra. Photo by Atlas Obscura

Bukittinggi

The best thing about Bukittinggi may not be the city itself, but actually, the areas that surround it, and in particular the gorgeous Lake Maninjau that ripples with clear emerald waters and is firmly off the tourist trail. Located in West Sumatra, Bukittinggi is home to the Minangkabau, the indigenous people of the area, so it’s also a great place to find sweeping unique Minangkabau architecture and learn more about this matriarchal society.

Lake Meninjau at Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Meninjau at Bukittinggi, Sumatra. Photo by Wikimedia

Palembang

The capital of South Sumatra, Palembang’s claim to fame is that it is one of the oldest cities of Indonesia, as well as being the center of the Srivijaya Kingdom in the days of yore. What makes Palembang a worthy stop in Sumatra is its status as a port town and its position on the Musi River. Many of the city’s main attractions are located along the river, and there are also quaint floating restaurants on local wooden boats that serve some of the best food in Palembang.

Even though still under the radar of the tourists of Indonesia, Sumatra has a lot of interesting tourist attractions to offer. Do you have another must visit place in Sumatra? Share with us so that we can learn more about what Sumatra has to offer.

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