Top 10 Locals’ Favourite Restaurants in Jakarta

Indonesia has been known well for its thousand kinds of local food. In Jakarta itself, you can find all the food from around Indonesia ranging from street food to restaurants. We locals love to eat out too in search of our own favourite foods. The restaurants here are mainly from Javanese and Balinese influence.

Eating out in Jakarta will definitely delight your palate with sweet and spicy dishes such as turmeric fish, fried duck with green chillies, mixed rice with all sorts of dishes, meat skewers and much more.

Here is a list of the top 10 locals’ favourite restaurants in Jakarta that you should try:

Café Batavia

This restaurant is located in the Kota Tua (Old Town) of Jakarta. Do not be surprised if see more foreigners than Indonesian people here. This restaurant preserved its colonial design and structure since 1837. Enjoy your seating in the classy wooden chairs with your selected local food such as Soto Betawi, Nasi Campur, or their signature Batavia Fried Rice.

Address: Jl. Lada No.14, RT.7/RW.7, Pinangsia, Tamansari, Jakarta Barat 11230

Café Batavia, Pinangsia, Tamansari, Jakarta, Barat
When foreigners and locals are hunting the same kind of cuisine at Cafe Batavia. Photo by Isti

Omah Sendok

Taken out from the Javanese language, Omah Sendok literally means “House of Spoon”. This restaurant used to be a house which has been turned into a restaurant. That is why you will find the authentic home ornaments such as its wooden chairs and tables. There is also a view of the pool while you enjoy your meal. I recommend to try Bandeng Priyayi, a dish made with milkfish with a touch of turmeric inside, covered with eggs on the outside, and served with crunchy crisps on the top.

Address: Jl. Taman MPU Sendok No.45, RT.8/RW.3, Selong, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan 12190

Bandeng Priyayi, Omah Sendok Baru, Kota, Jakarta, Selatan
The delicious Bandeng Priyayi. Photo by Omah Sendok

Bebek Kaleyo

If you ask the people in Jakarta about the best place to eat duck in Jakarta, they will definitely answer “Bebek Kaleyo!”. This place is especially for those who love spicy meals. The duck which can be a kind of tough meat can be found tenderly cooked here, with the taste of spices perfectly absorbed deep within. The favourite dish here is Bebek Goreng Cabe Hijau (Fried Duck with Green Chili). But if you still cannot live without red chillis, don’t worry as they are always ready on each table.

Address: Jalan Lapangan Roos No.49, RT.4/RW.1, Tebet Timur, Tebet, RT.4/RW.1, Tebet Timur,  Jakarta Selatan 12840

Best place to eat Duck Bebek Kaleyo, Tebet Timur, Jakarta Selatan
Spacious restaurant around Tebet. AC room is available at the corner of this restaurant. Photo by Isti

Smarapura Resto

Balinese food does not have to be enjoyed in Bali. It can be found in this capital city of Jakarta too. Just located not far from Bebek Kaleyo, Smarapura Resto has a homey ambience with a local touch of Bali. There are 4 wooden gazeboes adorned with typical Balinese fabric in its surrounding. The waiter and waitress here also wear a traditional Balinese suit. A famous dish from Bali you must try is Nasi Ayam Betutu. Another good option is Nasi Campur Bali.

Address: Jalan Tebet Timur Dalam II No.43, Tebet, RT.3/RW.3, Tebet Timur, Jakarta Selatan, 12820

Smarapura-Resto-Tebet-Timur-Jakarta-Selatan
Ayam Betutu, a grilled spiced chicken. Photo by Smarapura Resto Tebet

Mbah Jingkrak

From Bali, we move then to Java. Mbah Jingkrak is a restaurant which serves many kinds of Javanese dish with the typical taste of sweeti and spicy. The menu is displayed in the front and you may choose your own favourites here. There is also a live Javanese music called Keroncong every day starting from 7 PM until 9 PM here. Mbah Jingkrak is located in an ancient Javanese concept house. There is also a pool at the corner that contains colourful balls that you can use for your photo background.
Address: Jl. Setiabudi Tengah No.11, RT.1/RW.1, Setia Budi, Setiabudi, Jakarta Selatan 10220

Javanese food at Mbah Jingkrak, Setia Budi, Setiabudi, Jakarta
Mangut, fish spiced up with coconut milk and chili at Mbah Jingkrak. Photo by Andreas Surya

Dapur Solo

This is another Javanese restaurant which specifically serves a variety of dishes from Solo, Central Java. As the other Javanese restaurant, dishes at Dapur Solo comes laden with sweet and spicy. One of the most renowned food from Solo is Nasi Liwet or in Javanese, we call it Sego Liwet. Nasi Liwet is a kind of rice cooked with coconut milk and Indonesian herbs added with shredded chicken, cooked squash, boiled egg, and of course, sambal (chilli sauce).

Javanese restaurant at Dapur Solo, Melawai, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta, Selatan
Nasi Liwet in Javanese Restaurant Dapur Solo. Photo by @dapursolo1988

Address: This restaurant has few branches. One of them is located in Jl. Panglima Polim Raya No.1, RT.3/RW.6, Melawai, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan

Bunga Rampai

For some more Indonesian local cuisine, you should give this A-class restaurant which a Dutch architecture a visit. This restaurant is very popular among the expats around Jakarta. You will find the entire restaurant filled with luxurious furniture and wallpaper. For the food, you can try Nasi Buketan, a big portion of green rice accompanied with meat skewers, sweet fried potato, diced omelette, and chilli sauce.

A classy dutch style restaurant, Bunga Rampai, Menteng Kota, Jakarta, Pusat
Classy Dutch styled Indonesian restaurant, Bunga Rampai. Photo by Isti

Address: Jalan Cik Ditiro No.35, Menteng, RT.10/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, 10310

Bebek Bengil

Adopted from The Balinese language which means Dirty Duck, Bebek Bengil has been here in Jakarta since 2009. The first branch is originally located in Ubud, Bali. Their concept is actually to bring the Balinese ambience to this city. The signature dish here is the Crispy Duck served with stir-fried of string bean and bean sprouts. Don’t worry, the chilli sauce has been included in the package.

Address: The Ubud Building, Jl. H. Agus Salim No. 132, RT.1/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat 10310

Bebek Bengil, Menteng Kota, Jakarta, Pusat
Get used to the chili sauce just like the locals. Photo by Naotake Murayama

Sate Khas Senayan

This is one of the restaurants that has opened a lot of branches in Jakarta since 1974. Just like its name, Sate, meat skewers, is their main dish here. The decoration is dominantly filled with the Javanese touches such as the Wayang characters framed on each branch. Wayang is a popular puppet-shadow show in Java. If you visit Sate Khas Senayan, you should order Sate Ayam Campur which serves you chicken skewer layered with good fat and served with peanut sauce.

Address: They open so many branches in Jakarta. One of them is in Jl. Salemba Raya No. 59, Kenari Senen, RT.9/RW.5, Paseban, Senen, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10440

Sate Khas, Senayan Paseban, Senen Kota, Jakarta, Pusat
Chicken satay is placed above the compressed rice cakes. Photo by Aulia Masna

Kedai Tiga Nyonya

When we recall in memory of our grandmother’s cooking, we would go to Kedai Tiga Nyonya. Before you even enter the restaurant, you will see a window styled in typical traditional windows of Batavia (the previous name of Jakarta). You will also find some pictures of old generations framed on the wall with a touch of sepia colour. The recommended food from Kedai Tiga Nyonya is Ayam Siao. It is a chicken dish cooked with ketchup and a touch of kluwak (one of the typical herbs which can only be grown in Southeast Asia)

Address: TIS Square Kav. 8-9, Jl Mt Haryono, Tebet, RT.11/RW.5, Tebet Barat, Jakarta Selatan  12810

Kedai Tiga, Nyonya, Tebet Barat, Jakarta, Selatan
Grilled Gurame accompanied with Stir-Fried Swamp Cabbage and Some Sambal. Photo by : Rollan Budi

As previously mentioned, Indonesia has plentiful of local cuisine, so it might not be enough to just visit one restaurant to have a representative of the Indonesian food. So, get your stomach ready and choose what typical local cuisine you prefer. Do not forget to always order sambal, which is really mandatory to accompany any kind of Indonesian food.

Related articles:
Top 10 Indonesian Food You Must Eat
Top 10 Best Coffee Places in Jakarta – Locals’ favourite picks
Top 8 Vegetarian Food to Eat in Indonesia
3 days Itinerary in Jakarta

10 Things to Do and Must See in Solo City

Just like its neighbour, Yogyakarta, Solo (or often called Surakarta) is also still identical with a long history of monarchy government. Yogyakarta and Surakarta both make their palace as the center of cultural development and preservation.

Furthermore, the palace is also a symbol of the king’s power. Unlike Yogyakarta whose Sultan is still automatically elected as the governor, Solo has another governor who runs the city. Governor in Surakarta is elected by the people in Surakarta.

If you are coming to Solo, here are some suggestions you might put on your to-do list.

Look Up to The Palace Closer

One thing you really must see is, of course, this beauty of Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta. This palace is a complex of buildings that still runs a function as a residence of Sri Sunan Pakubuwono and palace households that conduct royal tradition until today. Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta Is open for visitors from 09.00 AM-02.00 PM except on Friday, Keraton is closed for public. Admission fee is only IDR 10,000 for domestic tourists and IDR 15,000 for foreigners (about USD 1.2)

Keraton Surakarta, Solo, Indonesia

A majestic view of Keraton Surakarta at night. Photo by Isti

Learn to Bargain at Klewer Traditional Market

It is still typical of Indonesian habit to haggle at a traditional market to have a better price. The most wanted market to see is this Klewer Market (Pasar Klewer) which is located near Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta. You can just walk on foot to get here. This market offers you thousands of stores selling fabrics, batik, jewellery, trinkets, even puppet leather. FYI, Klewer Market was damaged by massive fire back in December 2014. Now, though you may not be able seeing how this authentic market looks like, you can still find many Javanese pieces of stuff here at the new face of Klewer Market.

Pasar Klewer in Solo city, Indonesia

Gate to Pasar Klewer in Solo city. Photo by Benny Lin

Try Serabi, the original pancake in Surakarta

Serabiis maybe slightly different from pancake you know with its thick dough and flat shape. They combine the rice flour with coconut milk which finally makes the pancake tastes both savoury and sweet. The thin crispy crust surrounding it makes it even more tempting. The original Serabi from Notosuman is actually white and plain but they also make more variants by adding some toppings like chocolate sprinkles, slices of banana, and also jackfruit. You can find many Serabi mongers on the side street along Jalan Slamet Riyadi but the one with its legendary recipe since the 1920s is here in Jalan Mohammad Yamin No. 28.

Original Pancake, Serabi, Surakarta, Solo City, Indonesia Original plain serabi with no topping.. Photo by Herman Saksono

Learn The History of Cetho Temple

This temple is located in the area of Gumeng village, Karanganyar regency, which is 36 km away from the city center of Surakarta. One of Javanese-Hindu temple which is still undamaged by years since Cetho Temple was built around 15th century. Pay attention to the every inch of its beautiful cravings accompanied by the mild breeze coming from such plantation complex nearby.

Cetho Temple, Surakarta, Solo City, Indonesia
A misty morning in Candi Cetho. Photo by Andrey Samsonov

Watch the shadow puppet show

If what you only know so far is just shadow puppet show, you also have to attend this special show which brings the puppets alive. Wayang Orang, which literally means Human Puppet will show you group of real human act out characters based on various forms of drama. The story is mostly adapted from Javanese version of Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Human Puppet Show is run daily from Monday until Saturday on 8 PM. The ticket fee is only IDR 10,000. Just go to GedungWayang Wong in Sriwedari, Jln. BrigjenSlametRiyadi No. 275, Surakarta.

Human Puppet, Sriwedari, Surakarta, Solo City, Indonesia
See the group of people playing their characters at the stage in Sriwedari. Photo by Chris Lewis

Getting Around The City with A Fancy Double Decker Bus

Department of Transportation Solo provides double decker bus which will take the passengers going around the city to see the beauty of Solo city by just paying IDR 20,000/person. This bus is called Werkudara Bus and it is taken from a character in Mahabharata story. Werkudara is described as a tall, brave, and certainly doughty man, quite an apt name for this giant bus in bright red colour. In the middle of the journey, there will be a time when passengers have to exchange their seat. If you have first chosen a seat in the upper deck, then you must come down halfway to a seat in the lower deck.

Werkudara Bus, Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo City, Indonesia
The bus will stop for a while in Jalan Slamet Riyadi, giving chance for passengers to get off and take pictures. Photo by Isti

Quench your thirst with Es Dawet at Pasar Gede

Pasar Gede literally means Big Market. Try to find Es Dawet Telasih Bu Dermi here. It is no easy feat to find this place because it is only such a small kiosk. The stall can only accommodate six customers at the same time. Do not ask how it tastes like, just go and try it! Trust me, you would be wanting to come back here again and again, lining up like all the others for a taste of this addictive sweetness. This Es Dawet consists of cendol (green pulpy dish of rice flour), tape ketan (fermented glutinous rice), bubur sumsum (rice flour porridge), and with the main ingredient telasih/selasih (basil seeds).

PasarGede, Solo City, Indonesia
Enjoying a bowl of EsDawet at this small kiosk. Photo by Isti

Hunting Batik in Kauman Batik Village

There are actually two Batik villages in Solo, Laweyan and Kauman Batik Village. The nearest one to the city center is the Kauman batik village. Here you can find local houses with parts of it converted into a boutique. You are also able to watch the batik making process here. As you know, the stamped batik (batik cap) is cheaper as they are easier to make. But if you appreciate batik that is painstakingly hand-drawn, then they are well worth the splurge.

Batik in Kauman, Batik Village, Solo City, Indonesia
A small alley in Kauman with side to side boutique offering batik fabrics and clothes. Photo by Isti

Find Cool Spots Around Post Office

When night comes, the area around Solo Post Office comes to live. People, mostly youth, gather around here just to spend their night. It is also popular to get the best angle shot of the classical buildings here or the passing by vehicles as your downtown background.

Cool Spots around Post Office, Solo City, Indonesia
This direction sign board will help you not to get lost. Photo by Isti

Mandarijn Cake For Your Family and Friends

The most famous place to have snacks and cakes is in this oldest bakery in town. One of the tourists’ favourite is their Roti Mandarijn (Mandarijn cake) which has two layers, yellow at the top and dark brown at the bottom. Pineapple jam glues both these layers together.

Roti Mandarijn, Solo City, Indonesia
Variants of Snacks and Cakes You Can Choose Here. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Solo is known as the “Spirit of Java”, and for a reason I am sure. You should put this city into your next destination wish-list when you visit Indonesia and find out if what they say is true. I personally agree!

Top 10 Things To Do In Banda Aceh

Banda Aceh is one of the lesser visited provinces in Indonesia, although those who make the trip will be rewarded with interesting sights and things to do. Banda Aceh is easily accessible as you can fly in directly to the main airport here or you can travel to Medan in North Sumatra and then move on from there.

The province was devastated by a tsunami in 2004 but has been rebuilt so that only a few reminders can still be found. This is also the only place in Indonesia to have Shariah law but visitors will find it remarkably laid back, at least on the surface, and while you should dress conservatively you will not be expected to cover up as the locals do.

Here are our top picks of what to do in Banda Aceh:

Mesjid (Masjid) Raya Baiturrahman

Mesjid Raya is the main mosque in Banda Aceh and was built in the 19th century by the Dutch. This mosque is an absolute must visit. The mosque is decorated with gorgeous domes and beautiful traditional Muslim Islamic motifs. It is very picturesque and is the favourite of many photographers at day or night. At night, it lits up beautifully with the strategic lightings. Note that if you visit you will have to dress conservatively and women will have to wear a headscarf.

Jalan Mohammad Jam
Opening hours: 7-11 am and 1.30-4 pm.

Admission is free although donations are encouraged.

Masjid Mosque Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Aceh great mosque. Photo by Vidi Agiorno

Tsunami Museum

The Tsunami Museum is one of the top attractions in Aceh and is designed as a powerful tribute to those who lost their lives when the waters raged into the province. Around 170,000 people are said to have died in the floods and the Tsunami Museum is filled with waterfalls that mimic some of the experience. You will also find videos and news reports of the tragedy and this is an exceptionally moving visit if you want to learn more about this difficult period of Aceh’s history.

Jalan Sultan Iskandar Muda, Banda Aceh.
Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 9-12 pm and 2-4.30 pm.
Friday 9-11.30 am and 2.30-4.30 pm.
Closed on Mondays.

Tsunami Museum, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Tsunami Museum. Photo by Dinokl, via Wikimedia Commons

PLTD Apung

Another reminder of the devastating tsunami can be found on a visit to PLTD Apung which is a large ship that would have once sailed in the waters around Aceh. When the tsunami hit it was carried inland and has been left there as a monument to those who lost their lives. You can actually climb aboard the ship and walk around and one of the best reasons to do this is to look out across Banda Aceh and take in the scenery.

Jalan Harapan, Banda Aceh.

Monday – Sunday 9 am – 12 pm and 2 – 5.30 pm.
Fridays 2 – 5 pm.

PLTD Apung ship, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

PLTD Apung ship. Photo by Andy Doyle from Dublin, Republic of Ireland, via Wikimedia Commons

Warung Kopi Solong

If you make it to Aceh then you absolutely mustn’t miss the chance to visit Warung Kopi Solong which is something of an institution in Banda Aceh. The region is known for its delicious coffee and this place has been serving up some of Aceh’s finest brews since 1974. If you are looking for a souvenir of your trip then you can also buy bags of the delicious and earthy grounds beans.

Jalan Teuku Iskandar
Opening hours: 9 am – 7 pm

-> Find the best Banda Aceh hotel deals at Booking.com *

Museum Negeri Banda Aceh

The Aceh Museum is well worth exploring if you want to learn more about the culture of this part of Indonesia. Inside you will find some collections with photographs and memorabilia like farming equipment, textiles, swords, and other traditional curios. The signature piece here, however, is a stuffed baby buffalo with two heads.

Jalan Sultan Alauddin Mahmudsyah
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 8 am – 12 pm and 2 -4.30 pm.
Fridays 8.30 -11.30 am and 2.30 – 4 pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Admission: IDR 10,000.

Museum, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Museum Banda Aceh. Photo by Si Gam, via Wikimedia Commons

Rumah Aceh

Rumah Aceh is actually part of Museum Negeri Banda Aceh and sits in the grounds of the museum. Rumah Aceh features a house on stilts which shows you how people would have lived in the days of old. This is actually the most interesting attraction at the museum so make sure not to miss it.

Jalan Sultan Alauddin Mahmudsyah
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 8 – 12 pm and 2 – 4.30 pm. Fridays 8.30 am – 11.30 am and 2.30 pm – 4 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Admission: IDR 5,000.

Rumah Aceh Tenggara, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Rumah Aceh Tenggara. Photo by Rilies via Wikimedia Commons

Kherkhof Cemetery and Museum

Another moving sight in Aceh is Kherkhof which is a large cemetery with Dutch and Indonesian graves. The soldiers interred here died while fighting against the Acehs and there are inscriptions of the names of those who died at the entrance of the cemetery. The area was destroyed in the tsunami and the grave stones ripped up by the waters but these have now been replaced with wooden crosses.

Jalan Teuku Umar
Opening hours: 8 am – 6 pm.

Kherkof Cemetery and Museum, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Kherkof Cemetery and Museum. Photo by Rachmat04 via Wikimedia Commons

Gunongan

Gunongan is a pretty little attraction although you may not know what you are looking for at first. This is actually a monument built by Sultan Iskandar Muda for his wife as a reminder of her hometown of Pahang in Malaysia. It would have been used as a bathing place for the princess although now anyone can visit.

Jalan Teuku Umar
Opening hours 8 am – 6 pm.

Gunongan monument, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Gunongan monument Banda Aceh. Photo by Si Gam, via Wikimedia Commons

Pasar Malam Rek

Pasar Malam Rek is definitely worth a look if you are in the area as this is the most famous of all the night markets in Banda Aceh. As darkness falls, the stalls start up, and you will find delicious treats such as freshly grilled satay, fried rice, and toothsome noodles.

Intersection of Jalan Ahmad Yani and Jalan Khairil Anwar.
Opening hours: 5 – 10 pm.

Pulau Weh

For many people, the main reason to come to Aceh is to visit Pulau Weh which is an island that can easily be reached from Banda Aceh. Pulau Weh is something of a hidden gem in the region and you can expect azure seas and some excellent snorkelling opportunities. This is one of the top tourist spots in Aceh both for foreign and domestic tourists although you are unlikely to find crowds whenever you choose to visit.

Pulau Weh, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Pulau Weh Islands. Photo by Vanina W.

Boasting so many things to do and attractions, Banda Aceh is truly a delightful surprise of Sumatra. From here on there are many places to visit such as Medan, Lake Toba, Berastagi and Pulau Weh Island. So if you are ever in Sumatra, remember to add on this interesting city to your trip list.

Related articles:
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Top 10 Must Visit Places in Sumatra

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.

-> Find places to stay in Medan at Booking.com. Free cancellation. *

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.
-> Check out our guide to 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.

-> Find places to stay in Padang at Booking.com. Free cancellation. *

Bukit Lawang

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.
-> Check out our guide to Orangutan Trekking at Bukit Lawang

Orang Utan Sanctuary at Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia

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

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.
-> Check out our guide to Diving in Pulau Weh

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.

-> Find places to stay in Banda Aceh at Booking.com. Free cancellation. *

-> Check out our Top 10 Things to do in Banda Aceh

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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