West Sumatra is often said to be the most striking part of the island, and the rapidly growing tourism industry speaks for itself. Padang`s endless stretches fringed with coco palms, and virgin offshore islands simply cannot fail to delight! And to all foodies, Padang offers an extraordinary culinary journey. This is Indonesia`s capital of spicy food that boasts recipes for any gourmet – provided that you like it hot!

Sikuai Island, Padang


  • Padang Beach – is typical of “bendi” (a horse-drawn carriage that can be hired to take tourists along the beach)
  • Bungus Bay/Carolina Beach – the strand has got that typical Sumatran chilled ambience: local fishermen blended with the Western surfers under the coconut palms kind of learnt how to ‘cohabit’ in the last decades
  • Air Manis Beach – the beach is typical of black granite stones that resemble fossilised human beings; it is also a popular surfing beach among the Aussie ‘six packs’ (keep it in your mind ladies 😉
  • Suwarnadwipa & Pariama Beachescool holiday resorts, fabulous sunsets and triple sea swing (don`t forget your camera!)
  • Sikuai Island – for a bit of luxury, catch a ferry to the splendid Pulau Sikuai, pristine offshore island great for lazy days, snorkelling, sunbathing and relaxing
  • Pasumpahan Island – the tiny isle is a perfect place for wild camping

Pulau Pasumpahan, Padang


About 3-hour drive south of Padang, there is a coastal town of Painan – another beach heaven. The bay is well-known for the splendid Carock Beach and its offshore islands, including the Cingkuk, Kerabak and Turtle Islands.

The little-visited Mandeh Bay is a hidden gem of the region, and one could say it is the “Raja Ampat of Sumatra”; awe-inspiring landscapes and glorious scenery will come to sight at arrival in Puncak Mandeh. The tropical coral sanctuary of the Cubadak Island is a place to be, especially, if you are a scuba diver and beach lover looking for seclusion.

Pantai Carocok, Painan


  • Painan – have a lazy day on the Carock Beach and take pleasure in its delightful setting
  • Cinguk/Kerabak/Turtle Islands – book a boat trip around the unspoilt offshore islands
  • Mandeh Bay – stopping by at Puncak Mandeh is a must-do and if you have some spare time take an excursion to the nearby Pulau Cubadak

The coral sanctuary on the CUBADAK ISLAND is a place to be, especially, if you are a scuba diver, snorkeler or beach lover seeking for undisturbed peace.

Cubadak Island, West Sumatra


Apart from all the tigers, elephants, rhinos and orang-utans, the Lampung province has got fabulous strands, and once again the Indian Ocean does not let any surfer down.

Krui is very popular with Australian surfers, and it is always a dilemma which one to go for – Krui or the Mentawai? Whereas the Mentawai provide consistent surf, Krui has got terrific breaks and staggering beaches.

Photographers and nature lovers will like the coast – it is wild and unspoilt, but it is surely not a place for ‘splishy splashy’ or wading in the sea.

Surfing at Krui Reefs, Lampung


  • Surfing – catch a wave at Krui Reefs, Wai Yambu, Ujung Bocur
  • Pulau Pisang – catch a boat to the wonderful Banana Island’’ and have a lazy day at the beach, or hike to the beautiful Ranau Lake

Banana Island (Pulau Pisang)


The striking distance of Anak Krakatau and its surrounding volcanic islands makes Lampung a territory treated with respect. Apart from the tourist highlight – boat tour to Krakatau, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and dolphin spotting are favourite activities in this area. There are many marvellous offshore islands, beaches and coves, teaming with radiant corals and tropical fish. Kiluan Island is probably the favourite with its absolutely splendid natural lagoon-like swimming pool.

Lampung Bay features pristine beaches and offshore isles


  • Bandar Lampung – ride a scooter to the stunning Pasir Putih Beach where you will want to linger
  • Lampung Bay – take a boat trip around the bay from Pasir Putih Beach and explore the marvellous islands, isles and coves of the bay, all boosting corals and tropical fish.
  • Kiluan Island – don`t miss out on a swim in the Kiluan lagoon – a striking natural rock pool
  • Krakatau Cruise – take a boat tour to the notorious volcano and climb up to its crater

Kiluan Island is renowned for fantastic snorkelling and diving


The year 2004 is remembered as an important landmark in the Sumatran history. That is when, out of sudden, one of the world`s deadliest tsunamis hit the north-western coastline of the Aceh province. Caused by a 9.3 earthquake, the powerful, over 30 metres high tsunami-waves hit the shores and left 230, 000 people dead.

The province is slowly getting back on feet and tourists are starting to return. The coastline of Aceh is not ordinary at all.  Actually, Aceh can easily be claimed to have the best beaches in Sumatra – the only problem here is the lack of development and infrastructure. Passionate scuba divers and surfers know the area well, for there are world-class surfing beaches and diving locations.

Lampuuk Beach, Banda Aceh


  • Pulau Weh – do not miss out on Sumatra`s most popular diving and snorkelling spots (fabulous corals, manta rays, sharks, turtles and fantastic wreck diving), Itam Beach, Gapang Beach and Iboih Beach are not to be missed!
  • Lhoknga and Lampuuk – catch a wave at these stunning world-class surfing beaches
  • Seumadu Island/Ujong Blang Beach – have a lazy day on one of these tranquil strands near Lhokseumawe

Pulau Weh is an outstanding diving location


OK, it is a household name that West Sumatra is the island`s queen of the beaches, but have you ever heard of Bangka-Belitung? Well, its epithet “Seychelles of Indonesia” may imply that it will not be a random place. The islands are blessed by the idyllic scenery of crystal-clear, azure waters decorated with gardens of corals, palm trees and granite boulders.

In fact, Bangka-Belitung offer more than Seychelles – affordable seclusion and crowds left behind.

Parai Tenggiri Beach, Bangka


  • Bangka-Belitung Island Hopping – rent a boat taxi and have a day of cruising around the secret islands to encounter the “Little Caribbean” in Indonesia
  • Tanjung Tinggi & Tanjung Kelayang gorgeous beaches, granite boulders, swimming, beautiful scenery, photography
  • Lengkuas Island – great for a day trip, spectacular lighthouse, snorkelling
  • Kaolin Lake – azure-blue lakes (mining area)
  • Batu Mentas – national park, waterfalls, swimming, tubing, endangered wildlife
  • Gurok Beraye – waterfall, forest, swimming, conservation area
  • Pulau Pasir – idyllic tidal sand islet
  • Tanjung Binga – beach access to the islet Pulau Burong via a sand strip at low tide, Bird Islet
  • Babi Island & Kelayang Islet – paradisiacal beaches, snorkelling, swimming

Pulau Pasir


The chain of Islands spanning along the West Sumatran coastline is sort of an extension to the astounding shores of Padang. The archipelago is predominantly visited by experienced surfers, but it also makes a perfect beach holiday destination; with crystal-clear azure seas, underwater corals, white powdery sands, coco palms, beachfront bamboo huts and tropical waterfalls, there is nothing more you wish.

Moreover, the surf in the Mentawai Islands is epic. Its unusual consistency is caused by the islands` broad exposure towards the Indian Ocean. Hence the islands get crashing waves all year around. There are plentiful surf camps and eco-resorts to choose from in around the Siberut Island where tours can be arranged and snorkelling/diving equipment hired.

Pulau Siberut boasts magnificent sceneries, Mentawai Islands


  • Scuba diving & snorkelling – discover secrets of the unexplored underwater word (experienced scuba divers only, guide essential, booking at one of the island`s resort)
  • Surfing – of course! Catch a wave and have an epic surf in the Mentawai (advanced surfers only, make sure you always get updated info, tips and advice at your resort)
  • Stay at: Botik Resort, Kandui Resort, Macaronis Resort or one of the surf camps.

Botik Surf Resort, Pulau Bocek


The outlying offshore islands of North Sumatra are also internationally famous when it comes to surf, yet less known with tourists. The archipelago is quite a special place, not only for splendid beaches – the remote archipelago is home to one of few remaining megalithic tribes on Earth.

Almost touching the equator, the islands of Nias and Batu are defined by sweltering heat, high humidity and a vigorous swell of the Indian Ocean. This is Indonesia`s last beach & surf frontier.

Hinako Island, Nias


  • Surfing – Sorake Bay & Lagundri Bay (“The Keyhole”), Hinako Island, Asu, Bawa, (surf camps offer all-inclusive packages)
  • Bawomataluo village – a UNESCO recognised historic site and a masterpiece of the native culture with megalithic monuments, traditional houses, rituals, celebrations, etc.
  • Pulau Telo – ideal for demanding surfers (good accommodation & brilliant surf)

Pulau Telo, Batu Islands 


Not far from the Nias and Mentawai Islands, this is a series of more than 100 tropical isles that present unspoiled nature, coral reefs, terrific swells and excellent surfing beaches.

While the Banyak is closer to the mainland Simeuele is rather a far-flung corner of Sumatra. Both archipelagos have nice surf camps and eco-resorts where you can also hire diving and snorkelling equipment; the archipelago offers extraordinary fringing coral reef teeming with marine life. Various tours can be arranged at any resort.

Banyak Archipelago is close to the mainland of Sumatra and easy to reach by boat


  • Surfing – best surfing locations are Treasure Island, Cobras, Turtles, Clarets, Joystick, Babi and Lizard`s Nest
  • Singkil – snorkelling & scuba diving
  • Palambak – camping, snorkelling (bring your own gear), jungle trekking
  • Sikandangwhale & dolphin watching, sea kayaking
  • Island Hopping is fun and the only way to move around the islands!

Simeulue Archipelago is known for excellent surf breaks


Pulau Enggano is a magnificent island in the Indian Ocean, not far from Krui. It is facing nothing but wide-open ocean and the Cocos & Christmas Islands).

Enggano offers fantastic snorkelling, diving and jungle trekking. This little paradise is a tropical oasis for birdlife and indigenous ethnic groups, but more importantly an outstanding Indo-surf location.

NOTE you will need to bring your own tent as there is no commercial accommodation on the island

Pulau Enggano


  • Total isolation – deserted beaches, no tourists, almost no roads, lush jungle, untouched beaches, abundant wildlife
  • Surfing – this is a different experience, and for almost no facilities Enggano is exclusively visited by the ‘old-school’ surfers and real thrill seekers
  • Wild camping – there is no commercial accommodation in Pulau Enggano
  • Sailing Enggano – book 2-3 day cruise in Bengkulu and enjoy the tropical paradise from shipboard

Best time to visit Sumatra is the dry season (Jun-Sept) albeit the Mentawai have consistent swells throughout a year

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Eva Bodova

Sunday 19 August 2018

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