Sumatra

Sumatra is the most western of the Sunda Islands in Indonesia, and the sixth largest island in the world. Sumatra is known for its cultural and historical destinations, along with its diverse array of flora and fauna. Medan is the capital and largest city in Sumatra, and provides a good base to start an exploration of Sumatra.

The Polonia International Airport is the main airport in the city, and has a number of direct flights to major cities throughout Asia. After taking a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport into Medan, there are a number of cultural sites to be explored in the city. o­ne of the most notable landmarks in Medan is the Maimoon Palace. The palace was built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli, and is notable because its architecture displays Spanish, Indian and Italian influences in addition to the indigenous Malay influence. Another notable cultural site in Medan is the Mesjid Raya Medan. Also known as the Great Mosque of Medan, it is the largest mosque in Medan. The mosque was designed ny the Dutch architect Klingenberg, and features a clock that was donated by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

While there are many cultural and historical sites in Medan and the other cities of Sumatra, Sumatra is also known throughout the world for its ecotourism opportunities. There are 10 national parks located throughout Sumatra that are open for exploration. Three of these parks are listed as Tropical Rainforest of Sumatra World Heritage Sites: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Sumatra boasts a number of species indigenous o­nly to the island of Sumatra. The Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, and Sumatran Orangutan are all indigenous o­nly to Sumatra, and, sadly, are o­n the critically endangered list. The Indonesian government is now making efforts to save Sumatra's remaining forests, and supporting ecotourism o­n the island is o­ne of the ways to support those efforts.