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Sumatra, the legendaric 'Land of the Gold' from the ancient times is not the biggest island of Indonesia, it does also not have the biggest population, but most people think it's the island with the most variety. Actually it really offers something to everyone - wealthy rainforests, rivers and fallsm craterlakes, splendid white beaches and a stunning variety in traditional ethnical groups and vulc (...)

Sumatra is the western-most island in the Indonesian archipelago. It is also Indonesia’s second-largest island, covering an area of 473,481 square kilometers. Its west coast lies on the Indian Ocean and the northeast portion of the island borders on the Straits of Malacca, historically an important route for shipping and trade and also a channel that has traditionally been plagued by piracy. (...)

The exotical animal world of Sumatera was used many times for adventurous books. Big elephants, cars and shy rhino's live in the tropical rainforests full with giant trees, lingering lians and extraordinary flowers. Big primates and many spiecies of birds make Sumatera into an exiting place for nature lovers. But don't expect the African eco-tourism of touring around and making pictures. (...)

Sumatra is, after Greenland, New-Guinee and Borneo, the biggest island in the world with a surface of 473,481 - ten times as big as Holland. The island knows big regional differences and it's cut in eight pieces for governmental reasons. Until a certain level, this partition is fixed more over ethnical barriers than by geographical borders. So are Sumatra's opposites, the northern Aceh and (...)

The just recently completed trans-Sumatera highway stretches over the entire length of one of the biggest islands on the planet, a distance of over 2500 km. The journey from Bakauheini in the far south to Banda Aceh in the far north is certainly one of the most fascinating travel experiences of entire Indonesia. The journey can also turn out to be a nightmare, full of frustrations and u (...)

The building styles of the traditional houses on Sumatra are of imposing and architectural diversity impressive. The way of building of the Toba, karo and Simalungun are clearly distinguishable, while the houses of Mandailing Batak in the south are again very different in some ways. The traditional houses of the Minangkabau in western Sumatra are unique as well, and famous because of their decorat (...)

Following the 17th century traveller Sir John Chardin, as well as religion as well as history and geography have always played an important role in the food of a population. This is especially true about Sumatra. Consuming pork distinguishes the Christian minority from the Islamic majority. The Christian Batak around Danau Toba and somewhere else on Northern Sumatra eat pork and (...)

Sumatra's big shapes and cultural differences are being reflected in the richness of languages, varying from the elegant and difficult royal Malay, which is still being spoken in the former palaces of Palembang and Riau, to the quick disappearing dialects of a number of orang laut (sea-nomads) which live on boats at the shore. Most Sumatran languages are closely related and belong to the en (...)

In the 18th century the demand for pepper descended, and the rulers of Aceh lost their control over the inland area's like Aceh and Palembang because of this. The economy now was in European hands. The Dutch founded their headquarters in Padang in 1685, and in 1685 the English did the same in Bengkulu. Both became centres of rivalling trading networks, but in military way, they were fragile. (...)

Sumatra counts over 40 million people, one fifth of the total Indonesian population and it', after Java, the most densely populated island in the Indonesian archipelago. Four big ethnic groups, the Malay, the Minangkabau, the Acehnese and the Batak, are the big majority of the local population. Furthermore there are more than a dozen smaller ethnic groups, with their own language, history and cult (...)

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