Medan is primary gateway to Sumatra. The capital of the province of North Sumatera, Medan houses the government offices and business centers. Medan became the capital of a powerful sultanate in the late 1800s, then developed into booming plantation town during the early 1900s as Sumatra's tobacco, rubber, palm oil and tea fetched high price on the world markets. Medan owes its cultural heritage to the kingdom of Deli, whose place of worship, Mesjid Agung (Grand Mosque), and palace, Istana Maimun (The Maimun Palace) undoubtedly show its past greatness.
Lake Toba, the crater lake in the middle of the province, is a popular tourist resort, especially the town of Parapat on its shore. Formed by a stupendous prehistoric volcanic explosion, the 100 km long lake is the largest is Southeast Asia and one of the deepest and highest in the world. The drama of that cataclysmic birth persist in 500 meter cliffs dropping into the blue-green waters, Surrounded by steep, pine covered sloped, the climate is fresh and pleasant, with just enough rain to support the lush vegetation. Its cool and dry mountain climate makes it the perfect place to relax.
The Karo highland
As you drive south from Medan into the Karo highland, the Great Bukit Barisan Forest Park greets you with its distinctive Karonese gazebo decorated with ret-ret, a two-headed, lizard-like animal that is carved on the walls of traditional Karonese family houses. Along the windy, mountainous road to the Karo highland, as you pass the Sibolangit National Garden, chants of monkeys and possibly orang-utans will accompany you, mysteriously appearing and disappearing from the thick jungle.
Island Off to the west of the island of Sumatera. Enormous breakers pummel the island of Nias attracting the best surfers in the world to Lagundri Beach. The unforgiving power attacking the shore seems to have bred the same qualities in the people, whose militaristic culture has fascinated anthropologists for decades.. The water surrounding the island is a great place to surf and to scuba dive.