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Sumatra, the westernmost of the main islands of Indonesia, is 1,800 km long and 400 km wide and has an extraordinary wealth of natural resources. 196 mammal, 194 reptile, 62 amphibian, 272 fish and 456 bird species live on the island. Of these animals 9 mammal species, 30 fish species and 19 bird species are endemic. Major destinations are Medan, Bukit Lawang, Lake Toba, Bukittinggi and the steamy coastal city of Padang.

Most people do not travel to Aceh, the northern tip of the island. It's capital Banda Aceh is a rather interesting town, but make sure that the situation allows safe travelling. Aceh is one of the provinces fighting for independence. Other interesting spots are the islands Pulau Samosir and Pulau Nias, 125 km west off Sumatra. Nias is no longer off the beaten track as the surfers have learnt about the beautiful beaches and good surfing possibilities.

However, Sumatra is still an island full of natural beauty. Until the end of the 19th century the only thing you could find on the island was forest. Nowadays only 30% of Sumatra's former jungle remains. This doesn't mean that Sumatra has changed into a deforested island. There are vast areas of untouched lowland rainforest and sub-mountainous and mountain forests. Alpine vegetation occurs at the higher altitudes.


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