Hiking forests with elephants in North Sumatra

An elephant checks out my camera in Tangkahan, North Sumatra. Located on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park, Tangkahan offers elephant trekking and hiking to visitors as part of an eco-tourism campaign to preserve the local forests. When they aren’t giving rides to tourists, the elephants patrol the park with rangers to prevent illegal…

A day-trip to North Sumatra’s Toba Lake

Covering 1707 square kilometers, Danau Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the largest volcanic lake in the world. In the center of the lake lies Samosir Island, home of the Toba people, one of five Batak tribes native to North Sumatra. With its lush greenery and its relaxed, sleepy atmosphere, Samosir makes…

Removing shoes before entering the Istana Maimun

“Guests remove their shoes before entering Maimoon Palace, or ‘Istana Maimun,’ a 19th-century palace in Medan, North Sumatra. The palace was built by Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid, the Sultan of Deli, between 1887 and 1891. Visitors can tour the palace rooms, look at artifacts, and listen to music by a traditional Malay band.” Catherine Brist |…