Sumatra Landmarks and Monuments

(Sumatra, Indonesia)

The various Indonesian landmarks on Sumatra consist of mosques, palaces, temples (candis) and ancient megalithic sites, as well as natural structures, such as lakes, mountains and volcanoes. Visitors to Sumatra should always be aware that a certain dress code is necessary when entering religious landmarks, such as no jeans or T-shirts, and women sometimes being required to wear headscarves.

Located in Medan, in North Sumatra, the Maimoon Palace was built towards the end of the 19th century, by the sultan of Deli. With 30 rooms and a very grand facade, this palace has become a noteworthy landmark in Sumatra, due to its eye-catching bright yellow and white facade and overall grand design.

Maimoon Palace (Istana Maimoon)

Address: Jalan Katamso, Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
The architecture of the Maimoon Palace (Istana Maimoon) incorporates a pleasing mixture of Indonesian, Dutch, Indian, Islamic, Italian, Malayan and Spanish elements. Very much central to the Deli kingdom, the Istana Maimoon palace faces east and is exquisitely decorated inside, with painted ceilings and general opulence around every corner.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: donations suggested

Grand Mosque (Mesjid Raya)

Address: Corner of SM Raja and Jalan Mesjid Raya, Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
The Grand Mosque of Medan is sited just a short distance from the Maimoon Palace (Istana Maimoon) and is better known locally as the Mesjid Raya. Appearing very much as if it has been simply relocated from Morocco, the Mesjid Raya is cream and green in colour and dates from the beginning of the 20th century, when it was built for the sultan, together with a separate arched entrance. Look out for the extravagant use of Italian marble and the extremely ornate carvings.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00, no access during prayer times
Admission: donations suggested

Gunung Sibayak

Address: Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
One of the more accessible of the many volcanoes in Indonesia, Gunung Sibayak is one of Berastagi's most splendid natural landmarks and measures in at just under 2,100 metres / 6,890 feet high. A hike to the top and back takes around five hours, depending upon fitness levels, and although experienced guides can be booked through most accommodation, they are not essential, unless you are planning to trek alone. It is possible to catch a bus to Semangat Gunung, which is situated at the very base of this epic volcano.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for guide

Danau Toba (Lake Toba)

Address: North Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Lake Toba resides in North Sumatra and is regularly said to be amongst the country's most attractive volcanic lakes. However, whilst there really is no denying that the Danau Toba lake is quite a stunner, it is the friendly native Batak people that are the real attraction for many a visitor. The lake itself is crystal clear and its beauty is further enhanced by its mountainous backdrop. The tourism industry in Toba is far from developed, and therefore the few tourists who choose to venture here are always made to feel extremely welcome.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Baiturrahman Mosque (Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman)

Address: Jalan Cut Ali, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Famed for its striking white architecture and contrasting dark-black onion-shaped domes, the Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman is both a magnificent mosque and truly splendid regional landmark. The first part of the Baiturrahman Mosque was completed as far back as 1879 by the Dutch, while two further domes were added either side in 1936, and a further two in 1957. Best viewed by standing at the far end of the reflection pool, the Baiturrahman Mosque was renovated in the 1980s, and the grounds were also given some attention at this time. During the tsunami and earthquake of 2004, the Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman suffered no visible damage, and this was seen by the locals to be a sign from above.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 11:00. 13:30 to 16:00
Admission: donations suggested

Danau Maninjau (Lake Maninjau)

Address: West Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Best viewed by looking down from the mountains above, the Danau Maninjau is a gorgeous expanse of blue water, and pleasantly tranquil, away from the tourism industry. Lying within West Sumatra, Lake Maninjau really is an alluring destination and many visitors find the waters just too inviting too resist, often taking a cooling dip or swim in this giant crater, which is around 17 km / 11 miles in length and some 8 km / 5 miles wide. The city of Bukittinggi stands just under 40 km / 25 miles to the west and is reached by winding mountain roads, which offer tantalizing glimpses of the lake and surrounding scenery. Arlen's Beach Paradise, close to the village of Bayur, provides very peaceful lakeside accommodation if required.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Sungaipenuh Mosque (Mesjid Agung Pondok Tinggi)

Address: Jalan Sudirman, Kerici Valley, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
A historical mosque and important Sumatran landmark, the Sungaipenuh Mosque, or Mesjid Agung Pondok Tinggi as it is perhaps better known, stands within the Kerici Valley, in West Sumatra, where it is on the western side of the main square. Built in the early part of the 1970s, the Mesjid Agung Pondok Tinggi began its life with simple bamboo walls, although these were soon made more substantial. Even though this mosque is relatively unassuming at first, with a pleasant three-tiered pyramid roof, it is the interior that holds the majority of the wonderment, with old Dutch tiling and intricately carved wooden beams.
Open hours: daily - permission usually required first
Admission: donations suggested


Address: Jalan Teuku Umar, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Situated within the Aceh province of Sumatra, the Gunongan is a grand building, commissioned by local sultan Iskandar Munda in the early 17th century, as a present for his wife. The Gunongan is best described as a private playground and recreational space, complete with pool for bathing, and is to be found within the Taman Sari Park, where it is close to the Dutch Cemetery (Kherkhof).
Open hours: seasonal variations
Admission: charge

Tsunami Sites

Address: Banda Aceh, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Many areas of Sumatra were directly affected by the relatively recent Tsunami and visitors often travel long distances to Aceh, to mourn those who lost their lives during this natural disaster. A mixture of sacred memorials and personal tributes are to be found scattered around the worst hit areas, which are slowly being rebuilt and their visible memories partly erased. Around Banda Aceh there are a total of four mass grave sites - Darusalam, Lhok Nga, Lambaro and Meuraxa. The biggest of these graves is Lambaro, where approximately 45,000 unidentified bodies have been buried.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

King's Palace (Rumah Gadang Pagaruyung)

Address: Silinduang Bulan, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Often referred to as the 'King's Palace', the Rumah Gadang Pagaruyung is an impressive, although scaled-down, replica of how a residence of those who ruled the ancient Minangkabau Kingdom of Payaruyung once appeared. Located in the village of Silinduang, the Rumah Gadang Pagaruyung stands just a short distance to the north of Batu Dangkar and within the Bukittinggi area. At the heart of this palace is the central meeting hall, which is used for various local events. Relatively close by, the architecture of Belimbing is well worth a look.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge

Megalithic Sites

Address: Pasemah Highlands, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Within the Pasemah Highlands is a number of imposing megalithic sites of ancient origin, which rank as some of Indonesia's finest examples of stone sculptures from pre-historic times. The earliest of these carvings are believed to date from around 3,000 years ago and are fairly crude in their appearance and depict figures, with folded arms. For the best examples of these ancient landmarks, head to Tinggi Hari, which is 20 km / 12 miles from Lahat and close to the riverside town of Pulau Pinang.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Muara Jambi

Address: Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia, ID
Regarded as the most important of all the Buddhist-Hindu sites still existing in Sumatra, the Muara Jambi is an epic temple complex, located approximately 25 km / 16 miles from the city of Jambi. Archaeologists believe that the temples mark the very site of ancient Jambi, which was actually the capital of the entire Kingdom of Malayu, more than 1,000 years ago. The Muara Jambi temples date from between the 9th century and the 13th century, and were quite forgotten about for many centuries, having become overgrown. However, in the 1920s, the Muara Jambi landmark was discovered during an army expedition and restoration work began soon after. Although there are still some interesting artefacts here, most have been relocated to Jakarta.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free