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beyond bali > sumatra

Along the length of this province crosses the Bukit Barisan mountains with peaks of numerous volcanoes. In between are several lakes, one among them is the famous Toba Lake. The land has thick virgin forests, lush vegetation, rice fields, mountain streams, rivers, waterfalls and sandy beaches.

It has a rich flora and fauna. An abundance of birds, butterflies, buffaloes, deer, mouse deer, orang utans and many other export commodities make North Sumatra one of the richest provinces in Indonesia, as it produces more than 30 % of Indonesia's exports. The province offers the visitors, especially nature lovers, beautiful tropical panoramas, terraced rice fields, blue mountains, jungle covered hills, white sandy beaches, music, dance and folk arts.

The people are hospitable and warm. The major tribes are the Malays of the eastern coast, the Bataks consisting of sub-tribes such as Toba, Simalungun, Pak Pak (Dairi), Karonese of the highlands around Lake Toba, the Mandailing and Angkolas from the southern part. Nias Island is inhabited by the Nias tribe, off the western coast of the province. Besides them are several ethnic groups who live in Medan and other towns of North Sumatra. Its largest groups are Chinese and Indian, being naturalized Indonesian citizens. Other Indonesian tribes like Acehnese, Minangkabau, Javanese, etc. also live in many parts here. Each of the mentioned tribes as well as the ethnic groups has its own dialect, religion, beliefs, traditional customs, etc. Arts and cultures make this region, a paradise for social scientists. Among the ancient Indonesian cultures which can be seen at Samosir island are the centuries old tombs of Batak Toba kings and a stone-table with its benches, where meetings were formerly held by the Siallagan chiefs.

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