Most visitors head to see the orang-utan of Bukit Lawang. Here, one of the planet’s few remaining rainforests to harbour our red-bearded cousins is encircled by palm-oil plantations. Perhaps the only thing keeping them at bay is the tourism.
Oh, and the army of vigilante elephants which are commissioned to protect the northern rainforest of Tangkahan (seriously). You can visit them for their dawn lake-shore bath, and scrub their nails before the morning patrol.
Topped off with a cup of strong Sumatran coffee, there are few better ways to start a day.
The seriously intrepid should consider a trip to Kerinci Seblat, the biggest National Park on the island, where you may get to see tigers and the Sumatran rhino, if you’re lucky.
Creature comforts are few in this remote part of the island, but the rewards are high. It’s not all jungles and coffee though.
There’s hiking across the lunar craters of the volcanoes of Berastagi, lakeside lounging in Danau Toba, diving with whale sharks in Pulau Weh and surfing off the Mentawaii Islands and Pulau Nias.
On the eastern Pacific-facing islands, a cottage industry of luxury surf camps has sprung up along these islands catering to the needs of a clique of globe-trotting, well-to-do surfers.
How to go: Black Tomato (0207 426 9888; www.blacktomato.com) can tailor seven-night packages to Sumatra from £2,897 per person, including flights and guides. Departing from Heathrow.
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