The town of Sibolga is the main sea port on the west coast of the province of North Sumatra. Ever since the early centuries AD, Indian and Arab merchants used to sail across the Indian Ocean to Sumatra using this western gateway. The main attraction here then was the high quality camphor exported from the nearby port of Barus. Until today, the Indonesian word for camphor is kapur barus, or chalk from Barus, a region that still exists until today. Located in the Bay of Tapian Nauli, the town of Sibolga is the main port to catch a boat or ferry to the island of Nias - famous for its rolling surf and megalithic culture - or other smaller islands directl in the Bay, like Pulau Mursala. In the Batak language, Tapian Nauli means Beautiful Beach. Near Sibolga are a number of pretty islands like Pulau Pocan Gadang, Pulau Pocan Ketek, Pulau Sarudik and Pulau Panjang. These are iconic tropical islands with white beaches and rows of waving palm trees.
Garuda Indonesia now serves Sibolga three times a week flying from Jakarta to Sibolga then on to Medan and vice versa. Wings Air also flies from Medan’s Kualanamu international airport to the Pinangsori airport of Sibolga.
If you prefer to go overland, the journey takes 10 hours from Medan. Road conditions are mostly good. The road passes the beautiful Lake Toba which offers a grand view of the huge lake passing a large number of hairpin bends and steep hills. The tiring journey is well compensated by the stunning landscape that you will enjoy along the route.