Sumatra is the 6th largest island in the earth, located in Indonesia, with an area of 473,481 km². The island’s population is about 52,210,926. The island is also known by other names namely Percha Island, Andalas, or Suwarnadwipa meaning golden island. Then the inscription of Padang Roco in 1286 is inscribed swarnnabhūmi, meaning golden land and bhūmi mālayu to refer to this island. Furthermore, in the Negarakertagama manuscript of the 14th century also re-called Malayu or Malay for this island.
In general, the island of Sumatra is inhabited by the Malay people, which are divided into several tribes. The major tribes are Aceh, Batak, Melayu, Minangkabau, Basemah, Rejang, Ogan, Komering, and Lampung. In the eastern coastal area of Sumatera and in several big cities such as Medan, Batam, Palembang, Pekanbaru and Bandar Lampung, many settled ethnic Tionghoa. Sumatran island residents are concentrated only in the region of East Sumatra and the Minangkabau highlands. The livelihoods of the people of Sumatra are mostly as farmers, fishermen, and traders.
Cities on the island of Sumatra are linked by four cross-sectional streets, namely central, eastern, western and cross-shore passages from northwest-southeast Sumatra. In addition there are also roads that run from the west – east, such as Bengkulu – Palembang, Padang – Jambi, and Padang – Dumai – Medan.
In some parts of the island of Sumatra, trains are an alternative means of transportation. In the south, the railway line starts from Pelabuhan Panjang (Lampung) to Lubuk Linggau and Palembang (South Sumatra). In the middle of the island of Sumatra, the railway line is only found in West Sumatra. This path connects between the city of Padang with Rice Lunto and the city of Padang with the city of Pariaman. During the Dutch colonial period until 2001, the Padang – Sawah Lunto line was used for coal transportation. But since the coal reserves in Ombilin have begun to thin out, this path is no longer working. Since the end of 2006, the provincial government of West Sumatra, re-activate this path as a tourist train.
In northern Sumatra, the railway runs from Medan to Rantau Prapat. In this way, the railway is used as a means of transporting palm oil and passengers.