Indonesia, Sumatra – The Town of Berastagi and a Trip to Mount Sibayak
They are not marked with numbers, but the driver's assistant will find and seat you - often at the expense of the locals, but it really pays to sit down. Driving is sometimes quite scary. On the bus, the decoration is even more extreme, on the screen above our heads the local hits win, the driver's assistant stands in the door and whistles to the passersby if they want to go. Settled passengers then quietly smoke all the way. If someone does not fit in the seats, or does not fit into a small aisle in all possible ways, he will climb the ladder to sit on the roof. This is mostly to our surprise awaiting children, who have no problem with it. This is a truly authentic experience. The journey takes about two hours and, moreover, it is really cheap.
We disembark in the town of Berastagi, which lies under the active volcanoes Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Before the trek, stop by in town for food. We also visit a local marketplace where, in addition to fruits, vegetables, spices and clothes, pets are also available for purchase.
A minibus will take you from the town to the entrance to the volcano area, which, unlike the previous one, is old and rusted. You pay 10 rupees to enter and you can go. Unfortunately, the guard cannot speak English at all, so he cannot give advice. However, the route is not complicated at all and it is possible to get to the top of the volcano practically without a map. It is definitely advisable to have better shoes. The route starts on asphalt, but it quickly changes into a clayey road and then turns into a rocky volcanic surface.
The last eruption of this stratovolcano occurred more than a century ago, but geothermal activity in the form of stinking steam vents and hot springs is still very evident. Ventilation holes create crystalline sulfur that has been mined in the past. The flow of sulfur gases also caused the acidic coloration of the crater lake. According to the maps it is possible to make a circuit through the volcano and not return the same way, but the second part is so poorly permeable that we eventually return the same route and back.
The whole route is about six kilometers, it is not difficult, only the terrain is a bit worse. But the volcano is definitely worth it. Impression spoils the mess, campers and hikers throw away garbage all around. Unfortunately, this is a problem for the whole country.
GPS: Berastagi 3°11'10.3"N 98°30'20.8"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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