Walking Over an Active Volcano in Sumatra

With over 120 active volcanoes fuming around Indonesia, Gunung Sibayak at 2,212 meters in North Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s most accessible mountains and among the top volcanoes in terms of effort to enjoyment ratio. Situated above the friendly hill town of Brastagi, located just two hours from Medan, the volcano’s crater lies around 1.5 hours’ walk from the nearest road and can therefore be explored by anyone in reasonably good shape.

The summit of Mt. Sibayak provides excellent views of Berastagi and the surrounding countryside, including the neighboring Mt. Sinabung which has regularly erupted since 2010 after lying dormant for 400 years. Although Mt. Sibayak has been quiet for the last century, new steam vents and seismic activity indicate that the volcano is merely taking a break. Geothermal activity is high on and around the volcano, offering a unique experience for visitors with many fumaroles near the crater-lake. The sound they make as jets of hot gas and steam shoot out is tremendously eerie and can get as loud as a jet plane engine.

Take your time to let this bizarre moonscape scenery sink in before you begin your moderate descend back to the car to continue your program. This experience perfectly combines with a classic northern Sumatra round trip.

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