Mount Sibayak, Medan Overview

Located in northern Sumatra in Indonesia, Mount Sibayak is a majestic volcano rising to a height of 6870 feet and is one of the easiest climbs amongst the numerous volcanoes of the region. The summit offers excellent views of the town of Berastagi and the neighbouring countryside. These breathtaking views and the trek have been attracting tourists since the first Dutch settlements in the early 1900s.

Even though the volcano has remained inactive for the past century, steam vents and seismic activity often take place and can be heard even from a distance. Despite the trek being quite straightforward, people have died during the climb, which makes it vital to either hire a guide or to trek with a group of friends. One would have to take the necessary measure to ensure full safety while undertaking this adventurous journey. Trekkers who set out on this journey also love to spend some time in the small town of Berastagi, the base for the trek. The city is trendy among local day-trippers and is also renowned for its local produce, especially the passion fruit.

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Trekking to Mount Sibayak

Mount Sibayak
The first one to two hours of the trek are relatively easy, but the trek starts to become complicated as you move further ahead. Gradually, the asphalt road would begin to disappear, and you will find yourself walking on narrow trails with dense vegetation. Well before you even reach the volcano, you will hear the steam vents roaring, welcoming you to the majestic summit. These steam vents create big clouds and coupled with the yellow sulphur stains on the rocks; they make for a fantastic view. Further, along with these vents, you can trek higher to reach the actual crater. From here, you can even see Mount Sinabung, a very active volcano, in the distance. You will find many people around, but the place is not crowded, so make sure to spend a lot of time there and click multiple photographs.

Trails to Reach Mount Sibayak

Mount Sibayak is located to the north of the touristy town of Berastagi; a two and a half hours ride away from Medan in Sumatra.

By Bus
To reach the summit, you can take a bus from the Pinang Baris Bus Terminal, which is located six miles to the west of Berastagi.
Buses from here start as early as 5:30 AM, and then leave after every 30 minutes till 6:00 PM.
A one-way ticket would cost you around IDR 24,720, and the bus ride takes around 2.5 hours.

Tourist Mini-Bus
Alternatively, you can even board a tourist mini-bus to reach the destination. Even though it will cost more, it also offers a much more comfortable journey.

1. Berastagi
The most popular and perhaps the most accessible trail that leads travellers to the Gunung Sibayak starts about 10 minutes to the northwest of Berastagi, just after the Sibayak Multinational Guesthouse. If you choose to trek from this point, you should be able to complete it in about three hours, and the distance to be covered is 4.5 miles for one way.

2. Bemo Minibus
Trekkers also have the option to take a bemo minibus to reach the hot springs of Semangat Gunung. The trail from this point is closer to the volcano: about a two hour walk away. However, this trail is extremely steep, and you would have to climb multiple stairs as well, which can get tiring and tough. The difficulty level for this trail is somewhat medium, so only those who have some prior experience should opt for this route. 

3. The Air Terjun Panorama Trek

Mount Sibayak
For those who are looking to add some more thrill and adventure to this relatively easy trek, trekking from Air Terjun Panorama is perhaps the best option. This waterfall is located three miles away from Berastagi, and if you start the trek from here, you would require a minimum of five hours to reach the summit. However, bear in mind that this trek is not easy at all since the trail passes through a dense jungle. Thus, it is advisable to hire a local guide if you wish to take this trail.

Safety Tips

  • Even though trekking to Mount Sibayak can be done independently, prefer to team up with others, and avoid hiking alone.
  • A lot of trekkers have passed away while attempting this trek which is because the weather in this area is affected by volcanoes, and can drop to shallow temperatures very fast.
  • Also ensure that you carry all required trekking equipment along, and wear the right kind of trekking gear.
  • Proper trekking shoes are needed, along with warm clothes.
  • Also make sure that you start early, carry lots of extra water and a first aid kit along.

Best Time to Trek

The best time to trek to Mount Sibayak is between June and August when it is time for the dry season.
Also, if you can, try and plan for the weekdays, since the base town of Berastagi gets really crowded during weekends, especially in the peak season.

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