A visit to Brastagi would not be complete unless it includes a hiking trip to Mount Sibayak. Situated at 2.172 meters above sea level, the volcanically active mountain offers a breathtaking panorama with steam plumes rising from its crater and sulphur-lined walls. It takes four hours to hike to the crater that continues to emit sulphur fumes.
The volcanic trek starts with a straight ascending path through lush forest where the orangutans roam. The trial may be slippery and challenging but it is worth the spectacular vista that awaits you at the peak. Be warned that on weekend, the mountain trek can normally attract roughly 300 domestic tourists from Medan who will unfortunately leave a dirty trail of plastic drinking bottles and sandals with broken straps.
Remember to bring along passion fruit and oranges from the local market to quench your thirst. Depart early in the morning from Brastagi and you will need a reliable guide to accompany you through the dark roads between Brastagi and Mount Sibayak. Descending through the local village, you can take the opportunity to soak your weary bones in nearby hot sulphur springs.
Mount Sibayak, The volcano that near Medan
North Sumatra is one of the leading tourist destinations in Indonesia. In this province, you can find an area that offers natural charm, namely Berastagi. The city flanked by Mount Sinabung and Mount Sib is known to have a cool atmosphere with beautiful natural scenery.
Not many people know about the existence of Mount Sibayak. In fact, Mount Sibayak holds a variety of charms that cannot be missed. Some people also consider Mount Sibayak very easy to climb. So, you don’t need to worry about having trouble seeing the charm.
This mountain which has an altitude of 2,094 masl is located in the Karo plateau, Karo Regency. Meanwhile, the stretch of Sibayak Mountain also goes to the Bukit Barisan Forest Park section.
From the center of Medan, you need to travel about 60 kilometers to reach the Mount Sibayak area. First, you can go to Berastagi via Jalan Jamin Ginting or Jalan Raya Sidikalang – Medan. Arriving in the center of Berastagi City, you need to travel 3 kilometers more to reach the Mount Sibayak area.
Vehicle access to Mount Sibayak
To access Sibayak Mountain, you can use private vehicles such as cars or motorbikes. Later the vehicle can be deposited in the first post (for cars) or in the area near the helipad (for motorbikes). Later, you will be charged a storage fee of around IDR 20,000 – IDR 30,000 per car and IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000 per motorbike.
There are also several choices of public vehicles that can be used, such as Sinabung Jaya Bus, Borneo Bus, Pure Bus, to Sutra Bus (Sumatra Transport) that can be found in Medan’s Simpang Pos area, Jalan Jamin Ginting. By paying Rp10,000, you can arrive in Berastagi City. Next, you can continue your trip with the angkot and get off near the climbing path of Mount Sibayak.
Path of climbing / Hiking Route of Mount Sibayak
Upon arrival in Berastagi City, there are three choices of paths to the entrance to the ascent of Mount Sibayak. The three lines are:
1. Mountain Spirit Village
The Mountain Spirit Village or Raja Berneh Village is located about 15 kilometers from Berastagi City or 7 kilometers from Jalan Raya Medan – Berastagi. This line has neat road conditions, so the car can be traversed. Therefore, this village route is often chosen by many climbers, especially beginners.
Arriving at the village, you will find a registration post via the Mountain Spirit Village. Before starting the climb, you need to pay a fee of Rp. 4,000 per person. Next, you can go to the Jungle Door which can be reached in around 20 minutes by motorbike from the registration post. There, motorcycle storage is available at a cost of Rp. 10,000 per motorbike and tent rentals.
2. Jarang Uda Village
Jarang Uda Village is 3 kilometers from Berastagi City. This village is located in Simpang Empat District, near the Berastagi Fruit Market. This line has a longer track than the Mountain Spirit Village. Usually, climbing via the Uncommon Uda Village will take approximately 2.5 hours of travel.
Although quite long, the condition of this track has been neat with asphalt up to a distance of 1 kilometer from the peak. The panorama offered is no less beautiful, you can see tropical forests filled with tall trees. Uniquely, this one line is more popular among foreign tourists.
3. Line 54
Of the three options available, Line 54 is considered the most difficult and challenging route. For this reason, this pathway is more suitable for experienced climbers. The road conditions are quite steep and dangerous so climbing can take up to 4-6 hours.
The name “54” itself is used because the location of this line is right in front of the marker rock, a distance of 54 kilometers from the center of Medan. You can find this path in Doulu II Village based on the Penatapan area which is famous as a corn burner on the edge of the highway.
Actually, there are still several other hiking trails that can take you to Mount Sibayak. However, you are not recommended to go through this route because it is not official and is not guaranteed security.
The attraction of Mount Sibayak
Besides having many climbing access, Mount Sibayak also offers a variety of attractions that will satisfy your vacation. Some of the main attractions are:
1. The Peak of Mount Sibayak “Takal Kuda”
Local people call the highest peak of Mount Sibayak with the name “Takal Kuda” which means “Head of the Horse”. This top view shows the beauty of Mount Sinabung and the City of Berastagi from a height. Even so, you still have to be careful because the peak is dominated by rocks.
To reach the top, you don’t need to climb for long. Just walk about 3 hours via paved roads and stairs, you can arrive at the peak as high as 2,094 masl.
2. The active crater of Mount Sibayak
Mount Sibayak is one of the active volcanoes with rocky sulfur craters. The 40,000-meter crater has a high solfatara content, so sulfur vapors are capable of spraying hot air continuously. This crater is also surrounded by andesite lava rock which makes its charm more unique and exotic.
3. Legend of “Hell’s Sound”
When climbing Mount Sibayak, you may often hear thunderous sounds. According to local residents, the voice is known as the legend of “Sound of Hell”. That said, there is a magician who lives with his daughter on Mount Sibayak. Shortly, his daughter died of illness and could not be treated. It was the roar that was regarded as the cry of both.
Apart from the legend, several researchers from Japan had observed the natural events. They also concluded that the wave was the sound of low frequency wind containing electromagnetic. These waves are also considered to cause stress to hallucinations.
4. Lau Sidebuk-debuk Baths
The high sulfur content in Mount Sibayak makes it have a natural hot spring. This hot water emerged from cracks of lava flow to the south of Mount Sibayak. You can see one of the hot springs and enjoy them at the Lau Sidebuk-debuk Bathhouse.
At present, the bath has officially become a mainstay tourist attraction managed by the local government. So, make sure to relax here after tired of conquering Mount Sibayak. Hot water here is also believed to cure skin diseases, aches, and lumbago.
Exciting activities on Mount Sibayak
There are many exciting activities that you can do while on Mount Sibayak. In addition to climbing mountains with a variety of interesting path choices, you can also do the following:
1. Hunting sunrise
Climbing Mount Sibayak is not perfect if you do not witness firsthand the charm of the sunrise on the Peak of Takal Kuda. Generally, visitors intentionally climb to hunt for sunrise views. If you don’t want to stay overnight, you can still see the charm of dawn by starting the climb at 2 o’clock. If the air is bright, you can see the beauty of the sunrise complete with panoramic views of the valley.
2. Camping in the crater rumbles
Climbing Mount Sibayak does not take all day. However, you can try camping in the crater area to feel a different sensation. This area offers natural events that are quite challenging with the appearance of smoke and thunderous sounds. Although it seems scary, there are still many nature lovers who are interested in trying the challenges.
3. Eat delicious roasted corn
Besides being engrossed in conquering nature, you can also pamper your tongue and stomach while traveling on Mount Sibayak. One that you can taste is grilled corn in the Penatapan area which is located at one of the entrances to Mount Sibayak. The Penatapan area is known to be popular as a corn burner in North Sumatra.
Accommodation Near Mount Sibayak
Sibayak can be reached from Brastagi, a hilly town on Karo highlands situated 70 km or an hour from Medan through back country roads leading to Lake Toba. A direct bus service olies the route from the Pangkal Pinang bus terminal in Medan which departs every half hour from 5.30 in the morning to evening. A hired taxi or tourist minibus is also available.