Sumatra's

BERASTAGI

Global Mark : 12.84 /20

 

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 3 3 4 4 3 4 2 5 13.77

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
12 92% (11) 75% (9) 92% (11) ? 11.91


Description :
A small hill town, 70km from Medan, with cool weather and two volcanoes to climb

Comments :  The town is not the attraction. The volcanoes are. 

Orientation ?  Easy ! Everything along Jalan Veteran, the main broad street !

What to do ? Get info about the weather and climbing dangers  / Trek up toward a view and volcano smokes / Trek down toward hot springs and plouf ! Relax ! / Admire a waterfall / Play golf / Visit traditional Karo villages full of traditional houses / Enjoy sunset and a volcanoes view from an hill / Wander around markets / Travel around town on horse-drawn sado. 

What you may not like ? The town, not particularly pretty / Not having much to do beside volcano expeditions / Having your stuff stolen at your hotel (it happens so avoid leaving valuables) / The low temperature at night / Slipping from the volcano without a parachute (a few people killed over the years) /  The add. fee for HW in most GH / 

How long ? One day for the climb. One day for the villages. One day extra ?


Where to stay ?  From North to South 

  • ® Wisma Ikut, 200m up the fruit market street, on the west of the Memorial  / Basic Sgl 7500, Basic Dbl 10-12000 (the two latest share a veranda facing the garden) /  Common HW shower add. 2000 / Go there for the isolation, quietness, big garden and friendly family atmosphere. Update (June 02) : reported closed !
  • ® Elchaddai Hotel & Restaurant (0628) 91023, fax (0628) 91513, No 65/66 Jl Veteran, / Dbl 7500 (1) or 10000 (2) / Good restaurant / Go there for the best quality-price ratio in town, the correct rooms and the free hot water in the clean common shower / What you may not like : it is by the road
  • Ginsata Hotel : opp. the memorial / Dbl w. shower 17500 (1) or 20000 (2) / Free common shower w. HW on the ground floor / Restaurant
  • ® Ginsata Wisma (GH), Jl Veteran, on the east of the memorial, a bit away from the road, behind the above / Dbl 5-7500 (1) or 10000 (2), Dbl w. shower 10000 (1) or 15000 (2) / Go there for the little garden and relative quietness / What you may not like : no HW, even so you can go to the Hotel free of charge
  • Losmen Sibayak GH (0628) 91095, fax (0628) 91122, No119 Jl Veteran, north of bank PDSU, middle of town / Sgl 8000, Sgl w. shower 10000, Dbl on the roof w. terrace 10000, Dbl w. shower 15000 / HW add. 2000 / Restaurant / The correct rooms are not facing the street  / Go there to get info from the travel agency
  • ® Wisma Sibayak (0628) 91683, 91104, No1 Jl Udara, corner w. Jl Veteran, in the South of town / Dorm 5000 (6-8),  basic Dbl 10000, better w. shower 20000 (1) or 25000 (2) / Common HW shower add. 2000 / Restaurant / Go there for the cheapest bed, the friendly atmosphere, to meet other travelers, to get info from the good geust books and notice boards / What you may not like : it is busy !

Two superior adresses :

  • Sibayak Multinational (0628) 91031, No93 Jl Pendidikan, need to take green minibus (kama) for Rp500 as it is on the road to Gunung Sibayak [combien de temps pour y aller ?] / Nice rooms w. HW shower 25-35000 / Restaurant / Quiet, isolated and big garden  
  • G.M. Pangabehan,  800 m up the fruit market street, west of Memorial / Luxury rooms w. HW shower, TV, AC (you may not need this one !) & breakfast Rp85000. 


Where to eat ?  Easy again : all along Jl Veteran !

Internet ?  Not available

Change Money ? There is one ATM at BNI Bank on Jl Veteran, 100m south of the Memorial.  Another ATM at Kabanjahe, 11km South (minibus Rp500). Plenty of money changers in town as well. Bank PDSU south of Losmen Sibayak GH. 

Info ? Most GH can tell you what is going on, with a special mention for the board and books of Wisma Sibayak. 

Markets ? Two markets daily : the nice Fruits & Craftmanship market (west of the Memorial, South of the Petrol Station) and the bigger but somehow less colorful market next to the bus station in the South. Also one market on Monday at Kabanjahe (11km South)


A Volcano Expedition ?

At 2094m, active Gunung Sibayak is where most trekkers are heading to. You need to be well prepared and equipped, the weather has to be good but a guide is not necessary. However, it is not recommended to go alone ! From Berastagi, it takes around 3h to reach the summit and 2h to go down toward the hot springs of Semangat Gunung village (Rp1500, open 8am to 11pm).  Finding this way down is a bit tricky : look for steps on the other side of the ridge. From the springs, take a bus back for Rp1500. 

It is also possible to attempt this trek from Sikulikap waterfalls (minibus for Rp1000). This way would take around 7 hours via the hot springs. 

At 2450m, Gunung Sinabung is a more serious business : allow about 10 hours and take a guide ! Take a Takasima Bemo (blue) between the cinema and the market and allow one hour & Rp2000. Ask to get off at lake (Danau) Kawar 

Both volcanoes can be admired from Gundaling Hill, also a good spot for sunset if the weather is fine. Follow the fruits market street and take the road toward Merdeka Village... Better ask your GH as it is a bit tricky to explain. Allow half an hour.  


Traditional Karo Villages ?

Several villages around Berastagi. Lingga is the most interesting near town (7km South-West) but also the most visited : it cost Rp300 to enter it and Rp1000 to exit it (!) to visit the surroundings and the chief houses. You need first to go to Kabanjahe,  (Rp500). Ask to stop at Lingga station or Bamboo Runcing Monument, then take a bemo (minibus, Rp500). 

From Kabanjahe, the villages of Dokan (15km) and Cingkes (37km, green kama bemo, Rp2000, 1h) would be more authentic. 

Coming from Medan, one km before Berastagi, traditional Karo houses can also be spotted in the small villages of Peceran and Lau Aagumba. Nothing really exciting. 


Backpacker's Tips :
Stephanie Thullen, Mexico (August 01)
«Don’t believe when they tell you that Lingga is touristy. We were there in the morning and only another couple of tourists were there. The only downside is the lack of tour guide even after you pay a donation to the center. Also don’t miss the little museum on the road to Lingga displaying information about Karo Batak culture.» 

Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Medan 3K / 22K ordi / mini        
Lake Toba 30K mini        
Bukit Lawang 30K mini        

(1) Minibus with Tobali Tour & Travel / By public bus to Lake Toba, go first to Kabanjahe (Rp500), then Siantar (Rp3500), then Parapat (Rp3000) / By public bus to Bukit Lawand, via Medan