Global Mark : 12.84 /20
Ratings by criteria :
Ratings by backpackers :
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 ?
Two superior adresses :
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)
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.
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.
Bus Schedules :
(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