Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
Trip End Jan 01, 2007

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spent the first afternoon in Beragstagi just walking around the main street, checking out the sights there. I like Beragstagi, its a pretty, quaint little place, where in the evening the main street fills up with food vendors selling all kinds of Indonesian foods. The townspeople are clearly on the same page as me as eating is obviously a high priority with them. The sights in the town consist of a statue of a cabbage and amongst other things, a fruit market. A Whole market devoted to fruit, obviously I'm gonna like this town. Found my new favourite fruit, the Beragstagi apple (persimmon), which is ludicrously cheap here, and ate far too many of those, before being hassled by some 17yr old kids who were staying at my guest house in order to learn about tourism so they could one day be tour guides (speaking English is big business here, and so is the tourism industry, its many peoples ticket from poverty). They came on way too strong and kept inviting themselves into my business, which got rather frustrating (reading out loud over my shoulder what i typed as i wrote it in the net cafe, inviting themselves into my room to play guitar for example) so i politely asked them for some privacy and said I'd see them tomorrow before going to bed.
        The rooftop room i bargained for at losmen sibayak was really cool yesterday, though i didn't appreciate it quite so much when the 4:30 call to prayer came blaring from loudspeakers on nearby rooftops and woke me up this morning. Consequently i was shattered when my alarm went off at the time i was supposed to be waking up, at 7. Managed to peel myself from my warm cosy bed (its cold in the mornings here, i mean English winter cold) and went for coffee and breakky, bought fruit then set off on my walk towards, and then up, gunung sibayak. Walking along i was eating far too many Beragstagi apples, and this would only come back to haunt me, i assure you of that.
          The instructions that i copied down from my guest house regarding the route to take to get to the summit were horribly inaccurate and left me doubting myself and the route i was taking the whole way up. In fact I'm pretty sure i made a wrong turn at one point as i had to climb up through this crevice in the rock (thank you local guy for directing me up there, or I'd never have found it) to get onto the correct path to the top. After that i shortly arrived at the point from where the summit is visible, and what a fantastic view it is. The surrounding volcanic hills are littered with sulphur plumes expelling a remarkably pungent yellow gas into the air, amount of sulphur being so strong you could see the yellow
discolouration around the rocks from where the sulphur had been
deposited, leaving the whole place smelling foully of rotten eggs...  Good thing too as it was at this time that the kilos of Beragstagi apples i had eaten decided they needed to exit my body, and they weren't going to wait. Good thing i again had no toilet paper eh! The monstrousity i produced on top of that volcano top would have to be seen to be believed, though now it is in the bushes, (well hopefully by now it has decayed) with its stench hidden by the sulphur. After cleaning up using the plant leaves available, i walked up to the very summit. The view up here was amazing, my photos don't do it justice at all, the huge crater of Turquoise water below, sulphur plumes and all. 'This is why your still in Asia after 8 months' was the first thing that sprung to my mind. I would strongly recommend to anyone in Sumatra to come to Beragstagi for that alone.
     Piddled around at the top for a while before making my descent to the hot springs, stopping en route for lunch (see cheesy photos), where i had a very long and very welcome rest, which was extended even longer as when i tried to leave the rains kicked in, leaving me no option but to stay there!
       Deciding the rains weren't gonna let up, i went in the coffee shop and had a glass of coffee powder with a splash of water (it really was that bad), talked to a very nice local girl there then got the bus back to Beragstagi before another early night, but not before once again eating too many Beragstagi apples, when will i learn.
       Evidently not the next day:-waking up bloated from all the food consumed the night before, set my sights for the day on going to a small Karo village called Dokkan then onto the Sipiso piso waterfalls.
      Arriving at the Dokkan village, i saw that my luck and good timing were again spot on, as i had turned up on the day of a Karo wedding, and i got to sit and watch the celebrations or the day, and even share a meal with all the people.
       After it was too late to go to the falls, so i went back to Beragstagi, stupidly ate two kg more of Beragstagi apples, got ripped off on a meal, then slept.
 Left for Danau toba the next day.
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Marga on

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