Indonesia is home to more than 110 active volcanoes. The country is part the Pacific Fire Ring and eruptions happen quite frequently. In 2018 Indonesian airports, amongst them Bali International Airport, have been closed following erupting volcanoes and tourists have been rescued from volcano hikes while being hit by an earthquake.
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While have plenty of choices in all over the country to see your favorite volcano, we advise to inform yourself about its activity beforehand, so you won’t be negatively surprised if the hike has been closed by the authorities.
This is our list of our favorite volcanoes in Indonesia. They are relatively easy to reach from popular tourist destinations. In most cases the volcano is not the only reason to go there. So if you are in Bali, Gili, Java or Sumatra, check out this list.
Volcanoes in Bali
Three volcanoes are located in Bali. We have covered them in our article about Bali. If you are thinking about hiking a volcano there, please read our article about Bali.
Visit a Volcano from Gili Island
You can even hike a volcano from the tropical islands of Gili. Obviously, the volcanoes are not in Gili itself, but on the nearby Lombok island.
The most popular volcanoes on Java
If you plan to visit Java, you are most probably also going to Yogyakarta. The nearby Merapi volcano is one of the most active and popular ones of the whole archipelago.
In the South of Java you have three very popular options
Sibayak – The most popular volcano in Sumatra
The number one reason to visit Sumatra are probably orang utans for most of us, but there is also a very popular volcano to visit for tourists. The volcano is called Sibayak and is located in Berastagi near Medan. While locals will tell you to take a guide to hike it, you don’t really need to. A popular option is to hike it in the very early morning so you can be there on time for the sunrise.
Before climbing it, make sure to download the app MapsMe and the Sumatra map – it will show you all the way.
The best way to hike it is to spend the night before in Berastagi. Check online what time is sunrise so you can be sure to be there on time. Just to be sure, we are talking about getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning if you want to see sunrise. Get a taxi and tell the driver to drive to the entrance of the national park of Sibayak volcano. From here you walk to the Warung where the path starts – motorbikes can also drive here. If you can get a motorbike taxi, maybe you have the option to get off here, we are not sure about it. From the hike is not too long to get to the top of the volcano. Enjoy the absolute stunning views from the peak!
The best part of this hike is that you don’t need to walk the same way back. Follow the trail to the Hot Spring (Meliala and Peribana Hotspring). Once you are there you can have a short break and relax there. From here you just take a Mototaxi back to Berastagi.
How to get to Sibayak in Berastagi?
If you are staying in Medan or in Bukit Lawang the day before going to Berastagi, just ask your accommodation for a transfer to Berastagi. They will organize a shared taxi for you for a reasonably price. The trip Medan to Berastagi should be around 200.000 rupiah, the trip Bukit Lawang to Berastagi around 130.000 (you can always try to negotiate). This way is way more comfortable than public transportation and they will take you straight to your hotel.
Where to stay in Berastagi
While Berastagi is quite touristy, also among Indonesians, the accommodation options are quite limited. You are not going to find hostels in this town. However, there are hotels and guesthouses. We stayed at the Sinabung Hills Hotel. It’s not the usual place where we would stay, it reminds of a Grand Hotel. The hotel has a nice pool and service, however, their rooms could definitely be refurbished. We booked it the day before and find a last minute offer on Booking.com.
What to do and where to eat in Berastagi
The town of Berastagi is just like almost all other Indonesian city: Dirty and nothing special. There is a nice fruit market in the center, this is also the only thing you want to see in the city. Be careful where you go to eat! We tried to find a decent place in the center and ended up with a very bad food poisoning! Very bad. We got it from a restaurant called “Mexico” – we really thought it was a safe bet after searching the whole town. Next time we go there, we definitely choose to eat at the hotel – although it is more pricey. Oh, and if you want to have a quieter time go during the week, because at the weekends the place will get crowded by Indonesians.
Obviously we didn’t hike every single volcano of Indonesia, so if you would like to share your favorite ones and experiences in the comments, we are happy to read them!