View over Lake Maninjau © James Gagen
Lake Maninjau is set like a burning sapphire stone in the crater of the mountain and is a spectacularly beautiful place to relax and unwind. It is a caldera lake, located in west Sumatra, and is thought to have been formed by a volcanic eruption around 52,000 years ago. The lake is set at about 1,545 feet (471m) above sea level, and the average temperature of the water in the lake is around 86°F (30°C). Visitors can enjoy cycling the 37 mile (60km) circumference of the lake, or plodding through the neighbouring rice paddies while others can swim, canoe and hike the surrounding mountains or explore the local villages.
Villages on the shores of the lake include Maninjau and Bayur. Maninjau is a notable tourist destination in the region due to its scenic beauty and situation on the lake; if you're interested in doing some paragliding Maninjau is a great base. There are some hot springs to enjoy close to the village of Mukomuko, on the opposite side of the lake to Maninjau. On the dramatic road that winds down to the lake from Bukkittinggi there are spectacular views and 44 hairpin turns. Beware of the monkeys that gather on the side of the road; they wait there because people throw food out of the cars for them but they are wild animals and shouldn't be approached.