Gunung Sibayak © Palma Hutabarat
A great place to stop off for travellers en route to the holiday resort of Lake Toba, the town of Berestagi is famed not only for its passion fruit, but also for the two active volcanoes on its doorstep: Gunung Sibayak and Gunung Sinabung. Gunung Sibayak boasts fantastic hot springs whose warm waters are not only open to the public, but are also believed to have therapeutic properties.
More active travellers can climb this mountain instead, earning breathtaking views over the island of Sumatra from the top. This is the most commonly climbed volcano in Sumatra as the hike to the top is comparatively easy, with beautiful and unusual scenery to enjoy along the way. It only takes about two hours to summit and can be done safely without a guide. However the addition of a local expert who can explain the geological significance of the area, as well as identify the local flora and fauna, is worth considering. The volcano is still active and as such the boiling sulphur imbues the region with an unmistakable stench, but the breathtaking views will quickly distract you from this unpleasant factor. Why not reward yourself and head to the hot springs after the hike? The pools range in temperature from pleasantly warm to boiling hot, so be sure you test the water and don't burn yourself!