Two intrepid malaysian girls brave public buses in North Sumatra eruption by just two days.
MY best friend asked me anxiously: “Is it safe for us to climb the volcanoes? It erupted just back in 2010 ....” I casually brushed it off, saying that we wouldn’t be that “lucky”. After all, Mount Sinabung in Sumatra, Indonesia, had erupted 400 years before the last time in 2010; so I assumed it wouldn’t happen again within four years.
But my theory was proven wrong when, just two days after I climbed the neighbouring volcano – Mount Sibayak – Mount Sinabung spewed thick smoke and ashes, causing panic to the villagers nearby on Sept 15.
Situated in the Karo plateaus of North Sumatra, Mount Sinabung is a stratovolcano that consists of andesite and dacite volcanic rocks. It has a total of four volcanic craters, but only one is still active. On Malaysia Day, it was reported that Mount Sinabung had erupted for a second time, hurling red smoke 3km high, blanketing the neighbouring villages with volcanic ash.
To hike either Mount Sinabung or Mount Sibayak, tourists have to get to the town of Berastagi, which is 65km from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra.
My buddy and I arrived by evening, after making our way from Medan’s new Kuala Namu International airport. With the heavy downpour as we were tucked into the narrow seats of a dimly-lit public bus, my first impression of Berastagi was of a Cameron Highlands-like town amidst miles of lush primeval forests.
Development seemed scanty and Batak women clad in ulos (traditional hand-woven textiles) walking steadily along the muddy roads with baskets full of bananas on their heads were common sights. Apparently, the ability to balance fruits and vegetables on their heads (in hands-free mode mind you) was a must in yesteryears for Batak girls to be considered eligible for marriage.
This trip was meant to be a getaway to unwind in the wilderness after a few weeks of being thrown in the warzone of a newsroom. I love being on elevated grounds because when you look far down and beyond, you realise that the problems revolving in your mind are just specks of dust.
Hence, we decided on an easier hike to Mount Sibayak (2212m) which is also an active volcano instead of the higher Mount Sinabung (2460m). Located on the notorious Ring of Fire region with almost 130 active volcanoes, Indonesia is a pretty volatile area to live in.
In August, Mount Rokatenda in the tiny island of Palue (near Flores in eastern
Indonesia) change dormant earthquake 250,000 Agung Mount Sinabung for
the fact, of ones
Breathtaking: a panaromic view from mount Sibayak at dawn. to climb this peak, tourists start from the town