A Travellerspoint blog


Day 54 Tuk Tuk

Today was overcast and looked like it was going to be a rainy day, so I held off on renting a motorbike. Instead, I opted for a walk around Tuk Tuk to get a feel for the place, and see what else was around. Basically, there’s nothing but guesthouses, restaurants, motorbike / bicycle rentals, and bars. Took me about an hour to walk around the peninsula, and within that short period of time I was asked at least 5 times if I wanted to buy mushrooms - magic mushrooms; even an old lady asked me. Crazy! Besides the walk, I just ended up lounging at the guesthouse and doing some laundry in the lake. Tomorrow I’ll either rent a bicycle, or a motorbike and expand my ring of exploration.


Posted by Travel Gai 01:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Day 50 Trekking Asphalt

Mount Sibayak Volcano, Easy Trail


Kopi, toast and a fried egg got me going this morning so I could begin my long walk to the top of Sibayak.
The first leg of the journey was a 2km walk, seemed like 3km, to the road where you turn left to start the ascent of Sibayak. There's supposed to be an entrance office there, but instead you find a little restaurant with minivan buses parked in front. I walked on by, because, of course, there's no signage that it's the "office" where you pay the 1500 Rupiah. As I passed by a young kid came running out yelling, "Mister! Mister! You have to sign in and pay". So I went back and went through the formalities. Then he asked me if I had a guide, and I said no why. it's an asphalt road. He just gave a"what ever" look, and I started up the hill again. It's really not a very interesting walk, just a road through the jungle. On your way up many motorbikes will pass you, honk, and suffocate you with their black puffing exhaust. It took me 45 minutes to walk from the "entrance" to where the road splits to Sibolangit.
At this point you veer to the right and continue up; your almost there. It took me another 30 minutes to get to the next junction, where the road to the right goes along the bottom of the mountain to the Hot Spring. You want to keep going straight and up.
It's about another 30 strenuous minutes up a steep serpentine road to where the terrain levels off, and the road comes to an end. I must have missed the entry point for the stairs, because again, there's never any signage; but I did find another way up which connects with the stairs. You'll see a huge square cement hole in the ground, and you might see some motorbikes or vehicles parked near it. To the far left I found, what looks like a crack in the wall, which kind of resembles stairs going up. I squeezed through here and climbed up 4 meters, then there was a path which intersects the stairs.
Then it was just a matter of following the tunnel through the jungle to the valley at the top.
Once I got to the top, it's like stepping into another world. One of the first things you notice is Sibayak's sister Mount Sinabung, which erupted last year. As you climb a little further, you see the path continues on through the valley up until the crater rim. On the top there is a plateau of sorts and lots of sulfur vents. You'll see them giving off steam up ahead in the distance on your left; these are called fumaroles.
The sulfur smell wasn't bad at all, it was bearable and after a while you don't even notice. You also get a grand view of all the neighboring villages from the top.

There were a few volcanologists taking some readings while I was up there, one of them spoke really good English, and gave me a little information about Sibayak.
Gunung (mountain) Sibayak is the smaller of the two volcanoes, and has a height of about 2,094 meters or 6,870 ft. It's classified as a "B" type volcano, which means it's non - active. There not 100% sure when the last eruption was, but he said that it has been dormant for the last 100 years.

On the weekends many local kids like to climb up to the top and camp out, drink, play guitar and sing. When you look into the crater you can see the remnants of past visitors.

I ended up staying on top for 2 hours eating my lunch and walking around. It's really nice up there, and the surrounding view is amazing. It was very cloudy on this day, but it was really cool to see them roll over the top of the volcano, just passing around you.


Posted by Travel Gai 07:27 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Day 55 Bike Toba Tour

Lake Toba, Samosir

Today was one of those days when you get to the point that you want to do something, just to break the sequence of do nothing. For example, I’ve been here 1 night and one day, but all I’ve done is walk around Tuk Tuk, and did some laundry. So this morning I felt like being productive, in a touristy kind of way, and go see something; plus I need some exercise. So what did I do? I decided to rent a bicycle and take a ride to Ambarita and Simanindo. Ambarita is 2km outside of Tuk Tuk, and Simanindo is 16km. A pretty big goal for the day, a round – trip of 32km on a bike. I'm just too crazy!

I left at about 10:30 and began my pedaling escapade towards the Northeastern part of the island. I arrived to Ambarita in no time, stopping off for maybe 20 minutes to see the unexciting stone chairs, which were in use at the time of viewing.

large_4_0010039.jpg_0010032.jpg_0010034.jpg The chairs were used for communal meetings, and passing judgement on criminals. In the third picture you see a block in the middle, which was used for head chopping.

There were also some traditional Batak Karo houses in the museum with some traditional motorbikes parked in front of them.


Then I was off again, this time a long journey was ahead of me. After pedaling and panting for 5 or 6km, I pulled over, because there was a hill that looked mighty interesting to climb. I don’t know, call it an “Indiana Jones” moment or something, I just wanted to climb that hill. Who knows, there might have been a long forgotten city just over the top and I would be the discoverer. On my way up the hill, there was a cow in the distance that wouldn't stop staring at me. It had this look on its grass - chewing face like, "What the hell are you doing? There's nothing up there but grass." Guess what? The cow was right, once at the top, all I found was more grass, lots of grass; and a very distant view of my bicycle at the bottom of the hill.


On my way back to the guesthouse I stopped along the side of the road to rest, because I was exhausted and still had 10km to go. As I was sitting there these kids came up and we tried to talk, but they decided that wasn't going anywhere, so they tried to steal my bike. I'm just kidding!


I ended up giving the one kid a ride up the hill, as he sat on the top of the frame.

As I got closer to Ambarita, I noticed an interesting plant growing in someone's yard, so I pulled over; I needed another break anyway. The plant turned out to be a cacao plant. This is what your chocolate looks like before you unwrap it.


I made it back to the guesthouse, but I was totally exhausted, and had to take a couple days off to recoup.

Posted by Travel Gai 07:10 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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