Hiking trip to Sibayak

Written by Mehdi, Co-Director, Medan

Last weekend me and Letizia, the other co-director, went for a hiking trip on mount Sibayak and it was an unforgettable experience, to say the least!


We left Medan around 4pm and found ourselves stuck in traffic for about two hours. After a long journey crammed inside a very compact minibus we arrived at the entrance of the park, ready to take on the mountain. Since it was already dark we couldn’t see much of the nature around us. All we could see was the concrete path that would take us to the top and we had no idea how long the trekking would take (estimates by our Indonesian friends ranged from “30 minutes” to “4 hours”). After about 45 minutes of walking we reached a small outpost. Apparently we were already halfway to the top!
The weather was gradually getting cold and windy and in addition to that it was starting to rain. By the time we reached our camping spot we were all incredibly cold and wet. We couldn’t see much of the place, except that it was very rocky. We could also hear some geysers in the distance, spouting hot steam. When we finally found a place (relatively) suitable for camping, we started setting up the tent. This was quite a challenge as we were operating completely in the dark, with only a few flashlights to guide us. The wind was also getting stronger, making it difficult to keep the tent on the ground while we tried to tie it down.
When the tent was finally set up we all just jumped inside, trembling from head to toe and completely wet. We were so desperate for some warmth that we decided to light our little gas fire inside the tent. A risky move, but at least we got to warm our hands a bit! Well-prepared as we were, we had no cards or any other games to keep ourselves occupied with so we went to sleep quite early, hoping we’d be able to get up early in the morning to explore the area. Unfortunately none of us managed to get any sleep whatsoever. We spent the entire night snuggling together just to get a little bit warmer and cursing the gods every time our tent’s covering sail blew away, exposing us to violent winds and rain. I believe it was one of the longest nights I’ve ever experienced in my life.

We “woke up” around 6:30, exhausted, cold and in a very bad mood. I decided to get out of the tent to get a look of our surroundings and I was amazed by the beauty of the place. It was rocky, as expected but there was a very jurassic feel to the place. The geysers looked dangerous and the sharp cliffs around us looked intimidating. In the distance you could see the immense volcano, Mount Berastagi. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to stay longer so soon we found ourselves hiking down the trail again. But this time we could actually see where we were going and the path took us through rocky mountains and lush jungles.

It was all incredibly beautiful and almost made the suffering worth it. Almost.

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