Mount Sibayak is an active stratovolcano situated in North Sumatra, some two hours driving from the capital, Medan. Although it hasn't given any major eruption for more than a century, it does almost constantly show minor geothermal activity in hot springs found around it and sulfuric gas jets emitted from its crater. Due to its beauty, its vicinity to Medan and its accesibility (the crater may be reached in a 15 minuets walk from the nearest road), it is one of the most visited mountains in Sumatra, with student hiking parties from Medan and other places around swarming there every weekend. It does also receive a relatively high number of foreign visitors since colonial times already.
The closest town to the mountain, in fact located right at its foot, is Berastagi (may also be spelled Brastagi). It can be reached from Medan by mini-bus in about two hours. The ticket should cost 15.000 IDR
The crater complex may be reached walking all the way from the center of Berastagi in as less as two hours. Take the road leading straight north, past "Sibayak Multinational Guesthouse" and towards Jaranguda village. At the point where the road makes a u-turn redirecting south, take the smaller road leaving to the left and keeping north. You will right after the turn be passing outside a house functioning as a registration office, where a small fee may be asked for your registration. Follow the road steadily north till it turns east round a knoll. You keep following the same road and you'll soon reach its end, where a small parking-lot and couple of food-stalls are found. There you'll find the trailhead starting up a wooden staircase and leading you to the crater in some 15 minuets.
There are two more possible routes to reach the crater:
One starts from Semangat Gunung, as well known as Raja Berneh (3.226842 98.501897), and will also lead you to the same parking lot where you take the aforementioned trail.
The other ascends the mountain from the south and starts nearby "Anugrah Sibayak" hot spring (3.226158 98.512411). This is the longest and most interesting of the routes.
Once at the crater complex, you may do the circumvention of the rim, passing by the peaks surrounding the crater lake. The two highest of them are "puncak antene"(2057 amsl) and "tapal kuda" (2101 amsl). The highest point of the mountain altogether, however, is "gunung pintau" (2212 amsl), which lies in dense jungle a few kilometers further north from the crater. There is no trail leading there. So, if one wants to reach it, an entire day would be necessary and a sharp machete indispensable.
A small fee may be collected at a registration office by the road leading to the trail.
When to Climb
All year round.
Camping is permissible everywhere, the crater included.
My account on climbing Mount Sibayak + map