There are several villages in the Berastagi area where you can see examples of traditional Karo architecture including long houses that are still used. The most visited of these Desa Lingga and Desa Dokan. At Desa Lingga a guide will take you around the village and explain the meaning of the designs on the buildings and highlight different aspects...more
Set out at the crack of dawn to climb Sibayak Volcano as it will take most of the day. Towards the top be careful of the hot ground where sulphur fumes still spew out. It is best to continue down the other side and you will reach some hot springs to relax in. The path is easy to follow but you can arrange a guide from your guest house should you...more
After the trek down Gunung Sibayak, a relaxing dip in a hot spring is just what you need. At the base of Gunung Sibayak, adjacent to the geothermal station, there are several hot springs. All offer well maintained pools, hot, natural spring water for an entrance price of between 3 and 5,000 rupiah.Next to the hot springs are several shops selling...more
The climb up Gunung Sibayak is relatively easy, much of it on a bitumen road and the last section on steps. But if you want to take the most direct route to get to the hot springs the way down is a little more difficult. Initially there is a very steep section of loose scree - be prepared to use your hands and backside! The next section of the...more
The area behind Pasar Buah on Jalan Gundaling is a relatively quiet section of town but it offers a variety of shopping and eating activities. There are several restaurants where you will find some of the wealthier local teenagers and visitors from Medan hanging out. There are smaller warung selling roasted corn and coffee, and others selling fresh...more
A little more than 25km south of Berastagi, and right on the northen edge of Danau Toba, are the Sipiso-piso falls. Water appears to explode out of a hole in the cliff and cascade 120 metres to the valley floor below. There is a very steep climb down to the base of the falls from the car park but well worth the effort to feel the spray of the...more
Approaching the peak of Gunung Sibayak you begin to smell the sulphur and hear the powerful force of the fumaroles as they spew gas into the air. The rocks surrounding the fumaroles are stained bright yellow from the sulphur. It is a spectacularly eerie landscape. Sitting atop a ridge as the clouds come in is a weird sensation - feeling the...more
It is a relatively easy climb on the way up Gunung Sibayak. You can walk from the centre of Berastagi of catch and ojek to the entrance of the climb which saves a few kms. Tourists should write their names in the log book before they start the climb - although if you take a different route down, which many people do, I'm not sure why this is...more
If you like textiles, and Indonesia is certainly a country with a wide range of textiles, then don't miss out on purchasing some traditional Karo cloth.In Kabanjahe, 11km south of Berastagi, there are some small outlets where cloth is woven on traditional wooden looms. This slow process is made even more so by the intricate inter-weaving of gold...more
I wouldn't say that I was a religious person, but I was feeling 'spiritual'. Having climbed Gunung Sibayak and spending time in the clouds 'on top of the world' and then havig the good fortune of an hour in the magnificent grounds of Taman Lumbini, I visited St Francis Xavier church.The huge church is built in Karo style. As such, there are...more
Gundaling Hill, just 2km out of Berastagi offers spectacular sunset views looking towards Gunung Sinabung. Views from a high ledge of a hill capture the sun gradually going down behind clouds and the volcano.You can catch an opelet from Berastagi and have a bite to eat as you admire the surrounding countryside.more
Just 2 km out of Berastagi along a road that winds round and round, Gundaling Hill offers beautiful views over both Berastagi and towards Gunung Sinabung as well as a pleasant garden. It is a great place to escape the traffic noise of Berastagi.Beside the gardens are shops selling drinks and souvenirs along with several small restaurants.There is...more
Mikie Holiday Resort and Hotel is a hotel by the main road going to Berastagi town coming from Medan...more
Jalan Gundaling, Berastagi, Indonesia
Good for: Couples
The hotel has spacious rooms with hot water (the weather is quite cool in the highlands), shower and...more
literally, apart from those who are travelling or those who are gutsy enough to stay out and get drunk in some by the road stores, no one really spends time outside the house in the evening. There is no fancy night life here. bore yarself to death inside yar room or find a way to get entertained wherever yar staying.
One thing that every tourist MUST observe. It isn't just a practice. It is a culture.
Dress Code: no flashing of flesh as this place is culturally conservative.
After six fantastic days in Ketambe, I travelled to Berasatagi. Leaving early, I was first pick up on a 'van' out of Ketambe. Little did I realise that it would soon bcome a school bus. Before long I was cramped in a corner with my pack as 18 Moslem school girls, all dressed in white, squeezed in, while at least 14 boys clambered atop the van. It...more
40 Reviews and Opinions
What to buy: When you visit Desa Lingga, a villager will show you around the village and explain the history, traditions and architectural style of the traditional houses free of charge. You will then be taken to the village 'office' to sign a record book. In the office are a range of local wood products emblazoned with Karo symbols. These include 'gumbar' - garlic holders used to ward off evil spirits, and 'baluat' - the traditional flutes used by young men to woo young women. Your guide will ask you if you want to purchase one of these products. Prices are fixed, with half going to the craftsperson and half being used as funds to help restore the traditional buildings. If I remember correctly, flutes were 60,000 rupiah and garlic holders were 120,000 rupaih. It can be a little expensive for the budget traveller, but I noted in the record book that some tourists had spent 20,000 on book marks so affordable for all and all for a good cause.
In the village of Desa Lingga, there are a number of traditional longhouses, but there are also traditional buildings for other parts of village life. One of these is the 'geriten', a place for bones. According to the elder who guided me around the village, when a person dies, the body is buried for five to six years. The bones are then dug up,...more
To enter the longhouses in Desa Lingga, one needs to climb a bamboo ladder and then onto a 'step' and through a window-like opening in the entrance wall. As I was climbing in, I commented to the village elder who was showing me around that the step looked more box-shaped than step-shaped, and I also noticed smooth wooden carvings on each side of...more
In Desa Lingga, about 16km south of Berastagi, there are some traditional long houses still inhabited by multiple families. One of the uniqe aspects of the longhouses is the designs carved into the houses to pay respect to different aspects of Karo life, and the colors used to represent each of the clans.Carvings include symbols to represent...more
A very funny - because it's so obvious -, but sneaky trick is the donation book. While a donation of about Rp 3000 ($0,40) each is considered generous, the amounts written by previous donors in the book show Rp 20000, Rp 50000 and so on. If you look closely you see that they added at least one 0 ! hahahaha!more
After I was so exited being a week not ripped off or overcharged I got the "help" from Losmen Sibayak to find transportation to my next destination Kutacane and they disappointed me terribly.They stopped a minibus for me with only one seat left. I asked the driver for the price. He wanted rp 20000, on which I agreed. Suddenly the son, sent by his...more
I really enjoyed my time in Berastagi, but travellers need to be aware it can get quite cold. I've travelled a lot throughout Indonesia and Berastagi is probably the coldest place I've been to. Make sure you pack a warm jacket and wet weather gear.
During my trip I was travelling back from Sipiso-piso falls on the back of a motorbike when the rain came teeming down. We were between villages so got soaked very quickly. Fortunately, we spotted a shelter, a storage barn for pumpkin (!) and took cover there along with six other motorcyclists.
It is also important to have some fairly sturdy shoes if you intend to climb one of the volcanoes - it doesn't have to be hiking boots that take up a lot of space in your luggage, but shoes that help prevent slipping on the loose scree. If you intend on doing some jungle trekking in Bukit Lawang or Ketambe, you will probably have shoes for the volcanoes.
Pax et Bonum! (Peace and all that is good!)
On the way to Berastagi from Medan, we came upon an imposing Karo architecture on our right. It is the Catholic Church of St. Francis of Assisi at Berastagi, blessed and opened on February 20, 2005.
It is just less than five minutes before Berastagi. Nice to stop and admire the architecture, the woodcarvings and paintings on the outer church walls and the stained glass windows from the inside.
The gate into the church yard is also built on the same Karo tradition.
As I mentioned in my introductory page, I wasn't sure how long I would stay in Berastagi as I had heard mixed reports. In fact, I really enjoyed my time there, and while there is no night life to speak of, it is fun just to walk up and down Jalan Veteran and around the pasar watching the locals get on with their day to day life. Just like in any...more
I was very lucky to be taken to Barusjahe Village, about 15km southwest of central Berastagi, to witness a group of young children practise traditional dance and music. The children, aged between 7 and 13, meet a couple of times a week after school in the village community hall to practice under the guidance of a volunteer teacher. He has been able...more
Not so much an activity, but one of my favorite things about the Berastagi - Karo region is the wonderful fields of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Along the roadways as you pass between villages, fields of cabbages, carrots, corn, strawberries, parsnip, pumpkin and much more abound. With the fertile volcanic soil, villages also take pride in their...more