A mere 1 hour flight from KL, Indonesia’s fourth largest city might not strike you as a destination for adventure lovers, but with some careful planning and travel, Medan makes an excellent base for these stunning natural attractions.
Since 2013, its been impossible to climb the active Gunung Sinabung in North Sumatra. On my first visit to Medan, Sinabung was kicking up ash plumes and spewing molten lava and villagers who had just returned to their homes had to be re-evacuated. Neighbouring Gunung Sibayak is 238 meters shorter and can be climbed, but it’s no slouch.
Having spent the last 4 days and 3 nights hiking up and across the beautiful slopes of Gunung Rinjani, Hafiza and I were desperate for a little excitement, while Vasantha and Shanti who had descended sooner were excited to get off Lombok and explore. We jumped on board a chartered outrigger and headed for Gili Islands.
It was after climbing Gunung Rinjani on Lombok and staring out across the Lombok Straits to Gunung Agung that I first hatched the plan to climb Bali’s highest peak. If I could do Rinjani at 3726 meters then surely I could climb Gunung Agung at 3031 meters. Little did I know that both climbs couldn’t be more different.
If the human and motorised traffic was anything to go by, Ubud was turning into another Seminyak, its boutiques and bars replaced with art galleries and organic food. But Ubud has another side. Here to climb Mount Agung, Khairul and I headed in the direction of Sari Organik to find it … and something to eat.
Despite the growing crowds and traffic, I love Ubud. Its loop of streets and inviting lanes invite the discovery of its local arts, beautifully crafted furniture, dreamy clothing and an amazing array of restaurants. Yet of all the streets in Ubud, Jalan Gootama is one of my favourites and one that I keep coming back to over and over.
Each of our four days in Ubud were cut short – by our arrival on Tuesday, our departure on Friday, our nap and pick up on Wednesday and our climb and descent of Gunung Agung on Thursday. So you could say a walk through the rice fields, a visit to the art gallery and lunch on Gootama Street was not too bad an achievement for two hopeful volcano baggers.