Gunung Sinabung

North Sumatra

While today it's one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, remarkably Gunung Sinabung lay dormant for over 400 years until its dramatic eruption in 2010. At the time of research it remained strictly off limits for tourists, as well as for the thousands of locals who remain unable to return to their homes (turning the abandoned villages into ghost towns). Since 2010 it has remained extremely volatile, erupting periodically each year, with 23 people being killed in that time.

While the 5km exclusion zone prohibits anyone from getting close (although almost all tour operators arrange trips to the abandoned villages), you will be able to get good views of the volcano from Berastagi, particularly if it's erupting, when you'll be able to witness its lava flow.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Sumatra attractions

1. Lingga

6.08 MILES

The most visited of the villages around Berastagi, Lingga, a few kilometres northwest of Kabanjahe, has just a couple of traditional houses with…

2. Museum Karolingga

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On the road leading into the village of Lingga is this interesting little museum inside a traditional building with displays on Karo culture and artefacts…

3. Gundaling Hill

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Around 4km north of the Tugu Perjuangan war monument, tree-shaded Gundaling Hill provides a unique vantage point from which you can see both Gunung…

4. Giant Cabbage

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Berastagi’s most prominent landmark is this homage to the humble cabbage, erected in 1972 as a 'thank you' for the riches it brought to the local economy.

5. Museum Pusaka Karo

8.01 MILES

Set up inside the old Catholic church (c 1956), this centrally located museum has beautifully presented displays on Karo culture and crafts, including…

7. St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

8.22 MILES

Definitely not your everyday church, St Francis of Assisi is built in a monumental Karo Batak style, with a traditional multitiered pointed-roof design…

8. Taman Alam Lumbini

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Located 6km east of Berastagi, this gleaming golden Buddhist temple is a replica of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. You'll need to arrange…