Published/Last edited or updated: 21st April, 2017
Dominating the southern reaches of Pantar, Sirung isn’t a particularly tall volcano (the peak is just 862 metres) and the climb, at least to the crater, isn’t all that taxing as far as volcanoes in Indonesia go.
We approached the volcano from the village of Kakamauta (also referred to as Mauta), roughly one hour from Baranusa by ojek. In the village the headman insisted that we take a local guide for 100,000 rupiah and pay a village fee of 100,000 rupiah. These charges appeared to be non-negotiable (and unreasonable, given how the climb panned out) but your mileage may vary.
The villagers also believe that the volcano should only be climbed at certain times of the years as it may otherwise affect the cashew harvest. See Gunung Bagging's page for Sirung for more information on this situation, but essentially depending on the mood of the villagers, only October, November and May are considered ok to enter the crater (though we did so in April).
Having a guide of some description is strongly advisable, whether from Baranusa or Kakamauta, as the path is not signposted or all that clear. You follow a dirt trail out of the village but after about 10 minutes of walking you leave the trail and start bush-bashing through tall grasses and then eucalyptus forest.
As you slowly rise from the dirt trail the terrain gets rockier, but there is still plenty of shade from the eucalypts. Don’t forget to look behind you as, after a while, you can see Kakamauta and Baranusa directly to the north and, over to the west, Pantai Tiga Warna. The views are beautiful.
The trees slowly fade away as the terrain becomes rockier and steeper and you end up on a trail leading up towards a pass into the crater. Be sure to look up to your left (east) and in the distance on the rim you’ll see a small building—it is apparently a wildlife spotting hide, belonging to a wildlife photographer from Bandung in Java.
Eventually we reached a spot where the trail split, with one leg continuing into the crater and the other up to the rim. At this point our guide stopped and demanded more money, asking for another 100,000 rupiah to continue to the crater. When we refused, he started walking back into the village. We caved and paid the extra money, and it was another 20 minutes from this point into the crater.
It’s an impressive moonscape with lumps of sulphur laying around, a large aquamarine lake and a few vents with steam steadily streaming out. From the viewpoint at the entrance of the crater you can climb a little for a better viewpoint, or, depending on the time of year, enter the crater proper. Sirung last erupted in 2012.
When we returned to the junction point and asked to go to the crater rim, the guide again asked for more money (another 100,000 rupiah) which we refused and so walked out. We’d never encountered this problem of the guide demanding more money during a walk before, and it detracted from what was otherwise a good walk. We recommend before embarking on the climb you specifically say what you plan to do before starting the climb. You could try suggesting not paying till the completion of the trek but that option didn’t fly for us.
All up, it was between two and a half and three hours from Kakamauta round trip, and then another hour each way from Baranusa. If you leave Baranusa early in the morning (recommended) this is an easy half-day excursion. We’d suggest returning to Baranusa to rest during the midday heat and then perhaps fill the afternoon by going to Pantai Tina Warna.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.