You don’t go to Berastagi for the city itself, but for it’s beautiful surroundings. There are two volcanos; Mount Sibayak and the still active Mount Sinabung.
On the main street you’ll find becaks surrounded by children looking at all the colorful fish displayed in glass jars. We are told these fish are not bought for show but the kids buy the fish and let them fight.
We left Ketambe with the local bus (25.000 Rupiah p.p.) to Kutacane. Without us knowing the bus dropped us of at a company that drives shared taxis to Berastagi. We found out after we already bought our tickets we weren’t going to Berastagi by local bus (130.000 Rupiah p.p.) The scenic drive from Ketambe to Kutacane takes you past the smoking Sinabung volcano and takes about 6 hours.
We didn’t go anywhere else for breakfast, lunch and diner than our guesthouse. We liked the food, it was quite cheap and because the internet was good we spent a lot of time there to FaceTime with our family and friends and got some work done.
We slept at Wisma Sibayak Guesthouse, which is located near the big Cabbage Monument. The rooms (150.000 Rupiah) are in front of the garden and are nice, spacious and clean with a cold shower, a hot shower is possible for 10.000 Rupiah.
Berastagi has lots of interesting places to go to, like the fruit market. Or you can hike the easy accessible volcanos Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Take a guide or stay on the paths, because there are some people who went missing in the last couple of years.
Also hiking up Bundling Hill is worth it, it has nice views all around. It is a easy climb of 30 minutes and is one of the nicest places to view both volcanos. Try to be there at sunset and it is free of charge. Besides hiking you can visit traditional villages, the closest to Berastagi is the village of Lingga. To get there take a Yellow hop on hop off van to Kabanjahe and from there get a van to Lingga (retour will cost about 16.000 Rupiah p.p.). If you like waterfalls 37 kilometers to the North there is a beautiful waterfall called Two Colour Waterfall.