The volcano looms ominously over the horizon of northern Sumatra. This scary volcano, one among many dominating the island of Indonesia, had been dormant for the past 400 years until a 2010 eruption saw the volcano rearing its head again.
And looks like it has started to erupt again, spewing lava and pyroclastic flow down the mountainside. Reports claim columns of ash have gone as high as 1.2 miles into the air.
Located on the island of Sumatra, the 8,070 foot-high Mount Sinabung has been periodically erupting since 2010.
Authorities raised the alert level earlier this month (2nd June), warning they had recorded a “sharp rise” in volcanic activity. More than 2,700 residents have been forced to seek refuge in temporary shelters in the wake of the eruption.
While authorities warn people to stay safe, tourists on the other hand, appear undaunted by the eruption.
Tourist Tan Sin Kok of Malaysia said that when Mount Sinabung started erupting five years ago, it had initially deterred him from visiting the region.
“Frankly speaking, I was afraid to come here. Yet after reading up, I came to Karo and found out that the weather here was still cool and clean,” Tan told The Jakarta Post at Taman Simalem Resort on Sunday.
Tan has been visiting Karo alone since Saturday and said he had enjoyed witnessing the eruption, with Mt. Sinabung spewing pyroclastic flows.
“It was the first time I’d seen a volcano erupting. The scenery was very beautiful. I saw it from the place I’m staying at, Taman Simalem Resort,” Tan said.
Another Malaysian tourist, Lee Guat Chun, shared the admiration of Mt. Sinabung’s beauty both during its normal condition and while it was erupting. “Mt. Sinabung is a beautiful volcano. When it stops erupting, I will come back to climb it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Singaporean tourist Chan Mei Yin said that she had visited Karo several times since Mt. Sinabung started erupting. This time, she said, she had brought with her a group of 25 fellow Singaporeans.
Touring Karo, she said, was fun because the weather was cool and the view, including that of Mt. Sinabung, was beautiful. The fact that the volcano was erupting, she added, was no impediment.
“Mt. Sinabung’s eruption is not dangerous because the volcano is located very far away from tourist sights in Karo,” she said.
Karo is located 1,300 meters above sea level and has a temperature of between 17 and 19 degrees Celsius.