At 3,195 meters above sea level, Mount Dempo is the highest mountain in South Sumatra. Along with Mount Marapi on Sumatra, (not to be confused with Mt. Merapi in Central Java), Mt. Dempo is the highest peak in the Bukit Barisan mountain range that stretches along the entire island of Sumatra, forming tis backbone. After sipping a cup of hot sweet tea in the cool dawn, listening to birds chirp in the trees and watching the sun slowly rising on the horizon, this is the perfect morning to hike up to the top of Mount Dempo
Located right on the border between the provinces of South Sumatra and Bengkulu on Sumatra’s west coast, Mount Dempo lies in the district called Pagar Alam. And, as the name implies, Pagar Alam, meaning nature’s fence, is entirely surrounded by hills and mountain ridges. It takes some 7-hours driving to reach Pagar Alam from Palembang, and then another 15 kilometers from the center of Pagar Alam to Mount Dempo itself. The trip will not be dull, since you will be presented with fantastic scenery of cliffs and valleys accompanied by fresh, unpolluted air. A vast tea plantation greets you as Mount Dempo comes into view: Here is the source of the energizing cup of tea.
After your logistics are loaded, tents and sleeping bags prepared, the next thing to conquer are the challenging trails. The rucksack feels heavy, as you make the first couple of steps through the wide tea plantation. When the tea fields are gradually replaced by wild bushes, the path begins to ascend. You are then on your way up, marking that the climb is on. Among hikers and mountaineers, Mount Dempo is known for its challenging tracks. Various slopes, twisting turns and fewer “bonuses” of flat tracks, actually make Mount Dempo a favorite among these “challenge junkies”. Gurgling waters, chirping birds and various other voices of nature make good company as you rest your weary legs and exhausted backbone.
Nothing beats the sensation of reaching the top of the mountain, an ultimate feeling of harmony with nature.A fter the gruelling hike, the reward for reaching the summit of Mount Dempo is the breathtaking view from here overlooking the vast horizon in the distance. Priceless contentment compensates for all the sweat and hardship; definitely a reward for the panting ascent. You will find Mt. Dempo’s crater is still steaming and very much active. A picture taken here is a trophy and a reward for an accomplished challenge.
Aside from this challenging mountain, prehistoric cultural remnants are also found in the area. Carved stones in the shape of humans, animals and others are scattered along the first slope of Mount Dempo. Within Pagar Alam there is also a traditional market that sells various local goods such as tea, coffee, fruits and others worth visiting.
Take a trip off the beaten track; leave your typically pampered vacation behind. Mount Dempo awaits those who seek adventure. Prep the time, energy and your hiking gears, and find out what rewards await on its summit.