|Elevation:||2,877 m (9,439 ft)||Prominence:||1,723 m|
|Ribu category:||Tinggi Sedang||Province:||Sumatera Barat (West Sumatra)|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:|
|Rating:||Eruptions:||Tandikat 1889, 1914, 1924|
This dormant peak is close to the pleasant tourist town of Bukittinggi. Along with neighbouring Gunung Marapi, it dominates the landscape south of the town. Singgalang is a twin volcano with the lower yet volcanically active Gunung Tandikat. The mountain can be climbed from several places: Pakan Sinayan, Koto Tuo, Balingka and Pandai Sikat. Although approaches from the west offer views of nearby Lake Maninjau, the eastern approach from Pandai Sikat is by far the most popular and is just 15 minutes by public transport from Bukittinggi. Pandia Sikat itself is famous weaving and woodcarving village currently illustrated on the 5,000 Rupiah banknote. Unlike for neighbouring Mount Marapi, finding a guide in Bukittinggi is remarkably difficult – far fewer locals have climbed this mountain and barely any tourists trek to the top. In any case, the agents in Bukittinggi charge a bit more than is reasonable – the money then gets split between several people. The best thing to do is head to Pandai Sikat where there is new tourist information kiosk, or better still contact the excellent guide Dedi listed in our guides page.
From Kotobaru on the main road heading south of Bukittinggi, follow the sign to Pandai Sikat and continue along the narrowing road and stop in Pandai Sikat opposite the beautiful and private traditional Minangkabau house with a lilly pond in front. On the opposite side of the road from the house is the small tourist information kiosk where you ask for help finding a guide. The road towards the starting point goes past the house and up the hillside towards several television transmitter masts. Walk up the road for about 5 minutes to the ojek post and take an ojek up to the starting point to avoid around 500m unnecessary elevation gain. You may be asked to stop at an information and registration post about one third of the way up the road and sign a guest book and pay Rp 10,000 to climb the mountain. The road gets rough but a ojek can get as far as the final TV mast at 1,575m. It takes 4-5 hours to reach the summit and 3 hours to descend the same way.
The trail itself leads from the end of the masts road along the right side of a wooden hut, past another, newer building before leading into tall and thick grass vegetation. The trail is a little hard to follow in a couple of places through the grass, so you need to a guide or to use our GPS tracks. A bundle of 4 or 5 black electricity cables follows the trail all the way to military and police communications towers on the summit of the peak that were erected around 2003, so if in doubt follow the cables. This first section of the trek is by far the most unpleasant – especially for tall people – several times you have to crawl under the the tall grass that has fallen over the path obstructing your headroom. There are also some leeches in this section so take some gloves and wear long trousers!
Thankfully the trail soon opens out into more regular tropical forest, with the sound of streams to your left. Water is not a problem on the hike as there are three posts on the way up near water sources and a lake near the summit. The first area used for camping is at 1,770m but the water sources (Mata Air 1, 2 & 3) are at approximately 1,974m, 2,240m and 2,594m respectively. At 2,650m the trail opens out onto steep rock and if you are lucky with the weather you should be able to see Marapi on the other side of the Agam valley.
Near the top of the rock section at 2,697m is a plaque dedicated to two students from Padang who went hiking here in 1988 and never returned. Shortly after this monument, the path dips slightly – still following the black cables – through some pleasant mossy upper montane forest. The beautiful lake, Telaga Dewi (Lake of the Goddess) is just beyond the muddy trail through the forest and it is a beautiful, tranquil spot and unusually free of litter. Locals like to camp here on Saturday nights but at any other time of the week you will probably be alone. The lake itself is where the crater of the volcano once was, thousands of years ago.
At the other side of the lake you should be able to see another transmitter mast at the highest point of the mountain. To reach this, follow the black cables along the side of the lake and then through very muddy and sometimes slippery forest. After 30 minutes you will be at the edge of the transmitter compound which is the highest point of Singgalang. This shabby and litter strewn area could not be in starker contrast with the natural beauty of the lake. One can image that Singgalang was a more rewarding summit before the authorities decided to erect the transmitter. However, in clear weather, you should be able to see Gunung Marapi on the other side of the valley.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (2009) and Andy Dean (2011)