Through jungle, mountains and over a winding road we left Pekanbaru and arrived six hours later in Bukittinggi near Sumatra’s west coast east of Lake Maninjau. Because of the altitude, approaching the Equator was relatively cool. Our Bukittinggi hotel was on a hill, but even higher was Mt Marapi not far away—smoke rising from its summit. This was Sumartra’s most active volcanic peak aptly named Mountain of Fire. The volcano had erupted more than one hundred times and was last active in 2020, but on our visit it merely signalled with a puff of smoke.
It was a relief to be in this beautiful location. We had a clear view of Mt Marapi from our hotel and when darkness fell, the town seemed to fall asleep.