Mount Sirung sits at the southern end of Pantar Island overlooking the Ombai Strait to the south, the Pantar Strait and Alor Island to the east and on a clear day, Lembata Island to the west. It has some closer neighbours; Mount Delaki and a new, as yet unnamed and rather featureless volcano that appeared in February 2011.
Sirung is what’s known as a complex volcano because it has a number of features created from repeated eruptions. A series of loud rumbles announced the most recent eruption in May 2012. The volcano sent a cloud of ash 3.5km into the sky, prompted the mass evacuation of everyone within 2.5km of it and resulted the closure of airports hundreds of miles away. When the dust settled, Sirung was left with a 862m high lava dome peak truncated by a massive caldera 2km wide with steaming vents and a sulphurous lake in the bottom of it.
Sirung crater rim can be easily reached via a couple of routes. The easiest is from the village of Kakamatua on the north eastern flanks and takes around 2 hours. The other route commences slightly south of there from Beang via the tiny, thatched hut village of Darang. This is a longer trek taking around 3-4 hours but otherwise is no harder than the Kakamatua route.
It’s entirely possible to ascend via one route then walk around the eastern crater rim and descend via the alternate route. Once at the bottom, Beang and Kakamatua are connected by a trail through the foothills so you can loop back to your starting point. Trekking this section takes another 2.5-3 hours so after factoring in time to admire the views, traverse the crater rim and rest, it’s a full though satisfying day trip.
Pantar’s main town is Baranusa which is serviced by Pelni ships and more regular passenger/boat ferry’s which connect with Lembata Island to the west and Alor Island to the east. Small boats also connect smaller coastal villages with Lembata and Alor.
If you’re starting point is Kakamatua, the village can be reached from Baranusa by road, a 45 min trip by ojek or car. There’s no accommodation at Kakamatua so plan on travelling out and back from Baranusa on the same day.
Coming directly from Alor, small boats from Kalabahi and Hirang on Alor Island connect with the southeast coast of Pantar at Tamakh and Beang villages. An ojek can take you from Tamakh to either Kakamatua and Beang. Unfortunately, there have been reports of ojek operators heavily price gauging travellers arriving at these remote villages with little choice but to pay the price or re-board their boat if it hasn’t already left. Something to keep in mind when considering your point entry into Pantar. It’s also worth noting that the villages in Pantar are small and poor with very little infrastructure so you should plan on being relatively self-sufficient. Engaging a guide from Kakamatua or Beang is recommended but not essential.