Access to 2890-metre Gunung Merapi (Fire Mountain) is from Koto Baru, 12km south of Bukittinggi. Typically, the climb, which is strenuous rather than gruelling if you’re reasonably fit, takes five hours up and four down; most people climb at night to arrive at the top for the sunrise. The first four hours or so are through the forest and then across bare rocks leading to the summit. The top is actually a plateau area with the still-smoking crater in the middle. You may spot bats, gibbons and squirrels in the forest, but the main reason to go is the view across to Gunung Singgalang. Take enough water and energy food, plus sturdy footwear and warm clothes for the top. A knowledgeable and well-recommended guide is Andi Afrianto (t0812/6662 2980) in Bukittinggi; he can be found at the Apache Café on Jl A Yani.