Welcome to Lake Toba,The biggest crater lake in the world,created by the greatest volcanic eruption mankind ever experienced.Lake Toba has spectacular scenery,great activities and the rich culture of the sociable Batak people.The locals are friendly and tourists.are not subjected to any sort of racism.Tourism is expanding now in North Sumatra and it is still one of the cheapest value for money parts of South East Asia.So,now is good time to enjoy the adventure and relaxation Lake Toba and the region has to offer,Lake Toba has been noted for its value for accommodation,climate,fresh water swimming,folk music and one of the top ten natural wonders of the world.Enjoy!
Getting to lake Toba
By air to Medan from Bangkok,Penang,Kuala Lumpur,Singapore,Jakarta,Bandung,Surabaya.By road from Medan 4-5 hours,Berastagi 4 hours,Bukit Lawang 6-7 hours,
Sibolga 5 hours,Bukit Tinggi 1 night.From Medan by bus from Amplas terminal ( bus station ) or share taxi from Grande Mosque.
From Medan by train to Siantar 4 hours,then by bus to parapat1 hour.Medan has perhaps the cheapest international flights in the world.
Lake Toba Story
Over 80,000 years ago aboriginal people lived scattered around “Mount Toba” 75,000 years ago Mount Toba erupted in what was
the biggest catastrophic event in the history of mankind,destroying all life in the area,
covering South East Asia in volcanic debris and plunging the earth into years of darkness which created a mini ice age.
Not only did the Mountain collapse into a deep caldera that filled with water but the island of Samosir erupted upwards as a cinder cone.
Once the dust finally settled we were left with
the world’s largest and deepest crater lake; about 90 km by 20 km and 500 meters deep.The lake is 906m above sea level while the crater rim is over 300 km in circumference.Over 5000 years ago people began migrating again to the area,An old theory suggest that people known as proto malays came to the region from the
South China/ Burma regions. More recent linguistics based theories suggest that the ancestors of the Batak found their way to Lake Toba in a migration westward from the island of formosa ( taiwan ) via the philippines and Sulawesi.Today one can see linguistic and cultural homologies across this region.
About 2000 years ago ships from South Asia landed on the west coast of Sumatra at Barus where they traded with the Bataks for camphor oil,
benzoin tree gum and Barus oil,highly valued by the Egyptian pharaohs and ancient Greeks.720 years ago Marcopolo sailed to Aceh and
Barus and named the island Suma Terra.Meanwhile the Bataks created a social hierarchy of family clans, a Sanskrit based written language and a calendrial system.
Around 200 years ago a dutch man named Van Der Tuuk trekked to lake Toba signalling the beginning of colonialism.150 years ago the missionary Nommensen from Germany brought Christiany to batak Land and effectively changed the structure of Batak culture.35 years ago the first hippie travellers arrived and chilled out at the shore
of the amazing lake.12 years ago the political and economic crisis began the downturn of tourism.2 years ago the tourism recovery began.
Is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba,located in the north of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.Administratively,Samosir island is governed
as six of the nine districs within Samosir regency.The lake and island were formed after the eruption of a super volcano some 75,000 years ago.The island was originally connected to the surrounding caldera wall by a small isthmus,which was cut through to aid navigation.At 630 km,Samosir is the largest island within an island,and the fifth
largest lake island in the world.It also contains two smaller lakes,Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang.To the west of the island lie the towns of Pangururan on Samosir and Tele on mainland Sumatra.Located high above the lake Tele offers one of the the best views of Lake Toba and Samosir island.Samosir is a popular tourist destination
due to its exotic history and the vistas it offers,as well as the laid back atmosphere of the place.It is definitely a place for the traveller to chill out and relax after grueling
travels and adventures elsewhere in the region.The tourist resort are concerted in the Tuktuk area.The island is the centre of the Batak culture and many of this people’s artifacts remain on the island.Most of the tourist accommodation are concentrated in the small town of Tuktuk,which is located a 40 minutes ferry ride across the lake from the town of Parapat.
Tuktuk Samosir Island Lake Toba
Tuktuk is the most popular destination and main tourist center at Lake Toba.Most visitors arrive via Parapat for the 40 minute boat ride across to Tuktuk.
The car ferry leaves from ajibata near Parapat which takes about one hour.
you can also come to samosir from Berastagi via sidikalang to pangururan.Either way you can appreciate the volcanic caldera and marvel at this wonder.Tuktuk is a peninsula of samosir island,which is the size of singapore and is the heartland of the toba batak people.Tuktuk has about 50 guesthouses and hotels but the village retains it’s quiet and relaxing charm.most travellers take the opportunity to “chill out” for a couple of weeks after grueling travels across South East Asis.There are also plenty of activities and adventures to have around Samosir.A walk around Tuktuk takes about one hour.A bicycle is a good method of exploration.Riding the back road to Ambarita via Siallagans traditional village is a very nice trip.In siallagan you can visit Batak houses,the king’s grave and the famous stone chairs of judgement where people were tried for serious crimes.Another trip you should take would be the road along the escarpment to Tomok,which is very worthwhile for its lovely views.Just outside of Tuktuk along the Samosir ring road is the village of garoga where you should stop and visit Gindo’s cafe.an intresting place to relax and drink palm wine ( tuak).
After heavy rains the waterfall near Tuktuk are spectacular,where as in the dry season they almost dissapear.From Ambarita you can trek to the mountain top and across the island to Pangururan via small Lake Sidihoni.This lake is perhaps the world’s only lake on an island on a lake on an island.Basic accommodation is available here.it is recommended to take a guide.Motorbike touring is a great way to explore Samosir.A trip around the island can be done in 7 hours but the road south and across is very rough and in the rainy season often impossible.The north road is quiet good.At Simanindo there is a cultural show at the Huta bolon museum.Batak dance performances are held daily at 10:30 am and on busy days again at 11:45 am.Parbaba is a wonderful sandy beach with great views over the lake and the sacred mountain Pusuk Buhit.In the village of Lumban Suhi suhi women weave local textiles in front of traditional Batak Houses.Near pangururan there are hot springs and the scenic climb up the tortuous road to tele.The view point at Tele is spectacular,but do consider that it is approximately 60km away from Tuktuk.When renting a motorbike there is no insurance so check the bike to make sure that it is working properly,and not damage and scratches first.
Info by Toba explorer