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Lake Toba, The Largest Volcanic Lake in Indonesia

Lake Toba, a volcanic lake which is the largest lake in Indonesia, and even Southeast Asia. Believed to be by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago. Exotic charm mixed with the vast expanse of the lake like a sea with shady trees and hills, encompassing its charming. The lake, measuring 1700 square meters (1,000 sq km bigger than Singapore) with a depth of approximately 450 meters lies 906 meters above sea level, plus in the middle of the lake stands Samosir Island. According to the local Citizen, until today no one is able to measure the depth of this lake. Many tourists that tried to dive into the lake but never return. The lake depth in the book is only estimation not as a fact. The Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek even called Toba Lake, ‘the most beautiful place on earth’.

Toba Lake
Toba Lake (Source :

In the not so distant past this area used to be be large tourist location however in recent times it has fallen from favor which means that when we visit Lake Toba today we find great services and facilities without the mass of tourists. Making this destination a great place to relax and enjoy.

After the eruption all those many years ago, the caldera formed which was then filled with water and which is now known as Lake Toba. Pressure of the magma then emerged to form Samosir Island. While enjoying the beauty of this lake, you might not imagine that the charm of the place comes from the catastrophic volcanic eruptions that brought fear and horror at the time.

Samosir Island
Samosir Island (Source :

There are seven districts around the lake, namely Simalungun, Toba Samosir, North Tapanuli, Humbang Hasundutan, Dairi, Karo, and Mandailing which have a wonderful natural panorama and tourist destination locations. Generally, tourists enjoy the beauty of Lake at Toba Parapat in Simalungun and at Tuktuk Siadong on Samosir Island.

Getting there :

Get to Sumatra. The best way to do this is via Medan, Sumatra´s largest city. You can fly to Medan from Jakarta, or by international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Car – Parapat is about 4 or 5 hours from Medan.

Bus – Starting from the airport. Walk through the car park and go out the main car exit of the airport, cross the road and turn left after the petrol station, and then turn right. There, you will get a yellow public bus, number 64, to Amplas Terminal for 7,000 rupiah. From Amplas terminal, you can get a public bus to Parapat for 35,000 IDR. Total Journey – from Medan airport to Parapat for a total of 45,000 IDR (October, 2015). All in all a 4 or 5 hours trip from Medan to Parapat. The journey will take you through the Lubuk Pakam, High Cliffs, and on towards Siantar.

Train – Medan central station to Siantar. The trains leave every hour or so. Then by bus to Parapat.

Must do and Must see!

  • The Batak Cemeteries – sounds scary but actually a nice trip – Samosir
  • Batak Museum with traditional dance (performances twice per day) – Samosir, Simanindo
  • Law and Order / Stone chairs used for judgement and executions – Samosir, Ambarita
  • Hot springs – Samosir, near Pangururan
  • Waterfall & a quick swim – Tuk tuk
  • Traditional Batak Dance & Folk Songs – Bagus Bay Restaurant (every Wednesday and Saturday from 8.00)
  • Hike over Samosir ridge – Behind Tuk Tuk start walking, fantastic views and well worth the effort
  • Mushroom tea? – Magic mushrooms are legal because of local traditions. The Bataks brew a tasty tea from them
  • Baked goods at Tabo Cottages – This famous guesthouse is the height of luxury in the area, and also hosts a bakery. Coffee, tea and some baked goods is a must

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