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Lake Toba

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Sumatra North Sumatra Lake Toba

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Introduction

lake toba

lake toba

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Lake Toba on Sumatra is the largest lake in South East Asia, created by the eruption of a supervolcano about 75,000 years ago. In the middle of the lake, volcanic activity created Samosir, an island as big as Singapore. Attached to that island is a small peninsula, with the village of Tuktuk on it. This area used to be a very popular tourist destination but now its relatively empty which means no crowds and cheap prices. Its laid back nature makes it a great place to chill out for a few days after jungle trekking.

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Sights and Activities

Lake Toba is not really packed full of tourist activities, fortunately. The beautiful scenery and relaxed nature of the Batak people makes it a nice place to just relax for a few days. Points of interest can be found below:

  • Stone Chairs - Located in Ambarita, the Stone Chairs are a popular tourist site for those wanting to learn a little more about the Batak culture and legend. The Stone Chairs are said to be the place where village matters were discussed and wrongdoers tried. There is also a seperate courtyard where the accused were tortured and beheaded and some examples of Batak houses and graves.
  • King Sidabutar Grave - The grave of this Batak king is buried in Tomok, 5 kilometres from Tuk Tuk.
  • Museum Huta Bolon Simanindo - Located in the village of Simanindo, 15 kilometres from Tuk Tuk. A traditional house has been restored and turned into a museum housing a small collection of batak weapons, sculptures and carvings.

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Events and Festivals

  • The Danu Toba Festival is held every year in June, lasting for a week. During this time there are Batak cultural perfomances and Canoe races.

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Getting There

By Car

Many travellers make there way here from either Medan or Bukit Lawang. These routes can be taken by public bus but many travellers chose to hire a private driver. This is often a quicker and more comfortable option than the buses but obviously more expensive. The proce needs to be negotiated with your driver. The car will take you as far as Parapat and then you'll need to catch a ferry from there.

By Bus

Buses are available but be prepared for a long and uncomfortable journey. The roads can be very bad so even if a distance seems short it will be a long journey. Again, the buses will take you as far as Parapat. Ask at your hotel for times and location of the nearest bus stations.

By Boat

Ferries leave from Parapat around every 2 hours, starting at 9:30am. The last ferry departs at 6:00pm. Times may be different during low season. The cost is 7,000Rp one way which is paid on the boat. The journey takes around 45 minutes. The ferries always stop at Bagus Bay, but other stops can be made on request. When leaving the island for Parapat then all you need to do is stand on your hotel jetty and wave a ferry down. On the way back the first ferry departs at 7:00am. Times may vary however so do check with your hotel.

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Getting Around

Samosir is a very small island and motorbikes are easily the easiest and most widely used form of transport. Public buses are limited and do not serve Tuk Tuk.

By Bike

Many travellers chose to hire a motorbike to expore the island. These are relatively inexpensive and can be hired for around 70,000Rps a day. Bicycle's can also be hired however the island can be a little hilly so not always a easy ride.

By Foot

The villages are easy to explore by foot however if you would like to go futher afield then either a motorbike or pedal bike is an easier option.

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Eat

There are many small restaurants located throughout the island, most of which can be found in Tuk Tuk.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is available in many guest houses. Rates vary but expect to pay around 10,000Rp an hour. The island is very prone to black outs though so if you are writing anything important then make sure you save it as you go along so it i not lost!

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Post

The only post office is located in Ambarita, however some shops in Tuk Tuk sell stamps and have postboxes.Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays.

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This is version 11. Last edited at 11:35 on Oct 11, 12 by Sam I Am. 3 articles link to this page.

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