Lake Toba is one of the breathtaking natural wonders of the world which located 175km away from Medan, North Sumatra. It is the largest lake in Indonesia and the second largest volcanic lake in the world after Victoria Lake in Africa. At over 1,145 square kilometers, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. It is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world.
The lake covers approximately 1.700km2 and it is a place to come and sit back, relax and absorb some beautiful pristine scenery.
It is estimated that Toba Lake was formed during a volcanic eruption about 73.000-75.000 years ago and which was the most recent super volcano eruption. Bill Rose and Craig Chesner from Michigan Technological University estimated that volcanic materials that were spewed out the mountain totaling 2800km3, with 800km3 ignimbrites rock and 2000km3 volcanic ash that is estimated was blown (wind) to the west for 2 weeks. The eruption was large enough to spread until China and South Africa with ash deposits as thick as 10km above sea level. This incident caused mass death (destruction) and to several species also causes extinction. According to some DNA proof, this eruption also shrinks the humankind population to around 60% or equal to 60 million humankind back then. After this eruption, a caldera was formed that was filled by water afterwards and now known as Toba Lake. The pressure from the dormant magma, which has not yet erupted, caused Samosir Island to emerge.
Samosir Island originally was a peninsula that attached to the Sumatran mainland and it is in the middle of Lake Toba is the size of Singapore. The Samosir plateau mainly is clear rock, with some scattered forests, swamps and a small lake. The primary tourist area on Pulau Samosir is a knob jutting from the island known as Tuk-tuk. One road runs around Tuk-tuk in a complete circle; Tuk-tuk can be circumnavigated in around an hour on foot. One main road circles Pulau Samosir, while many poorly maintained roads crisscross through the island interior.
As you sit and take in the view of the picturesque mountains set against the cool clear lake, you will feel the worries of the world melt away. As the lake sits 900 meters above sea level there is a cooler climate here making a refreshing break from the heat, humidity and pollution of the city.
If you’re feeling energetic, throw yourself into some of the activities on Ancient Batak Village in Parapat. There are areas facilities for swimming, water skiing, motor boating, canoeing, fishing and golf.
There are also Tomb of King Sidabutar just three miles southeast of Tuk-tuk in the village of Tomok. There are stone and ancient tombs. The site is small but interesting, however, you must negotiate a labyrinth of tacky souvenir stalls to visit the site. Find the ruins by taking a right from the main road in Tomok through the narrow alley lined with souvenir stalls. Another Interesting spot is Batak Museum which is Located in Simanindo approximately nine miles from Tuk-tuk. This is an ancient king’s traditional house which was restored and converted into the Batak Museum. The museum is small, but a must if you are interested in understanding more about the extremely interesting Batak culture. The admission is $3.
You can also enjoy the hot springs water. The hot springs are located on the side of the island opposite Tuk-tuk, outside of Panguruan — the largest settlement on Pulau Samosir. While the hot springs are interesting to see, the sulfuric smell is noxious and the water is too hot to enjoy.
On Samosir, take a trip inland and explore the two smaller lakes (Sidihoni and Aek Natonang Lake).
There are a range of hotels, bungalows, villas and guesthouses available in Parapat. On Samosir, the majority of hotels are found in Tuk Tuk. Here you can find something to suit any budget. Tuk Tuk is a great base from which to explore the rest of the island, and the facilities here are comfortable and convenient. The accommodation price will be in range of 30.000 rupiah – 500.000 rupiah depend of the hotel type.
How to get to Lake Toba
Parapat is 176 km from Medan and can be reached in under 6 hours by public bus. The bus has two routes: Medan-Parapat or via Medan-Berastagi and costs approximately 30,000 rupiah. The bus route will pass Lubuk Pakam, Tebing Tinggi and direct to Pematang Siantar. Along the way you will find panoramic scene of palm & rubber tree.
You can buy a spot in a private air conditioned taxi from Medan to Parapat for 65,000 rupiahs one way. The trip takes around 4 hours. Travel agents in Medan can also organize a rental car plus a chauffeur for you. If you are coming overland from the south via Bukittinggi and Tarutung there is a public bus available.
Another great way to get to Lake Toba is by train. Two trains leave each day in that direction and you want to get off either at Pematang Siantar or Tebing Tinggi.then you can take bus straight to Perapat for approximately 1 hours trip.
Medan is an international gateway. A number of airlines fly daily between Medan and all major cities in Indonesia and international flights also go from Medan to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Once you arrive in Parapat, you can catch the ferry to Samosir Island. The ferry goes every hour and a half from 9 – 5pm. The two landing points on Samosir are the traditional village of Tomok, or Tuk Tuk, where the islands hotels and restaurants are concentrated.
Tour guide services in Lake Toba that we recommend to you:
Phone/WhatsApp : +6281376600485
email : email@example.com
Blog : Lian Saragih