Lake Toba is the largest lake in South East Asia and the deepest lake in the world. It is formed 75.000 years ago caused by the eruption of a super volcano. The lake has an island in the middle called Samosir. Lake Toba is in the center of the homeland to the Batak people. The Batak houses have lots of symbolism built into their design. For instance the small entrance into a Batak house is designed so you have to bow down to enter the house paying respect to the people inside of the house. One of the villages on Samosir island is Tuk Tuk. It is the most touristic village on the island and it is nice to spent a couple of days here and relax at the lake. Very notable is that they offer magic mushrooms almost everywhere.
Traveling from Medan it is easy to get to Lake Toba. You have several options like taking the local bus from Amplas busstation. This however would not have been that much cheaper than taking a shared cab for us, so we decided to take a shared taxi. The costs are 100.000 Rupiah per person and the ride was quite comfortable. We arrived 10 minutes before the ferry left from the city of Parapat to Tuk Tuk (15.000 Rupiah p.p.) so the planning was perfect. There are different places to get off the boat so prepare ahead where you want to get of.
There are plenty of restaurants in Tuk Tuk, but most of them were completely empty while we were there. The Indonesian food at our guesthouse was good and cheap so we enjoyed a lot of meals there.
As a traveling Dutchie it can be nice to find typical Dutch food such as a ‘broodje kroket’ or ‘bitterballen’. We found these at Toba Village Inn, behind the information center. However, they didn't taste like home but that's probably because we've talking about it to much and made them better in our heads.
Another good option to enjoy your diner is Jenny’s. Nice people and good food. It is famous for it’s fish, which is good, and the prices are fair.
Tuk Tuk has a lot of hotels, guesthouses and homestays in different priceranges. We wanted a bungalow near the waterfront and we found a bargain for 50.000 Rupiah! But it did take us a while. During our search we asked at some places and either they were just way to expensive, or overpriced for what you get.
We stayed at D’Ops. Really simple bungalows but sufficient for a couple of days. The bungalows have plenty of space, a (cold) shower, good beds and is clean (besides the waterspots on the walls). It is near the waterfront and the jetty is nearby so you don’t have to walk far with you backpack. The girl working there is really friendly and likes to bake and let you taste.
Lake Toba is quite special with it’s blue water and green mountains covered with grass which makes them look really soft. While driving around on your (motor)bike you see the typical beautiful houses. Typical for Indonesia is that you are allowed to bury your relatives on your own ground so you see graves in the middle of the rice paddies and next to houses. And the graves here are nothing like the graves we have in Holland. Sometimes they are even bigger and more beautiful than some of the houses we’ve seen along the way.
We went for a small trip around the island starting in Tomok, visiting the grave of former Batak king Sidabutar. From here we went on to the stone chairs of Amberita. This is where the tribal elders held council whenever a enemy was captured and to determine the fate of the victim, which was most of the time a negative one. When sentenced to death, he was beheaded, the dining table was set and he was served. The tribal completed the meal with a nice beverage of the victim’s blood..
From Pasar Panguran we drove inland to Lake Sidihoni. This is a lake which is on an island which is in a lake which is on an island. But most of all it is just a lake. We drove on to the other side of the island, but we advise people not to do that because the road is awfull. We ended our trip in The hills of Tomok were there is a nice view over Tuk Tuk and Parabat.