HomeBlogs Lake Toba and Samosir Island Toba Lake is one of the biggest lakes in the world (the largest in
Southeast Asia, surface area is about 1,145 sq. km), and the most
popular in Indonesia. The Lake is just like ocean with more than 1000
meter wide over the seal level. It’s the deepest lake in the world, for
its depth is about 450 meters.
The town of Parapat is the main
tourist resort and lies on the shores of the lake. The Batak Toba and
Batak Simalungun peoples of Parapat are happy, easygoing people, known
for their lively and sentimental love songs.
While Samosir Island
is situated in the middle of Lake Toba. It’s accessible by regular
ferries from Parapat. The original home of the Toba Bataks, this island
has many sites of stone tombs and traditional villages. The village of
Tomok, Tuk-tuk, Siallagan and Ambarita are noteworthy.
So how did
mighty Lake Toba come into being? Researchers from Michigan Technology
University, USA, conducted a study about this. The result was quite
surprising. The theory is that, about 75,500 years ago a meteorite
explosion occurred, eradicated all living beings around. The explosion
spewed out amount to 2,000 km3 of rocks and volcanic dusts. The impact
of the explosion created a huge crater. As time went by, the crater was
filled gradually with water until it became a lake. Regarding the
existence of Samosir Island, the island was created due to the
consistent pressure of magma which had not been spewed out from the
bowels of the earth.
The locals have their own story concerning
the origin of Lake Toba. There are many variants of this legend, and
here is one of them.
It is said that a long time ago, a poor
young man lived alone in this area. This orphan made his living by
farming and fishing. One day he captured a peculiar fish. Perplexed with
the unusual shape, he touched it, and the fish became a beautiful
princess. The fish told him that it was cursed for breaking a rule made
by the gods. The gods decreed that the fish should take shape similar to
a creature that touched her the first time, hence, the fish became
He proposed to her and she agreed in one condition, that
he’d never divulge the secret of her origin. He agreed to this and they
got married. Later on they had a son, and they were happy even though
they still had to work hard.
One day the boy was so hungry that
he ate all of the food in the house, including his parents’ share. His
dad became so angry that he cursed his son, betraying his true
parentage. Suddenly the wife and son vanished. The man regretted what he
had done but there was no turning back. A spring came out from where
the son and wife disappeared, and after some time became Toba Lake.
Parapat is 176 km from Medan and can be reached
in 4 hours by bus via two routes: Medan-Parapat or via Medan-Berastagi.
If you wish, Travel agents in Medan can provide you with a rental car
plus a chaffeur.
Medan is an international gateway, so some
airlines provide flights directly to Medan.
Lake is surrounded with range of hills. The weather is cool and
pleasant, and if you’re used to hot temperature you might need to bring a
jacket here. Visitors can spend their time by swimming or hiring
motor-boat sailing the Lake around. Watching sunset in Lake Toba is a
wonderful time to spend your time with your loved ones.
also has both magical and cosmology values, since it is believed to be
the dwelling place of Namborru (seven ancestor goddesses of Batak
Tribe). When Batak tribe intends to perform tradition ceremony around
the Lake, they must first pray to apply for permit to the Namborru. As
in the Toba Lake Folk Party ceremony held every year, number of rituals
is firstly performed as a respect to their ancestors.
Toba Lake, namely in Samosir Island, you can find of popular tourism
objects, like two smaller lakes (Sidihoni and Aek Natonang Lake),
historical tourism objects in the cemetery complex of Sidabutar King in
Tomok village, and architecture tour of Batak Toba Samosir traditional
house compounds. You can also rent a motorcycle and enjoy a few days of
adventure on the island.
Visitors willing to travel to Samosir
Island can go by ferry that takes to Tomok Village Samosir every hour.
Tomok village has unique stone etchings on the cemeteries. Samosir
Island also sells unique wares and souvenirs, some antique items might
also catch your interest.
Another traditional village you can
visit is Jangga, about 24 km from Parapat.
(The image on the
upper right is of King Sidabutar’s Grave on Samosir Island. Credit:
In Parapat, there
area facilities for swimming, water skiing, motor boating, canoeing,
fishing and golf. The climate is cool and dry, and ideal place to relax.
There is a plethora of hotels, bungalows, villas and guesthouses.
Prapat offers modern merchandising, like T-shirts
and keychains. You can get more unique wares (even antiques) in Samosir.
And if you’re interested in buying some ulos cloths, which are known
for their beautiful motifs and smooth weaving, you can visit the center
in the traditional village of Jangga. You can even witness some ulos in