Lake Toba is one of the awesome natural wonders of the world. This is a crater lake so enormous it has an island almost the size of Singapore in its centre. At over 1,145 square kilometers, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. This is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world.
Lake Toba is the site of a massive supervolcanic eruption estimated at VEI 8 that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago, representing a climate-changing event. It is the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it had global consequences for human populations: it killed most humans living at that time and is believed to have created a population bottleneck in central east Africa and India, which affects the genetic make up of the human world-wide population to the present.
It has been accepted that the eruption of Toba led to a volcanic winter with a worldwide decrease in temperature between 3 to 5 °C (5.4 to 9.0 °F), and up to 15 °C (27 °F) in higher latitudes. Additional studies in Lake Malawi in East Africa show significant amounts of ash being deposited from the Toba eruptions, even at that great distance, but little indication of a significant climatic effect in East Africa
Toba is a place to come and sit back, relax and absorb some beautiful pristine scenery. 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.
It’s hard to imagine a more scenic place to come and enjoy hiking, swimming and sailing although once you arrive it might be difficult to resist the anesthetizing effects of the lake. The cool clear water coupled with the relaxed atmosphere and friendly people is what draws visitors from all over the world to Toba.
Venture onto the island of Samosir in the middle of the lake and you will discover mountains steeped in cool mist, clear waterfalls to swim under and locals taking their water buffalo out in the fields.
This is a place to come and enjoy the legendary Batak hospitality. Say cheers and enjoy some traditional palm wine with the locals. Sit and have coffee and chat with islanders keen to practice their English. Where-ever you go, it won't take long to make a new friend
On the main land, there is accommodation available in the town of Parapat. Parapat occupies a small, rocky peninsula jutting out into the lake. On the way down to Parapat from the hill town of Berastagi you will get some spectacular views as the lake first comes into sight and the road winds its way down the mountain closer to the shoreline. In Parapat live the Batak Toba and Batak Simalungun people who are known as a happy and easygoing people, famous for their lively and sentimental songs. Although the majority have embraced Christianity, ancient beliefs and traditions still persist.
Many visitors prefer to take the more scenic option and stay on the massive island of Samosir in the middle of the lake. The original home of the Batak Toba people, the island has many traces of ancient days including stone tombs and traditional villages, such as at Ambarita which has a courtyard with stone furniture where in the old days convicts were tried and beheaded. Or visit Simanindo where traditional Batak ritual dances and music are performed. Here is where you'll be able to discover unique and ancient Toba culture. At Tomok you can find mementos and Batak handicrafts. Buy the distinctive red and black hand-woven shawls called ulos- that are still used today at important life-cycle occasions-, a Batak calendar on rattan, woodcarvings and more. Samosir is accessible by regular ferries from Parapat. Boats also ply around the island regularly.
And if you wish to better understand Batak culture, visit the Batak Museum at Balige, further south on the mainland shore side.
There are many hotels and smaller accommodations around the lake, especially at Parapat, and at Tuktuk on the island of Samosir.
Despite being a tourist spot for many years, Lake Toba still remains a natural and undisturbed natural beauty. Venture away from the small villages and you will find yourself in the country surrounded by farmland, churches and strange tombs peppering the landscape.
04 Days 03 Nights Lake Toba Tours
Start/Finish: Kuala Namu Medan Airport.
Day 01: Medan - Brastagi
Arrival at Kuala Namu airport drive to Brastagi via Sibolangit and Sembahe, arrival at Brastagi visit Batak Karo traditional village at Peceren and fruit market, then check in to hotel. (D)
Day 02: Brastagi – Samosir Island
After breakfast drive to Parapat on the way stop st Sipiso-piso waterfall, Rumah Bolon (Long House) the old Palace of Batak Simalungun Kings and Simarjarunjung for the view of Lake Toba, Upon arrival at Parapat crossing to Samosir Island by ferry boat and arrival at Samosir check in to hotel. (B, L, D).
Day 03: Samosir Island – Excursion
After breakfast excursion by car or boat on Lake Toba and visiting several Batak Toba traditional village :
- Tomok : To see the old tomb of Sidabutar Kings.
- Ambarita : To see stone chairs and table, the execution place of Sialagan Kings.
- Simanindo : To see Batak Toba traditional dance (Tor-Tor) and Museum. Afternoon return back to hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 04: Samosir Island – Medan Airport
After breakfast crossing back to Parapat and then drive Medan, on the way stop at several plantation for rubber, cocoa and palm oil, upon arrival at Medan directly transfer to Airport. (B)
Rate : USD 450/person/twin share, Minimum 2 person
- Airport pick up and transfer
- AC Vehicle
- English speaking guide
- Local guide
- Accommodation twin share
- 3 meals a day
- Entrance tickets
- Boat trip
- Refreshment ( Mineral water, coffee and teas )
- Return air tickets
- Alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks
- Any personal expenses