If you are in Medan City, you should also find time to go to Lake Toba. This is the largest and popular lake in Indonesia which gives you gorgeous nature landscape. Lake Toba is an extraordinary natural wonder. This lake is actually a super volcanic caldera with a diameter of about 100 km and 505 m depth, and is the largest lake in Southeast Asia, also one of the deepest lakes in the world.
When you sit and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery with clear and cool lakes, you will feel infinite peace of mind. The climate here is cooler so you can escape the heat, humidity and city pollution. Feel the wind in your hair and do as the locals do by renting a motorbike to explore this beautiful part of the world.
If you are on Samosir Island, take a day to explore by circling the island’s shores. While some of the roads are unpaved, they do offer some spectacular views of the lake from the highest point on the island. Don’t miss visiting the popular Tuk Tuk village on Samosir. The best way to get around the village is to take a leisurely walk along the main road.
There are many ways to enjoy the stunning natural wonders of Lake Toba. Many people say that kayaking on Lake Toba is a once in a lifetime experience. For you who don’t know yet, a kayak is a small rowing boat; usually its front and back part are closed, with a hole sized one or two people. This closed design aims to prevent water to not coming into the boat. Generally, there are three routes that you can explore by kayaking: Tongging – Silalahi (12 km – Easy), Tongging – Samosir (50 km – Medium), and the North Rim (175 km – Demanding).
After you arrive at the shores of Lake Toba, you will see a large lake with Samosir Island in the middle of the lake. Your first destination is Binangalom. This waterfall is a popular tourist destination and is suitable for hot weather, because at that time you can really enjoy the cool water of this waterfall. In Binangalom, you can swim, play water, fish, and go around by boat.
The beach on Lake Toba is surrounded by pine trees and beautiful mountain slopes surround the lake. It’s a perfect place to lay back and relax, some people swimming and cycling.
Next, Samosir Island in the middle of the lake is the world’s fifth largest lake-island. It is home to Sumatra’s friendly Toba Batak people, who love music and singing. Here, you are surrounded by water and beautiful lake views; why don’t you go around by boat?
As the main transportation to the Samosir island, boat fares are very cheap per trip. Compared to taking a regular bus, you can even save some money while you’re there. However, if you’re more interested in being a true adventurer traversing bumpy roads, you can choose to rent a bicycle or motorbike as your vehicle. Generally visitors stay on Samosir for a few days to explore the island, visit traditional Batak villages, swim in the lake and go to the hot springs at Pangururan.
Since you’re in the Batak area, don’t miss the traditional Batak dances at the cultural center at Simanindo and the historic residence of Batak kings at Ambarita. The traditional Tortor and Sigalegale dances are performed every day in Simanindo village. They perform live Batak music and wooden puppets that moved by strings. After the dance performance, you can visit the historical Batak museum. While at Ambarita, one can still see megalithic stone tables where people talk about justice based to local ‘customary law’. There is also an old execution table where judgments are executed. This verdict is pretty harsh; the prisoners were usually beheaded.
Currently, there’s no direct way to get to Samosir – you’ll have to take a plane to Medan, travel to Parapat, and then board a ferry there to Tuk Tuk on Samosir Island. To get to Lake Toba, you must first arrive at Silangit International Airport or Kualanamu International Airport, Medan. Arriving in Silangit or Kualanamu, you should head to the Parapat town in Simalungun Regency, which is located by the lake and the usual starting point to Lake Toba, providing the shortest east route to Samosir Island.
Silangit Airport is located in Siborong-borong, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra. From Silangit Airport, transportation services are still limited; however the Damri Bus covers tourist routes around Lake Toba including a shuttle service to Parapat. Another option is to order private transportation or use the GoCar service. Note that when you book a private transfer, notify the company or driver of any changes to your flight schedule. The travel time to Parapat from the airport is about 2 hours.
Kualanamu Airport is located in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra. It serves, Medan, which is more than 160 km from Parapat. To reach Parapat, you have two options: train and bus. Unless you are a large group, taking a taxi or booking a private transfer is quite expensive considering the distance. If you plan to explore Medan before going to Lake Toba, other transportation options from the airport to the city center are Grab and GoJek.
- By Train
From the airport, there is airport rail line. It easily connects the airport to Medan Main Station. Then, take the Siantar Express Train (U58) to Siantar Station. Note that there is only one trip scheduled per day at 14:00. Better to be there an hour earlier. From Pematang Siantar Station, take a bus to Parapat. Travel time is about an hour or two, depending on traffic. If you plan to visit Samosir Island, head to Tiga Raja Harbor and take the ferry. Travel time is 30-45 minutes.
- By Bus
Through the Amplas Bus Terminal: From the airport, take the Damri Bus to Amplas Bus Terminal in Medan. Travel time is about an hour or two, depending on traffic. From the Amplas terminal, take the bus to Parapat. Travel time is about 4 hours.
Via Paradep: At the airport (Sutomo St), take this bus to Pematang Siantar. Then take a bus or shared taxi to Parapat. It takes 4 hours travel time. Take the ferry at Tiga Raja Port if you plan to go to Samosir Island.
Via Nice Trans: At the airport (Sutomo St), you will find this direct service to Parapat. It is about 4 hours travel time. If you are staying in Samosir Island, take the ferry at Tiga Raja Port.