"Danau Toba : a dive in Batak country" Top 5 Page for this destination Danau Toba by kokoryko

Danau Toba Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 486 photos

The skies and waters of the lake

If you look at Sumatra on Google Earth you will notice a few striking geographical features: the Sumatra fault (one branch of which was responsible for the Dec. 26th 2004 earthquake and tsunami), a few volcanoes and in North Sumatra, Lake Toba, the biggest caldera lake on the planet. A caldera is a caused by the explosion of groundwater heated by ascending magma (like a pressure cooker could explode if it had a slight failure), and this explosion is the biggest known in the last 10.000 years; the eruption of Mt St Helens in 1980 is estimated 8000 times smaller. . . The result of this volcanic activity is now a lake with a big island in the middle, and this place has attracted wonderful people who decided to settle here few thousands years ago. The weather in North Sumatra is not always sunny, and you will see many photographs with mist and clouds. . . . but climate is part of geography and geography belongs to travels. . . .

Beautiful people

Weather is not always bad, people would not like to live here, and Danau Toba (Lake Toba) would not be a famous travel destination. To discover Lake Toba and its surroundings a few days are a minimum, and it can be done based on the mainland, or from a guest house in some village on the island of Samosir. Samosir is a very quiet, still not too much spoiled by mass tourism place, where it is easy to go around with public transportation or with a rented motorbike. Of course, wandering around on a canoe must be great, but I did not enquire for that sort of transportation here. The locals of course use a lot barks and canoes, for transporting people and goods, and even bring the kids to school!
Seeing people living at slow pace is relaxing and brings peace to the soul and their smiles enlighten your days. . . .

Villages and their inhabitants

I stayed a few days in Parapat, a small city on the mainland and took the ferry to go to Samosir. I also “explored” (how pretentious this word is when playing tourist!) some parts of the mainland around Lake Toba, walked in some forest, discovered small villages and unknown shrines for Batak ancestors, enjoyed views above the lake, watched lots of dragonflies, butterflies, birds, but did not meet Harimau; Harimau is the tiger in Indonesian, and there are probably not anymore in the area, killed and pushed away by demographic pressure. I was lucky to have some catches of local customs and meet wonderful people, even it was for some short hours or minutes only! The villages and their typical houses are of course the most striking characteristic of the Lake Toba area, with the small shrines you find about everywhere in the countryside; the villages are living villages, and the new generation is ready to take the place of the ancestors. . . .

Our trips will take us on Samosir Island, in the middle of Lake Toba and we will also wander on the shores and in villages of the mainland, close to the lake

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Discover with your heart
  • Last visit to Danau Toba: Feb 2009
  • Intro Updated Jun 12, 2009
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Reviews (40)

Comments (11)

  • ullfri49's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Very interest your travel information & photos daerah Danau Toba. Mau lihat sendiri...

  • ines2003's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Will be reviewing your excellent tips and thanks for writing about your visits there...Cheers

  • Aidy_p's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Love your entries on Toba, especially the one on school transportation!

  • muguruki's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Lots of fried onions is a must with Spätzle. I guess it made a change from Nasi goreng.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Lake Toba sounds like a nice and very tranquil place! Loved Batak houses, somehow similar to Toraja houses on Sulawesi. Agree, riding a motorbike is a great way to explore around. Love the markets and cemeteries! And oh, how I miss rambutan and salak! :)

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2010 at 1:10 AM

    what I particulary appreciated of this page of yours, is the fact that you posted so many tips about scenes of real life instead of just usual attractions.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2009 at 7:14 AM

    An impressive page on this exotic destination,with excellent tips and photos. I shall return to this page soon to continue the journey.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2009 at 7:49 PM

    I love your close-up views of the locals & their everyday lives! I laughed at the black pigs & also admired this beaut place with its churches & landscape! Who can't recall school bus rides as a kid & I'm sure the locals were happy with you as a tourist!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    Another fascinating new page, Hermann, with insightful and informative texts and fine photos in your tips and travelogues! I see that Obama's tree was planted on the day of his inauguration. Now I will look at Sumatra on Google Earth, as you suggest.

  • Jun 29, 2009 at 9:25 PM

    Hermann, you never seem to disappoint. I just love how you are always able to find a way to mingle with the locals of each nation that you visit. You always produce a great deal of humanity in your pages.


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