Situated in the island of Sumatra, Lake Toba is an astonishing bit of Mother Nature that needs to be seen to be believed. The lake is obviously a shocking size in 100km long and 30km wide and can be surrounded by the many awe-inspiring landscapes. The lake is the result of a supervolcanic eruption, 100 times larger than every other eruption lately. The eruption generated a ‘volcanic winter’ lasting anywhere from 6-10 decades, causing a dramatic drop in the earth’s population.
The Samosir Island, situated at the center of the Lake Toba, was formed as a result of the eruption, and thanks to its attractive beauty and lively culture, has become a favorite tourist destination among Indonesian. The element of tranquillity consequently makes you feel laid back. With just two short days on the island, there was unfortunately not much time for us to kick back and unwind. We did detect some pretty cool things, though. So, here are the top 10 activities to do on Samosir Island in Lake Toba.
- VISIT THE BATAK VILLAGE
You can find out more of Lake Toba’s indigenous people by visiting the tribal villages of Tomok or Ambarita. The Batak culture has a compelling history between stories of public beheadings and cannibalism. And the traditional Batak houses are really extraordinary.
Cost — Entry fee is IDR20,000
- THE KINGS STONE CHAIR
Located inside the traditional village of Ambarita, The Kings Stone Chair is a reminder of the Batak’s legal history. During the reign of King Siallagan, the wrongdoers were publicly trialed. And when the offense was considered severe enough, beheaded. When the implementation had taken place, the body will be mutilated, and the parts were awarded to local people to eat. Pretty gloomy hello!
Price — Entrance fee is IDR20,000
- SEE A LAKE in a LAKE
It’s not exactly common to locate a ‘lake within a lake’ so it’s surprising to find a lake situated on Samosir Island. They are both equally beautiful, though it has nothing on Toba itself. However, the latter seems to be more convenient if you wish to swim. Both are located up in the mountains, around 1 hrs drive from Tuk Tuk and offer breathtaking views on the journey there.
Price — Free but to get there, we rented our scooter from Hot Chili restaurant for IDR100,000 per day.
- Dancing the Batak Dance
At 10.30 am every morning, tourists can try Batak Dancing outside of the BATAK MUSEUM at Ambarita. BAGUS BAY HOMESTAY also holds show every Wednesday & Saturday night from 8.30pm.
Cost — Entrance fee is IDR20,000
- TAKE A SWIM IN LAKE TOBA
You can not go to Lake Toba without needing a dip in the lake, but make sure you do your research first as to where it is safe. TABO GERMAN BAKERY at Tuk Tuk has a secure area, and the surrounding views are incredible.
Price — Coffee and cake for two approx IDR70,000
- CHASE WATERFALLS
There are a few waterfalls located on the mainland surrounding Samosir Island. The most striking being SIPISO-PISO. Boasting to be among the tallest waterfalls in Indonesia, and probably among the fiercest in SE Asia, Sipiso-Piso is a sight never to be overlooked.
- EAT AT HOT CHILLI
Located around a 10-15 minute walk from the home area of Tuk Tuk, this restaurant provides excellent local and western food. Here, we ended up eating 4 times throughout our 2-night remain in Tuk Tuk. But that goes to show exactly how good it was! The only disadvantage is that food can take a remarkably long time.
Cost — Meal for 2 approx IDR70,000
- SHOP AT THE AMBARITA MARKET
There are several stalls near the’KINGS STONE CHAIR’ selling a range of broken yet beautiful local items (standard), and also some unique, fantastic quality clothing.
- RENT A SCOOTER
The breathtaking landscapes of Lake Toba and Samosir Island can be enjoyed by renting a scooter and driving the coastal road. Witnessing the consequence of the biggest Super Volcano ever is not something you find every day is it!
- WATCH THE SUNSET
Unfortunately, the weather did not allow any good sunsets for us while we’re there, but it’s said they are sometimes beautiful. Both lakes on Samosir Island are intended to be great spots to see the sunset.