From its mysteriously alluring volcanic waters to its hospitable people and delectably fresh cuisine, Lake Toba is one of Indonesia’s best kept secret.
Medan. the capital of North Sumatra. The largest city in Sumatra, Medan is a thriving hub, acting as the economic and commercial centre for the region. A busy and sprawling metropolis, patience is necessary as travellers navigate through noisy minibuses and becak, taxis and motorbikes – all on their way to the cool highlands of Lake Toba or the wild Sumatran jungle greens. Toba today. Magma movement below later pushed the caldera floor upwards – rising to form Samosir Island right in the middle of the lake, of which the friendly local Batak people now call home. Silently soaking in its beauty as the waters splashed gently around, it felt wonderful to simply stand there, taking in the fresh, crisp mountain air, the lake’s placid deep blue waters extending far into the horizon. Tongging Village – located right at the northern tip of Lake Toba – was indeed a perfect vantage point. Another way is to board the ferry towards Samosir Island, a scenic journey in enjoying Lake Toba’s beautiful waters. Once there, head to Dokan village, still home to the Batak’s traditional Long Houses, comfortably accommodating up to seven families. Do also time your visit to include Simanindo Village, where once daily at 10.30am from Mondays to Saturdays, Batak dance sessions are performed, an intriguing prayer-ceremony asking the Gods for wealth, health and to bless the people with children.
Eating Like the Locals Do
Other than amazingly fresh seafood -such as the fish feasts easily available at any restaurant along Lake Toba -there’s also local Batak cuisine (similar to Padang fare), and various snacks. Our driver stops by a street vendor and introduces a local snack called ‘lemang’, sticky rice stuffed in bamboo and grilled. Best matched with young coconut milk, this is just one example of local experiences included in Flexi Indonesia’s travel packages.
Medan is blessed with luscious rainforests, rolling plantations and the gorgeous Lake Toba, though usually requiring long drives along bumpy roads. In making all traveller’s journeys as comfortable as possible, Flexi Indonesia ensures restaurants and accommodations are chosen for proximity, quality and service, whether in remote Samosir Island and Berastagi town (two-hours from Medan City), or Medan City itself.
Wild Animals at Her Home
Bukit Lawang Gunung Leaser National Park is home to the Sumatran Orang Utans, and the only Species of Monkey have in Sumatra called Thomas Monkeys’ (Thomas is the name of the Biologist who found this species). Experienced trekking guides will lead travellers to the animals’ habitat, a journey of about 45 minutes up the Mount Leuser National Park. Durian lovers can also satiate their taste buds, where the thorny fruit is plucked fresh from the trees at Bukit Lawang, making for a refreshing treat before making the journey back to the hotel.
Breath of Fresh Air
The journey takes about four to six hours each way, but well-worth the journey. Known as Danau (lake) Toba, the glorious lakes cape covers a massive 1707sqm, descending to 505 metres at its deepest. Looking at its tranquil waters, one would never have guessed that Lake Toba is in fact the result of a super-volcanic eruption 75,000 years ago; also the largest recorded explosion in 25 million years. When the land eventually collapsed to form a caldera (cauldronlike structure), water started filling in and over time became the beautiful lakefront that is Lake Medan’s pearl.