Guide to Lake Toba Medan, Indonesia
Before we talk about 'How to go to Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia', let's go through briefly on what Lake Toba is all about.
The huge and enchanting Lake Toba holds captivating views of its surrounding. It is the main attraction in Medan and the North Sumatra province. Visitors from all over the world come to Medan to catch a glimpse of Lake Toba and its main jewel sitting right in its center, Samosir Island.
The lake has enjoyed a long history since its formation due to a violent prehistoric volcano. Its size is approximately 60 miles long, 18 miles wide and almost 1600 feet deep, making Lake Toba the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Lake Toba is vast and huge, similar to the great Tibet's Lake Mansarovar.
How to go to Lake Toba Medan
Now let's get to the most important question to one of the main attractions in Indonesia, "How to go to Lake Toba?"
Getting to Lake Toba, Medan Indonesia is not that difficult. Here are the few methods and options:
Kualanamu International Airport
If you're arriving directly from Malaysia or Singapore, you will first fly into Medan's Kualanamu International airport.
1. Taxi & Bus - From the airport, take a taxi to Amplas Bus Terminal in Medan city. Over there, take one of the following public buses: Sentosa, ALS and Sejatera to Parapat town. 1-way bus ticket to Parapat costs an affordable IDR 30,000 (~S$3, MYR 9, USD 2) to IDR 50,000 (~S$5, MYR15, USD 3). Public transportation may take you between 6-8 hours, depending on the traffic.
2. Taxi - You could take a taxi all the way from the airport to Parapat but it will cost you quite a bit. The journey will take you anywhere between 4-5 hours.
3. Local travel agency - Go to Medan city, locate a local travel agency and arrange for a transportation / tour accordingly.
4. Rental car with driver - The more convenient and cost-effective arrangement would be to prepare in advance prior to you leaving your home country. The first option would be to You can either book a private vehicle rental with driver from Kuala Namu International Airport or Medan to Lake Toba.
5. Private tour with guide & driver - The ultimate and most comprehensive option would be to book a private tour that covers Lake Toba, Samosir Island, Medan, Parapat, and Berastagi. It can be a 3-Day Medan Lake Toba Tour, 4-Day Medan Lake Toba Tour, or 5-Day Medan Lake Toba Tour.
Silangit International Airport
If you want to spend less hours travelling from Medan to Parapat, you now have the option to fly into Silangit International Airport in Siborong-Borong.
Despite its name, it is largely still a domestic airport. In order to get here from another international airport, you would need to fly into either Medan (Kualanamu International Airport) or Jakarta (Soekarno–Hatta International Airport). Subsequently, you'd need to take Garuda Indonesia, Batik Air, Citilink, Sriwijaya Air, or Wings Air.
Once you arrive in Silangit Airport, you could take a taxi to Parapat. The journey should take you around 1.5 hours and the taxi fare would be IDR 350,000.
When to go to Lake Toba Medan
There are two good times to visit Lake Toba. The first is between September and November when the Lake Toba festival is held. This festival includes dragon boat racing, sporting events, music, art shows featuring local artists and much more. It is a time of fun, partying and making new friends.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, then the other best time to go is between May and September. These months are part of the dry season where you will be able to capture the best images of Samosir island and Lake Toba.
Things to do in Lake Toba Medan
The number one reason people flock to Lake Toba is for its rare, vast, and magnificent views. While you will be in awe of what nature has to offer, you will feel so insignificant in the face of majestic Lake Toba. These are the things to do in Lake Toba to make your visit a complete one:
1. Stay at one of the Parapat hotels that overlooks this imposing lake and its surrounding hills.
2. Another element that draws people to Lake Toba is the Batak people and their culture. Known for their friendliness and cuisine, the Batak people always welcome tourists with open arms. You may want to hurry as the unique Batak food is changing due to dietary restrictions in Indonesia.
3. The main highlight of a trip to Lake Toba has to be a 1-hour ferry ride to Samosir Island that sits in the center of the lake. On this island, you can visit Batak villages (Tomok), Batak traditional homes and even the tombs of past Batak kings (Sidabutar).
4. For thrill seekers, you are able to do water sports at the lake itself. Activities such as swimming, snorkeling and jet-boating are readily available through appointed hotels and resorts at Parapat or Samosir Island.
5. If none of the above activities interest you, you can just choose to do nothing, enjoy the moment together with nature, and relax. Every time we watch the majestic Lake Toba, we are grateful to have this natural beauty that's comparable to Tibet's Namtso Lake and Lhasa's Yamdrok Lake.
Lake Toba Medan Guide
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