Travel Guide Samosir Island – Go Swim in Lake Toba – Sumatra, Indonesia

Visit Samosir Island if you’re going to Sumatra, Indonesia! I really think you shouldn’t miss Samosir Island… and if you take my advice to heart… be sure to take a dip in crater lake Toba! On one of my longer trips I came from Bukittingi, on my way to Bukit Lawang, along crater lake Toba and I couldn’t resist visiting Samosir Island by boat. Read this Travel Guide Samosir Island to get the best out of your trip too!!

An ideal start of some of the best days spend on the island of Samosir in the huge crater lake Toba!

Did you know that Lake Toba was created by an eruption of a super volcano about 70 to 75,000 years ago? A caldera, a bowl-shaped crater arose on that spot and over time it filled with water, creating the amazing Lake Toba!

The lake is about 100 km long, at its widest point about 31 km and its deepest point is 505 meters! Lake Toba is the largest lake in South East Asia.

The views of Samosir Island - Sumatra, Indonesia

Because I was actually on my way to Bukit Lawang and that this is really too long a trip from Bukittinggi I made a stop here but if I had known in advance that this place had so much to offer I would certainly have stayed longer.

Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

Trekking on Samosir Island

I’m reading about a trekking across the island. Beautiful views from nature over this immense lake! I would have liked to make a one day trekking over Samosir Island. So this one stays on my list and gives me reason to go back to this great place again!

The views of Samosir Island - Sumatra, Indonesia

The views of Samosir Island - Sumatra, Indonesia

Cookingclass at Juwita’s Cafe

What I did plan for the next day was a cooking class. I had read about it and made sure I got a place for the next evening. When I got there I turned out to be the only one and got a private lesson from Heddy from Juwita’s Cafe who liked to put me to work. That’s exactly what I think is great and of course that’s where you learn the most from. That day I made different dishes and I ate a lot of them too! They were just the best!

Samosir Island - Cooking class at Juwita's Cafe

Swimming in Lake Toba

Of course you can’t skip swimming in the huge Lake Toba. I just happened to run into an old friend of mine here. I had met Greg from New Zealand in Vietnam two years earlier, but had never kept in touch with him. How big is the surprise then that you bump into him in your hotel lobby. We went out for dinner that first night and the next morning we took a refreshing dip in Lake Toba.

Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

I can assure you this one was certainly refreshing. Lake Toba is, as I said before, enormously deep with over 500 meters and the water doesn’t heat up very fast! It is a unique experience: swimming in the crater lake Toba!

Renting a Scooter – Travel Guide Samosir Island

Through the hotel I could rent a scooter from an employee. There are other rental possibilities everywhere in the streets but I gladly gave the small amount of rent to this nice guy. I went out with it for a day and Greg got his bike!

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

I can certainly recommend a whole day exploring the area in this way. You can make a nice number of kilometers and stop wherever and whenever you want. Ideal to explore Samosir Island!

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

I can really recommend renting a scooter during your visit to Samosir Island!

Stone Chair of King Siallagan – Ambarita

Or in the Bahasa called Batu Kursi Raja Siallagan. This was the first museum I passed: Stone Chair of King Siallagan. What struck me the most were the beautiful Batak houses that were on display. These were inside a stone wall, for protection. I find the houses really great to see. Here I could also take a moment to see how much space there is to live with a whole family, or even several families.

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia
Yes, the Sumatrans and so here the Batak were a murderous people… and then in the distant past even cannibals…

I read some Old Dutch on some of these houses. E.g. Schand Blok...where someone who was convicted was tied up so everyone could see who she / he was and what she / he had done.

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

This was close to where the stone table and chairs were. The center of the village under the large Hariara tree. If you are here you should definitely hire a guide so that the background of everything is explained to you.

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia

There is also a museum to visit if you decide to drive in the other direction. This one is called Batak Toba in the village of Tomok.

Hot Springs at Pangururan

If you drive the scooter all the way through until you actually drive off this peninsula again you end up at the hot springs of Pangururan. If you look back to the lake from a great height, you will see a beautiful colour of bright blue water disappear into lake Toba. When I was there it turned out to be a kind of swimming pool I didn’t really feel like going in but if you want to bathe in the hot spring water this is your chance!

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia
Het Tobameer kleurt blauw van het bronwater

Buddhas Cafe – Vegan

Are you looking for a delicious lunch on the way or just a delicious ice cream in a great garden? Then you should definitely load this place into your google maps. Great garden to relax and unwind. Greg and I were having lunch here when we had planned to buy just an ice cream 🙂

Buddhas Cafe - Vegan - Samosir Island

The beautiful statues in the garden giving a view over Lake Toba is great, isn’t it?

Buddhas Cafe - Vegan - Samosir Island

Travel Guide Samosir Island
Go Swim in Lake Toba
Sumatra – Indonesia

Where to stay?

I was staying at Samosir Cottages. The first night I had a cottage right by the water, I must say it was quite windy and so the night after I asked for a room, a little cheaper, a little higher. But then no view of the great Lake Toba.

Samosir Cottages didn’t have a swimming pool back then, but I was allowed to use the swimming pool in Samosir Resort. And of course I did 🙂

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia
View of the crater lake Toba from my room

When I look online now I see that Samosir Cottages has been refurbished and also has its own swimming pool. I do recognize the room as mine was. With me the toilet was broken I read in an old report … I’m sure it must have been made already, hahaa!

Travel Guide Samosir Island – Sumatra

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia
Catholic influences you see a lot on Samosir Island

Coming & Going

From Bukittinggi

After a few days in the surroundings of Bukittinggi I went with a small van for about 6 persons from Bukittinggi to Parapat to get on the boat to the island. It is not a short trip and it’ll cost you a day. But yes…if you are travelling around and you want to go places then there is no other option. If you are traveling with a guide you will probably make some nice stops along the way. With the local transport I use that is often not the case.

I left Bukittinggi around 6 in the evening and I was in Parapat the next morning around 11.30 a.m..

Travel Guide Samosir Island - Go Swim in Lake Toba - Sumatra, Indonesia
Streets of Samosir Island

Go take a Dive in Lake Toba

Fom Bukit Lawang

When you have spent a few days in the jungle you drive for hours through the palm oil plantations. I was so taken with it… thinking this was all jungle once where the animals had their habitat. And now there were no more trees but hundreds of miles of palm oil palms. Really sad and every day there’s more coming and so less left for Sumatra’s wildlife…

I was on the bus for about 8 hours, so a whole day again.

I now hear that there is a new route that goes via Mount Sinabung and that is about a 5 to 6 hour drive. Yay, yay, yay! There’s no bus here yet, so you’ll have to take a taxi.

The bus will cost you about 30 euros and the taxi double. So do you have time or do you have money?

The views of Samosir Island - Sumatra, Indonesia

And are you ready?
Are you taking a dip in the crater lake of Toba, too?

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Want to read more about Indonesia?

Visiting the Shaman on the Mentawai Islands

Adventurous Travel: Sleeping in a Cave – Harau Valley

Vulcano Camping Gunung Marapi

Java in a Couple of Days

And how do you do that if you’re gonna walk longer then an hour? Where do you Pee?

Peeing in Nature and Pooping in the Fresh Outdoor

I hope you enjoy this world as much as I do!

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