There are 2 airports to choose from to get to Lake Toba, Kuala Namu (Medan) and Silangit (Siborongborong). The travel by land to Parapat, the small harbor town by Lake Toba takes around 3-4 hours from Kuala Namu and around 2 hours from Silangit. The ride from Silangit to Parapat is very scenic.
There are shared taxis from both airports to Parapat. You might have to cope with waiting times and drops/pick ups of other passengers before you get to your destination. Shuttle busses are now available from Silangit to Parapat,but the shedule is not quite fixed. If you take the shuttle bus to Pangururan you can catch the Damri Bus, which runs 4 trips per day to Tuktuk.
If you are looking for an adventure try the local transport by flagging down a local bus from the junction to the mainroad from either airport.
We can arrange for a chartered private air conditioned car with our trusted and English speaking drivers for IDR 850.000 from Kuala Namu (Highway road fee included) that takes you to Parapat’s harbor of Tiga Raja A chartered car from Silangit to Parapat is IDR 550.000.
Parapat is connected Tuk Tuk on Samosir Island by passenger boats that run from Tiga Raja every hour, between 9.00 am and 18.30 pm. The ferry ride over is fantastic, just truly peaceful, The boat drops guests right at the Jetty of Tabo for 15,000 IDR/person. In case you run late you can catch the passenger boat from Ajibata until 20.30 to Tomok. The last possibility for late arrivals is the car ferry that runs until 21.00 hrs, on very busy days also later than that. Please call us for directions and a free pick up in case you come in late via Tomok. We can also arrange for a chartered boat if you arrive late at IDR 700.000.
Car ferry schedules:
There are two car ferries from Parapat to the island. The brand new “Ihan Batak” runs from the harbor of Parpat called Ajibata to Ambarita at the following schedule:
Ajibata – Ambarita 8.00 11.00 14.00 17.00
Ambarita – Ajibata 09.30 12.30 15.30 18.30
The Ferry KM Tao Toba runs at the following schedule:
Ajibata – Tomok 8.30 11.30 14.30 17.30 21.00
Tomok - Ajibata 7.00 10.00 13.00 16.00 19.30
There are also night busses going from Bukittinggi to Parapat.
Culture & Scenery
Lake Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest and highest in the world with a depth of 505 m. The lake is about 100 km long and 30 km across. Lake-Toba is 175 miles from Medan and can be reached in 4 hours by road. Formed by a stupendous prehistoric volcanic explosion, the lake is enormously impressive. The drama of that cataclysmic birth persist in 500 meter cliffs dropping into the blue-green waters. Surrounded by steep, pine covered sloped, the climate is fresh and pleasant, with just enough rain to support the lush vegetation. The cool and dry mountain climate makes Lake-Toba an ideal place to be compared to the tropical heat and humidity down in the costal plains. They have, though, a rainy season which lasts from october to march. In this period, you will have rainfalls almost every day coming up during the afternoon or early evening, the rest of the day is, hovever, dry and warm. The island of Samosir is right in the middle of Lake-Toba, covering an area of 200 square km. This island is the home of the Toba Bataks. It can be reached in half an hour by boat from Parapat. The villages of Tomok, Tuk-tuk, Ambarita are recommended for traditional Batak houses. It is a tourist paradise, with excellent resorts, beautiful waterfalls, and other tourist attractions. The traditional villages of the Tobanese are also of great interest on this island.
The Batak people live in the hilly region of lake Toba. At the beginning of this century the last Batak were christianized. The Batak form the largest protestant community of Asia. Nevertheless a lot of old traditions were preserved and there are still some Bataks that kept the animist religion called Parmalim. More than 8 million people are Batak; it is one of Indonesia’s largest population groups. Actually Batak is a general name for 5 groups with different cultural and linguistic characteristics, namely : Batak Toba, Batak Karo, Batak Simalungun, Batak Mandailing and Batak Dairi.
They all believe in a descent of a common ancestor, Mulajadi na Bolon. Moreover, all Batak have in common that they live on the growing of rice and have the same wedding system. The Batak are organized in ‘margas’, large family groups. The members of one marga can only marry a person of another marga. Upon her marriage the wife passes over into the husband’s marga.
Batak parties are very colourful and well worth seing
The Batak Toba group has gained some infamy because of their practice of cannibalism in former time, it is said that they ate missionaries. Well informed people confirm, though, that they stopped doing so a few years ago.
Batak music is well known beyond the borders of Indonesia for its happy and romantic tunes. Almost everybody plays the guitar and there are music and dance performances a few times a week.
Bahasa Indonesia is a language used by over 200 million residents of Indonesia and millions more world-wide. Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian Language is both an old and new language. It is based on Malay, which has been the lingua franca throughout much of Southeast Asia for centuries. As a symbol of national pride and unity, Bahasa Indonesia spread rapidly, incorporating many new words so that today, although similar, it is quite distinct from Malay. There are, however, over 300 distinct languages or regional dialects which partly are very distinct from Bahasa Indonesia. Older people may speak some Dutch and the foreign language of choice for business, tourism and study is English.
While it is possible to live in Jakarta without speaking Bahasa Indonesia, it is highly recommended that you obtain a working knowledge of the language. An inability to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia will cut you off from the mainstream of society, and dealing with those who don’t speak a foreign language will be very difficult. You deny yourself as well the rich cultural experience of fully communicating with those from another culture. A basic guide to Bahasa Indonesia
Although formal Bahasa Indonesia is a complex language, the construction of basic Indonesian sentences is relatively simple. With its phonetic spelling and uncomplicated grammar, Bahasa Indonesia is relatively easy to learn. Indonesian is written in the Roman alphabet. There are no articles in Indonesian. To make the plural, you simply double the noun: bahasa-bahasa means languages.
Bahasa Indonesia is also lack of complicated verbal tenses. To denote time, a few key adverbs are used. Sudah (already) denoting the past, belum (not yet) indicating what is about to or never to happen, akan (will)denoting the future.
Another basic rule in Bahasa Indonesia: adjectives always follow the noun. Indonesia indah means beautiful Indonesia, pasir putih means white sand(s).
The possessive is made by putting the personal pronoun after the noun. bahasa saya means my language, negara saya means my country.
Indonesia has several traditions and customs and it is best if you know them beforehand. Some of them are:
1. Even though hand shaking is deemed appropriate between men and women, bear in mind that a number of Muslim women prefer to introduce themselves to men by nodding their head, smiling, and clasping their hands without any physical contact.
2. Traditionally, when you greet someone, both hands are used when shaking, without grasping.
3. It is considered polite to make a phone call first before visiting.
4. Shoes must be taken off before entering a house or place of worship like mosques.
5. Usually drinks are offered to guests.
6. When eating, receiving or giving something, always use your right hand. Right index finger should not be used to point a place, items or people. Use the right hand thumb and fold the remaining fingers to be more polite.
7. Taking photographs of houses of worships is allowed, however permission should be asked first whenever possible, especially if you want to take pictures of the interior.
8. Most Indonesian Muslims do not consume alcoholic drinks and pork.
9. Hence, the tradition of proposing a toast to honor someone is not generally known.
1. Plan your budget and choose your destination carefully. Indonesia is vast—each region has its own quirks and possibilities. For instance, if you plan to have some adventure in rugged terrains, it’s advisable to come on dry season for rains might make your paths muddy.
2. Make sure you find as many information as possible concerning Indonesia, especially about the visa. Have sufficient cash ready, usually US$ or Euros are preferred. It can easily be exchanged in airports, hotels, banks or reputable money changers. Customs might ask you to show how much money you bring.
3. Dress sufficiently. If you are female, make sure you dress accordingly. Skimpy clothings in public area, save from beaches and pools, might warrant unwanted attention.
Visas & Imigration
For the latest Covid related updates and Visa Regulations please visit
a. Visa on Arrival Facility (VOA)
Effective May 28, 2007, visitors holding valid passports from certain countries can obtain a 30 day Visa on arrival at any of the 15 airports and 21 seaports designated as international gateways by the Indonesian Immigration department. Nationals of the following countries are eligible to get a free visa on arrival (VOA): Argentina
Peopleâ€™s Republic of China
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
The official entry requirements for the issuance of a 30 days visa-on arrival:
1. Passport must be from one of the countries listed above.
2. Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 (six) months from the date of entry into Indonesia.
3. Payment of US$10 or US$25 must be paid at the gateway, depending on the length of visa required.
4. Onward or return tickets are compulsory.
5. Visitors must enter and exit through one of the 15 airports or 21 seaports officially approved as an "international gateway" by the Indonesian Immigration department.
6. Please make sure that you have one (1) entire blank page for the placement of your visa. If there is no page available, you run the risk of being turned away from Indonesia.
Visas-on-arrival are non-extendable and non-convertible to another class of visa. Overstays are charged 1.000.000 Rp.per day for over stays up to 60 days. Overstay violations over 60 days are liable to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of Rp. 25 million. It seems that an extendable 30 days visa can be issued on request in most Asian countries for all nationalities within 2 days. You may check with your local Indonesian Embassy as well, where you will probably need to give a viable reason why you need a 60 day visa vs a 30 day visa. The visa on arrival facility will only be available at the following international gateways: Airports: Medan, Pekanbaru, Padang, Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta), Halim Perdana Kusuma (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bali, Manado, Yogyakarta, Solo, Mataram (Lombok), Balikpapan, Makassar, Kupang. Seaports: Batam, Tanjung Uban (Bintan), Belawan (Medan), Sibolga (Sumatra), Dumai, Teluk Bayar (Padang, Sumatra), Padang Bai (Bali), Jayapura (Papua), Padang (Sumatra), Bitung (North Sulawesi), Tanjung Balaikarimun, Tanjung Mas (Semarang), Kupang, Pare Pare (South Sulawesi), Makassar (South Sulawesi).
Individuals not holding a passport from among those nations listed above and eligible either for a visa-free short visit or a purchasable visa-on-arrival (VOA) can apply for a tourist visa at an Indonesian Embassy aboard. Tourist visa are normally granted for a 60 day stay in Indonesia. Visa Issued on Approval All visa applications for Business, Tourist and Social Visits from nationals of the following countries need prior approval from an Immigration Office in Indonesia before traveling. The requirements vary depending on the propose visit to Indonesia.
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Jl. Lkr. Tuktuk Toba, Tuktuk Siadong, Simanindo, Kabupaten Samosir, Sumatera Utara 22395