Samosir Island in the middle off Lake Toba has a lot of interesting sites to offer. Not only the amazing landscape can be admired but the wonderful Batak people and their lifestyle are really worthwile seeing. The adventurous traveller can explore villages on his own. There is nothing to be afraid of, only the buffalos look scary, but are actually very timid and harmless. Communication is an issue since some remote villagers speak only Batak, and hardly any Indonesian language or english.
The peninsula of Tuktuk invites for a walk around it.For the 3km circle you need round 1 hour.
1. The 4km walk to the historical stone chairs village Siallagan leads through local villages and offers some magnificent views over the Lake. Before you get to Huta Siallagan, you will come past an ancient spiritual site sign posted as " Parulubalang ", which had been neglected for years since christianity forbids to worship the little ancient stone statue " Pangulubalang " and " make a wish ".
2. Bukit Beta a little hill outside Tuktuk towards Tomok is a wonderful spot for tranquility and great views over sunrise, sunset and surroundings. You just stroll on the grass in any direction or trek all the way to Ambarita from there along the little grassy magma domes. You can access these hills from many trails going up to the left between Tuktuk and Siallagan, one is signed as Jl. Nangka.
3. The walk to Tomok is more interesting if you follow the walking trek sign on the mainroad or go "offroad" from Marissa Restaurant up the hill and just walk on top of the hill " Bukit Beta ". Hhead towards the left on top of the hill past a roundish building to get back to the main road. Pass the massive concrete gate to the Tuktuk / Tomok / Ambarita junction, turn right for 50 meters past a coffee shop and turn left on a bumpy pass towards the steep mountain, at the foot of the mountain turn left again and follow the lovely path through traditional villages all the way to Tomok. You can also try to find the path up the waterfall in rain season, in dry season the waterfal might be dry though. You can also take the path at the foot of the mountain to the right of Ambarita.
4. The paths from Ambarita or Tomok up to the mountain are doable, but quite overgrown and hard to find. It is recommended to take a local guide that knows the area.
5. If you are adventurous take a local bus from the junction or a motor bike and get off at Simanindo. From that area you can find many paths up the mountain and you can stroll around following buffalo paths. the higher you can get the more fantastic views you will find, eventually you can see the volcanoes of berastagi in the north. Villagers are friendly and welcoming and the local kids will get all excited to see foreigners, even more if you take some give aways like pens or lollies.
The roads on Samosir are windy, have potholes and gravels. you should be an experienced driver and drive xarefully to explore the island this way. Motorbikes are for rent ( without insurance ), and it is a great way to explore the island on your own. Before you want to drive around the island consider that you are looking at 125 km drive ( app. 7 hours ) with a few parts of the road being really bumpy. Our recommended routes are as follows :
1. Turn right at the Tuktuk junction to get to Ambarita, Siallagan & Simanindo's museum with danc eperformance daily at 10.30 & 11.45 ( Sundays only at 11.45 ). The King's houses are worth while, whereas the dance performance is lacking a bit of enthusiasm by the dancers. From Simanindo keep driving north to see many fabulous Batak villages left and right of the road and amazing views over the northern part of the caldera. If you are adventurous and a good driver try any of the many paths in rather bad shape going up to the left between Simanindo and Pangururan to see wonderful landscapes and pure village life. The hot springs are 40km away and very hot. if you don't mind a lot of driving you can head on past the hot springs to the view point of Tele and / or drive around the mountain " Pusuk Buhit " to see the nice valley of Sianjur Mula mula.
2. Turn left at Tuktuk junction to get to Tomok with it's King's tombs and up the mountain 500 meters past Tomok to the right. The road is extremely bad for a few kilometers but gets much better half way up the mountain. The views over the peninsula of Tuktuk from Sigarantung are spectaculare and you can see coffee fields of local Arabica and Robusta. If you keep driving you will find another view point in Tanjungan looking over the south east which is just gorgious.
Biking across the countryside around Samosir is a good way to explore the beauty of the island and to meet the locals. Bukit Beta between Tuktuk and Tomok is good for mountain biking. The path along the foot of the mountain from Ambarita to Tomok past Garoga is bumpy but worth it for the old villages and the views over the ricefields and the lake. The further you go up hill the more you will be stunned by the amazing ladscapes of the caldera. If you don't have the strength to do a major climb by bicycle a 4WD pick up can drop you on top and you cycle back downhill and enjoy the landscape at your own pace.
T O U R S
Experience the amazing beauty of Lake Toba, the simple but beautiful life in a family clan, get to see the wooden houses of the villagers where food is still cooked on wood fires on the floor, pigs, buffalos and chickens being kept under the house and get an impression of the lifestyle of the Batak people of Lake Toba
Classical Island Tour
Visit of the Batak museum, a weaving village, the stone chairs of Siallagan or King's Sidabutar's megalithic grave and a view point up the mountain. Local guide, coffee and snacks included Rp. 800.000
Drive up the mountain with a 4WD for the stunning view over Toba caldera, visit local villages and plantations and get in touch with local people. Picnic lunch and local coffee with a view are included. Rp. 1.000.000/2persons
Culinary Tour Visit the local market,
learn about local spices and get ingredients for local food. Visit a Batak house and cook a couple of local dishes on the open fire in the traditional way. eat together with the locals on the floor of a Batak house. Drive up the mountain for a view over Tuktuk and a cup of local coffee.
Rp. 1.000.000 / 2 persons
Downhill bicycle tour
Be dropped by 4WD on a beautiful viewpoint up the mountain and cycle downhill app. 20 km through fields and villages and back to Tuktuk.
B O A T I N G
Entertainment in The Area
Roy's Pub - live Batak Rock'n Roll 'till late on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Batak dance at Bagus Bay on Wednesday and Saturday. Buffet dinner with live music on Saturday nights at Tabo.