Located in the middle of Lake Toba, Samosir is the largest “island within an island”. The lake itself is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world. With 630 km2 area, Samosir is also the fifth largest lake island in the world. This place is about 5 hours by car plus an hour ferry ride from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra province.
This island brings not only a breath-taking scene, but also the uniqueness of local people tradition. Along with its exotic history, this island becomes a popular tourist destination. It also contains two smaller lakes, Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang. Uluan Peninsula lies across the lake on the eastern part of the island. The island is linked to the mainland of Sumatra on its western part by a narrow land connecting the Pangururan city on Samosir and Tele city on mainland Sumatra.
Most of the people who live around Lake Toba are ethnically Batak, more specifically Batak Toba. The Batak Toba people, usually referred to as the ’Toba people’ or often simply ‘Batak’, are the most numerous Batak people of North Sumatra and often considered the classical ‘Batak’. The Batak Toba people speak in the Toba Batak language, and are centered around Lake Toba and Samosir Island. Yet, Batak Samosir is different from Batak Toba because they have other variations of Batak like Ambarita, Gurning, Pakpahan, Simbolo, Sinaga, etc.
One of our contributors, Astaka, came to Samosir for the fifth time last year. Another exciting experience, that’s what he feels on each visit. In hist last visit, he completely enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the local hospitality. The Samosir itinerary is very simple. Start the day by walking around, enjoy the fresh morning air in the small town called Tuktuk, where most of the tourist accommodations are concentrated. Afterwards, go towards Ambarita, where the carpet of rice fields will welcome every visitor. Simanindo is the next destination, where a museum, restored from a house of a Batak king, is located. The museum, with a collection of ancient relics and a unique architecture, also showcases a group of human-sized puppets called Sigale-gale, used in traditional dances. Their brawny jaw marks the strong character of Batak that complement their hospitality, ready to greet everyone who visits Samosir.