Lake Toba, Indonesia, 2013

Hello everyone! How's it going? I hope everyone had a great start of the new year, 2014 and I would like to share with your guys my latest trip to the capital city of North Sumatra, Medan. Locally known as Sumatera Utara, it was an eye opening experience because I personally learnt a lot of things from observation.

Our flight in the late morning went smoothly, probably because it was just an hour flight. It's faster to get to Medan's international airport than Jakarta. Jakarta's airport design seem to have more cultural aesthetic whereas Medan's International Airport; Kuala Namu International Airport has more modern touch and minimalist design with white high domes.
Beautiful Trojan horse display at SIN.
This year's holiday was just us family because it was pretty much a last minute trip. Really grateful that our family friend hooked us up with a friendly and responsible guide.

Upon arrival at Kuala Namu International Aiport, we headed straight for Samosir Island, a large volcanic island in Lake Toba. We decided to head straight because although it is an estimated four hour drive from the airport to destination, we have to consider the time bending around the mountainous area.

Along the way, we had lunch at one of their eating houses locally known as rumah makan. it was amazing because most of the local businesses run on their own backyard. Be it a restaurant, fruit stall, minimart, and even automobile repair garage runs on their very own backyard. Unless you're in the city area, that's a different story.

Upon arrival at Parapat (to get your boat to Samosir Island), we found out we missed a boat and the next boat will only depart in an hour's time. The system works like a public bus ride. While waiting, we managed to go round the local market to bask in the scene. My only worry was not the wet, dirty ground nor missing the boat. I was more afraid bumping on snake or rat meat on the butcher's block because majority of the people in that area are Bataks who historically adopts animism before adhering to majority Christianity or Islam. Gratefully there was none. So relieved!

Our boat from Parapat. Smaller than my ferry to P. Tekong. They could even fit a bike there!
Foggy and rainy weather on the way to Samosir Island.
The boat ride from Parapat to Samosir Island is a one hour journey. Be warned that the journey from Parapat to Samosir Island is one hour but being on board is longer than the journey because the boat makes more than one stop. Well, our stop was not the first so we were on board for good two hours and reached the destination at night.

Samosir Island is a beautiful island with a comparable to the size of Singapore (before reclamation). Most accommodation is by the lake and you won't expect any foreign hotel chains there. Maybe because it's seated on a super volcano? Be extremely prepared for a backpacking style trip.

Indulging on some videos before dinner!
Breakfast at the villa, facing the waterfall.

With its sheer size, there are a lot of things to do but because we were there not for long, we only did the basics - visiting the museums. They really need to do something about their artifacts if not build a proper museum. Hope it does not get too much damage from weathering! No matter, it was informative and we didn't find having a museum guide would be useful because information is readily available online. Unless you would like them to earn some income, you don't always need to engage a guide.

While lifestyle there is filthy cheap - you might want to consider the logistics living in Lake Toba, even boats and jet skis are built from scratch and not imported. Which probably explains the only beautiful architecture you can find there are the colourful traditional houses with upward curving roofs.

Batak traditional house; Rumah Adat.
Geographically, Lake Toba has a depth of 500m which flows down to Asahan River which empties to the Straits of Malacca. Wonder what's down the lake...

While Lake Toba and Samosir Island is majestically beautiful, it is definitely not for those who seeks pampering and luxury. If you do, you have to be prepared for dissappointment. The one and only thing I regret not bringing is my army grade insect repellant. Thank God there's Baygon to the rescue!

View from one of the best vantage points. In the next update!
Wait up for the next update for more!