Thursday, 28 April 2011

Finally, after 33 years.............. LAKE TOBA

My visit to Lake Toba felt rather surreal. I had the opportunity to go there 33 years ago. I decided against it as we had been travelling and I needed to budget for the rest of my trip. With that being my first overseas trip, I didn't want to run out of money!!!! I promised myself that I would get there one day.
Finally it was going to happen.
The drive to Parapat was a bit of a blurr as I had not been feeling all that great from the flights the previous day.
Our driver, Bob made it just in time for the next vehicle ferry, so there was no hanging around in Parapat. From what I have read that was no great loss but having said that, it doesn't look too bad a place if you do have to stay there for some reason.
As the ferry draws away from Parapat

Bob makes sure our belongings are safe

I scream, you scream, we all scream for
ice cream!

No need to worry about going hungry

Rod surveys the scene

One way to get some peace and quiet

Looking across the lake

The ferry

Across the lake again

A lovely trip across the Lake to Samosir Island. Fresh air was the pick up I needed. It took about 1/2 hour to get across.
We spent 3 nights at Carolina. Great position, right on the lake. There is a swimming area and plenty of room to chill out and relax, or even fish while looking across the stunning vista of the lake. Couldn't believe how crystal clear the water is here.
Looking across Lake Toba from Carolina Resort

Part of the restaurant at Carolina

Covered area right next to the lake

Some of the rooms at Carolina

Fishing in the crystal clear water

Looking across the lake

More covered seating

Our balcony

Our room

Our room

Asian style bathroom

I felt like going to Samosir Is was like stepping back in tourist time!!! Quiet. Tourists but not crowded by any means. Plenty of options for meals etc. Signs advertising magic mushrooms!!!! Haven't seen that for many years - still wasn't enticed into trying them though, lol. Can easily walk in a huge cirlcle around Tuk Tuk and no hassling along the way.
Ate at Carolina. Nice but not great food at reasonable prices with a magical setting looking out at the water. Also ate at Juwita, great food but slow service, so don't go if you're in a hurry! Luckily we weren't - but then who would be here? Ate at Bob's choice for dinner on his birthday - Tempo Doaloa. Yummy, cheap food. Popular as it's halal.
Ate lunch at Rhumba one day. Good food here too. Met some people later who were there at the same time as us and they said their pizzas and garlic bread were delicious.
Did the usual touristy things, Ambarita to see the original village with the stone chairs and remnants of animist beliefs. The Batak village at Simanindo, where they have dance performances. Touristy, yes of course, but that's what we are and it's a great way of getting a glimpse of another culture.
Learning about the history of Ambarita

Bob explains why they were known as cannibals


Stone chair

Stone chair with motorbikes in the background

More ancient stonework at Ambarita

Bob show us an ancient calendar

Heading in to watch the Batak dance performance at

Batak carving

The musicians

The priest

Getting into their performance

Batak dancer

Batak dancer

All the while keeping that bowl on her head

Almost trance-like

Lovin' his music

The old priest

Love the headwear but I think she's bored!

Loved just looking out the window as we drove around the island. Looking at the countryside and agriculture, the little villages still many of them with their batak style homes.

Rice paddy

Rice paddy with grave behind

Rice paddies with lake and hills behind

Wallowing water buffalo

Young worker

Beauty in the rice paddy


One of numerous ferries on Lake Toba

Also went up to Tele hill. The views on the drive up are spectacular and then from the tower once you get there. Worth the drive.
View across the valley to the lake

Across the valley to the lake

Waterfall meandering down the valley

Looking from the Tele Hill tower

View from Tele Hill

The waterfall

And here it is again

And here

A bit closer

Agriculture in the valley

Looking across to magnificent Lake Toba

Stopped at the hot springs for lunch. Forgot our swimmers, so can't comment on the hot springs. A nice little lunch stop.

Looking across to the Hot Springs

I couldn't tell you exactly where but I had an amazing hairwash!!! If you come out of Carolina, turn right and keep walking past Rhumba restaurant, it's on the right, I think it was amongst a few shops on a bit of a rise. Rp35000 for about an hour of washing and massage - bliss!!!! Even cold fresh aloe vera rubbed into my scalp, neck and shoulders. Who wants to wash it yourself when you can get that treatment?! It was raining when it finished and I didn't want to spoil my hair, so we decided to wait until it stopped and the lovely young lady brought out snake fruit and bananas for us while we waited. Fantastic 'old fashioned' service.

Why wash your hair yourself?

Clean hair, amazing massage = bliss!!!

A bit sad to see a few 'white elephants' around Tuk Tuk. Apparently tourism has taken a bit of a dive in recent years and there are a few places no longer in operation. I don't understand it. It's definitely worth a visit. Beautiful, quiet, relaxing with a chance to see a unique culture.

Kids, always good for photos

Grandma at work

Batak house,  Tuk Tuk

Old house, new technology

Mossy steps

Batak homes are still aplenty

Hard at work by the lake

Wash, wash, wash...


Less crowded on top

If you're wondering if it's worth it - yes, go check it out. Don't wait 33 years like I did!!!!

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