Samosir Bay

A calm volcano lake on Sumatra

World famous is the crater lake Danau Toba in the Batak highlands, approximately five hours drive from Medan. There are two ways to go to Lake Toba from Medan. One way via Brastagi in the Karo highlands and the other way along the plantation route and Pematang Siantar.

Danau Toba is the largest lake in South East Asia and also one of the most spectacular, surrounded by tall mountains and with the large island of Samosir in the middle. If we descend from the mountain we see the lake glittering in all its beauty. The Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek even called Lake Toba, ‘the most beautiful place on earth’.

Places on Samosir island

Traditional Batak House

Tuk Tuk

Most visitors stay on the peninsula of Tuk Tuk on Samosir, named after the linguist Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk. In general people stay several days on Samosir to discover the island, to visit traditional Batak villages, to swim in the lake and go to the hot springs in Pangururan.


The harbour where we arrive on Samosir is Tomok, well known for its King’s tombs of ancient Batak graves. The most important is the tomb of King Sidabutar, who lived in the second half of the 19th century and adopted Christianity on the island.

Batak Ulos Weaving


In Ambarita was a court of justice. Here are still megalithic stone tables to be seen where the people spoke out justice according the local adat. There are also ancient execution tables where justice was executed. This justice was often quite harsh as prisoners were generally beheaded.


In the village of Simanindo traditional ‘Tortor’ and ‘Sigalegale’ Batak dances are performed daily. The village is situated on the northern tip of Samosir. Beautiful Batak music is performed life. A marionet wooden puppet representing a deceased son is moved by strings. After the dance performance you can visit the interesting Batak museum.

Bloemen Tobameer


The village of Pangururan is on the tip of Samosir where in former times it touched the mainland. In the past Samosir was a peninsula but during colonial times a narrow canal has been digged out so that boats could sail around. Herewith Samosir became an island. From Pangururan you can go to the hot springs of Mount Belirang. It is a real treat to relax in the hot sulfur water of the springs.

Lake Toba on Sumatra in literature

Route Description

see 5 day program on Sumatra (This tour features in all tour descriptions).