Kamis, 22 Januari 2009

About Lake Toba

About Lake Toba

The Lake Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia, once created by an enormous eruption less than 100,000 years ago. Th eruption was approximately 8,000 times more powerful than the eruption of Mount St.Helen in 1981.

here are of course legends on how Lake Toba was formed. The traditional Batak canoe, the solu, was 10-15 metres long. All had the same width. The canoes were decorated with carvings, the captain, the chief, sat in front and gave orders. The solu had its own spirit and when a new canoe was built offerings were made for both teh canoe spirit and to Boru Saniang Naga, the Goddess of the water. Batak feared her ad disasters could easily happen when she was angry.

Place of Interest

1. Samosir Island

Samosir is approximately 50 km long and 15 km wide island in Lake Toba, almost as big as Singapore. It is often described as the hearthland of Batak culture. Samosir is actually a peninsula and not an island, as it is divided from Sumatera only by a narrow man-made canal, the Pusuk Buhit Canal between Samosir and mainland, onece made by the Dutch. Samosir is a perfect place to relax and cool down. It is beautiful and scenic and very relaxing. Accommodation is extremely cheap, but food rather expensive (according to Indonesian standard). In the end it evens out compared to other major tourist destinations in Indonesia. The island is small enough for visiting everything of interest from any place you choose to stay in.

2. Jangga Village

A traditional Batak village 24 km from Parapat. Here visitors can watch the weavingof the traditional Batak ulos textiles and wander amongst traditional houses and historical monuments of the olf Batak kings.

3. Tuktuk

Samosir Island is accessible by ferry from Ajibata or Parapat. One of the main inhabited areas on the island, Tuktuk has been described as Samosir's answer to Bali's Kuta Beach. This popular destination offers scenic views at very low prices. People come here to relax, enjoy the sceneries, eat well and cool down fronm tougher travelling in other areas. Culture is available on certain days and in other nearby villages anyway. Western tunes have replaced the harmonic popular songs of the well-singing Bataks. The whole little peninsula is full of restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. There are a few discotheques, bars and hotels, one of the best hotel in Tuktuk is Toledo Inn.

4. Tomok

A traditional village with beautiful houses and ancient tombs. Tomok is gateway to Samosir and one of the main landing-points on the island. Rows of stalls sell an array of handicraft, traditional ulos cloth and Batak musical instruments. The 200-year-old stone sarcophagus of King Sidabutar built in the shape of a ship is its most famous sight. It is located a short walk away from the lake. Tomok is also known for the Sigale-gale dance.

5. Ambarita

Ambarita, just north of Tuktuk is one of the musts when visiting Samosir. The traditional village with King Siallagan's stone chairs is of interest, There are many souvenir stands between this historical object and the boat landing. There are however not so many boats anymore, but now and then there are direct connections with Parapat, normally early morning. Ambarita is also a good starting point for treks across the island. There are many nice and quiet places to stay between Tuktuk and Ambarita and along the coast north of Ambarita.

6. Simanindo

Simanindo is a picturesque village and has some of the best-kept traditional houses, incl the house of Raja Sidauruk, now a museum. This nice museum also has daily cultural performances. The market and the boat landing are 150 metres before the Museum, down to the right coming from Tuktuk. There are some nice local coffee shops here. Opposite Simanindo is the island Pulau Maulau, or more commonly known Pulau Tao. There is a restaurant on the island. The island is 800 metres from the boat landing below the museum but you need a boat to get there. Several boats go there from the hotels on Tuktuk. The clan Maulau owns the island according to adat (traditions), but the clan Sidauruk is living there and they built the restaurant and the hotel and changed the name to Pulau Tao. The Maulau clan protested and after negotiations an agreement was reached in June 2001. The islands belong to the Maulau clan, but is managed by Sidauruk. The proper name is Pulau Maulau.

7. Pangururan

Pangururan is the only proper town on Samosir and also the administrative center of the island. There are a few hotels here. The town has a strategic location next to the bridge between Samosir and the mainland. Most foreigners just pass through on their drive around the island or on their visit to the hot springs an the mainland. The town itself is nicely located along the shore of Lake Toba. There are a few nice old colonial buildings to admire. Besides the hot springs a visit to the summit of Pusuk Buhit can also be nice.

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