Lake Toba & Samosir Island
Around 100,000 years ago Lake Toba was created by a seismic event several thousand times larger than the eruption of Mount St Helens, spewing ashes high into the stratosphere and changing the planet's climate. A later eruption created a secondary volcano inside the 90km long caldera, which later collapsed and now forms the island of Samosir in the centre of the lake. The best accommodation for visitors is on Samosir, which is reached by boat from Parapat, on the eastern shore of the lake. The main attraction for visitors is to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings, learn about the culture of the Batak people and see the architectural style of their dwellings. Before colonisation the local Batak tribes had an advanced system of government, and to this day hold firm to their traditional beliefs, practising a mix of Christianity and Animism.
We highly recommend spending a few days here taking in it all in. A visit to Lake Toba can also provide a welcome rest in an otherwise frenetic tour of Sumatra. But do remember, no visit is complete unless you swim in the lake itself!