Out of all the places I’ve visited I would have to say Danau Toba, which translates to Lake Toba, remains my favorite place in Indonesia. After a super volcano erupted and caved in on itself, 70,000 years ago, it created a magnificent lake with an island in the middle of it, named Samosir. It is the biggest volcanic lake in South East Asia and the second biggest in the world. It is so big it looks like the sea, except it sits so still and glistens when the light hits it. I fell in love as soon as I landed on this little island and glanced out onto the lake. We were told you can swim in it, but part of me didn’t want to disturb the peace of the water, reflecting the mountains above it. However, it is very hard to resist. So as soon as we checked into our hotel, which was right on the waters edge, we got changed and dived right into the lake. It was so refreshing and cool. We felt like we were in a massive swimming pool with mountains and trees surrounding us. We spent at least an hour relaxing in the lake and listening to the sweet sounds of nature with only plants to smell and beautiful sights to see. It amazes me that this was once the place of a volcano. You can easily spend days here, away from real life, away from the noise and just with nature.
Swimming in the lake was only the beginning. We were soon to learn about the culture on this little island. The island is inhabited with Batak tribes who still live in their traditional villages. These villages are made up of Batak houses, which are fascinating to see and learn about. The roofs of these houses are shaped like the water buffalo’s horns and they usually sleep several families in them. Once you’ve seen inside you’ll understand how amazing this is. The houses also have tiny entrances that force you to bow your head when entering so that magical powers are disabled. It was fascinating learning about these tribes and how their beliefs about magic are still around. Their culture focuses a lot around magic and you can even see examples of the magic books they used to use. We spent a couple of days visiting villages, meeting local people and seeing the tools they use in different traditions. The most enjoyable part was when we got to witness a tribe performing dances that symbolize different situations. One of the dances we saw was about a man proposing to a woman. The dance really tells you the story of what the guy has to do before he can marry the girl. We then got to take part in another dance, called the welcome dance. We were given scarves to wear and danced around a buffalo with the locals. They were all so friendly and loved showing us their culture.
Our experience didn’t stop there. We spent a few more days traveling around the island on a motorbike. We rode along winding roads and traveled up to the very top of the mountains. We saw some amazing views. Words cannot describe what your eyes see when you stand there gazing out onto the spectacular lake. The island is quite big and you can easily spend the whole day exploring it. It is lovely to come back to the Tuk Tuk area, which is where your hotel will be located, during the evenings and wind down at one of the restaurants. They all have a very chilled out atmosphere. The Tuk Tuk area is also great during the day. You can walk around and come across some very beautiful cafes and places to relax. You may even bump into groups of students who are eager to practice their English with you. They are all full or smiles and laughter, which is very contagious. You will see the true magic of this island if you book with Tari Travel. We will make sure that you get your own personalized trip so that your experience will be truly unforgettable.