North Sumatra & Aceh in 10 Days (2): Samosir Island


Waking up in a peaceful Tongging, surrounded by tranquility, is one of my morning greatest hits. So calm, so quiet. I can hear the sound of water from a stream nearby, I can see the storks are catching their breakfast on the lake, I can feel cool morning breeze blowing softly into my face.

After finishing my breakfast, I walk toward the lake, taking a few photographs for half an hour, then turn back to the guest house and preparing myself for a long ride to the far side of Toba lake.

Another Crazy Ride

El has done some research on the internet on how to get to our next stop: Tomok, even so the best way to know the direction is by asking local people, that’s what we’re doing before leave. One of the guest house caretakers tells us the best way to reach Tomok. Not so long after, the angkot arrives, off we go. Luckily we don’t have to sit on top of the car like yesterday, this time we’re on the inside. In the car, there’s a “smoking party” and it’s quite intense, many of the men passengers are puffing their smoke like nobody’s business.

One hour later, we arrive at simpang Merek, then we catch another angkot to Simpang Dua Siantar. The ride to Siantar takes another 2.5 hours, many times I fall asleep regardless of how the damn driver ride his car like a horny rabbit. We arrive at hot and loud Simpang Dua Siantar around 12 PM. After having spicy seafood as lunch, we head to Parapat by angkot. Only this time is a little different, after awhile the sleepy driver stops for a tuak, an alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice, yeast and sugar. The most interesting thing happens next. His driving skill rises exponentially along with the car’s speed. It’s a ride from hell all over again, only with different factors: deadly cliffs, narrower road and many breathtaking hairpins.

We reach Parapat at afternoon in one piece. In order to get to the dock to catch a boat to Samosir Island, we have to ride another angkot for 15 minutes.

The Famous Samosir Island

Without any hesitation, we hop into the boat and sail to Samosir island. The boat stops at Tomok, one of the main tourist destinations in Samosir. It’s still noon, we have plenty of time and decide to go straight to the King Sidabutar Tomb, only 5-minute walk. A guide at the tomb explains a lot about the tomb’s history and voluntarily gives us an introduction to Batak’s culture.

Okay, now the next thing to do is rent a motorcycle to Tuk Tuk or hire an ojek. Apparently the rent is mostly overpriced, even higher than Bali. Our quest for finding a reasonable rent price leads us to the back of a small motel.  We encounter a small group of people, apparently two of the guys back there are the owner’s nephews, after a few small talks, one of them agrees to give us a ride to Tuk Tuk. This unplanned encounter also leads me to a precious moment: photographing kids playing and swimming in the lake at the back of the motel.

Late afternoon, after half an hour ride, we enter the famous village, Tuk Tuk. This is the place we’re gonna stay for a night. Tuk Tuk is a tourists’ village. It’s well prepared and neatly organized to attract and please tourists. Hotels; bungalows; restaurants in every corners; souvenirs shops; car, motorcycle and bicycle rentals. However, I just can’t find any proper meals in this village, they’re just as plain as Monday morning.

With full stomach after a plain dinner, we walk back to the hotel. The wind is pretty strong and cold, I can sense there’ll be heavy rain tonight, I hope it won’t last long, we have a pretty challenging “sunrise expedition” tomorrow morning.


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