English / Indonesia / Photography / Travel

Through Batak highlands to Samosir island

Exactly at 8 am I parted from the Ecolodge in Bukit Lawang to Samosir island. My driver warned me we ought to be on time in order to be able to catch the car ferry to cross Lake Toba to the island as the ferry was scheduled hourly.  Google shows the route as follows, with estimated travel time of circa 6 hours. In reality the trip took 8,5 hours including 1 hour lunch stop in Berastagi. This long travel time was caused due to bad road condition of some parts of the route.

Bukit Lawang - Samosir

Despite the length of the trip, it was more than worth it. We made a quick stop at the impressive Sipiso-piso waterfall. At 120 meter height, this plunge waterfall is the biggest in the country. Sipiso-piso is derived from the word piso or pisau which means a knife. The waterfall represents a knife cutting the valley with its strong current. In the background Sinabung volcano stands proudly. 2 days after we left the region, this volcano erupted.

Sipiso-piso waterfall

This is a view from Tongging, not far from the waterfall. Lake Toba and a part of Samosir island are visible from here. I didn’t expect it to be that huge. What a splendid view.

Lake Toba seen from Tongging

From there the trip continued to Tigaras harbour. At the end of the afternoon we reached the harbour. We were on time to catch the ferry.

Car ferry at Tigaras

The crossing lasted approximately 30 minutes. Arriving in Simanindo harbour it was still about 45 – 50 minutes ride to get to the hotel in Tuk Tuk.


Map is courtesy of Toba Explorer Express

Tuk Tuk is the center of tourism in the island with various resorts, cafes and restaurants. Some looked fairly tired and old but the island beholds its charms. Tuk Tuk main street was quiet when I was there, perhaps it was low season.

Tuk Tuk Samosir island

The climate on Samosir island was remarkably pleasant. I had no need to switch on the air conditioning in my room at night. In the morning it was so serene to look at the lake and the surrounding. The environment is so green. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. After an eruption of the super volcano 75.000 years ago Lake Toba and Samosir island emerged.

Tuk Tuk Samosir island

The path at my hotel.

Toba Village Inn Samosir island

Leaving the island my family and I took the passenger ferry to Tigaraja harbour in Parapat. My driver went early in the morning with car ferry from Tomok harbour to Ajibata harbour. He would await us at Parapat. Every hotel/cottage at Tuk Tuk has a pier where their guests are able to disembark/embark the passenger ferry.

This is how the hotel pier looks like.

Toba Village Inn Samosir Island

Pier Toba Village Inn Samosir Island

Pier Toba Village Inn Samosir island

The ferry stops at almost every hotel to let passengers get in or get off the boat. To reserve a seat, just let the hotel receptionist call the captain. He will pick you up at the pier on time.

Tabo Cottage Samosir island

Next post is about exploring the Batak culture on Samosir island. Stay tuned.



16 thoughts on “Through Batak highlands to Samosir island

    • Sipisopiso. Bagus dan besar sekali Shin sayang aku waktunya mepet, ngga sempet turun ke bawah. Dan sayangnya lagi banyak sampah juga di situ. Gemes sekalian miris lihatnya kok ya buang sampah sembarangan ya di tempat bagus pula.

  1. Bagus banget Mbak Yooo!! 😍😍😍 Aku nggak nyangka Danau Toba sebesar itu. Hotelnya juga asri banget. Aduh, aku jadi pengen ke daerah Sumatra. Selama ini tiap kali ke Indonesia cuma ke Jakarta-Bali doank soalnya 🙂

    • Daerah yang aku kunjungi kemarin di Sumatra Utara itu bagus Steph, the nature is stunning. Danau Toba itu besar banget ternyata dan temperaturnya menyenangkan, adem. Highly recommended.

      I would love to explore West Sumatra & Flores next time I visit Indonesia.

  2. Hello mbak Lorraine, salam kenal, saya Dewi. Asli Siantar. Saya juga baru dari Bukit Lawang dan Danau Toba Januari kemaren bareng suami, sekalian ngajakin mertua karena belum pernah ke Indonesia. Sayang mertua kurang sehat waktu tiba di Tuk tuk jadinya harus tiduran di hotel, padahal kita udah plan mau bawa dia keliling, ya akhirnya saya dan suami ajalan yang keliling berdua. Resiko jalan sama orang tua ya 😀

    • Hai Dewi,

      Salam kenal juga. Ah, sayang sekali mertua kamu sakit sewaktu di Tuk Tuk. Eh tapi kamu dan suami sempat jalan-jalan kan?

  3. Pingback: Food journal Indonesian travel part 1 | Chez Lorraine

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