Indonesia has many interesting destinations to visit around the archipelago, but Lake Toba has been in the limelight for some time now. Why? Earlier this year, President Jokowi instructed several relevant ministries to speed up the development of Lake Toba as he believes the Northern Sumatra lake can become the “Monaco of Asia”. For this project, the construction of facilities and infrastructure, such as access roads, entertainment facilities and service facilities for travellers, will be developed and improved.
Of course, better facilities will draw more travellers to visit Lake Toba, but that doesn’t mean the large natural lake doesn’t have an appeal all of its own: here are five reasons to visit now before the crowds descend.
World's Largest Volcanic Lake
Did you know that Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world? Yes, you read that right. The length of the lake is 100 kilometres with a 300-kilometre width. According to research under taken by the Michigan Technological University, Lake Toba was formed by an explosion that occurred around 73,000 to 75,000 years ago, which, ironically, also marked as the biggest eruption in the world that led to the extinction of 60 per cent of the human race. This reason alone is enough to anyone want to visit the place.
For those who are looking for natural beauty, then Lake Toba is the answer. Why? The lake is a lovely expanse of water surrounded by beautiful hills. The lake also has an abundance of flora and fauna, overgrown with pine and palm trees with wild animals such as monkeys, orang utans, langur monkeys and tapirs.
Lake Toba is also known for Samosir Island, located right in the middle of the lake. The island also offers myriad arts and cultures, and travellers will get the chance to see traditional Batak houses, as well as how to weave North Sumatra’s traditional fabric, called ulos.
The Mysterious Doll
Meet Sigale-gale, the traditional puppet native to Samosir Island. The dolls are made of wood and can be seen dancing during a Batak play. Not just that, Sigale-gale dolls also have religious significance and mysticism: they can be seen dancing during funerals, for example.
It’s gourmet heaven at Lake Toba because there are plenty of Medan delicacies offered in the area. We recommend sitohap porridge, a staple of the Silalahi community, which have lived on the shores of Lake Toba for centuries, and which ismade from ginger, candlenut and andaliman as well as sitohap leaves which grow in the forests surrounding the area. The porridge can be enjoyed with slices of chicken and crackers. For dessert, visitors should try lapet: traditional Batak cake that is usually moulded in pyramid shapes and wrapped in banana leaves. The cake is made from grated coconut and rice flour then steamed—a fitting dessert for afternoon tea to be enjoyed while gazing at the magical vista of Lake Toba.
Photo credit: Coordinating Ministry for maritime republic of Indonesia, 1001 wisata, Panduan Wisata.