If you’ve never heard of Lake Toba in Indonesia, you’ve been missing out on one of nature’s best marvels
Not only is Lake Toba the world’s largest volcanic lake covering an area of 1,707 km², it is also surrounded by stunning mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, and many cultural villages.
Even crazier still, there’s an island almost the size of Singapore within Lake Toba itself, and it's called Samosir island—home to the Batak people. While it has become a relatively popular tourist destination, much of its natural beauty remains intact, making it one of the most attractive places to visit in Indonesia.
1. Sipoholon hot springs, the best place to take a bath
It’s said that soaking in these sulphur-springs pools brings a variety of health benefits plus radiant, glowing skin. Surrounded by orange and white limestones, Sipoholon hot springs makes for a relaxing yet Insta-worthy spot.
Location: Tarutung, North Tapanuli Regency
2. Nantampukmas Nests, from a bird’s point of view
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to wake up as a nestling in its mother’s nest, you don’t have to guess anymore. Get into one of these man-made nests nearby Nantampukmas Hotel and see the amazing views from a whole new perspective.
Location: Sidikalang, Kabupaten Pakpak Bharat
3. Tuk Tuk, where the tourists flock
After all the hikes, hot springs and waterfalls, here’s where you come to stay the night. Tuk Tuk is on Samosir island, where all the good resorts, restaurants, and touristy shops are at. Just make sure you catch the last ferry in, or you'll be stuck out for the night!
Location: Simanindo, Samosir Island
4. Sipiso-piso waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Indonesia
This waterfall has the highest plunge in Indonesia at 120m. For those of you who are adventurous, make your way down to the bottom of the waterfall to experience the gush of Sipiso-piso on your backs.
Location: Tongging, Merek
5. Mount Sibayak, a volcano worth the climb
Rising up to 7,257 feet, Mount Sibayak is one the most popular volcanoes to climb in Indonesia. Hikers recommend trekking from 3am onwards to enjoy the starlight and arrive at the summit just in time for a breathtaking sunrise.
Location: Jaranguda, Doulu, Kabupaten Karo, Berastagi
6. Tomok Village, the cultural heritage of the Batak
For a cultural experience, head over to Tomok Village, featuring stunning Batak traditional houses, stone statues, and many historical sites. Learn more about the Batak people, how they live, and bring home a piece of Batak culture.
Location: Tomok, Samosir Island
7. Pusuk Buhit, where the greens go on forever
One of the volcanic mountains around the area, Pusuk Buhit is a decent hike with an extraordinary view. Make it up to the peak to enjoy the panoramic scenery of Lake Toba and its surroundings that will leave you lost for words.
Location: Close to Pangururan, west of Samosir Island
8. Sapo Juma, a garden villa overlooking Lake Toba
This field of flowers is actually a garden villa with a top view of Lake Toba. Walk through a field of beautiful colours, take as many selfies as you can, and find a nice spot to marvel at the awe-inspiring Lake Toba from above.
Location: Tongging, Merek
9. Lake Sidihoni, the lake within Lake Toba
You’ll probably see more buffaloes than people here, but there's something transcendent about staring at one of the few lakes within a lake in the world. To get here, you’ll have to go through rough roads on motorbike and hike a distance, but the experience is priceless.
Location: East of Pangururan, Samosir Island
Located in the northern region of Sumatra, Indonesia, Lake Toba is just a short flight away from Kuala Lumpur
Previously, travellers would have to fly to Medan, but now you can fly directly into Silangit (Lake Toba), saving time and bringing you closer to all the attractions.