Lake Toba Travel Guide – Basic Info

Lake Toba Travel Guide

This section provides detailed travel guide for those traveling to Lake Toba.

Location

Lake Toba is in northern Sumatra, the most western island of Indonesia. Medan is the lake’s nearest big city, a 45-minute flight north west of Singapore. To see the location on the map, click here.

Airports

Two airports serve as gateways to Lake Toba, i.e., the Kualanamu International Airport in Medan (4 hours by car to lakeshore) and the Sisingamangaraja XII International Airport at Siborongborong (30 minutes to lake shore).

Weather & Seasons

Lake Toba has a tropical rainforest climate with the dry season from April to October and raining season from November to March. The heaviest rainfall takes place between December and March. The local temperature ranges from 17° to 29° Celsius (63° to 84° Fahrenheit), and the average humidity rate is around 85%. Parapat is the biggest town on the lake.

Lake Toba, Indonesia
25°
overcast clouds
humidity: 83%
wind: 1m/s SE
H 25 • L 25
26°
Sun
27°
Mon
29°
Tue
30°
Wed
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Weather: Current and Forecast

Best Time to Visit

If you are interested in nature and wildlife, the best time to visit Lake Toba is between May and September, i.e., during the dry season and when the weather is mostly clear. If you are interested in culture, the best time to visit is when there are events that you want to see (for a schedule, see Events on Lake Toba). There are many events between May and September so this time frame should be perfect.

Time Zone

Lake Toba and Medan are 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), i.e., similar to Jakarta and Bangkok. Singapore is one hour ahead. Indonesia and Singapore do not observe any daylight saving time.

Terrain

Lake Toba is a remote area in Indonesia. It is mostly surrounded by hills and mountains, averaging 700 to 1,250 meters (2,300 to 4,100 ft) above sea level. Road conditions are fair in residential areas, but less than so in rural locations. Minivans should handle the rides to most destinations. A 4-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle or motorbike may be required to access particular points of interest. To the extent we have the information, our pages that discuss the relevant sites will note the requirement accordingly.

Money and Currency

Rupiah is the official currency on Lake Toba. Prominent merchants such hotels and resorts also accept US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Singapore Dollars and Euros but they convert your money at unfavorable rates. They also take Visa and MasterCard and charge you in the local currency. Smaller merchants such as shops and homestays do not accept foreign money or credit cards. For more details, see Money & Banks on Lake Toba.

Security and Safety

Traveling with family to Lake Toba is safe. Beware of pickpockets in crowded areas such as souvenir markets. Airports and hotels have dedicated guards, but other places do not. Avoid traveling alone if possible.

Covid-19 Update

Indonesia applies the following health protocols in regard to Covid-19 (effective September 1, 2022 until further notice).

  1. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is no longer required to enter Indonesia if the travelers have been fully vaccinated (3 doses). Otherwise, a PCR test showing negative result from a sample taken longer than 72 hours before arrival is required to enter the country. Note: airlines / carriers may have different boarding requirements with respect to the PCR test;
  2. Showing insurance coverage statement for Covid-19 treatment in Indonesia is no longer required;
  3. Download an Indonesian mobile application PeduliLindungi (available on Google Play, App Store, App Gallery);
  4. Register your Covid-19 vaccine certificate at PeduliLindungi app (see above) for your access to indoor public places in Indonesia;
  5. Show printed or digital proof that you have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to your departure (exemptions apply to visitors under 18 years old, diplomatic/official government visit, and medically certified persons). Indonesian citizens who are not fully vaccinated will receive vaccination after quarantine;
  6. A traveler that has been Covid-19 infected is exempted from showing Covid-19 vaccine certificate as long as he or she can show a medical attestation from doctor/hospital/ministry of health or a Covid-19 recovery certificate from departure country (in English) confirming that the traveler is no longer transmitting Covid-19 and not yet possible or cannot receive full dose of Covid-19 vaccine;
  7. Temperature check upon arrival in Indonesia is required. If the traveler has fever and/or Covid-19 symptoms then PCR test is mandatory. If travelers are not required to take the test upon arrival, then they may continue their journey;
  8. A. The travelers who take the PCR test upon arrival need to wait for negative P​​CR test result at hotel/ accommodation.
    B. If the test result is positive, then they need to quarantine or receive treatment in a hospital as suggested by Ministry of Health officials.
  9. Those who have not taken the jab or have received only one dose of the vaccination due to medical reasons are required to show a medical certificate from local hospitals explaining the reason they cannot complete/receive vaccination;
  10. Domestic travelers aged over 18 years old (including foreigners traveling in Indonesia) are required to be fully vaccinated.
  11. Vaccination requirement is exempted for traveling minors (under 18 years old).
  12. Indonesian citizens required to have booster (third dose) before travelling out of Indonesia. In the case of a positive PCR test results upon arrival in Indonesia, the travelers must isolate at an approved facility or at a hospital. Foreign citizens must bear their own isolation expenses. Isolation costs for Indonesian citizens will be covered by the Indonesian Government.

We will update this page accordingly when the situation there has returned to normal.

See also Visa & Immigration for Visitors to Lake Toba.