Nightlife on Lake Toba
Lake Toba offers a variety of nightlife experiences for visitors of all types. Several clubs and cafes open until late at night. You can recognize them from the blinking name signs or fancy light decoration of the storefronts. They are available widely at Tuktuk of Samosir as well as other towns like Balige, Parapat, and Tongging. They play modern music such as house and rock music while serving food, beers, and tuak. Tuak is the traditional Batak wine made from fermented rice. But there are two kinds of clubs and cafes on Lake Toba, i.e., regular and high-end. But both types offer delicious and distinctive drinks and food and recorded music entertainment, and let you relax and make new friends. The upscale bars and pubs, however, attract visitors with tasty and fresh drinks, imported beer, delicacies, and live music entertainment.
Safety of Night Clubs
The security level on Lake Toba is reasonable, assuming you are accompanied and on alert. Don’t go alone to the nightclubs. Most cafes have professional security guards to look after their property and guest security, but the company is always useful. It is also important to remain on alert for attacks or harassment by someone who gets overdosed or drunk. Stay away from drugs and drinking.
Sex for Money & Prostitution
Sex for Money
At certain bars and cafes, you will also meet many young local girls, “night butterflies” (or commercial sex work girls mostly from poor rural areas in Sumatra), and attractive women. They are “popular” at Tuktuk, Berastagi, Balige, and Simalem. Local drivers will be able to tell you which places have a nightlife like that. But be careful not to use them and mingle with them without a deal. Usually, they ask for wages (tip) that may seem too much. It is best if you can stay away from them altogether.
Prostitution is a business on Lake Toba such as at Bandar Baru (Berastagi) and other undisclosed locations. But note that what may seem like innocent fun can sometimes turn into hassling or a demand for cash. Luckily, things are quite direct, so cautious visitors will easily be able to tell what they are getting themselves into in any situation. Note “Prostitution is illegal on Lake Toba,” however, like in many countries, everyone turns a blind eye, and prostitution is not necessarily a tourism-related phenomenon. Indonesian men who can afford it like to go to massage places regularly, asking for a “massage” with what they call “Happy End.” People don’t get poisoned by prostitutes, but some tourists wake up without their wallets or watches after their adventures or with a transmitted disease that’s hard to get rid off and difficult to explain back home. Say no to prostitution.
See also Shopping on Lake Toba.