5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Toba

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. It has a surface area of 1,130 square kilometers (436 sq mi.) The caldera that forms the lake basin was the result of a mega eruption that almost eliminated human race about 74,000 years ago. A large amount of water from nearby forests filled in the caldera and formed the lake located 120 kilometers (75 mi) south of Medan, Indonesia. It is a part of the Toba Caldera Geopark. To see it on the map, click here.

The residents call it a New Bali, as they hope to see a million tourists coming to Lake Toba each year. There are 5 reasons why you should be among them.

1. A Huge, Beautiful Lake


Lake Toba and Samosir (an island inside the lake) boast panoramic landscapes, beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, and adventures. The green pine forest, the calm lake, and red-top traditional houses are the main views. Waterfalls are many, and each comes with its attraction. For example, Sipiso-Piso Waterfall is tall and colorful. The large stream of water penetrates underground then drops as high as 120 meters (40 ft) from the lip of the spring. It looks like a knife that pierces the forest. The sparks and splashes that occur throughout the day and night have formed an eternal rainbow in the fountain below. See the Profile of Lake Toba.

2. A Historic Place for Earth

history of lake toba

The lake emerged as the largest volcanic lake in the world following the biggest volcanic eruption ever to occur on earth, approximately 74,000 years ago. The super-eruption ejected some 2,800-3,200 cubic kilometers (670-770 cu mi) of materials to as far as Sri Lanka and the Bay of Bengal. As a comparison, the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens produced one cubic kilometer of ash. The Toba catastrophe theory suggests that the tragedy plunged the earth to 6 years without summer and decreased human population to only 3,000-10,000 people. See the History of Lake Toba.

3. Distinctive Culture

tari tortor

Residents are predominantly Batak, known for their distinctive cultural identity. For example, Batak have their language and script of their own. Their house designs are unique and philosophical. Most tourists come to Lake Toba for the amusement of its culture as much as its history and nature. Two villages of Samosir, i.e., Tomok and Ambarita, are apparently the most original place to see the Batak’s culture. For example, Tomok is a village that has many ancient relics such as the Stone Chairs of King Siallagan. Meanwhile, Ambarita is a village that has several famous attractions such as Manortor and the Sigale-gale puppet dance performance. See the People and Culture on Lake Toba. This is also one of the reasons to visit Lake Toba.

4. Rare Wildlife

orangutan sumatra

Lake Toba also offers wildlife attractions, i.e., Bukit Lawang, Tangkahan, and Tahura National Park. Bukit Lawang is a gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park, where the tourists meet orangutans (Pongo abelii), one of three species of orangutans in Indonesia. You can find Pongo abelii only on the island of Sumatra. Tangkahan is a famous breeding ground for wild elephants and clean rivers. Tahura National Park is an excellent place to see monkeys, tigers, gibbons, wild pigs, snakes, eagles, deer, pangolins, and much more, in their wildlife.

5. Ease of Access

Lake Toba is no longer a remote area. In fact, it has an international airport that serves direct flights from Singapore, Jakarta, and Medan. There is a regular flight from Singapore to Lake Toba and vice versa every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, in addition to the domestic daily flights. The Silangit International Airport at Siborongborong is only 20 minutes from the lake shore. Alternatively, you can fly to Kualanamu International Airport in Medan and take an enjoyable 5-hour ride to the lake. Airport transfers and car rentals are widely available at both airports.

Above are the reasons why you should visit Lake Toba.

See also Destinations on Lake Toba.