5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Toba

There are five reasons why you should visit Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. The lake lies 120 kilometers (75 mi) south of Medan, a city about one-hour flight north-west of Singapore, South East Asia. It has a surface area of 1,130 square kilometers (436 sq mi.) To see it on the map, click here. In brief, the reasons are:

  1. beautiful nature,
  2. extraordinary history,
  3. distinctive culture,
  4. rare wildlife, and
  5. ease of access.

Below is a discussion of the reasons why you should visit Lake Toba.

1. Beautiful Nature


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. Extraordinary History

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 Bataks, known for their distinctive cultural identity. For example, Bataks 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. There is a flight from Singapore to Lake Toba and vice versa every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. Silangit International Airport that serves as the gateway is only 20 minutes from the lake. The airport has become international since October 28, 2017. The new status eliminates the need for the 5-hour land transportation from Medan, although it is still an option. 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.