5 Reasons 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). A mega eruption described as the worst catastrophe in humankind history created a caldera about 74,000 years ago. A significant amount of water from nearby forests filled in the caldera and formed the lake that stretched 86 kilometers (53 mi) in length. Located 120 kilometers (75 mi) south of Medan, Indonesia, Lake Toba is also the centerpiece 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 five reasons why you should be among them.

1. A Huge, Beautiful Lake


Lake Toba is more than twice as big as Lake Tahoe in California (191 sq mi). It boasts a large number of panoramic landscapes, beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, and adventures. The green pine forest, the calm lake, and traditional houses are the main views. Waterfalls and hot springs 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 throughout the day and night and creates a rainbow in the fountain below. The adventures range from banana boats to paragliding, to name a few.

2. A Historic Place for Earth

history of lake toba

As mentioned earlier, the lake emerged as the volcanic lake 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. Six sub-tribes, i.e., Toba, Simalungun, Karo, Mandailing, Pakpak, and Angkola, form Batak people. Each sub-tribe has unique culture and traditions that collectively enrich the overall experience. For example, there are six types of Batak traditional housesMost tourists come to Lake Toba for the amusement of its culture as much as its history and nature. See the People and Culture on 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 just 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. Samosir Island

Samosir is an island in the middle of Lake Toba. With the size of 630 square kilometers (240 sq mi), it is the largest island within an island. There is Lake Sidihoni, a lake within the lake, on Samosir. Along with Lake Toba, Samosir treasures beautiful landscapes, beaches, and tranquility. It is also the center of Toba Batak culture. Two villages of Samosir, i.e., Tomok and Ambarita, are apparently the most original place to see the island’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.

Above are the reasons why you should visit Lake Toba.

See also Destinations on Lake Toba.