Toba Caldera Geopark
Lake Toba is not only physically and culturally interesting but also geologically significant to the world. It is the place where the biggest eruption on earth occurred 74,000 years ago. The explosion caused enormous casualties on the one hand but promoting the study of geology and tourism on another. Tourists have come from all over the world to see the biggest volcanic lake and feel the remarkable history. Right at the same place, the world also witnesses the history and distinctive culture of the people who have lived there for over 2,000 years (see People and Culture on Lake Toba.) This holistic attraction has convinced President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to designate Lake Toba as a geopark (under the name of “Toba Caldera Geopark”) since March 27, 2014.
The term “Toba Caldera Geopark” represents an ongoing effort by the government and the local community to develop Lake Toba area into a sustainable geological, cultural, and economic environment. The current bid for the park’s new status as the United Nations Educational, Social, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Global Geopark has further strengthened the effort.
Sixteen geosites are on the bid. Once approved by UNESCO, they will be busy welcoming tourists who are keen to learn about the history and to see the natural beauty brought about by the eruption. See the full list of the sites here.
You may choose to relax and enjoy the lake’s beauty and tranquility (see 5 Most Beautiful Landscape on Lake Toba) in the Toba Caldera Geopark. However, you may also choose to get on adrenaline-pumping activity from basic levels to daredevils (see Adventures on Lake Toba). In between, you have plenty of choices to learn about geology, people, and culture. Browse the destinations to see all points of interest. For example, there is a museum that plays Sigale-gale dance every morning from 10.30. Other regular events such as Lake Toba Festival are also on schedule to showcase the diversity of local traditions and cultural heritage.
See also Things to Do on Lake Toba.
We have listed over 100 hotels, guest houses, and homestays that are ready to take your bookings online. There a lot more who are still offline but may be contacted by phone for reservations. Star hotels are available around Parapat, Balige, and Simalem. Try the local food, or international cuisine served in most hotels. There are also restaurants that we have listed on the respective page of destinations.
Lake Toba is no longer a remote area. You can access it via Silangit International Airport at Siborongborong, a 55-minute flight from Singapore. Balige is the nearest lakeside town, located only 30 minutes from the airport. The road from Siborongborong to Balige is entirely smooth. Parapat and Simalem (lakeside towns in the north region) are only 2 hours and 3.5 hours of driving from the airport, respectively.
You may also get to any of the towns within 4.5 hours from Kualanamu International Airport in Medan. If you take a cruise to Belawan harbor in Medan, your trip from Medan to Lake Toba will be 30 minutes longer than from the airport. The roads from Medan to Parapat and Simalem are good (some parts are rough).
See also Must-See Points of Interest on Lake Toba.