Wednesday 30 November 2016

Travel Post: Danau Toba – Interlaken of the East!

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine”
Read this quote a while ago, but it’s kind of stayed with me, because I think it sums up my life quite precisely. I was telling a friend the other day that if I am not actually traveling, you can assume that I am planning my next travel – as that’s my only motivation to brace my gruelling corporate day job!
So when in September my husband wanted to plan for a short holiday within Asia, I got excited as I had Indonesia on my travel radar for quite some time now; and when I got my “Google Cap” on, I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to limit our destination search to Bali or Bintan in Indonesia. Whilst looking through various options, I came across this small article on Danau Toba in North Sumatra; and some voice in my head made me zero in on this location. Also, since the flights were quite affordable, we thought why not!
Since the nearest airport to Danau (Lake) Toba was Medan, we decided to spend couple of days here.

Let me try and give you my version of the travelers’ guide to this mystical place.

To begin with, I would urge you to include Medan as part of your itinerary in case you are planning to visit Danau Toba, despite the not-so flattering descriptions on some of the popular travel guide sites.

Now back to Danau Toba. After extensive research we booked 3 nights in Taman Simalem Resort (highly recommended for the facilities, hospitality and the food!) with and had rented a car to move around. Here are some of the fun things that we ventured into:
  • Lake Cruise – The cruise takes just over an hour; it took us to the middle of the huge lake and our local guide gave us valuable insights into the amazing history of the nearby villages. There is also the option to drive around the lake and soak in the culture by shopping or having a hearty meal in the bazaar area
  • Visit to the Hot Springs – Not the most pleasant of journeys, but an interesting visit. Reaching the source of the springs is apparently only possible by a bike, but nevertheless we made it till Panguruan (island opposite Tuk-Tuk) and it was worth a visit, even if just for another glimpse of the Lake.
  • Ambarita – This is an ancient village around an hour away from Tuk-Tuk, where we could soak up the mesmerizing culture and heritage of the local tribes. I would recommend to hire a local guide (do bargain for the rates though!)
After having our fill of the mythical lake, we moved to the next leg of our holidays – Medan. The journey between Danau Toba and Medan is approximately 4.5 hours by car. We stayed for 3 nights in Medan and just about managed to visit a few exciting places in the city.
My recommendations in Medan would be – 
Mystic Waterfall


A two and half hour trek into the depths of the Sibolangit jungle took us to the absolute highlight of our trip – Dual Colour Waterfall!! It is an experience beyond words and if you are up for the walk, a complete must visit.

Half day City tour – The local guide tour took us to the Dutch colonial–era buildings such as the Old City Hall and the Medan Post and Telegraph Office,  the Great Mosque of Medan, the royal palace Maimoon Palace and Asam Kumbang Crocodile Park.

Shrine of Annai Velangkanni

It is a unique Indian-Catholic church; a perfect merger of the Hindu and Catholic cultures. And it is so gorgeous, that I am falling short of words to describe it.

I hope I have convinced you to pack your bags and jump onto the next available plane to Danau Toba!!
Since I began with a quote, let me end with one too..
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by. -
Robert Frost

-Gauri Patwardhan
  For So-Saree

P.S. We do not own images used in this post.


  1. Gorgeous pictures! Sumatra...simply wow!

  2. We can't agree more. What a beautiful secret destination :)

  3. Good information about travel. Thanks for sharing this information with us, Good guide keeps sharing.



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