Danau Toba, Indonesia

After a long trip back to Medan from Bukit Lawang, a night’s stay in hot Medan, and a long trip to Parapat, we hopped on a ferry for the island in the middle of Danau Toba (Lake Toba). 

Danau Toba was formed from a series of massive volcanic explosions 67,500 to 75,500 years ago.  Scientists estimate that the amount of material ejected from the eruption was about 2,800 km3.  Contrast that with the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, which ejected about 1.2 km3 of material.  Ostensibly, this explosion was so large that it covered the entire Indian subcontinent in at least 15cm of ash, and some parts of Malaysia received up to 9m of ashfall!!

After the eruption, the subsequent collapse of the volcano (the crust of the mountain no longer had all the stuff inside it for support) formed a caldera, which, once filled with water, then became Danau Toba.

Danau Toba - Pulau Samosir 1The island, Pulau Samosir, is a resurgent dome, which
means that the floor of the caldera is rising due to
movement of the magma underneath.

 At 505 meters deep, the lake is one of the deepest in the world. Pulau Samosir is about the size of Singapore and absolutely lovely.  On the boat we met many locals who work to bring guests to their hotels.  We ended up at a small place called Bagus Bay.  It was probably the nicest room we had up to that point.

Danau Toba - Bagus BayThe view from our room at Bagus Bay.

 Tuk Tuk is a small town on the island, it’s the place where most people end up staying since it’s where the ferry stops. We only spent 3 nights on the island, but if we could have, we would have stayed longer.

Danau Toba - Batak HouseThe Batak people who originate from this area used
to live in houses with roofs shaped like longboats
and many of the guesthouses have constructed their
rooms to look similar.


If we did it again, we’d skip Bali and Lombok and head straight up to Sumatra. Tuk Tuk is quiet, but there are still things to see and do. We spent the first couple of days just chilling, as Jen tried to get over a cold that she picked up from our night in the jungle. The next day Jen made a trip to the post office and we took a cooking class.

Danau Toba - Cooking 1Heddy was the cook who taught us some of her special
recipes.  The food at Juwita Café truly was delicious.

Danau Toba - Cooking 2Jen grating coconut for our dishes.

Danau Toba - Cooking 4Jen at the stove.

Danau Toba - Cooking 3Here’s Jeff crushing chilies and ginger among other

Danau Toba - Cooking 5We made three dishes – Urap urap, Lodeh, and some
other dish who’s name we can’t remember now (oops).

The post office was about five kilometers away from our hotel and we didn’t have enough time to walk it so, one of the locals, Ben offered to drive me on his motorbike to the post office. I jumped on with all our stuff to send home (some things from our bag that we just wanted to get rid of, and some souvenirs too!) and made my way to the post office. When we arrived, we discovered that the post office did not have any boxes or tape, so we went off to find some. Luckily, it wasn’t too difficult.

After finding a box, getting everything packed, and completely covering the entire box in tape, it was ready to go.  All that needed to be done was to pay and then we could be on our way.  We were quoted a price that seemed reasonable (especially compared to the cost of sending things when we were in Mongolia!!) and I was about to pay it when Ben whispered to me that I should ask for a better price.  Huh?  Aren’t these set prices?  …apparently not.  So I started bargaining and I managed to save ourselves 8 dollars!  Who knew?

Danau Toba - Bagus Bay 2Dusk around Bagus Bay.


~ by dawseng on July 18, 2009.

One Response to “Danau Toba, Indonesia”

  1. The food you made looks absolutely delicious and I love the “Dusk around Bagus Bay” pic. Jen I hope you’re feeling better!

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