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An Amateur Guide to Samosir Island

Hola guys, at today's post I am writing some guides about traveling to one of my most favorite place on earth : Samosir Island. To you who probably have no idea about what Samosir Island is, it is an island that is located within Danau Toba (Lake Toba) which is the biggest volcanic lake in Indonesia, also in the world.

I've been to this place several times, for so many times to be exact. My family (and I personally) really love this place so today I am sharing this to all of you, in hope that to you that haven't actually been there will have that interest to come and visit this place. To make this post neater, I am dividing the post into some several part, I hope you guys will get them all LOL.

PS. Everything I write here mostly are from my point of view or my experiences. I know it won't be perfect but am trying my best :)

Lake Toba itself is located in Northern Sumatra. The best way to reach Lake Toba is taking 4-5 car trip from Medan (don't forget to stop by at Pematang Siantar, my hometown LOL). If you don't have your car with you, you can rent one, or if you're just traveling with just one or two friends and you think renting a car would be too expensive, you can just call some taxis to take you there and they will drop you off at the city of Parapat.

Now how do you reach the island of Samosir? If you're with your car, you can take the ferry from Pelabuhan Ajibata to get to the island (usually costs around IDR 90,000/USD 9 per car) OR if you don't have any car with you or you just have your motorcycle with you, you can get on the regular boat at Pelabuhan Tiga Raja (or maybe Tiga Dolok shoot I forgot, so sorry LOL it should be between those two) and pay IDR 7,000/USD 0.7 per person. You'll be dropped at Pelabuhan Tomok when you reached the Island.

There are a lot of choices to this. Many hotels, villas and inns are available to rent, name it Bagus Bay, Pandu Lakeside Hotel, Carolina Hotel, Samosir Villas, Toledo Inn etc etc etc. If you are not traveling on peak season, one night stay usually ranges around IDR 150,000/USD 15 to IDR 400,000/USD 40 per room and you won't have to make any reservations. BUT on holidays, the prices may increase up to IDR 1,000,000/USD 100 (!) or even more per room and don't forget the reservation, of course.

DO NOT expect for five stars hotel with king-sized bed, luxury furniture and bathroom, because you are going to be disappointed. According to what I know, three stars hotel is already quite a rare thing here. Most hotels or inns are at the same standards, rooms with beds and bathroom, but not that, you know, WOW. But it is not bad at all, but just not that good, got my point? LOL. The thing is, just don't expect too much. Oh ya, most hotels don't have air conditioner but don't worry, even without it you still have to sleep with your blankets on because it gets cooler at nights.

If I could recommend, I would say that Pandu Lakeside Hotel is okay. Carolina Hotel is always full-booked on weekends so according to its popularity, the hotel must be okay too. But in my opinion any hotel will do as long as it is clean, don't you agree?

Dining at Samosir is about Bataknese food, I guess. Make sure you try their babi panggang (roasted pork) and ikan bakar (grilled fish). I really loved their Bataknese style chili sauce! You will also find many pizzerias at the island. I don't even know why do they have to have that many pizzerias. If you're way too confused about what to eat, Carolina Restaurant at Carolina Hotel may be an option. Not that the food there were really good, they're just fine, edible at least. Besides, the prices are not too expensive.

Another to try is Magic Mushroom. Well to be honest, I never even tried this and I don't know how in the world it looks or tastes like but they said that eating it will make you laugh at no reason (?) LOL, so are you interested? But by the way they also said that the making procedures includes shit (LOL!) inside HAHAHAHA sorry but I don't know. Please let me know if you tried one :))

Ah, almost forget. There is also this Roti Samuel which sells homemade breads. The breads taste best when they're just out from the oven. 

Are you kidding me? Of course the lake! (LOL) You will be impressed on how huge and beautiful she is. The water is also clean (though in some parts of the lake are already contaminated T^T). But after all, just the view of the lake is already the best.

Okay, if you insist to see something else, there are also some hills and you can also visit Pangururan (from which I know is hot spring, maybe I was wrong though) and there is also some ancient king's tomb that is located near Pasar Tomok.

In my very opinion, the best answer to this is : rest and relax. Enjoy the very beautiful view, take a break and forget all the stress you had for a while. Take a sit at the beach (by the way do we still call it beach at a lake? LOL whatever) while listening to the music with your iPod and breathe the fresh air. Sounds perfect (read : to me LOL).

The other must do thing if you don't bring your car is to rent motorbikes or bicycle and go for a ride, enjoy the view and take a look at the Bataknese style houses and meet the people too. I personally would prefer motorbikes to bicycle because it can take us further and faster. Besides, I will not have to worry for my feet to get bigger for riding too much bicycle LOL.

Another option is water sports. Of course you can swim at the lake, and you also can rent the jet ski. They also have banana boat too now.

Most people will go to Pasar Tomok, a traditional market located near Pelabuhan Tomok (remember the place where you will be dropped off when you reach Samosir?). This place is not just a spot for tourists, but locals also go there to buy fruits and vegetables. While buying souvenirs like t-shirts or other things, bargaining is recommended. Don't be surprised if the seller "shouts" at you, it is not that they are angry at you or what, it just happens to be their style :))

Those are basically what I could come up with. I would give a tip that is pretty important if you're going : cash ready. There is only one ATM at Pasar Tomok and it will be somehow not convenient to draw cash there. Plus, some hotels may not accept credit cards for payment, so bringing more cash would be a very wise thing.

So, I hope you enjoy this long post and I hope you don't think it's boring (it is fine if you do, though). Sorry if I LOL-ed too much because I just loved to. Show me some love by dropping good words on the comment box if you are willing to :P Hope everyone is having a great day, and last, don't forget to visit the beautiful lake and island, okaaaaaay? #VisitIndonesia

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