The Region Around Lake Toba, Sumatra
Different writers described the beauty of this famous craterlake, the largest lake in South East Asia. Like the Dutch author Louis Couperus who described the lake in 1923 as a jewel in a crown, glittering in all its beauty surrounded by mountains. The Dutch civil servant W.Ph. Coolhaas, who was stationed in the Batak highlands in the 1930s, wrote about the Batak people. He particularly enjoyed the visits to the Batak villages to discuss all matters of the public interest and how the Batak people were involved in all these. From a different angle were the memories of Sitor Sitomorang who wrote down his remeniscences about his childhood in the 1930s at the shores at Lake Toba. A paradiselike environment where the young Sitor Sitomorang grew up at the lakeside, fishing, playing with the other children, attending the Batak ceremonies and making his first visits to a town like Balige at the Southern part of Lake Toba. All three writers praised the beauty of the scenery each from their own point of view.
To reach Samosir island you can take a public boat from Tiga Raja harbor in Parapat or take a regular ferry boat from Aji Bata harbor. Tourist spots like Tomok with the king’s tombs and the execution tables in Ambarita are places you should not miss. In Simanindo you can see the real Tor Tor Batak dance and the Sigale Gale puppet dance. The dancers wear the ulos decoration (meticulously handwoven textiles, known as “ulos”) over the right shoulder.
Ulos symbolizes status, serves as precious heirlooms and are also ceremonial gifts during ritual in human’s life cycle from births and weddings to deaths.