Explore North Sumatra: Lake Toba, Samosir Island and Berastagi
Two of the main attractions in North Sumatra are Lake Toba and Samosir Island. The lake is around 4-5 hours drive from the capital city Medan. It is the deepest and largest volcanic crater lake in the world.
In the centre of the lake is Samosir Island. An island the size of Singapore it sits at 900 meters above sea level.
Samosir Island and the area surrounding Lake Toba are home to the Batak people. Although Sumatra is predominantly Islamic, the Batak are mainly Christian due to the Christian missionaries who settled here in the mid 1800s from Holland.
On the way to Lake Toba from Medan you may like to stay a few nights at Berastagi, a small town in the Karo Regency about 70 km from Medan. With only one main street this scenic town is small enough to explore on foot. You will not miss the sight of two major volcanoes Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Being on the highlands, the year round temperature of Berastagi is 17-20 C.
Berastagi is famous for its bustling produce markets, passionfruit (locally known as Markisa) is especially abundant.