Day 2 – Lake Toba
We woke up to a cool and quiet morning. Though the room in our Batak Villa may not be luxurious, the bed was good and our sleep wasn’t bad at all. We were not in any hurry to rush out to spend our day on Samosir Island because we didn’t have any plans for the day.
When we finally felt it was time to fill our stomachs, we went over to the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast buffet spread wasn’t huge but the food was fine. After all, we could not expect a buffet spread on Samosir Island to be comparable to a four stars hotel in a big city. The restaurant was nice and the staff friendly and helpful. Having enjoyed our breakfast, we went out to explore the grounds of Tabo Cottages.
It was a cooling morning and a little misty. Lake Toba wasn’t very clear under such conditions. Though visibility wasn’t very good, the air was nevertheless fresh. Years ago when we were here, the climate was much better. It would be very cold in the morning unlike this day which seemed to be a little mystical.
The swimming pool looked clean but too cold to go for a swim so early in the morning. The ground was tidy and well kept. The whole place wasn’t very big and soon we went back to our Batak Villa to rest.
With day light coming into our room, the room looked much better. It was quite gloomy at night due to insufficient lighting in the room. We took the opportunity to climb up the attic and spent some time there to enjoy the view of the lake. The mattress up there was quite nice too. It was just a novelty to have an attic in the room. The view of the lake was nice and very peaceful even though visibility was a little low.
After that, we went out to the big balcony. The hammock out there was fun to hang onto for some relaxation. With some gentle swaying on the hammock under the cool morning on Samosir Island, it was really enjoyable. How often do we get a chance to hang out on a hammock! So my dear wife and myself took turns on the hammock and enjoyed the peaceful and quiet environment in Lake Toba. It was a great time for some light reading under such favourable conditions.
Lake Toba had become brighter now though still overcast. Having spent enough time chilling out on the hammock at our balcony, we decided to explore the surrounding on Samosir Island. So we left Tabo Cottages and walked around Tuk Tuk town. Tuk Tuk town was rather small and nothing much to see and do apart from some restaurants and accommodations on Samosir Island.
So we decided to head to Tomok Village for a look. We were only about ten minutes into our journey when it started to drizzle. As such, we decided not to walk on any further so we turned back. We didn’t think it was worth the trouble to explore Tomok even though it was more than twenty years ago when we last visited the village.
When we were back to Tuk Tuk town, the drizzle had subsided. We took the opportunity to pay a visit to Horas Family Holidays Homestay. We were warmly welcomed and shown around the grounds. There was an organic vegetable garden where the vegetables would end up on the dining table for guests staying with them. They had excellent facilities in good conditions. The ground was beautiful, clean and tidy. The staff were friendly and helpful as well.
We noticed they had kayaks, boats and fishing rods and were told they were available for guests to use for free. With their accommodations having full lake view, no doubt those staying with them would enjoy Horas’ excellent and exclusive services. After taking a few pictures, we left and went back to Tabo Cottages next door.
It was time for lunch so we went to the restaurant in Tabo Cottages. The food was good and prices reasonable. The ginger tea we ordered was a little strange and too strong because the staff had forgotten to add in honey. It was made good after that. We had a good lunch in a quiet and relaxing place and were very much satisfied.
After lunch, we moved over to our Junior Suite on the ground floor not far from the restaurant. The room was more modern that came with a water dispenser and tea and coffee making facility. There was also a tiny TV in the room but it wasn’t really useful because there wasn’t much to watch where the few channels were all local programs on top of the bad signal reception on this isolated island.
We were given twin beds instead of a double bed as the other Junior suites were occupied. The bed was not as comfortable as the double bed we had the previous night in the Batak Villa. The toilet however was bright and came with a separate shower stall. The suite room was very spacious but seemed rather empty though. Notwithstanding, the room was clean and furnishing though not luxurious was sufficient. Of course this Junior Suite room was a lot brighter than the Batak Villa.
It was already afternoon but we didn’t feel like venturing to Tomok again. So we spent our time lazing around to enjoy the serenity in Tuk Tuk Lake Toba where we probably won’t return after another very long time. The quiet time spent here was good though we found ourselves suddenly having so much time on hand which was a drastic change in routine.
The swimming pool though not very big, looked enticing. However, we were too lazy to go for a swim. From the middle of the pool, there was a steep slope all the way to another end. Those who can’t swim better not jump into the deep end of the pool. So the deck chairs were good enough for us to enjoy ourselves near the lake.
The garden and playground area was very peaceful. It was a good place just to unwind and do some light reading and enjoy the cool climate in Lake Toba. Back in the eighties and early nineties, Lake Toba was a busy and lively tourist destination and not so quiet like it was now. Perhaps it was good for a change. The lack of development of infrastructures gave the impressions that they had been abandoned. Maybe tourists these days liked it that way. But for the people living here, they probably had to continue living in subsistence level for quite a while.
We also took an afternoon nap to prepare for the next day’s six hours journey back to Medan via Berastagi. We would have to get up very early and leave the island to catch the first ferry to Parapat. So this nap would be needful. We seldom had the chance to relax so much without much to do in the afternoon and we enjoyed it while we were here.
Dinner time came and we were back to the restaurant in Tabo Cottages. We ordered different dishes from lunch. The Batak singers who were staff of Tabo Cottages were preparing for the evening entertainment for guests here. While we were enjoying our dinner, Mr. Baker showed up and came over to join us for dinner. His wife cooked him dinner and brought it over from their homestay.
We had a good chat and learned a little more of the happenings in Lake Toba. He assured us his staff would come over in the morning to help us get up the ferry to go over to Tiga Raja Habour in Parapat. The same driver Mr. Rahman would also be waiting for us over there.
Soon the Batak singers started to sing with beautiful voices and musical accompaniment and we could see diners here loved their singing and music. Even Mr. Baker got up from our table and had some fun to accompany these Batak singers’ exuberant singing swaying happily along with his happy moves. He was obviously in very good mood. It was the restaurant’s unique happy hours here where diners could enjoy the evening in Samosir Island. That was as much night life you could get over here.
Back in 1991, it was a completely different atmosphere. The singing hall was packed with tourists and those Batak singers impressed us with their powerful voices and great singing. After the performance, while going back to our room, we saw a young mother carrying her child on her back selling durians to guests. Her fingers were bleeding while trying to open up durians for guests which left a lasting impression on my mind. She was simply trying to do a little more to feed her family and life was really tough.
So this last evening on Samosir Island left us with a very different experience. It was an evening of simple entertainment with a good dinner on a very much smaller scale. It was nonetheless good enough for us. After dinner, we bid Mr. Baker our best wishes and a goodnight rest and we returned to our room.
As usual, we caught up with our children before retiring. This would ensure we could go to bed with peace of mind. Soon enough, tiredness set in and we closed our eyes for the day with much anticipation for the day trip on the way back to Medan.
Continue to Day 3 …