Lake Toba, Sumatra... good work if you can get it!
NOTE: Trip was during December 2006
To say Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia is spectacular is true albeit cliche since so many places in Indonesia are spectacular for various reasons...
Whether it's giant lizards, giant orange apes, flying lizards, snakes and frogs, erupting volcanoes, immaculate rice paddies or just plain old cheap food, beer and beaches... Indonesia is a place to be and see.
What makes Lake Toba special is the fact that the lake is actually an old supervolcano that erupted about 74,000 years ago and left behind a great big ole hole. Well, that hole eventually filled up with water and created one of the largest volcanic lakes on the planet at 100km long X 30km wide X 500+m deep!
The eruption was so big, in fact, that is is believed to have changed Earth's climate temporarily and possibly even the genetic history of local populations of humans in Africa and India back then...
Nowadays, if a body is so inclined they can fly into Medan... then catch a van or bus to Lake Toba.
But lemme tell ya though, the drivers in Indonesia are something special!
They like to play chicken with each other and try and scare the BEJEEZUS outta tourists by refusing to get back in their lane until the last possible millisecond!
You have been forewarned.. wear DEPENDS undergarments when taking a van anywhere in Indonesia... but especially Sumatra... chances are you'll mess yourself somewhere along the way!
If you survive the Russian Roulette transport system then you'll arrive at a tranquil and lush Garden of Eatin' known as Tuk Tuk Island. The island in the middle of Lake Toba is bigger than Singapore but much less densely populated by mall goers, trendy Starbucks coffee drinkers and hawker stalls than the Lion City.
There ain't a whole heckuva lot to do in Toba except eat, relax, eat, sleep, eat, nap and eat.
Of course you can rent a motorbike and tool around the island... check out the orchards and fertile gardens. And it's well worth it... especially since you'll need to work up an appetite before you eat again!
You can also check out the local Batak tribal art and crafts and their unique style houses.. which makes for an excellent afternoon...
And if you're lucky you can sneak into Jenny's kitchen for a lesson on how to make her special BATAK SAUCE! IT'S MIGHTY TASTY!
So... TOBA OR NOT TOBA?
If you're looking for a beautiful and incredibly laid back atmosphere with nothing much to do but soak in the scenery, catch up on some sleep and indulge in incredible local cuisine...
Then it's not a question... LAKE TOBA IS FOR YOU!
Life's good if you make it out to be!