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Toba Lake

North Sumatra

World famous is the crater Toba Lake in the Batak highlands; approximately five hours drive from Medan. Toba Lake is the largest lake in South East Asia and also one of the most spectacular, surrounded by tall mountains and with the large island of Samosir in the middle. If we descend from the mountain we see the lake glittering in all its beauty. The Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek even called Toba Lake, 'the most beautiful place on earth'. Most visitors stay on the peninsula of Tuk Tuk on Samosir, named after the linguist Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk. In general people stay several days on Samosir to discover the island, to visit traditional Batak villages, to swim in the lake and go to the hot springs in Pangururan.

The centerpiece of North Sumatra, Lake Toba's bracing climate and magnificent panoramas clear the mind and soothe the soul. For decades a magnet from regional and foreign visitors alike, Toba has developed into a full-featured highland resort while retaining the rustic charm and relaxed ambiance that define Toba's attraction. Formed by a stupendous prehistoric volcanic explosion, the 100 km long lake is the largest in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest and the highest in the world. The drama of that cataclysmic birth persist in 500 meter cliffs dropping into the blue-green waters, surrounded by steep, pine covered sloped, the climate is fresh and pleasant, with just enough rain to support the lush vegetation.

Toba Lake is a 100kms x 30kms volcanic lake in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Toba Lake has become one of the main tourist attractions for a long time in North Sumatra apart from Bukit Lawang and Nias, visited by both domestic and foreign tourist.

The Origin of Toba Lake

It is estimated that Toba Lake was formed during a volcanic eruption about 73.000-75.000 years ago and which was the most recent super volcano eruption. Bill Rose and Craig Chesner from Michigan Technological University estimated that volcanic materials that were spewed out the mountain totaling 2800km3, with 800km3 ignimbrites rock and 2000km3 volcanic ash that is estimated was blown (wind) to the west for 2 weeks. This incident caused mass death (destruction) and to several species also causes extinction. According to some DNA proof, this eruption also shrinks the humankind population to around thousands back then.

After this eruption, a caldera was formed that was filled by water afterwards and now known as Toba Lake. The pressure from the dormant magma, which has not yet erupted, caused Samosir Island to emerge. The region that now known as Samosir Island originally was a peninsula that attached to the Sumatran mainland. In this peninsula the Netherlands built the water canal 10 m width.

For the first time visitors, going through Medan-Parapat route seeing a lake as big as that made Samosir appear like an amazing grand island. However, the island perspective will certainly faded with the increase in Toba plateau visitor, Nias and the other places in the south, through Medan-Berastagi route. Samosir occupied a central geographical position in the Toba plateau region. With the declaration of the Toba Samosir Regency (the inhabitants 302.000 lives, the area with wide of 3.440 km including the lake) it finally ascend from only a shadow into a Regency. Moreover, the width of Samosir Island exceed Singapore (647 km), in fact Toba Lake almost twice bigger than Singapore. The Samosir image in tourism books as the backpackers location must be changed because this historic place must restore the greatness of its past.

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