Lake Toba, Sipiso-piso waterfall, Parapat, Samoir Island, Berastagi Gunaling hill with views of volcanos Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung, Blue Lake Sibolangit waterfall, Taman Alam Lumbini Golden Pagoda Natural Park, Maimoon Palace, Mesjid Raya Al Mashun mosque are must visit attractions located in Medan and beyond, in North Sumatra Wonderful Indonesia.
Poised to be Indonesia ecotourism destination and top 10 must visit places in Indonesia, the fascinating lake toba flora and fauna greenery is set to be even more magnificent with new flower park and millions of new trees to be planted by 2019 through sustainable tourism planning.
Lake Toba, North Sumatra Indonesia (Medan to Danau Toba approx 4-5 hours drive)
Mejuah-juah ! Crater Lake toba (Danau Toba) in Medan Indonesia is the 2nd largest and deepest volcanic lake in the world.
The picturesque lake toba is a spectacular sight to behold with its breath-taking enchanting views amidst rolling green hills, colourful flora, primeval forest and gentle breeze climate at approximately 900 meters above sea level.
Rest, relax and recharge yourself in Lake toba pristine postcard perfect scenery and infinity instagramable places for ultimate holiday memories.
Sipiso-piso waterfall Indonesia (from Berastagi 45-minute drive)
Sipiso-piso waterfall Indonesia is the largest and highest plunge waterfall at 120 meters formed from a river cave in Karo Highlands at 800 meters above sea level.
Surrounded by enthralling flora greenery, Sipiso-piso waterfall with its cascading water forms rainbow hues as it descends in the gorge captivates travellers to soak in the extraordinary panoramic views of northern Lake toba as its enchanting backdrop.
Nature lovers could trek to Tongging village and be right next to the magical waterfall in around 30 minutes.
Berastagi Karo highlands, Indonesia (from Medan, 2 hours drive)
With an altitude of 4595 feet above sea level, the beautiful city of Berastagi charms visitors pleasantly with cool climate of 18-26 degrees all year round with lush flora and fauna greenery, fruits picking farms and fresh vegetation.
Gundaling Hill in Berastagi offers alluring views of dormant volcano Mount Sibayak and active volcano Mount Sinabung with hotsprings in the vicinity.
Adventurous travellers can hike up Mount Sibayak for magnificent views and see a sulphur crater lake or trek down to foothills (around 2-3hours trek) to Sibolangit waterfall or Blue Lake Sibolangit, renown for its magical light blue and white colours due to the high phosphorus and sulfur content from the volcano.
Mount Sinabung volcano erupted gas while we were on Gundaling Hill and volcanic ash landscape offered another insight of wonderful Indonesia.
Taman Alam Lumbini Berastagi
Taman Alam Lumbini natural park is a replica of the renown Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar and is the second highest replica golden Pagoda outside Myanmar and surrounded by strawberries fields, raspberry, avocado and orange farms.
Officially opened in 2010 with a beautiful garden park behind the Golden Pagodas, vegetarian restaurant and souvenir shop, Taman Alam Lumbini was inaugurated by 1300 monks and hundreds of Buddhist devotees at Tongkoh village, Dolat Rakyat, Berastagi during the celebration.
Berastagi fruit market beckons with countryside pony rides and horse drawn carriages, fresh strawberries and raspberries, beautiful flowers stalls and local village food.
Berastagi produces Marquisa passion fruits, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, avocado, mangos, melons, pineapples, carrots, vegetables and beautiful flowers like lavender and hydrangea with fruit picking farm tours available.
Enjoy a bowl of home style Indonesia's most famous instant noodles Indomie and a cup of piping hot Bandrek - a traditional popular Indonesian drink made from spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, palm sugar and condensed milk which Indonesians drink to keep warm in cool highlands or chilly weather .
Sip a cup of Indonesia's favourite Indocoffee and roasted sweet corn / sweet potato at local coffee shops in Berastagi market while admiring the soft cuddly rabbits opposite the flower shop during tea break.
Flying fox / fruit bats are the world's biggest bats and used in traditional medicine in Indonesia to treat asthma symptoms. We made a pit stop to visit a small flying fox farm before stopping for durians.
Take a break, have some durians at the local stalls stocked with abundant supply of decadent creamy Medan durians by native Karo villagers for sale at around IDR100,000 (USD7.50/MYR33/SGD10.50) for 3 durians, compared to Medan city for double the price. Most of the durians are collected from Berastagi villages before transporting to Medan city centre for sale.
Indonesia Berastagi hotels, resorts and accommodation in the vicinity
Berastagi cottage hotel sits on an immaculate flora landscape garden of a hill slope with Mount Sinabung view and a stone throw away from Berastagi local fruit market.
Mikie holiday resort hotel 4 star accommodation with weekend Funland theme park attraction offers 35 fun rides, carnival games and paint ball activities is the perfect choice for families with children and located in Sempajaya on a gentle hill.
Hotel Sibeyak 4 star resort with President Suite and white washed cottages is located on the foothills of Gundaling Hill, just five minutes walk to Berastragi fruit, vegetables and flower market. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Relax at the delightful Taman Simalem nature five stars agro resort on Merek Hill, Berastagi consisting of villa hotel hostel lodge, restaurants, golf course, Buddhist temple with carved statues from Fujian China, Batak cultural centre, mini zoo, flower nursery, orange, mango and passion fruit orchard, agriculture research centre, a natural river running through the sprawling resort with a spellbinding panorama bird's eye view of Lake Toba and beyond at 1200 meters above sea level.
Explore day trips, sports adventure, just for kids activities, cultural batik weaving handicrafts, art gallery, eco green activities tree planting, flower nursery, golfing, trekking, camping activities and more.
Dine in at Taman Simalem resort cafes and restaurants like Teahouse Chinese cuisine, toba cafe for quick bites, Kodon Kodon rainforest Cafe, Pengambatan Asian and western style cafe and Afro organic cafe, most with views of Lake Toba and Mount Sinabung volcano at the hidden pearl of Lake Toba.
Taman Simalem resort offers a range of accommodation at Tongging Point Hotel, Waterfall Lodge Villa hotel lodge and Sidompak Camping for travellers with different needs and budgets and is located at Km 9, Jalan Raya Merek – Sidikalang, North Sumatera Indonesia. For reservation, email info@tamansimalem.
Parapat / Prapat Indonesia ( from Medan approx 5-6 hours drive)
Horas ! Visit beautiful Parapat and wake up to wonderful views of crystal clear lake toba, misty mountains and blue sky at Inna Parapat hotel, situated in front of the lake with its own private jetty.
Inna Parapet hotel sits on the sunsoaked lake front with alluring mountainous lake views and is located at Jl. Marihat No. 1 – Parapet,Lake Toba, North Sumatra Indonesia.
If you happen to be in Parapat on Saturday, visit the Pekan Tigaraja weekend market just next to the ferry pier and Inna Parapat hotel for local Batak handicrafts, fruit, flowers and more by the local farmers and villagers.
Samoir Island Lake Toba Tomok / Tuk Tuk (Approximately 50 mins from Parapet pier)
Take a ferry cruise to Samoir island the largest volcanic island in Toba Lake and encounter the mythical legends of King Sidabutar, experience Tor-tor dance by Batak tribe of Christian beliefs living in traditional bolon house with peak roof in Tomok village, explore Lake Aek Natonang and Lake Sidihoni, renown as lakes above lake.
Try Batak toba local staple food - mie gomak, a curry noodle with condiment, Sidak fish or shop for ulos traditional woven cotton fabric for gifts or souvenirs at Samoir island or Parapat.
Samosir attractions on the island include Pusuk Buhit dormant volcano, 1800metres above lake toba with Aek rangat sulfur hotsprings at the foot of the mountain, Binangalm waterfall, Batak ulos cloth weaving at Lumban suhi-suhi village, Batak museum tomok, Sigale gale puppet show or simply hike, trek, kayak, jet ski, swim or cruise in the crystal clear lake.
On your cruise back to the Parapet hotels, keep a lookout for Batu Gantung hanging rock on the edge of a mountain which resembles a lady.
Silangit Airport (approximately 2h+ drive from Parapat)
Take a 45 mins flight from the new Silangit airport to Medan Airport - Kuala Namu on Garuda Airlines, Sriwijaya Air, Susi Air or it's only a couple of hours away for 90Km drive.
Medan is the capital of South Sumatra and the largest fourth city in Indonesia after Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung with new Kualanamu international airport (KNO) as gateway to Lake toba and beyond.
Maimoon Palace Medan / Istana Maimun is the royal residence for Sultanate of Deli and was built in 1888 during Dutch colonial times with Malay, Moghal and European influences across its 30 rooms and sprawling gardens, just next to great mosque of Medan, the Al-Maksum mosque.
The Istana main throne room functions as a museum attraction with historical artefacts and Maimoon palace offers a heritage insight to the majestic grandeur of inauguration throne, golden royal bedroom and state meeting rooms.
Visitors could dress up as Sultanate royalty in traditional Malay costumes for an incredibly small fee from RP10,000 (approximately from USD 80 cents/ SGD 1.10, MYR 3.30) depending on your choice of costumes, accessories like gold necklaces, diamanté tiaras, rubies, ceremonial kerises daggers and even gold shoes!
Mesjid Raya Al Mashun mosque was built in 1906 and is reminiscent of the great mosque in Banda Aceh. Beautifully built and maintained, it's certainly instagram worthy to visit the biggest mosque in Medan at Jalan Sisingamamangaraja, Medan Kota.
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni is a majestic Marian Shrine dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of Good Health with a chapel of Annai Velangkanni and a garden for Marian Pope John Paul II.
The Medan Indian Catholic Church's impressive Indo/Mogul architecture, intricate designs and towering temple design draws devotees, visitors and tourists to step into the community hall on the ground hall, worship place on the first floor with balcony and a seven storey tower with triple domes symbolizing Heaven, home of God.
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni was built in 2005 and is located at Jl.Sakura III, No.7-10 Tanjung Selamat, Medan 20134, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
Gunung Timut (Temple of eastern mountain/Yuk tong kuang) Chinese temple at Jalan Hang Tuah, next to Babura river is the largest Taoist Temple in Medan with devoutees in droves during Chinese festival celebrations.
Sri Mariamman temple in Medan is the oldest Hindu temple and was built in 1884. Adjacent to sun plaza, Sri Mariamman temple is at Teuku Umar 18, Kampung Madras, Medan.
Durian lovers can look forward to indulge in Medan durians, known for its lighter taste and goes extremely well with sweet glutinous rice and cockles satay at popular Ucok Durian Shop.
Takeaway boxes of durian prices range from IDR100,000 to IDR250,000 (approx. USD19/MYR81/SGD26)
Takeaway boxes of durian prices range from IDR100,000 to IDR250,000 (approx. USD19/MYR81/SGD26)
Medan souvenir shopping includes Bolu Meranti sponge cake, Bika Ambon Zulayka cake, Napoleon cake, Indo coffee, Sido Muncul ginger tea and tingting ginger sweet.
Medan is famous for Indonesia food, do embark on a culinary delicacy tour in the city. Rumah Makan Sinar Pagi Indonesian food, Bihun Bebek Kumango Koh Asia noodles, Jalan Perniagaan roti canai, Tip top restaurant colonial deco with charcoal oven opened since 1929 and bakery cake shop next door are some popular restaurants. Try local street foods at Merdeka Walk or while zipping across the city in motorised rickshaws becak or toyoko.
Popular Medan hotels - JW Marriott Hotel, Grand Aston City and Danau Toba hotel are all in the vicinity together with Medan rooms stays budget accommodation for everyone to visit the beautiful Medan city.
Lake Toba Medan Travel destinations Indonesia
Best weather to visit Medan : Dry season April to September, wet season October to March.
Lake toba festivals in Indonesia : Lake Toba festival, Coffee Festival Toba, Samoir Jazz festivals, usually May to November, check Wonderful Indonesia travel events page for latest updates
Suggested Medan Indonesian itineraries: Medan, Lake Toba, Berstragi, Gunaling Hill, Sipiso-piso waterfall, Mount Sibayak crater, Sibolangit blue waterfall, Mount Sinabung, Taman Simelan eco resort, Parapat, Samoir Island.
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