The worst part about finding great places like Lake Toba is that you know it has to come to an end at some point. It’s a bit sad, but all you can do is embrace everyday you have and make some good memories. I went big time and splurged an extra buck fifty to upgrade to another bungalow. It can’t get much better, and the hardest part about leaving will be moving out of Liberta Homestay. Hot shower, big thick mattress, and porch facing the lake.
One day Dutch Sven, an Australia named Damien, and I rented some 125cc scooters to explore Samosir Island. Armed with a mostly accurate map of the island we set off to ride around the entire thing. As soon as I heard it was the largest island inside an island in the world I wanted to drive around it. Everyone else I had talked to just did a trip to the hot springs (1/3 of the way around), and acted as if going all the way around was impossible in a day. That’s all I needed to hear and it was on. From Tuk Tuk we headed counter clockwise, making a lot of random stops to check out school kids making fondu from a street cart, look at the tombs, watching guys fish with homemade gear, and being stopped by beautiful green scenery that begged to be stared at.
About a third of the way around the island you come to the town of Pangururan, which is where you take a right up to the hot springs, and also Tele, if you want to go up to the viewpoint. We were stopped in our tracks about 5km up the road by a heavy downpour and ominous dark clouds, so Tele didn’t happen. It’s a theme of this time of year, with heavy rain being a regular occurrence each day. The monsoon season lasts from October to March. Most days it’s beautiful and sunny for a good portion of the day (usually morning till afternoon), but then at some point the clouds build up and get darker foreshadowing whats to come. Then it comes in sheets turning the roads into streams and beating on everything it hits drowning out all other sound. It brings a freshness to the air. We were lucky to not get hit by this till later on in the day. Before heading to the hot springs, the town is worth a wander and to fill up the belly. There’s a market that runs down one of the side streets, with some random foods to try as well as all the usual colourfulness. I love the markets and just taking a wander through them among all the curious people.
We ate at a little shop on the left, just as you enter town. The dude was a character. He saw Sven putting on spray sunscreen and wanted to smell it. He had a look on his face like he had just sniffed the most beautiful woman lying naked in a bed of roses. He sprayed it on his chest and in his armpits. Never seen that done before.
The hot springs aren’t the most incredible, because they are actually man made pools that they feed the hot water into. There’s a couple spots that you can pay a dollar to go in and use them. Didn’t actually try, but felt the water and it was near scalding. Supposedly you can hike up the mountainside to where the hot springs originate, and there’s a pool. At the end of the road, you can pick up a faint trail off to the left, and me and Damien set off to explore it. Sven had had enough of following people up into the jungle. We followed pipes a few km’s up, but never could find any hot springs, but did find where they sacrifice people (we thought so). It was a fun hike, and at the very least ended up with a beautiful view out over the lake.
The day kind of got away from us so looking at the map decided to take a road that lead over the island and back to the other side, passing by another small lake along the way. It was a wild few hours making it back. Not long after heading up, the rainstorm hit, and it hit hard. We took a coffee break, but there was no waiting it out. Sven was the smart one who brought a poncho, and earned the nickname yellow poncho. It was the type of rain that completely soaked you in seconds, so I just went with it and rode topless, and definitely got some puzzled looks from the locals.
For over an hour we were on a wild road. Not sure I’ve ever driven scooters on something like that. It was big stones coming out at every angle and huge puddles that would even be challenging on a proper offered motorcycle. We romped those little scooters through it and it’s a miracle nobody crashed or got a flat tire. I think it was the good karma from giving a school kid a ride earlier in the day.
Yellow poncho had only recently learned to ride one and toughed through it. At one point I think he had a realisation like the last one, except for this one was “I followed a crazy Aussie and American up into oblivion not entirely sure where the road would head”. Finding a sealed road never felt so good on the but cheeks. Hers’s a map of Samosir Island. We went around the whole east side from Tuk Tuk to Pangururan. Then over the middle of the island past the small lake, eventually getting to Parmonongan, twisted down to Tomok, and just made it back to Tuk Tuk as daylight left us.
Great way to explore Samosir Island and many memories were made.