An Island Of Adventure: Best Things To Do In Samosir Island, Indonesia

things to do in samosir island indonesia

Beneath the sound of the traditional Tor Tor dance music and the smell of delicious food with Andaliman spices, lies Samosir Island, in the heart of Lake Toba and the home of the Batak Tribe. Beautiful Samosir Island is a large volcanic island in the middle of Lake Toba, in north Sumatra, Indonesia and is the fifth largest lake island in the world and almost the same size as Singapore.

There are several ways to reach Samosir Island from Medan, the capital city of north Sumatra. You can hop on the tourist bus from Medan to Parapat and take the ferry to reach to Samosir Island, or you can take a domestic flight by Susi Air from Medan to Silangit, hop on the bus to Parapat and take the ferry. If you have a bit of extra room in your budget and depending on weather and season, you can rent a car and travel by land through the Karo district. During your road trip to Samosir, you will be granted with a breathtaking view of Lake Toba and Samosir Island as you approach.

Samosir Island is not only one of the culturally rich regions of Indonesia that still preserves its traditional rituals, but it also preserves its natural scenery, which makes it a great alternative adventure holiday, in Indonesia.

1. Eat like a local at Tomok Village

Gereja HKBP Tomok, Samosir
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dan Lundberg used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Batak people know how to eat delicious and tasty food. So, eating like a local is the first adventurous activity you must do while you are on Samosir Island. There is a typical Lake Toba freshwater fish called the Pora Pora and enjoying it deep-fried, is the best choice for a fresh lunch by the lake. It’s delicious!

Don’t forget to also try the famous Naniura - Indonesians call it “Batak sushi" because the fish is cooked without cooking it in the traditional way. Using freshwater fish as the main ingredients, Naniura is cooked in a mix of herbs and spices, that will give you the freshest taste imaginable. I wouldn’t call it sushi, though. It’s more like ceviche - the dish from South America where they cook the fish by marinating it in a mix of herbs and spices.

And, of course, you must try the highlight of Batak food, the signature grilled pork dish with its famous Andaliman spices. It’s so delicious and even tastier with Andaliman chili.

Wash your hands, order some rice, use your hands and eat like the locals!

Sekapur Sirih Restaurant

Address: Jl. Lkr. Tuktuk, Tuktuk Siadong, Simanindo, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

2. Hike Pusuk Buhit Mountain

pusuk buhit
Source: Photo by Flickr user Johnson Ringo used under CC BY 2.0

Pusuk Buhit is a volcanic mountain, 1972 meters (6470 feet) above sea level, on Samosir Island, and the peak is the best place to get a 360 view of Lake Toba. In the daytime, you will see clouds cover several areas of Lake Toba and by night you will see the town with the lights, below.

You can continue your hike to Teletower at Pangururan regency. For those who love photography, Tele Tower is the best spot to catch the amazing view of Lake Toba and Samosir Island.

You can then walk further to Sianjur Mula Mula village and learn about the history of the Batak tribe. It’s a mountainous area and worth the hike.

Pusuk Buhit Mountain

Address: Ginolat, Sianjur Mula Mula, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

3. Wear your Ulos and dance with the locals at the Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum

Tari Sigale-gale Pulau Samosir
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dan Lundberg used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum is the former home of Raja Simalungun, the king that is famous for his fourteen wives -yes fourteen! This is the right place for you to learn about the Batak tribe, from their ancient furniture, weapons and famous “Ulos”, or traditional handmade batik sarongs.

At 10.30 am from Monday to Saturday, you will be invited to dance the Tor Tor dance with the locals. The Tor Tor dance is an ancient Batak dance, which represents respect to the gods and ancient spirits. Nowadays, the Tor Tor dance represents respect to the elders and guests.

You will be requested to make a donation, after the dance - the money is used to support the maintenance of the village. So, wear your Ulos, hear the gondang music and start dancing!

Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum

Address: Jl. Pelabuhan Simanindo, Simanindo Sangkal, Simanindo, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

4. Cool down at Pasir Putih Parbaba Beach

Scenery of Pasir Putih Beach, Samosir Island 03 (DS)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christian Advs Sltg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There is a white sand beach on Samosir Island and it’s the best place to cool down after a sweaty day around the island. The water is so cool and calm - you can swim and relax, or rent a canoe to explore the surrounding shore.

Pasir Putih Parbaba Beach promotes eco-tourism by providing a beach volleyball court. You can practice your volleyball skills with the locals.

Pasir Putih Parbaba Beach

Address: Situngkir, Pangururan, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra

5. A visit to Lake Sidihoni - a lake on a lake

Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Between the volcanic mountains of Samosir Island, lies Lake Sidihoni, a lake on a lake. Sitting at an altitude of 1300 metres (4265 feet), Lake Sidihoni is a place where you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset.

Trek around Lake Sidihoni and you will definitely enjoy the beautiful scenery that includes some buffalos and cows who come to drink the water at the lake.

Lake Sidihoni

Address: Samosir Island, Indonesia

6. Be a tourist at the Tuk Tuk Village

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Tuk Tuk Village is a village developed for tourism purposes and it is the most complete facility on Samosir Island, with its variety of accommodation, its mix of restaurants, and proximity to the cultural village of Tomok. It’s also a perfect destination to enjoy Lake Toba and Samosir Island on a day trip.

You can taste some of the traditional dishes in Tuk Tuk Village, such as Tinombur, a grilled fish from Lake Toba. Or you can try a mix of traditional and western dishes at several other restaurants, here. Check out Today’s Cafe for some delicious food and pay a visit to Tomok Cultural Village to shop for some souvenirs and Ulos, to bring home.

Tuk Tuk Village is also the place to rent a boat and explore Lake Toba. The boat captain can stop the boat at several places where you can just jump in and take a swim.

Today's Cafe

Address: Jalan Linkar 30, TukTuk Samosir Island, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

7. Ride your bike around Samosir Island

Hills of Samosir Island seen from BDGS 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christian Advs Sltg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

While you are at Tuktuk village, rent bicycle and start explore Samosir Island. It’s another adventurous way to explore the beautiful island. You can get different views of the lake when you explore with your bicycle. And it’s a great way to exercise too!

So what are you waiting for? Pack your picnic bag and be ready to get lost!

Samosir Cycling Tour

Address: Tabo Cottages, Tuktuk, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Website: Samosir Cycling Tour

8. Paragliding at Martahan Janji Village

Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

When you need more of an adrenaline rush than what hiking or cycling can provide, come and visit Martahan Janji Village. The village offers paragliding and even holds a national paragliding competition, too. The Martahan Janji Village is the best area to paraglide, with perfect wind speed that will have you enjoying Samosir Island and Lake Toba from a bird’s eye view. You will land in the Partukko Naginjang area, which is safe and has wide, flat terrain.

The best time to paraglide is in the summer, for perfect weather and wind. It’s a bit of a pricey activity, but everything is included, so you don’t need to bring your own kit. The activity is open to all levels, from beginner to expert.

Paragliding Partukko Naginjang

Website: Paragliding Partukko Naginjang

9. Mystical tomb of King Sidabutar

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The ancient history of Indonesia is full of mysticism, including the famous tomb of King Sidabutar. Legend says that King Sidabutar is the first person to come to Samosir Island. It is believed that he was a very powerful man that received his power from his dreadlocked hair.

The tomb complex is unique because the tomb is placed above the ground instead of under the soil like common tombs. The tomb is made of solid rock, for the king and the rest of his family.

Pay attention to the rules when you visit the tomb because it’s a highly respected complex and you must wear Ulos, or a sarong, during your visit.

Ancient Tomb of Sidabutar King

Address: Tomok, Simanindo, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

10. Swimming at the Hadabuan Naisogop Waterfall

Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Hadabuan Naisogop Waterfall is still a new tourist destination because it is located between the hills, on Samosir Island. After a day of exploring Samosir Island, the waterfall is like a hidden gem and a perfectly relaxing place.

It is located in Urat Village and you can reach the waterfall with a 1-2 km (.6-1.2 mile) walk. Beautiful and quiet scenery will be presented to you at the end of the walk. It’s like a therapy session, where you can release all of your stress by dipping into the fresh water or just enjoying the sound of the waterfall.

Hadabuan Naisogop Waterfall

Address: Sarimarrihit, Sianjur Mula Mula, Samosir Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Adventure and more…

Lake Toba & Samosir Island 02
Source: Photo by user Christian Advs Sltg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Indulge in cultural and natural holiday activities on Samosir Island and the Lake Toba region. You can also explore Parapat and Berastagi to learn more about Batak history. There is a variety of accommodation in the area, like homestays, villas, and hotels that will meet your needs.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I’m an Indonesian girl who loves to travel the world. I’ve been to 4 continents, 17 countries, and still counting for more. I’m a Communication Specialist, Marketing Consultant, and Freelance...Read more

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