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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Samosir Island. The Vulcano Islan at Lake Toba

Samosir, or Pulau Samosir, is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba. Lake Toba is located in the north of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Administratively, it is governed as 6 of 9 districts within Samosir Regency.

The lake and island were formed after the eruption of a super volcano some 75 000 years ago. The island was originally connected to the surrounding caldera wall by a small isthmus, which was cut through to aid navigation.

At 630km², Samosir is also notable as being the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest lake island in the world. It also has 2 named lakes, Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang. Across the lake on the east from the island lies Uluan Peninsula.

Samosir is a popular tourist destination due to the fantastic vistas it offers. The tourist resorts are concentrated in the Tuktuk and Tomok area. The island is the centre of the Batak culture and many of this people's artifacts remain on the island.

Most of the people who live around Lake Toba are ethnically Bataks. Traditional Batak houses, which can still be seen nowadays around Lake Toba, are noted for their distinctive roofs (which curve upwards at each end, as a boat's hull does) and their colorful decor. "Batak" include several groups with distinct, albeit related, languages and customs (adat). While the term is also used to include the Toba, Karo, Pak Pak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing groups.

The closest town to the lake Toba is Parapat, about 3 hours driving from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra; Ferry can be used to cross over the lake and reach a few ferry docks of the Samosir island. But the major one is Tomok, which is the center of tourism area of Samosir island.

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