Trip to Lake Toba – January 24th – 27th 2011 Part 1 – Parapat

30 01 2011


After a hiatus of more than a year, I thought that I should really revive my travel blog.  In between now and then, we have been blessed by our trips to a few other places but most of all, to USA to attend our daughter’s graduation. I will write on that trip to and try not to procrastinate. Right now, I have to write about this particular trip, because of some really strange and amusing stuff that happened. It’s all about MAGIC!

The road from Medan to Parapat was narrow but not rough

Scenic road

Most of the Bataks are Christians, so you will see many churches along the way

 

One thing the families here have in common – almost everyone has a satellite dish – TV’s a big thing here!

 

Day 1 – Medan and Parapat, Lake Toba

This was our company’s annual trip/dinner. We took the first flight out. It’s a good idea to fly into Medan early because the road trip to Parapat is a long one. We stayed a night in Parapat instead of going directly across to Samosir because the tour agent arranged our itinerary as such. Parapat is not as peaceful as Samosir and the water at this part of the lake is not as clean. When you get to Samosir, you will feel that you want more than 1 night there. If, I had not been so busy, I would have seen to the entire trip myself and not stay at Parapat, which I feel was not necessary. BUT then again, if I had arranged everything myself, then the strange MAGIC would not have happened.

So what is there to talk about Parapat? Nothing much really, except that it gives you the excitement of the first glimpse of THE LAKE! Expect the “ooh-s” and “ah-s” as you take the final bend and see the lake.  We stayed at Niagara Hotel. I’d say that it caters mostly to Malaysians and Singaporeans. Even the electrical socket points are catered for us.

First glimpse of the Lake is exciting

Nigara Hotel, Parapat, Lake Toba

 

Allan & Friends’ Staff

And Us

Nothing much to do at night but there are two pool tables available IDR5k per game – really worth it at less than RM2/game!

Tips to  remember:

1)   Bring enough IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) with you unless you have brand new US dollars. Any US currency that is folded, looks old or of an older sequence gets a lower currency exchange rate. The current rate for new bills is USD$1=IDR9,005. IF your notes are not new and you haggle a bit, you can get about USD$1=IDR8,800.00. For Malaysians, better to bring Ringgit instead of USD. The rate for Malaysian Ringgit is pretty decent.

2)   Some custom officers take their duties very seriously and go through the whole works in processing visitors, which includes finger printing ALL the fingers, photo taking and asking questions – no matter how long the queue is. So your bags may come out really fast but passing through immigration takes up your time.

3)   The seemingly short distance from Medan to Lake Toba is deceiving because the roads are narrow and bumpy. The journey takes a much longer time than anticipated.

4)   If you can help it, AVOID taking the route through Brastagi because the roads are so port hole ridden that it bears on the ridiculous!

5)   In view of (4) and (5) above, please MAKE SURE the vehicle you are renting is in good shape with a good air cond system and has enough power to travel fast.

6)  Set aside IDR75,000 per person for your exit tax. It MUST be paid in IDR, nothing else, no credit cards accepted too.

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