a photo journal

Lake Toba

06 February 2020

Danau Toba. It’s the sheer size and beauty of Lake Toba which strikes you while coasting along in a ferry towards the island of Samosir. Mountain greenery rolls down to the lake’s edge and a coolness in the air seems unlike anywhere else in Indonesia.

At over 1,145sq km, and up to a depth of 450 metres in places, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. It is the world’s largest crater lake as well as being the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest in the world.

Mount Toba has erupted three times with the most recent taking place 80,000 years ago. That was the largest volcanic eruption that the world had ever experienced and as a result, the 505-metre-deep Lake Toba was formed.

Samosir Island then, is at the heart of Lake Toba. Formed by a resurgent dome, it is an island within an island within a lake. There are two further lakes on the island within a lake.


And it’s the heart of famous Batak culture. The Bataks are known for their warm hospitality, unforced smiles, and love for having a good time. All of these they share with their guests.

Just like Samosir, the Bataks are an island. The Bataks are predominantly Christian, unlike the rest of Sumatra, which is Muslim. You can see churches in the villages at Lake Toba, eat delicious pork, and the Anker Beers are always chilled.