If you’re looking for a comfortable and well-appointment stay at Lake Toba, North Sumatra without burning your pockets, look no farther than Tabo Cottages, a German-owned lakeside resort centrally located right at Tuktuk on Samosir Island, where accommodation starts at only IDR 390,000 (PHP 1,330)! It’s the best resort at Danau Toba (Lake Toba) – the largest volcanic lake in the world – which draws tourists with its grand landscapes, indigenous culture and languid atmosphere. Most tourists gravitate to Pulau Samosir, an island nearly the size of Singapore located in the middle of Lake Toba. For one, Tabo Cottages is a very convenient place to stay, as ferries from Parapat drop off guests directly at the resort. From here, one can simply walk around the tourist town of Tuktuk, or rent a motorcycle or automobile to explore the farther attractions of the island such as King Siallagan’s Stone Chairs, King Sidabutar Graves and Huta Bolon Simanindo.
I really liked how the resort was laid out. Serviced by a warm and friendly local staff, the rooms and villas are well-spaced throughout the lush resort grounds surrounding a swimming pool next to the lake, avoiding a cramped atmosphere as in other resorts in Tuktuk. While contemporary in design and equipped with modern hotel-style amenities, the villas draw inspiration from indigenous sources with standout high-peaked roof characteristic of the Toba Batak style. Next to the pool stands a roofed structure seemed to be patterned after a Batak rice barn which serves as an excellent area to lounge and drink in the bucolic views of the lake. I spent the early mornings watching the sunrise over the ocean-like Lake Toba from this wonderful spot, watching the ferries float by against the imposing backdrop of the volcanic ridge fencing in the entire lake.
The restaurant serves Indonesian, Chinese and Western dishes in generous portions. During my stay, I feasted on the resort specialty: Bratkartoffeln mit Fisch, roasted potatoes with salad and a hefty slab of fried tilapia freshly caught from the lake. I washed everything down with a healthful glass of passion fruit and orange aloe vera juice! The in-house German bakery also whips up delicious breads, pastries and cakes. The resort, after all, takes its name from the Batak word for “delicious”.
Tabo Cottages offers well-appointed rooms at reasonable rates. Accommodation starts at IDR 390,000 for a standard room with double/twin bed and hot shower; and IDR 600,000 for the Batak Villa, a traditional wooden house with panoramic views, private hammock and king size bed.
How to Get There
Parapat – the gateway town to Lake Toba – can be reached in four to six hours from Amplas bus terminal, 6 km south of the city center of Medan, or Kualanamu International Airport by public bus (IDR 30,000) or shared taxi (prices between IDR 90,000 – 120,000). Hourly ferries (IDR 15,000 per way) link Parapat to Tuktuk on Samosir Island, where passengers are dropped off directly at their respective lakeside resorts. Request the crew beforehand to let you off at Tabo Cottages.