The stunning landscape of North Sumatra’s Lake Toba.
They once said “all roads lead to Rome”. The same saying applies to Lake Toba in North Sumatra.
To reach Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake covering 1,707 square kilometers, the easiest way is by flying to Medan and continuing with a four-hour journey by car. Looking for a cheaper way to get there? Many buses connect Medan and Parapat, the small town where Lake Toba is located, with a six-hour trip.
For those departing from Malaysia, there’s another challenging route if you’re up for a little adventure.
Tanjungbalai, with its port of Teluk Nibung, is an area where Batak and Malay cultures meet. It is worthwhile spending a day or two in the city, enjoying the time sampling the unique cuisine or watching art performances.
Tanjungbalai has a population of 156,000 residents, about 42 percent of them are Bataks while just over 15 percent are of Malay descent.
Taste the bi-cultural mix through some traditional dishes like pongat (cucurbits or bananas stewed in sugar overnight, then blended with coconut milk until it turns black), bubur pedas (spicy porridge made from various vegetables and medicinal plants) and rendang serai kepah (a type of clam cooked in spices and coconut milk).
In Tanjungbalai, a tour along the
Our traditional customs, such as marriage rituals, circumcision ceremonies or house-moving ceremonies,
are also interesting
river is worth a try, as the waters are sourced from both Lake Toba and the Strait of Malacca.
Despite its hidden treasure as a tourism spot, most of those using the Tanjungbalai route are workers and merchants going about their everyday business.
The local administration has recently put more effort into attracting more tourists, especially foreigners, to visit Tanjungbalai before they get to Lake Toba.
The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry also stepped in by initiating the Tanjungbalai and Toba Cultural Festival.
Located in Lapangan Pasir, Tanjungbalai, the festival is set to be held annually. It featured dance performances such as Gordang Sambilan, Tor-Tor, Melayu and Gubang.
The festival also displays cuisine and a craft market in several booths to introduce local dishes and artworks.
“We have so much to develop for Tanjungbalai tourism. We could develop river tours and local crafts such as accessories made from clamshells,” said Tanjungbalai mayor Thamrin Munthe.
“Our traditional customs, such as marriage rituals, circumcision ceremonies or house-moving ceremonies are also interesting enough to watch.”
Originally published on jakpost/ travel.com