The ferry will take you to see the Hanging Stone (Batu Gantung) Legend I written in the intro. I didn't catch up what everyone was looking, I thought the cliff got the shape of dog head, I have to go thru my pictures in Camera to find out, oh.. its the hanging stone with the shape of a woman hanging on the cliff.
Picture 2, see the circle, that the hanging stone.
While the boat moved slowly around that part of lake, you can see a group of children, some swimming and some in the special boat, craved from a tree trunk (I think so).. well, those kids will ask you to throw some coins into the lake and they will dive in, to get the coins in the lake, I don't know how deep but they managed to get the coins. Clever boys but be careful not to drown inside the lake.
The trip from Parapat to Tomok is approx 40 minutes. Our boat had quite a lot of Muslim local tourists, both young and old. It was fun mixing with them, exchanging smile and start sharing their roasted peanuts. There is an old lady selling roasted and steamed peanuts and a boy started singing old indonesian songs to entertain everyone in the boat, I can still remembered the old songs I used to learn in school. After so much of singing, he will come with a small plastic bag, if you like singing then give him some money which I did. :-))
Two of my favourite Indonesian songs
Ayam Den Lapeh
Jali-Jali in Keroncong
Did you notice on the roof of the boat, the life-jackets, i wonder if it is can be used.
The road from Medan to Parapat was narrow and with so much cars, lorries, buses on the road, you could pee in the pant and applied imaginary brake to the car especially when the buses overcut and drives in very dangerous manner..
Before reaching Parapat, I loved to see the trees along the road, so beautiful. Its a forest reserved named Sibaganding Protected Forest or Hutan Sibaganding in Bahasa Indonesia. Oh yes, I saw a lot of red butt monkeys, a few soldiers statues and accident cars displayed on road side to remind people to drive carefully..
Anyway, I enjoyed the sceneries all the way from Medan to Parapat.
I do not know, the name for this harbour / jetty. Its not Tiga Rajas or Ajibata. I really have no idea, if only someone can point it out for me. Anyway, the ferry keep on taking passengers even though there are no more sittings. I can't even sit properly with 4 persons sharing a metal bench. I paid 15,000 rupiah for thru and fro trip to Tomok.
What a wonderful place to picnic and swimming in the world largest volcanic lake in the world. Its Easter Sunday in Indonesia, so many people came here to relax, singing in groups, eating with friends and family, swimming and playing around with black rubber duck.
Actually, we are on our way to sit a ferry to Tomok in Samosir Island. I can only see local faces and not only foreigner except me and tracy with Chinese face. haha..
The garden of Eden is an example of “agrowisata” (rural tourism), a for of tourism which is appreciated a lot by Indonesian coming from big and crowded cities and enjoy the countryside and enjoy some attractions at tourists spots. The young guys who drove me on their bikes around Parapat took me there and I enjoyed my visit here, walking in the forest, reaching a small waterfall, looking at birds and insects, and have an insight of Indonesian conception of tourism.
Taman Eden is locaed 15 km from Parapat on the road to Balige (South of Lake Toba), and is indicated on the road side (picture 1). Do not expect to visit the rain forest in its primitive state, it is here equipped, the visit is made easy and the entrance and trails are well decorated (picture 2), and note the small blue signs, we will tell about a special one few lines down. Walking on the trail to the waterfalls you can enjoy nice vistas on paddy fields from inside the forest (picture 3).
This forest is maintained by lots of people, coming to plant themselves trees, other give money to the association running the park, and signs with their names are erected next to trees they contributed to plant, and other even plant in the name of people in whom they have faith, from whom they hope some change in the world affairs (picture 4): yes even Obama (who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia) has his tree here!
The walk in the forest takes you to the waterfalls, and just before you can enjoy the refreshing view of the river (picture 5).
Lumban Julu, 15 km from Parapat, main road to Balige.
Entrance: 1500 rp
Open all day, every day; it was very quiet when I visited, had to call an employee to be sure I can visit. . . .
Do not expect to see the Niagara Falls, the falls here are quite small, the river is small, but in the forest it is nice to find this spot after a half hour hike. The waterfalls are in two main steps and fall in a shallow pond where it is even possible to have a bath (picture 1) (without soap! Of course). A closer look at the falling water on picture 2.
On the way back, you can enjoy the light in the leaves when the sun passes through the canopy (picture 3), observe strange fruits on some unknown (to me!) trees (picture 4). As we are in humid environment, don’t be surprised to see dragonflies, like the one on picture 5; If you like nature, despite it is a bit laid out here, Taman Eden is a nice place to visit for a few hours; there is much more to do apparently, according to the website, and this probably takes place in the tourist season (school holidays, here).
The chances of meeting a tiger, elephant or leopard are very low, but tiny animals make nature wonderful too, and it is fun to observe; as we are near a lake, there are lots of dragonflies, and they are very aesthetic, (picture 1).
Looking at the light playing in the bougainvillea is a nice activity too (picture 2), but there must be sun, so best is early morning for that , as in February, the clouds accumulate quickly against the mountains. Morning is also the best time to see butterflies like this one on picture 3. The dragonfly of picture 4seems quite common around Lake Toba, but I do not know about this colourful but very shy bird (picture 5).
I spent some time looking at the animals, plants and flowers; this “tip” is just an introduction to the travelogues.
Who did not dream of a “heavenly” life on an island, in warm climate, eating coconuts and bananas, working just what is necessary, making love all day, taking care of kids, fishing, sleeping. . . . peace, peace, peace. . . . Hah! That is only dram and not exactly realistic; Bougainville and Cook who were fascinated by life in Polynesia or Hawaii, knew real life could not be that! Ah of course, here the water is a lake, but the principle is the same. So, I dreamed and looked a bit at local life, and I found it peaceful, quiet, just appealing, it was difficult to come back on earth sometimes. . . . . Imagine, transporting coconuts in your canoe (first picture) and laughing loud at beauty of life. . . . , (and remembering old funny songs like : Coconut Woman; well, OK, not exactly Indonesian. . . :))), catching some fish to bring back for dinner for the family (picture 2). . . . I would like that. . . for some time! When going out on the lake, you need to protect from the sun (picture 3).
I would like to go out late evening (picture 4), and when the sun sets, feel lost and alone in the world (picture 5).
The pillars of this house (picture 1) represent lizards above human heads, as you can see on picture 2, where a woman is sitting in typical pose; this is on the right side of the house, on the left side is a man (picture 3); below are painted heads. I do not know what that means, what is behind these décor; we have seen the gables of houses with the head of the snake, the breast on the facades of houses, here, lizards (crocodiles?). Cosmological order is here, religious symbols, and avoiding to write stupidities, I only keep admiring the carvings, paints, all the symbols, and dream a bit, try to figure out for myself what that could mean and do some research in books about the Batak.
You can see the lizards almost everywhere, like here (picture 4) in Tuktuk, at the entrance of a tourist resort, or on shrines you find in the countryside, like here, (picture 5), in the hills above Tomok.