Black Taxi from Toba Lake to Pematang Siantar

I entered Eloise’s room to pick up my backpack which I had entrusted since morning. I checked out in the morning and continued to exploring Samosir all day with her. I said good-bye to her and prepared to go to Pematang Siantar, while she was still overnight at Samosir.

Bagus Bay Homestay staff directed me to wait for a ferry at the nearest port. Turn left after exiting the hotel, a few tens of meters later, I entered a alley at left side of road. Keep stepping until I reached a stall, right on port edge.

Tigaraja, Sir? Wait for half an hour, okay?“, Said a timer to me. Half an hour which was more than enough to ate a bowl of instant noodles with egg topping for USD 1.1 in stall corner.

Ferry looked approaching and the timer was silently pointing my face, then his index finger was pointing toward the ferry. I understand what that means.

Not even perfectly leaning yet, I jumped into the ferry. All passengers on the left deck shouted. “Watch out, Sir!” I waved like an artist. It turned out that my ability to maneuver with motorboats in Jatiluhur Dam when I became a fish farm salesman was still good.

Zoe’s Paradise Hotel (white) and Dumasari Hotel (red) stared at me when leaving Samosir.
Heading to Tigaraja port in 50 minutes.

The man in a faded blue jeans was intently staring in the distance when I descended the ferry. There isn’t other way to avoid it. I looked like waiting for a thug who was ready to hit me.

Siantar, Sir. Forty thousand Rupiah (USD 3)?“, He said while shadowing my steps. “Oh, taxi service“, I said. Chasing INTRA Bus which would leave at seven o’clock in the evening, I said yes. And I was taken to Bagus Taxi’s office.

Dying for a pee but didn’t getting a toilet, someone took a shower too long….Huftt.
Driver and passenger were hostile through a wooden pawns fight.

Looked like I was the last filler in taxi manifest. So fast, I’ve just sat on right side of middle row seat.

Right on my left, an old man who liked smoking during journey.

Black Avanza (one of Toyota type in Indonesia) swirled to measure street and picked up passengers one by one. pickup was ended with one incident when a woman missed her wallet in the fifth kilometer of our trip. It was annoying but can make me a little bit laugh. There wasn’t choice, the taxi turned back to get her wallet.

Leaving Toba Lake, the taxi speed forced me to open my eyes. It invited me to snaking and enjoying beautiful natural scenery of Simalungun Regency. Oil palm plantations, fields, hills and valleys were passed one by one. Occasionally the driver created humors, one of it when he frantically installing a seat belt which he didn’t wear in unison with a passenger next to him, even failedly installing it, until we passed the police operation area….Luckily, he didn’t stopped by police.

Within an hour and 20 minutes, taxi started to entering city edge, then headed to downtown via Gereja Street and Merdeka Street with two monuments as city landmarks.

Adipura Monument. Siantar has won this environmental award for four times.
Wahana Tata Nugraha Monument in President Soeharto era, an award for the excellent of transportation management.

Brother, once you get to Parluasan area, just go to the bus office, be careful“, said Erwin (my backpacker friend who accidentally met on KL HoHo Bus on 2013). Maybe he was worried about me when entering Parluasan area who was famous for its thugs. But I casually responded because I knew that I would be dropped right in front of the INTRA bus office.

I arrived…..

Let’s waited for brother Erwin to pick me up for getting around Pematang Siantar for a moment.t

50 Minutes Sailing on Toba Lake, North Sumatra

“Sir, please fill it,” a ferry crew smiled and gave me a manifest sheet which had already been humid because of drizzle exposure all day. I must write my name, address and age in it. This process reminded me to the sinking of a ferry “Sinar Bangun” in Simanando area (an area on Toba lake) 4 months before I filled the manifest.

I waited for one hour since my arrival at Tigaraja Port until the manifest came. I chose to docked at Tomok Port even though I will spend the night around Tuk Tuk Port.

Entering 1st floor deck of ferry, a granny greeted me and offered me to bought her smoky boiled peanuts, it suitable for cold weather that time.

The 2nd floor deck was my spot choice to caught some pictures using my camera for 50 minutes sailing.…I deliberately sat near shelf of life jackets… hihihi, hopefully I didn’t have to “jumped”.

Two beautiful women and three young men who more handsome than me walked up and down the deck for got selfie and took pictures, I just saw them and ate my hot peanuts. I chewed it one by one to against cold weather.

I was waiting for Batak (a original ethnic in north Sumatra) song, but instead NOAH song (a famous modern band group in Indonesia) sang throughout the trip. It was understandably because a captain and crew were young.

Okay whatever …. It was time to acted.

Moving to the left and right of 2nd floor ferry deck, my eyes were amazed by hills with thin clouds on top.… Incredible paintings of God … My eyes began to cried.

On deck, the crew took USD 0,7 per passenger as fare… Around 3:02 pm, ferry arrived at a port, I hurried down. But a crew detained me, apparently it wasn’t the intended Tomok Port. The port belongs to Lopo Inn Hotel … Maybe they who got off would stay in this hotel.

Only 5 minutes for dropped all passengers at Lopo Inn Port then ferry departed for Tomok Port. And within 3 minutes, ferry approached Tomok port.

I directly hunted photos around it when everyone quickly left the port. I murmured, “Maybe, God willn’t deliver me here twice”, so I would maximized every moment in my adventure.

Leaving the outer side of port I began to entering tourist area of Tomok. The first view that I passed was a long aisle of souvenir stalls. It spoiled my eyes. But it won’t affect backpacker like me who have never bought airplane baggage for souvenir space and only brought backpack that was fully loaded by travel equipment.

My strategy was right to left Medan early morning and firstly headed to Tomok in Toba lake. Time was mine now, there were 3 hours to visit some attractions in Tomok before checked in to Bagus Bay Homestay in Tuk Tuk area.

Where did I have to visited attractions?

Bus “SEJAHTERA” from Medan to Toba Lake, North Sumatra

I would tell my journey by Bus “SEJAHTERA” from Medan City to Toba Lake. The distance was 170 km and bus fare was IDR 40,000 (USD 2,85). The special thing wasn’t on got into the bus but in curiosity along the trip to immediately met the largest volcanic lake in the world.

dhazong

Yes that is the Dazhong Backpacker’s Hostel lobby….Bored.… became a first guest who woke up on early morning, but my plan failed to catched the first departure Bus “SEJAHTERA” on 6 am. One hour pacing, I made noisy sound with a hope that hostel owner would get up. Starting by pushed bell many times at reception desk or got in and out the door so the “WELCOME” sound sensor rang. Crazy activity aimed to got back my deposit money in hostel.

6:10am He woke up.…but, I didn’t immediately get GORIDE (online base transportation in Indonesia) because of a weak signal, I decided to got close to center of Little India area, precisely at Shri Mariamman Temple. Around 6:34am GORIDE picked me up. Didn’t breakfast yet I immediately went up, I would definitely arrive at Amplas Terminal 5 minutes before bus departed. It was true that GORIDE hadn’t entered yet into terminal. The bus looked out from terminal, I rushed down from GORIDE and waiting for bus to approached me.

Here, I got a photo of Amplas Terminal on a day before when I arrived from Kualanamu Airport:

amplas

10 minutes into bus, drizzle turned into heavy rain. This economy bus often stopped for raising passengers before entering into highway. Rain requires all windows to be closed. It was the challenge.… how to set my breath so didn’t inhale much smoke along the way. With closed windows and many passengers smoked, when they finished one cigarette then they would smoke other ones.…crazy.

When starving, no one food hawker came into bus. I was only occasionally chatting on Facebook Massanger with “The Beauty” Eloise who kept asking how I was going to Toba Lake, She was an Australian solo traveler who met me at dormitory in Medan City. She would go to Toba Lake in the day by copying what I did. Also, She asked where I got a guesthouse in Toba Lake for IDR 60,000 (USD 4,3)… Later I would tell to you how finally we were both riding a motorcycle on exploring Samosir island.

bus sejahtera

Noisy sound of worn wipers together with Batak songs accompanied me to enjoyed view of streets, villages, and oil palm plantations.

At 11:25 my eyes were stunned on appearance of wide waters after bus descended a ridge somewhere. Yesss … it was Toba Lake … It was cool.

Driver’s change to bus return trip to Medan was did before arriving at Tigaraja Ferry Port. I almost went too far from drop point because bus conductor didn’t tell me where the bus was, I just monitored “Your Position” on Google Maps. It looked like I stayed away from Tigaraja Port. I decided to get off from bus and walked in a drizzle to port.

Didn’t want to lost the moment of photo hunting along Tigaraja Port then I bought umbrella for IDR 50,000 (USD 3,5) in the market around the port.

tigaraja

Several corners of Tigaraja Port

Toba Lake … I came!