During a tour on the island of Samosir, you will come across all kinds of things. Hot Springs that don’t exist anymore, monkeys, waterfalls, endless green landscapes and Batak houses. A Batak house is an attraction itself and worth a visit to discover its history.
When you take the boat from Parapat to Tuk Tuk, the first thing you see are the Batak houses. On the water, they built hotels in the shape of these ancient houses. This is crowded by backpackers who visit Lake Toba. We did not stay on the island but in the town of Parapat. However, we recommend to spend the night on the island itself, here is more to experience than in Parapat.
The Batak population is one of the largest families in Indonesia. Nobody knows exactly where they come from, but it is believed they are from Malaysia, the Philippines and the Himalayas. They lived high in the mountains on the fifth-largest island in the world, Sumatra. Batak was at first an insult, invented by the inhabitants of Sumatra and meant ‘high in the mountains’.
So the island of Samosir has an interesting history. Now there is a ‘museum’ on the island where you can learn more about it. We have visited the museum, but this is rather a large Batak house with pictures and objects from the past. No descriptions of how the Bataks used to live. It’s better to ask your guide or driver about history. Ask in advance if they speak good English.
What is nice is that at the museum you can watch a traditional dance at regular intervals. Of course, we were too late haha and they are dressed in traditional clothing and make it a spectacle every day. Please read first the times at which the dance will be performed. A cannibalistic ritual is no longer performed. Maybe for the better…