- Elevation: 1,713 m (5,620 ft)
- Prominence: 806 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Sumatera Utara (North Sumatra)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none
This Ribu is the highest point on the volcanic island of Samosir, which lies within the vast Toba caldera complex – a landscape formed 74,000 years ago by the largest volcanic explosion in the history of the world. It was so enormous that it is thought that the eruptions nearly wiped out all human life on the planet. Lake Toba is Earth’s largest volcanic lake, measuring a staggering 100 kilometres by 30 kilometres. From Tuk Tuk (895m above sea level), the flattish ridge of the island is clearly visible, and the highest point lies in forest just 4km (in a straight line) from Tuk Tuk.
Strangely, it is very uncommon for people to request a guide for a hike to the highest point of the island. There are several hikes from Ambarita and Tomok, but none of the usual routes actual goes close to the highest point of the island. Whereas much of Samosir island is deforested, a reasonable amount of forest remains on the flat summit ridge. This means that views are limited at the very top but there are some excellent views over the lake on the route up into the hills.
Farm tracks criss-cross the island but they are so bumpy that you would need either a sturdy farm vehicle such as a truck or – better still – a brave ojek driver! You can reach the top of the island in about one and a half hours from Tuk Tuk by ojek – the route leads on good quality roads through the messy market area of Tomok and then up into the hills, past a lovely viewpoint over the lake, a waterfall before reaching close to the top of the ridge. At the crest of the ridge you need to take a sharp right turn (1,560m) off the main road and along the bumpy stone farm track for about 7km. If in doubt, ask for Siulak Hosa. Once on this main stone track, head straight or stay right (do not take either of the two left turns near the beginning). Once in the forest there are only limited views but the forest is reasonably pleasant.
Later on, when you reach a flat crossroads with a sign for Ronggur Nhuta (left) or Siulak Hosa (right) be sure to turn right. When you reach another sign for 3 different destinations (straight on) or Siulak Hosa (right) be sure to go straight on instead of downhill to Siulak Hosa. By this time you are getting close to the summit but you will probably needs GPS co-ordinates to know where to stop on the track closest to the true highpoint of the island.
There are one or two large ponds near the summit which are very attractive in the early morning light. The farm tracks goes to within 150 metres of the true summit, which until recently was in dense forest surrounded by dense undergrowth. However in 2017 there had been some burning of the undergrowth making it a reasonably easy 10 minute hike up to the right side of the farm track through thick pathless forest to the highest point. You can return the same way back to Tuk Tuk in about an hour.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (updated May 2017)
- Getting there: The whole Toba area is one of Indonesia’s most visited places. Getting to/from Samosir from Sumatra’s capital, Medan, is straightforward but time-consuming. It is better to arrange transport in advance because the prices of taxis at Medan airport are ridiculous! It takes about 4 hours in a private car from Medan to Tiga Raja pier at Parapat (for the 30 minute ferry ride to Tuk Tuk). Shared taxis from Parapat to Medan cost just Rp75,000 per person and leave almost every hour during the day. It’s best to reserve in advance in either Parapat or Tuk Tuk. Another option since 2017 is to fly direct to Silangit from Jakarta. Silangit is less than 2 hours from Parapat and is very close to the southern end of the lake. Building work is still ongoing at the airport itself but it is going to be international eventually and transport options are likely to improve. At present (2017) you can hire a car and driver to Parapat for Rp400,000 (or if alone and very lucky just share a car with any others heading in the same direction for a fraction of the cost) or walk to the main road (1.5km away) and get in a cramped minivan to Parapat (Rp40,000 per person). The last boat over to Tuk Tuk leaves Parapat at around 6 or 7pm and the first one back is at 6.45am.
- Accommodation: Plenty of places to stay in Tuk Tuk and nearby. To suit all budgets and tastes.
- Permits: None required.
- Water sources: Not needed if you take an ojek all the way! Otherwise, take a couple of small bottles for the ridge walk.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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