// Samosir


Elevation: 1,713 m (5,620 ft) Prominence: 806 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Sumatera Utara (North Sumatra)
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Bagging It!

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, 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 farm vehicle 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 a signpost near a farm you need to take a right turn along the bumpy farm track for about 7km. Once in the forest there are only limited views but the forest is reasonably pleasant and 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 100 metres of the true summit, which is in dense forest and would appear to be inaccessible (please contact us if you have found this not to be the case!). You can return the same way back to Tuk Tuk in about an hour.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn


Getting there The whole Toba area is one of Indonesia’s most visited places, so getting to/from Samosir from Sumatra’s capital, Medan, is straightforward. 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 Parapat (for the 30 minute ferry ride to Tuk Tuk). Shared taxisfrom 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.
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.
Fund or join an expedition: fund expeditions small Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): parapat


Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

Trip Reports and Comments

2 entries for “Samosir”

  1. avatar

    This ‘hike’ is one of the stranger ones I’ve undertaken! From one of the bars in Tuk Tuk I arranged a guide/ojek for 400,000 for 4 hours (I thought enough time to get there and back plus an hour or so to explore the actual summit ridge). I didn’t have much time so we arranged to meet outside my hotel at 4am so we’d be at the top for dawn and I’d be back in time to get the ferry over to Parapat and bus back to Medan.
    By 4.15am the guide still hadn’t shown up so I gave him a call. Still in bed! He arrived with a friend 20 minutes later and could barely stand up. He had been at a nightclub and was clearly drunk and under the influence of the local magic mushrooms or similar!!! Not the most reliable of people!
    Anyway, his less drunk friend agreed to take me up to the top of the mountain (although they found it very odd and the first time they could remember that anyone had requested to go to the highest point of Samosir island).
    I was armed with my GPS with the summit co-ordinates and in just under 90 minutes we were as close as I thought we could get to the summit – about 20 metres lower than the densely forested top which lay just over 100 metres away.
    Looking on Google Earth, the trail actually loops round the true peak, so there is a very small chance that the true peak is accessible from the other side but I very much doubt it as there would be no logical reason for locals to make a trail through the jungle just to be at the true high point of the island. It’s a nice, peaceful summit ridge with some interesting wildlife and excellent views over the lake further down on the main road. Although it’s not the most amazing mountain I’ve ever visited it is a worthwhile objective for hikers holidaying in Tuk Tuk and the rate of logging sadly means that the summit will probably one day be accessible (the upside of this would be the tremendous views made available).
    On the way back it’s worth stopping to have a look at the King’s Tomb between Tomok and the turning for the Tuk Tuk peninsula. The best views of the mountain itself are from the road round the Tuk Tuk peninsula or indeed from the boat crossing the lake from Parapat.
    It’s interesting to note that Samosir is not a true island as on the west side near Pangururan the only thing which separates the ‘island’ from the ‘mainland’ is a narrow manmade canal.

    Posted by Dan | April 25, 2011, 08:32
    • avatar

      Hello Dan 🙂 Thanks for your post. I found it both informative AND amusing. Now I have a question here. You said in your post: “On the way back it’s worth stopping to have a look at the King’s Tomb between Tomok and the turning for the Tuk Tuk peninsula.” Do you mind telling me more about this tomb via email? Thanks a bunch Dan.


      Posted by Arya Sadhana | August 2, 2011, 09:43

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