[Destination] Parapat

When you visit Sumatera, don't foget to visit Parapat, the city around Toba Lake. Parapat has developed for and with tourism. It has a huge selection of hotels and restaurants but, unfortunately, the last five years have been very quiet and many establishmnet have closed down, either temporary or for good. Most tourist are local or from neighboring countries. Westerners normally just pass through on their way to Pulau Samosir in Lake Toba. The town offers scenic surroundings, good eating, and souvenir shopping. As it is only a 3-4 hours ride from Medan the weekends are rather lively. Especially the Saturdays where there is market day in Parapat and from the surrounding countryside. They bring in coffee, tea, ginger, clove and cinnamon. There is also a minor market day on Thursday. The town has three major parts. One area is along the highway with the bus terminal and where many restaurants are open 24 hours. The main part is on the western. Here are most hotels, the market, and the passenger boats for Tuktuk. The third part is to the south and is called Ajibata. it is administratively a part of the regency Toba Samosir. Here are the car ferry and passenger boats for Tomok. There is also a market here, but many roads have recently changed names and there is confussion in addresses. There are many souvenir shops along the road down to the market. "Antiques", hand woven blankets (ulos), carvings, T-shirts, ceramics, cheap clothes, souvenirs are plentiful. It can be cheaper to shop on Samosir, though.

There are some beaches in Parapat. Swimming, however, is much better off Samosir. The Ajibata beach beyond the car ferry harbous has been improved, but is still not very nice. The public beach on the Parapat peninsula is nice, but very crowded with food stalls, paddle boats, etc. The varied landscape of Parapat creates many nice views. One great view is from the camping ground on Dolok Bangun northof town. Also the hill Dolok Pangulu, in the middle of the town on the Peninsula, has nice views.
Out on the point of the Peninsula is a beautiful and well-kept old Dutch-built villa. The Dutch kept the Indonesian President to be, Ir. Soekarno, here under house arrest for two months in 1948. It is now a guesthouse for government people. The view over the lake is also nice from here.

Monkey Forest
Approximately 3-4 km outside Parapat along the road towards Medan is protected forest with many monkeys, mainly short tailed macaques. It be came a popular hangout of monkeys when a local person started to feed them. He used to call teh monkey with a horn. After a while it became a popular attraction and the local government took over. Then came the economic crisis and the tourist disappeared.. The first person was asked to take over again. Today not many people visit the monkeys and they have become rather wild. They live in the area and are often visible. The location is in a sharp bend where there are both a new and an old bridge.

Batu Gantung
Once upon a time there was a king with a very beautiful. Many rich princes came to propose to her. The family of the princes chose the prince, whom the princess preferred, and invited his family to negotiate about dowry and wedding arrangements. However, the King secretly preferred another man to marry his daughter, his aunt's son, the Pariban. As the Pariban was a relative he often visited the palace and gradually he fell in love with the princess. His family was very happy to hear that. The Pariban discussed the matter with all his relatives, including the King and finally the King changed his mind and chose the Pariban for his daughter. The princess was utterly shocked, but the King did not want to change his mind again. Everyone showed up the wedding party, except the princess. They had to search for her and eventually she was found, The princess together with her dog and her cat turned into stones. They can today be seen as reliefs on a mountainside near Lake Toba below the monkeys forest. It can only be seen from the Lake.

Girsang I Waterfall
This waterfall is approximately 10 metres high and maybe 3-4 metres wide. It falls into a natural pool where it is nice to take a bath. Above the fall there is a forest and below it are rice paddies. It is located 12 km from Parapat towards Balige.

Lake Toba Festival
THe regency government arranges teh yearly Lake Toba Festival for one week in June or July. There are cultural performances and traditional sports, for example Solu Bolon racing (traditional big canoes).


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