North Sumatra's Lake Toba, otherwise known as Danau Toba, is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Bigger than the entire island of Singapore, the lake was formed in the crater of one of the world's largest volcanoes. The region is the ancestral home of the Toba Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra and still hosts a range of houses using traditional Batak architecture. Historical sites also abound in the area.
In the center of the lake is the island of Samosir, which is a prime destination for tourists looking to relax. Samosir hosts several towns, many of which have tourist facilities or are sites of interests for eco-tourists, adventure travellers, history afficionados, or just average shoppers. Resorts and restuarants dot the lakefront and bicycle or motorcycle tours of the island are easily arranged.
The gateway to Danau Toba is the town of Parapat, which sits on the eastern shore of the lake, several hours drive from the provincial capital of Medan. Parapat is popular with domestic tourists as its hotels and restaurants are usually less expensive than their counterparts on Samosir. However, most visitors to Samosir will transit in Parapat to swtich to the regularly-scheduled ferries which cross the lake to various resorts on Samosir Island.