A pleasant diversion. But considering it takes 4-5 hours to get there from Medan, you have to allow for an overnight stay in one of Parapat's hotels. The locals love their lake - it's high altitude and Samosir island provides a nice visual break and occupies a large part of the lake center. If you're after cool air, peace and quiet, then just being in Parapat beside the lake is good enough. But you can add a bit of spice by taking a 2 hour break to go to Samosir in one of the pump boats available for rent. Be warned though that the boat trip takes just a bit under an hour so the whole round trip takes a full half day. Parapat and Samosir are peopled by a distinctive Christian-converted tribe called the Bataks, which is pretty ironic considering their previous cannibalistic ways.
At Samosir, there's very few things to do though - take snapshots of the traditional houses and the totem pole, visit the royal burial site and listen to the history of the royal family, and check out the very modest Batak Museum.
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