Prapat, Lake Toba, Sumatra

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The town of Prapat, as seen from our chartered boat on Lake Toba.  We stayed at the Danau Toba International Cottage, which is the row of building with red roofs at water's edge.

Prapat, also written Parapat, is a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Toba, about 170km from Medan, in North Sumatra. Since colonial times, Prapat has been a weekend getaway and resort town for those escaping the heat and bustle of Medan. In my opinion, although some places in Prapat, especially along the shore, is quite scenic, on the whole, it is not a pretty town. In fact, there is no good reason to remain long at Prapat. Despite being a tourist town for generations, there is actually little in terms of attractions that is available to visitors to Prapat, and tourists are well advised to proceed to Samosir Island.

I explored Prapat with a small group of AsiaExplorers members, on our way to Lake Toba. We spent a night here before crossing over to Samosir Island the following day. While in Prapat, we stayed at the Danau Toba International Cottage, a 2-star establishment which is already one of the better hotels in Prapat. It is centrally located with rooms right at the water's edge. The creative comfort was very basic. There was no air conditioning, so it was quite warm for us at night.

Our hotel is located close to the Prapat market, so it offered us an opportunity to explore and find out how the locals live. Prapat is situated on a hilly decline, and many of its houses cling to the slope, linked by the narrow hill roads. Their zinc roofs sprout a multitude of satellite dishes. There was a small number of shophouses in Prapat, but I could not find a single shop that sells guidebooks, maps or even postcards.

For want of something better to do, we chartered a boat to go out into the lake, where we enjoyed a lovely sunset view of Prapat and Samosir Island.

On the following morning, I walked along the edge of Lake Toba to explore another section of Prapat which is separated by the hills. I saw big sections of the lake overgrown with water hyacinths. There was another market on this part of town, but it lacks any particular charm to leave a lasting impression in me.

To reach Samosir Island from Prapat, we were provided with another chartered boat that took us sightseeing in different parts of Samosir Island. Otherwise, visitors can take the ferry that goes from Prapat to Tomok, one of the main villages on the eastern coast of the island.

The lanes in Prapat slope down towards Lake Toba.

The houses in Prapat hug the slope while sprouting a flowering of satellite dishes.

Boatman negotiating through a sea of water hyacinths.

Workman hauling boat back to shore in Prapat.

Tim at the pier in Prapat.

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