Parnas Cafe and Homestay, Tuk Tuk, Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

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Getting Here and Away

Most people headed for Lake Toba start in Medan, a big city of about 2 million people.  You can fly to Medan from Penang, Kuala Lumpur, or Phuket via AirAsia. Firefly Airlines is also an option. If you arrive early enough, say before 12:00 noon,  you should be able to make it all the way to Parnas Lake Toba in one day without having to stay in Medan. If you arrive later, there a few hotels and budget guesthouses centered around "Mesjid Raya" in the center of Medan, not far from the airport.  Travelers from most countries can get a 30-day visa-on-arrival at Polonia for a fee. Please check with an Indonesian  consulate or embassy for  latest  visa information.

After arrival at Polonia Airport you have a few options. You can either (1) take a shared taxi direct to Parapat for ~rp 65-70,000  (as of 2012) or (2) a combination of local becaks minibuses and regular buses for  a few dollars less (rp 27,000 at a minimum). 

(1) For the low-budget, "authentic Indonesian travel experience", walk out of the airport and ask someone where you can catch a minibus to Amplas terminal. The minibus number will be 64. You can flag one down just a couple hundred meters from Polonia Airport.  Fare to Amplas bus terminal is rp 3000. From Amplas, take a "Sejaterah" big bus to Parapat for rp 25,000 (5 hrs). You can also get to Amplas terminal by taxi or becak, but expect to pay much more than a minibus.

(2) The other way of getting to Parapat, wich is arugably more comfortable, has fewer hassles, and which may be a better value,   is to arrange a shared taxi which will take you from downtown Medan or Polonia Airport straight to Parapat.

Upon arriving at Parapat, you should be located at TigaRajah harbor.  There are two harbors at Parapat but only Tigaraja harbor has ferries going to Tuk-Tuk, so please specify to the bus or taxi driver that you want to get off at Tigarajah harbor.  Ferries leave every hour or thereabout until 6:00 P.M. There may be a "tout" who works for Parnas on the ferry who can assist you in your arrival. don't worry, he'll find you. After arriving at the main harbor (usually the first ferry stop), it's only about an five to ten minute walk to Parnas Homestay. Ask anybody near the harbor how to get to Parnas and They'll direct you. Don't worry, most locals speak English just fine. At high-water times, the ferry can drop you off at Parnas pier directly.  Ask the person taking the money on your ferry if it's possible to be dropped at Parnas.

If you arrive too late to take the last ferry to TukTuk, and you don't want to stay in Tigaraja, you can go to "Ajibata harbor" about 1 km away and take one of the later ferrys to Tomok, which is a town about 2.5 km away from Tuk-Tuk. From Tomok, you can get a minibus to Tuk-Tuk but it'll be a longer walk (maybe 20 minutes) to Parnas homestay.