View of the morning from our doorstep.With a view like that, it’ll be such a pity not to act like idiots in front of it. So we did.
This picture takes the cake though… Stef’s face… Simply no words… And don’t you love my high-cut bikini flash?
Samosir Villa Resort’s complimentary breakfast was nothing to shout about at all. It was mostly carbs, but the glass noodles and rice were pretty good.
After spending a night in the presidential suite that was way too big for the 3 of us — it even had a working kitchen which we didn’t make use of — we hopped over to the next accommodation. We wanted to ask about getting a cab there because Stef and Shanna had luggages, which weren’t great for dragging along the pitted roads here, so we approached the concierge on duty that day at Samosir Villa Resort. But he was extremely unhelpful and rude.
Stef: Hi, can we get a taxi or car to Bagus Bay?
Staff: No. (Looks away)
No. No suggestions, no apologies. Just. NO. Gee, thanks.
So we stomped off grudgingly and made the short, pretty painless walk there. Bagus Bay was recommended by Stef’s colleague, and our room reservation was made over a brief SMS to one of the staff there. No deposit, no confirmation email needed. We simply turned up at the lobby and asked for Sabah.
The place had a very laid-back, shabby charm to it, and I immediately felt more at ease here compared to the more standard hotel we had the night before. And although our room was not ready, Sabah was very nice about it, which put us back into a good holiday mood. So we left our stuff with him, and headed out on our scooters! The plan was to get to Tele tower, an elevated spot on the mainland that promises one of the best views of the lake and Samosir. The lady whom we rented the bikes from estimates that we’ll reach in about 3-4 hours. I was pretty stoked to get on the bike again because my last experience biking around Sapa in Vietnam left me wanting more.
The main roads were good, the air was cool, and there were few cars on the road. So it was pure bliss riding through the surrounding villages, with the lake on one side and greenery enveloping the rest of the area. I had to put a brake on the scenic route, however, when a pile of durians caught my eye. I just got to have it! Eating durians with your hands by the roadside is definitely one of my favourite things to do in South East Asia.
We did just that, and the locals walking by or zipping pass us on their bikes couldn’t stop staring at the three Chinese girls who were stuffing their faces with the creamy durian flesh. After I was very, very satisfied (Stef and Shanna kindly let me have most of it as I fucking love durian) we set off to cross the bridge that connects Samosir to the main land.
We arrived at the foot of the mountain that Tele was located on right about the time when the sky started to really darken. You see those cuts in the mountain in the picture below? Those are the windy roads we needed to ride up in order to get to Tele. It was beginning to drizzle, and without the weather on our side, we thought it was better not to risk our amateur riding skills on those roads which had no shelter. So it was with much sadness that we made the decision to turn back.
This region was also known for its nautral hot springs, but we were disappointed that all the hot springs were blocked off and chargeable. The entire place looks decrepit and unattractive, so we just settled at a nearby coffee shop for lunch. After we settled down and placed our orders, I spotted a little boy holding a chubby puppy, and the rest was history.
I was very amused at how the kids were real cam whores, and went on to pose for me very willingly. They were in turn very amused when I showed them the images I took on my camera. This was the most fun I’ve had while waiting for food to arrive. The cook was their mum, and boy was she an awesome one.
The rain poured down relentlessly from the time we started lunch till we got back to Bagus Bay. It should’ve been a miserable ride, drenched to the bone and far from home. But it was still helluva fun. Perhaps it was the holiday mood, but it’s something that I didn’t regret. I was very proud of my girls too because all of us made it back in good spirits. We set out at 9:30am and returned at 5:30pm in one piece! What an adventure.
The day got off to a pretty strange start. I was still feeling stuffed from the awesome dinner at the restaurant in our accommodation the night before, and decided to go for a chicken cheese salad instead. Sounds pretty safe right? Never would I have expected something like this…
The plan for the day was to get a map and hike our way through the jungle and search for the nearest waterfall, which was located behind Tomok. But Sabah advised us not to as the trail is not clearly marked and we’d surely get lost. So he did us a favour and got his cousin, Romano, to take us for USD 25. While we were waiting for him, a group of children, each with a pen and notebook in hand, walked up beside us and kept saying “Miss, miss, do you have a moment please. Miss, you speak English, miss? Where you from, miss?” We got quite scared because we thought they were trying to preach. It was a Sunday, and the majority of the people on Samosir island are Christians.
When we finally spoke to them, we found out that they were just trying to complete their English assignment, which required them to ask tourists some simple questions in English. So they asked us things like what we liked about Lake Toba, how we find the locals, where we’re from, what we’ve done on our trip so far. It was quite cute actually. And to prove that their notes were not made up, it was also required that they take pictures with their interviewees!
Our scenic scenic stroll towards the jungle.
Even before the real hike began, we were already grateful to have a guide as the dirt paths leading towards the start of the jungle trail didn’t have any signs, and we would’ve gotten terribly lost.
The hike was not a walk in the park. There were constant inclines, and it was quite challenging to keep up with Romano, who powered on like he does this every day. (Although he doesn’t. So I guess we’re just not as fit. Haha.) But I loved the challenge. I enjoy being in nature, and in this trek was more about the journey than the destination because honestly, the views up there weren’t jaw droppingly gorgeous.
We had to cross some pretty slippery, narrow paths that dropped off to a great height on one side, and I was very proud of Shanna, who overcame her acrophobia and completed the trek despite may attempts to convince us to turn back. As you can see, the view of the waterfall isn’t anything to shout about. But I won’t say that this trek is not worth it because I personally enjoyed the trek itself. It’s quite an adrenaline rush, especially when trying to scale high and slippery rocks. I got my pants and shoes all muddy, but it was good fun.
It was already threatening to rain during the hike, and while we were relaxing in our room and waiting for dinner time, the weather turned from gloomy to a full-on raging thunderstorm. So we were stuck. We wanted to venture out further to Bamboo restaurant which Romano recommended, but we had to stick to Bagus Bay’s restaurant again because the storm wasn’t letting up at all.
The Lake Toba lobsters was their signature dish, and it’s not expensive at all. We had the BBQ sauce lobsters the previous night, so this time round we tried the stir fried version. Both were super good, but I preferred the BBQ sauce. My main dish for this dinner was stir fried noodles, and again, their carbs don’t disappoint at all! Bagus Bay has this system where they put all our bills on the final tab, so I don’t have a clear idea of how much each meal cost. But we estimated that each meal should add up to USD 20 for all 3 of us, including drinks. (Their avocado milkshake is the best!) Most dishes, except the lobster, cost around USD 2 – 3.
The final tab for Bagus Bay, which includes 2 nights stay and food (breakfast and dinner on both days), came up to USD 114. The traditional Batak house that we stayed in only costs USD 25 / night during the peak season!
It’s time for one last morning stroll before bidding this lovely lake goodbye and make our looooong car ride back to the airport…
It has been a blast, Bagus Bay! I would recommend every backpacker visiting Lake Toba to stay here.