Pristine tranquility is now more accessible than before
By Mavis Teo
Those amongst us in concrete jungle Singapore who love to see vast expanses of space or large bodies of glistening water in a peaceful setting while taking in crisp and clean air, often think they have to venture far out into the world for such scenery.
Many nature-deprived Singaporeans have traipsed to far-flung locations like Lake Taupo in North Island, New Zealand or the Nahuel Huapi Lake in northern Patagonia in Argentina in search of a retreat surrounded by nature, though many geological wonders can be found much closer, right in our neighbours’ lands. One example is Lake Toba, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
If you are of a particular age, you would probably remember reading The Legend of Lake Toba. That was a time when children flipped through physical books and grew up on folklore. The story of how a boy caught a fish that later turned into a maiden who became his wife, yet lost everything when he broke his promise not to speak of her past was inspired by the legendary lake.
While this myth is one that the Generation Y-ers and the generations before them would be familiar with, while the younger Singaporeans born in the 1990s and after might not. This is despite that to reach Lake Toba would theoretically just require 75 minutes of flight time plus two hours on the road. This is because until 28 October this year, there were no direct flights between Singapore and Lake Toba.
Here are five reasons to look to Lake Toba for a weekend getaway:
1. Witness the world’s largest crater lake
At 100km long and 300km wide, Lake Toba (nearly three times the size of Singapore) is the world’s largest volcanic lake formed by a massive eruption that occurred around 77,000 years ago, wiping out almost 60% of life in the region. At 905m above sea level, the temperatures here average around 20 degree celsius throughout the year, making Lake Toba a cool respite for those of us living in warmer climes. Ragged cliffs and lush forests teeming with wildlife, birdlife and flora wrap around the lake, giving visitors unparalleled panoramas of a rough and natural landscape – a visual treat for city folks.