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Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Petaling Jaya...
Level Contributor
31 posts
14 reviews
Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Hi,

Advices about peak season in Lake Toba & North Sumatra are much appreciated.

I plan to go to North Sumatra from 31Jan2018 to 17Feb2018.

I've learnt that the super peak period for Lake Toba falls around Chinese New Year (16th-Jan-2018), how about Berastagi-Bukit Lawang-Medan?

Is first week of Feb2018 considered shoulder or off peak season in Lake Toba? Would walk-in accommodation be a problem as do not intend to pre-book.

Route : Medan-Lake Toba-Brestagi-Bukit Lawang-Medan

Thank you in advance.

8 replies to this topic
Samosir
Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
1. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Dear WHC7,

Please note that the Chinese New Year, IMLEK, is scheduled for Febr 16, 2018, not Jan 16.

It means that especially on Febr 17 you may expect major traffic jams for coming and going to Lake Toba. Normally Bukit Lawang is less affected.

First week of February is regular season in Tuk Tuk, Samosir, and you will not have any problem to find an accommodation as a walk-in guest, especially if you would be looking for a real budget accommodation.

For the higher end accommodations it could be wise to pre-book one or two nights and after that see whether you want to extend or move.

HORAS !!!

Petaling Jaya...
Level Contributor
31 posts
14 reviews
2. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Thanks for the reply and date correction,16-Feb-18.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
100 posts
18 reviews
3. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

hello, i just sent you a private message as well. just in case this is easier i thought i should write here as well. my friend and i are landing in medan at 1pm and plan to travel to lake toba where we having booked our stay at Mas Cottages. we will be hiring a private car to get there. Can you please advise as to how long it may take us to reach? is there a way to pre-book the ferry? one of your older reviews (2014) said it could take up wot 15 hours in super peak season. Is this still the case? Please do advise! Very worried.

Samosir
Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
4. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Dear Aarts,

See also my recent posts in:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g23017…

As you may or may not understand I cannot answer your questions in the way I would like, as in no-way I will get involved in what is the sole business of any accommodation in Tuk Tuk. May I suggest that for any further specific questions and worries you may have you directly approach the accommodation of your choice.

I consider the question of how the car ferry operates as a general question which especially in the coming days may also come up with other travelers.

Normally one car ferry from Parapat to Tuk Tuk operates on a 3 hr schedule. Departing times from Parapat (Ajibata Harbour) 08:30 hr, 11:30 hr, 14:30 hr, 17:45 hr and 20:45 hr.

During the super high season two car ferries will, if need be, operate on a 24 hr non-stop basis. For going from Ajibata to Tomok and coming back to Ajibata, including loading and unloading the cars takes exactly 2 hrs. With two ferries it means that once every hour a full ferry arrives in Tomok. This ferry carries either 30 or 40 cars. Now the calculation is not too difficult, the moment more than 40 cars arrive in an hour in Ajibata is also the moment that the queue and waiting time for the ferry starts.

There is no way that you can pre-book the car ferry. The moment you arrive you just line up and wai for your turn to enter the gate. Only after you have entered the gate you can buy your ticket (inside the gate). Everybody waits his turn, except ambulances and the Pribumi bus, which go strait to the head of the line. Just around New Year maximum waiting time for the car ferry was 15 hrs and this may well happen again coming Saturday and Sunday.

Now if you want to come with your car to Samosir, Tuk Tuk, there is one way to can beat the system somewhat. Instead of waiting together with your driver in the car you board the car ferry as an individual passenger (or take a passenger ferry) and make your way to Tuk Tuk or Tomok and have the car following you with the car ferry whenever it is his turn.

GONG XI FA CAI

HORAS !!!

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
100 posts
18 reviews
5. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Thanks so much. I just wanted to understand if we will be able to make it to tuk tuk if we arrive in medan at 1 pm. How long do you think the journey would take in total? Your last post suggested 15 hours (2014). Based on that I got worried and am thinking of cancelling lake toba all together as this is only a 3 day trip. Do you think cancelling is necessary as I don't know if we will reach the ferry on time and what time we will reach the resort. If I cancel I was thinking of planning for Bukit Lawang instead. Am leaving Feb 16 and don't have much time to plan so your advice will be most appreciated,

Samosir
Level Contributor
521 posts
30 reviews
6. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Dear Aarts,

At this moment nobody can predict what will happen on Febr 16 and how long the journey will take. You should be safe if you follow the advice of coming as a passenger with the car ferry or a passenger fery to Tomok. Best is to make your worries known to the resort and act based on their response.

GONG XI FA CAI

HORAS !!!

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
8 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

Hi am thinking of going to Sumatra, have been to Borneo, Madagascar, India etc on search of wildlife. Do you think this is a good place to visit

athome
Level Contributor
557 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Advice needed-Medan,Lake Toba in Jan/Feb2018

wildlife at Lake Toba .. fish, lobster, weekend tourists, few birds, pigs in pens, buffalo on the loose and some horrible monkeys near Parapat.

wildlife in Sumatra yes.

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