Lake Toba can be easily reached from the city of Medan in around 3-4 hours. There are a number of transport options to get to the town of Parapat, which is on the edge of Lake Toba.
Budget travelers can take the public bus. Intra Big Bus is about Rp. 35,000 or by Prima Jaya mini bus, which costs about 40,000. You can tell your taxi driver to drop you at the terminal Prima Jaya to catch the mini bus, or ask your driver to drop you at terminal Amplas to catch Intra big bus to Parapat
If you aren’t on a tight budget, using a taxi service to get to Parapat is recommended. Public buses in Indonesia have a bad habit of packing people in, sometimes with two people to a cramped seat. Smoking is allowed on public transport making the trip potentially very uncomfortable.
Raja Taxis operate new and modern mini-vans, seating up to seven passengers. They have air-conditioning and smoking is generally not allowed. You can book tickets through your hotel in Medan or by calling: Raja Taxi +62 (0)617 366-555.
An alternative taxi company is Paradep Taxi phone +62-61-7361185
Email : email@example.com They are based out of Medan.
There is a train which travels goes from Medan but unfortunately it does not go all of the way to Parapat. The train reaches the city of Siantar or Tebing Tinggi, and then you will need to take another bus to get to Parapat.
Buses drop you off at the ferry departure point in Parapat. Ferries depart every few hours to the different hotels in Tuk Tuk. Parapat is an interesting town with a good market a few restaurants in the main street.
There is a BRI bank on Samosir Island in Ambarita with an ATM, but it might not accept international cards. There is a BNI branch in Parapat which accepts most major cards. It is a good 15-20 minute walk to the ATM from the ferry terminal.
There are several money changers in Tuk Tuk, but their rates aren’t very good and unless you need to change money for an emergency, it is better to change your money at a bank or money changer in Medan.
The ferry ride is 7,000 rupiah one way. You will be asked for the name of your hotel. Most, if not all of the hotels are located right on the lake and have their own place to get on and off of the ferry.
The last ferry is around 6:00 p.m, so if you arrive too late you will have to stay in Parapat. Fortunately there are also plenty of nice hotels in Parapat.