…….The World Without Boundaries

Completing my Full Round of Solo Ride around Samosir Island

Written By: jipp - Mar• 23•19

I woke up to a bright morning. I remember how I got woken up by the silence of the night at least a few times, and questioned how in the world I ended up spending the night in the middle of nowhere, which was totally unplanned.

After paying for the room, I vroomed my way out of the hotel and continued East towards Pangururan – the biggest town on Samosir island. The morning was so bright and the views of paddy fields with the blue lake in the background and the beautiful range of caldera beyond it – they were simply breath-taking. I’ve been to quite a number of places in my years of traveling but the views on Samosir island are just so unique and different.

Every now and then I’d stop to give myself more time to take in the views – and of course more selfies.  As the sun rose, the lake sparkled in its reflection. It really was mesmerizing.

It was all flat until I arrived at the town of Pangururan which again is the biggest town on the island of Samosir, and probably the most populated. It is here where the island of Samosir is connected to the main land by a small bridge. In fact, it is the only land access to the island of Samosir from the main land. The bridge crosses over a narrow channel (wouldn’t call it a river because I don’t think it is) which reminds me of Sungai Golok that separates Kelantan in Malaysia from the neighboring Golok in Thailand.

I rode onto the main land – aiming to reach Tele Samosir tower, which is said to be the place from where people could see the whole of the island. But checking back the distance and the road conditions on my phone, I had to say no to it and returned to Pangururan.

My random ride around Pangururan town led me to St. Mikhael church, whose architectures are so different from any other church that I have seen anywhere else before. For a starter the roof has the shape of a buffalo’s horns – which is the distinctive feature in Batak architectures. Then on closer looks, there were apparently much more to the architectures than the horn-shaped roof.

The carvings on the walls are a fusion of Batak and Christian elements. It’s safe to say that it is heavy with animism elements, which would have been frowned upon back in my country Malaysia. (I was raised to believe that any non-Christian elements in churches or even homes are against the will of God, until I went to Europe and found the Gothic architectures at churches there). I wish the church was opened but it was not so I could only marvel at what were offered from the outside.

After having fried noodles for breakfast at a roadside restaurant, I continued my ride around the island by heading further East. Checking on the list of places that I wanted to go to on Samosir island, I came upon this place called Menara Pandang Tele.

It required me to get off the main road and go further and further up the hills and when road kept on worsening and the tower was still nowhere to be seen, I had to drag down my ego and turned back. I did manage to see some fantastic scenery though so that little detour did not really go futile.

Once back on the main road, I took a good rest after the butt-hurting ride on the gravel road and had iced coffee with banana fritters for lunch. The iced coffee was too sweet for my bladder and the fritters were too cold and damp but of course some situations do require you to compromise on your demand and take whatever there is on the table. I was in one of those situations. With a refueled energy, I continued East and almost on an impulse I stopped when I came upon a place called Pasir Putih.

Pasir Putih turned out to be a beach – only this one is a lakeside beach. It was quite packed with people when I went there, and I was having fun watching people having fun. People really seemed to be enjoying the moment and I couldn’t help but enjoying myself too. Everything really was so family-oriented and I could feel lots of love hanging over the air.

The adults were sitting around a spread of food while the kids were making sand castles. The teenagers on the other hand seemed to be dominating the space in the water. Good thing about being on the beach of a freshwater lake is the lack of tackiness and saltiness that you’d feel when you are on a seaside beach. But it was so damn hot all the same.

I continued my journey, and bumped into a large gathering of people on the roadside. Quite within sight was a large canopy under which another large group of people were seated. I noticed that some of them were performing some kind of ritual. I stopped to watch more, and realized that it was a ritual for somebody who had just passed away.

One thing that I quickly noticed was that they really mourned the passing of somebody as a community and still very much full of tradition. They’ll wear their traditional Batak costumes and perform their traditional rituals which involved among others dancing and singing (or chanting) and gift offering.

I couldn’t help but noticing the presence of big boards that they put on the side of the road. On the boards were obituary words, which were nicely decorated and adorned with flowers. They seem to take the passing of somebody in their community very seriously.

I wish I could stay longer to see more of the rituals but the sun really was scorching hot so I had to continue riding or I’ll get roasted. Towards the end of my ride back to my hostel in Tuk Tuk, things were going quite monotonous – villages after villages after villages. I did stop to get onto a viewing tower at one of the villages, for which I got charged by a lady who had suddenly come out of nowhere the moment I stepped onto the tower.

I approached in silence, only to bump into a couple who was about or probably was done making out so I hastily apologized. I found it funny that they were apologetic too. Later on the top flight of the multi-storey tower I bumped into another couple who was in each other’s arms. Loneliness suddenly washed over me. Heh.

But seriously, there was something so romantic about the viewing tower and the surrounding. People keep saying about how romantic the Jeju island in South Korea is (thanks to the likes of Winter Sonata etc.) and I’ve never been there so standing at the viewing tower while looking down at the beautiful spread of Lake Toba and the outer range of caldera beyond it, it was how I imagined the Jeju island would be. Heh.

A beautiful Batak village seen from the tower

From the tower onwards, it was all villages with nothing so exceptional that was worth stopping for. In fact I couldn’t wait to reach back at my hostel and have a nice hot shower – something that I had been deprived of since I started my ride the day before. So when I finally arrived at my hostel, I had a jubilant feeling, a sense of accomplishment, a deep satisfaction that I made a one full round around the island of Samosir on a motorbike. And I did it alone of course.

Cooling off after two days of riding

Once I reached my room, I changed into my swimming shorts, got a hold of my towel and walked over to the lake where I let myself be immersed in the water to soothe my muscles down and my whole physical beings. Later at night, I went to a get a nice body massage at a massage parlor that I happened to bump into the night before. It was such a perfect wrap-up to my 2-day biking adventure all around Samonsir Island.                                                                                                                                

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One Comment

  1. thomas says:

    Hope to go there for a quick tour soon

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