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Samosir Island
Native name:
Pulau Samosir (Indonesian)
Pulo Samosir (Batak)
Toba zoom.jpg
Samosir is in the middle of Lake Toba.
Samosir Island is located in Sumatra
Samosir Island
Samosir Island
LocationSouth East Asia
Coordinates2°35′N 98°49′E / 2.583°N 98.817°E / 2.583; 98.817
Area630 km2 (240 sq mi)
Population108,869[1] (2020 Census)
Pop. density172.8/km2 (447.5/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsBatak
Samosir Island – Lake Toba. 1979
Graves on Samosir Island. 1979
Tano Ponggol Canal

Samosir, or Samosir Island, is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, located in the north of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Administratively, Samosir Island is governed as six of the nine districts within Samosir Regency. The lake and island were formed after the eruption of a supervolcano some 75,000 years ago.[2] The island was originally a peninsula connected to the surrounding caldera wall by a small isthmus, which was cut through by the Tano Ponggol Canal [id] in 1907 to aid navigation.

At 630 square kilometres (243 sq mi), Samosir is the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest lake island in the world.[3] It also contains two smaller lakes, Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang [id]. Across the lake on the east from the island lies Uluan Peninsula. The island is linked to the mainland of Sumatra on its western part by a narrow isthmus connecting the town of Pangururan on Samosir and Tele on mainland Sumatra. Tele consequently offers one of the best views of Lake Toba and Samosir Island. One of the most important objects on the island is a Lutheran church, and opposite it is a huge hill.


Sarcophagus in Samosir circa 1916

Samosir is a popular tourist destination due to its exotic history and the vistas it offers. The tourist resorts are concentrated in the Tuktuk [id] area. The island is the centre of the Batak culture and many of the Toba Batak traditional houses (rumah adat) remain on the island. Most of the tourist accommodations are concentrated in the small town of Tuktuk, which is located a one-hour ferry ride across the lake from the town of Parapat. The passenger ferry leaves from Tiga Raja harbor every hour between 8.30 and 19.00. For those running late there is an option to take the passenger boat from Aji bata to Tomok until 8.30 pm. A car ferry leaves the mainland from Ajibata and lands in the small town of Tomok, about a 10-minute drive from Tuktuk until 9 pm. There are also other passenger ferries and individual hotels may also have ferries available.


  1. ^ 2020 Census
  2. ^ Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia Archived 2006-06-26 at the Wayback Machine Volcanoworld, Accessed June 7, 2006
  3. ^ Island Superlatives World Island Information, Accessed June 7, 2006