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Bakara Valley, Historical Place & Top Spot

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Bakara Valley
Bakara Valley One From The Best Top Spot To Lake Toba. Img: Lya Hetfield

Bakara Valley is a piece of nature enclave located southwest of Lake Toba. When one lays eyes upon this land, there are two peninsulae forming a bay. A series of hills shadow the valley on its right and left. They roll as far as the eye can see. The sight ended with Lake Toba in the distance.

The Land of The Kings, that’s how locals call Bakara Valley. It’s where Sisingamaraja Kings was born. Built their legacy, kingdom, and palaces. In the meantime, rules until it’s time for the next king. Their descendants are Batak people of clan Bakara, Sinambela, Sihite, Simanullang, Marbun, and Simamora.

Nowadays, the locals scrape the land. Leading Bakara Valley to be the number one producer of red onion. Bakara Balley enthralls visitors both for its nature and history. A piece of natural wonder that makes 20th-century explorers sing their praises. Almost at a loss for words for its beauty. The history sadly isn’t always pretty here.

Sisingamaharaja grave
The tomb of King Sisingamaharaja. Img: Richard Paneson

The war against Dutch colonial spilled blood in this beautiful land. The King leading the fight and war, Sisingamangaraja XII. Today is known as an Indonesian national hero.

Lake Toba Magnificent View From Panatapan Bakkara

The most beautiful viewpoint to see the valley and Lake Toba will be Panatapan Bakkara hilltop. Be ready for a breathtaking vista, an expanse of hills, as if hugging the lowland in the middle. Villagers plot the valley plain with vegetables farm and rice fields. The water from Lake Toba sparkles from afar, invites visitors to get closer.

Sisingamangaraja Palace

The quiet palace complex of Sisingamangaraja is only 100 m2. Wrap Batak traditional cloth “Ulos” over the shoulder upon entering the area. Do not worry, it is available to borrow at the entrance. Sisingamangaraja Palace is also the Kings cemetery. Be respectful and keep the noise down during the pilgrim.

Tombak Sulusulu
Tombak Sulusulu picturesque landscape, it also the birthplace of King Sisingamaharaja. Img: NBY MataHati

There are three main Batak traditional buildings as well as several worship shrines. Notice the design of traditional Batak, a tapered roof on the front and back. The wall is adorned with carved wood ornaments dominated by red, black and white. The tombs here are of Sisingamangaraja IX and XI.

While the national hero Sisingamangaraja XII buried at the neighboring city Balige. However, visitors can learn a bit about Sisingamaraja XII battle at this palace. Sisingamangaraja which means The Lion King. Had become a remarkable and unforgettable name for his bravery to his people.

Air Terjun Janji
Janji waterfall located right near the edge of Lake Toba. Img: Hasib Reza

For decades, he fought for his people’s freedom and independence. It’s only after 30 years the Dutch were finally able to defeat him. Putting an end to Sisingamangaraja line altogether.

Batak’s Important Historical Spot

Tombak Sulu Sulu cave is believed to be the birthplace of Sisingamangaraja I. Considered scared by Batak people. Do not surprise when seeing offerings laid at the cave by villagers. Legend aside, the cave is a geological wonder. The sharp rocks here are 250 million years old.

Scientists believe the rocks were lifted to earth surface during Toba’s first eruption 800,000 years ago. Another spot not to miss is Aek Sitiotio spring at Simamora Village. Lies in the middle of Bakara Valley, legend says Sisingamangaraja I pierced his staff and water spew out from earth.

The water is fresh and clear, no matter how many people bathe in it. Jump into the pool built by locals to taste the amazing freshness of this natural bath.

Sipinsur pine forest
Sipinsur Geosite Park & Pine forest, short distance, only half an hour from Silangit Airport. Img: Sulaiman Arif Gunawan Sitio

Aek Sipangolu

The spring Aek Sipangolu comes out from the rock fracture which forms a waterfall. The water flows from this crack and continues into Lake Toba. Another place in Bakara Valley full of myth and legend. Locals believe it has the legacy of Sisingamangaraja I. Aek Sipangolu means “the water of life”.

At Aek Sipangolu, enjoy not only the view of the waterfall itself but also a direct view of Lake Toba. It’s like killing two bird with one stone. Climb into the platform to see the vastness of this great lake. There’s also a pool where visitors can bathe and swim. With the view of the lake behind just like an infinity pool.

Janji Waterfall

Janji means “promise” in the Indonesian language. Back in the days, Batak lords used to gather at this waterfall. They swore allegiance to Sisingamarajan kings, especially at times of war. That’s how the waterfall got its name. Janji Waterfall is located at Marbon Touran Village, Bakara.

Sipinsur Park Geosite & Pineforest
Another great spot to admire Lake Toba, Sipinsur Park Geosite & Pineforest. Img: Sulaiman Arif Gunawan Sitio

No need to trek far to enjoy this waterfall since it’s only 50 m from the parking lot. With a height of 28 meters, the waterfall is a thunderous water drop surrounded by a vegetation-covered canyon. There are also pools and showers for bathing. Get a peek of Simamora Island from this place. Simamora Island is the second largest island at Toba after Samosir.

Opening Hours & Entrance Fee

Most of the nature-related destinations at Bakara Valley are accessible for visitors all day. Entrance is generally cheap. Aek Sipangolu is IDR 5000/ visitor while Janji Waterfall is free. Also, prepare small denomination for parking and toilets.

Bakara Valley Top Spot Opening Hours & Entrance Fee
Bakara Valley (Panatapan)Open 24 Hours
Tombak Sulu Sulu
Aek Sipangolu

See: Samosir Island, Guide & Activities. 

Facilities Available in Bakara Valley

Bakara Valley is a village so expect little to no facilities here. Nearby ATMs can be found at Dolok Sanggul. The nearest commercial area from Bakara (around 7 km). There are also several accommodations at Dolok Sanggul. However, the choice is limited. As for restaurants, fortunately, there are plenty of them at Bakara Valley.

How To Get To Bakara Valley

Tourists coming from Medan, North Sumatra capital. Can go to Bakara Valley either by land or plane. Thanks to the new Silangit International Airport, now there’s a non-stop flight from Medan to Silangit. From Silangit, go to the nearest town Siborongborong by taxi.

From there on, tourists can decide to rent a vehicle to get around Bakara Valley. Which approximately an hour from Siborongborong. By land, the route is Medan – Tebing Tinggi – Siantar – Parapat – Balige – Dolok Sanggul – Bakara. Most tourists coming by land transport usually stay at Toba’s touristy towns such as Parapat and Balige.

It’s easier to find accommodations there and to find a transport rental service to get around. Renting a motorcycle costs IDR 100k/day while a car costs around IDR 700k/day.

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