Everything you Need to Know about the Parapat

Parapat is a small inland town located in the northern part of Sumatra, the largest island in Indonesia and the sixth-largest in the world. It sits on the edge of Lake Toba on the peninsula of Uluan, where it creates a narrow eastern link to Samosir Island. The town serves as the primary transit point for ferries that carry visitors to the Samosir Island, and it is connected to Pematang Siantar via the Trans-Sumatran Highway.

There are two sides to the town. On one side, there is the busy section that is geared towards visitors; this is where resorts, hotels, restaurants, karaoke bars and souvenir shops are found. On the contrary, there is the quiet area set on the hills where the bus station, bank and telephone office are located.

There are plenty of accommodation options in Parapat, though the hotels here cater more to Southeast Asian travellers than Western tourists. This is not surprising, since Westerners often go straight to the Samosir resorts anyway. However, Parapat proves to be more advantageous for travellers on a budget because of its lower rates.

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Parapat Attractions

Parapat is not really a tourist spot, though it has shops and hotels for tourists. It is more of a transport hub than anything else. However, it is home to the Patra Parapat Lake Resort, which is Parapat's main attraction. It is situated on the hillside of the Siuhan Peninsula and it overlooks Lake Toba. As well as the lake, the resort is flanked by rugged cliffs and waterfalls. There are 58 spacious guestrooms in the resort hotel, all of them with a wonderful view of the lake. All rooms have modern facilities such as a telephone, colour TV, hot and cold water, tea and coffee maker, as well as a mini-bar.

Patra Parapat Lake Resort may not be a five-star establishment, but it does have top notch resort facilities, with a restaurant, bar and karaoke, swimming pool, tennis court, children's playground as well as volleyball and table tennis facilities.

Parapat Restaurants & Dining

Most of the dining establishments in the area are concentrated in two locations: on Jalan Haranggaol and along Jalan Sisingamangaraja. Restaurants in Haranggaol are geared towards tourists, while those in Sisingamangaraja cater to locals. Most of the establishments serve Indonesian and Chinese dishes, but the food in Sisingamangaraja is considered better than in Haranggaol.

The three hotels found along the lake shore all have restaurants. These are the Inna Parapat, Patra Parapat Lake Resort Hotel and Quality Hotel Siantar Parapat.

Those looking for a gastronomic adventure should head on out to the Parapat food markets. These markets, which are situated by the Samosir jetty, are open twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Aside from the various food choices, the lively atmosphere is also a treat.

Parapat Nightlife

Parapat does not have much nightlife to speak of. There are a couple of restaurants that are nice for drinking, but there are no bars or clubs that stand out. The best bet for people looking for a drink or two are the bars found in the hotels or inns. However, patrons can expect to spend more for their drinks in these establishments.

Those who are looking for a fun way to spend the night without breaking the bank can go to the karaoke bars instead. While there are also karaoke lounges inside the hotels, there are also independent establishments.

Parapat Shopping

Parapat is not a shopping destination, but those looking for souvenirs will not be disappointed. There are many small shops that offer souvenirs such as ulos, which are locally woven cloths. Other finds like traditional detailed carvings and musical instruments can also be purchased. The usual souvenirs such as T-shirts, hats and key chains are also available.

Tourists with a fondness for antiques will also love the selection available in Parapat, though they prove to be cumbersome souvenirs. The antiques market is located about 1 mile from Patra Parapat Lake Resort Hotel, which is situated on Jalan Pertamina Siuhan.

There are no malls or shopping centres to be found in the area and most goods are sold in local markets.

Parapat Activities

The location of Parapat is what makes it ideal for many water-related activities. The town's proximity to Lake Toba makes it handy for activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, water skiing and boating, just to name a few. However, the most popular among all activities would have to be boating. Guests have the option to choose between paddle boats and speedboats. Self-paddle boats (those which can be used for kiddie rides) can be rented out and there are also water scooters which can be rented with the assistance of a guide.

Those who are not fond of the water need not worry. Located about five kilometres from Parapat is the Sally Golf Course. This 19-hole golf course is a treat for all golf lovers as well as tourists who just want to stay on land.

Parapat Information

Parapat can only be reached by land from Medan, which is about 185km away. There is a local bus heading to the town from Medan that leaves about every hour and the trip is usually takes four to six hours, depending on the traffic. Taxis and rented cars are also options for travelling from Medan to Parapat.

Parapat has a cool and dry climate but the best time to visit is between the months of April and November, which is the local dry season. The months of June and July are particularly special thanks to the annual Lake Toba Festival, which is definitely something tourists should witness.

Tourists planning a trip to the lake should bring their own bathing suits and water sports equipment. A hat and a jacket are also essential as temperatures in the area can drop sharply. Because there are no malls or shopping centres, visitors are advised to bring basic essentials with them.

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