We were headed back from an inspiring first visit to APKLO, a Fairtrade coffee cooperative in Lintong district, Northern Sumatra.The coffee was delicious, but there wasn’t much international tourism. So, needless to say, the hotel choices between Medan and the coop’s location were less than inspiring. After several days in basic accommodations, X and I faced one more overnight stop before we would reach Medan. We had stayed in a super-basic place in a town called Parapat, on the shore of Lake Toba (the largest volcanic lake in the world), on the way up to see APKLO, and were in no mood to repeat that experience if we could avoid it. So, we got out our guidebooks (desperate, desperate), and discovered Tabo cottages on Samosir Island in the lake. We got out our handy dandy cell phone with the Indonesian sim, called Tabo, and wouldn’t you know it, they had two rooms! And they were ridiculously cheap. We made it to the last ferry to Samosir in the nick of time and were off (thinking, man, so cheap? really? If it’s a disaster we’re stuck on this island all night!).
But, lo and behold, as we got off the ferry, we saw an Eden emerge in front of our very own eyes. We got a gorgeous cottage room each, replete with working (clean) bathrooms and hot water! (I can’t tell you how exciting clean bathrooms and hot water can be to someone who doesn’t do the 5 star hotel junket). We ran into our rooms, pausing only to say ‘seeya for dinner in an hour’. A long, long, long, hot shower later I emerged to find a lovely dining area, and a menu with Indonesian and interestingly enough, European, food. A wonderful dinner, a peaceful sleep, and a yummy breakfast later we were off to the ferry, back to the lakeshore and off to Medan, fresh as Georgia peaches!
If you’re ever in Northern Sumatra, you can look up Tabo cottages here: