Siantar - Sumatra
Hightlights - Access to Lake Toba
Cities and towns in Sumatra
Pematang Siantar, referred to as just Siantar is a town in North Sumatra between Lake Toba and Medan. Siantar is the second largest city in North Sumatra after Medan. The city does not get alot of tourists so it is a great place to go to experience a city without being hassled. It is located 400m above sea level so has a cooler climate than Medan. Siantar is the administrative capital of the Simalungun plantation area.
In the early 1900's Pematang Siantar has various international companies running plantations of tea, rubber, cocoa and palm oil. These companies included HVA (Handels Vereeniging Amsterdam), German Marihat Platagen Compagnie GMBH and the American firm Goodyear.
There are still great examples of Dutch colonial houses from the turn of the 20th century. In 1912 Hotel Siantar was built by a man from Switzerland and this hotel is still in operation with many of it's original fittings.
The hospital in Siantar was used by the Japanese between March and December 1942 as a concentration camp for around 800 women and children.
The Simalungun Museum holds a good collection of 'pustaka laklak' which are bark books written in the Batak script by the magicians to record their sacred formulae.
Public buses to and from Parapat cost 8000Rp and takes around 45 minutes. Great internet connections, especially worth the hour trip from Lake Toba rather than the slow dial up lines on Samosir Island.
If going to Siantar or Lake Toba from Berastagi you need to go to Kabanjahe first then catch a bus from there to Siantar. Cost of public buses from Kabanjahe is 12,000Rp and takes around 3 hours.
Places to stay
Last updated - 29th March 2009
English - Indonesian translator/dictionary
© 2009 Sumatra Travel
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