19 Nov 2008
Siantar Hotel, Parapat, Indonesia
IDR 230,000/night
1 room
Including breakfast

At 19 Nov approx AU$29

Not knowing what time we were going to arrive in Parapat, we decided to book a hotel for the night - as it turned out it was quite a bit cheaper than the walk up rate, but when pressed they agreed to let us stay on extra nights if we wanted at the same rate.

The Siantar is supposedly one of the good hotels in Parapat, the jumping off point to Samosir Island in the middle of Lake Toba. The web site advised pool, fitness centre and sauna but only the pool existed. We seemed to be the only guests staying there, but when we checked out the following morning it looked like one other room (of the 30-odd) was occupied. Sadly, it seems that most hotels in this part of the world are suffering the same fate.

The Siantar is a basic but clean hotel, and what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in views. The room had a mini bar and one satellite channel on the TV. The beds weren't the most comfortable we've slept on, and we got a surprise early morning wake up from the Mosque which we hadn't noticed.

Breakfast was almost comical - we were offered toast and fried rice. I said just the toast please, and we both got toast and a fried egg. On the up side, the coffee was very good and the staff tried hard but weren't used to westerners.

Perhaps the Siantar was once a good hotel, but if we pass this way again I'll make sure we're in time for the last ferry to the island.

A word of warning - and I'll also post this on the following page - a man called Samuel proved to be the most annoying and persistent tout we've come across yet. He followed us around like a dog - I came out of the hotel room for a cigarette and he was there waiting, we went out to eat and he was there waiting. He just wouldn't leave us alone until our patience broke and we were really, really rude to him. We had previously tried just plain rude and it didn't work. The next day we saw him reeling in a lot of backpackers - perhaps they weren't quite as rude as us and couldn't shake him off. He was selling trips and tours and really pushing Samosir Cottages on the island, which we'd found on the internet and were intending to check out because it looked good. His prices were more expensive than booking direct with them and we got an even better rate by walking up.