20 Nov 2008
Samosir Cottages, Tuk Tuk, Lake Toba, Indonesia
IDR 180,000/night
2 rooms

At 20 Nov approx AU$23

I have no idea why such places call themselves cottages when they are really guest houses or hotels...............

Samosir Cottages is a large lakefront complex, set up entirely for backpackers although we were told they occasionally get package tourists (no idea where from). They have very small cheap rooms with no hot water, slightly larger ones with hot water, slightly more comfortable ones, VIP rooms and family rooms with 2 bedrooms and kitchen. Having walked around a bit and looked at other 'cottages', prices for the 3 cheapest rooms don't appear to be very good value for money.

Knowing as soon as we saw the setting that we would be staying for a week or so, we opted for the VIP room, which consisted of a huge bedroom with a sitting area and a similarly sized living room with a mini fridge and TV (local channels only) and a nice private balcony.

The furnishings were very comfortable, and judging by the amount of wardrobe and storage space this is or was intended for people staying quite a long time. Rooms are serviced on request rather than automatically.

There is a communal TV room with a handful of DVD's, a pool table and a restaurant which was only slightly more expensive than those outside. Laundry was charged at just over a dollar per kilo although the broadband internet was quite a bit more expensive than we saw in other places on the island. Motorbike rental was available at the same prices as outside.

The best thing about Samosir Cottages is the tranquility. There are lovely gardens with sun lounges and chairs, and the water off the small beach is crystal clear and great for swimming. There are small shops within walking distance where you can get most things, a couple of book exchanges and a pharmacy about a 15 minute hilly but pleasant walk away.

This is a great place to kick back and relax for a while and we'll definitely come here again.

PS - Food at the nearby Reggae bar and Jenny's restaurant are magnificent.

A word of warning for anyone arriving from Parapat. 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 - we overnighted in Parapat and when 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 to get rid of him 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, 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.