Road Trip and Camping: Route from Danau Toba to Bukittinggi

Breath-taking view from the campground

After a few beautiful days exploring Samosir island and the area around lake Toba we were heading further towards Jakarta.

The route along Lintas Timor, the road along the eastern coast of Sumatra, would have been faster but we wanted to see more of Sumatra so instead we decided to continue on Lintas Barat, along the western coast of Sumatra. In this blog, you can find out more about the route between Danau Toba and Bukittinggi. I share some of the things you can see along the way and places you can stay or camp at.

Click here to find the detailed route on Google Maps

Lake Toba to Panyambungan

The 450km long drive from Lake Toba to Bukittinggi took us two days. The road condition varies a lot along this route. Some parts are in great condition, but others are very narrow, with lots of trucks, and with more potholes than smooth asphalt.

We passed by several markets along the main road. They are a great place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish from the local farmers. Traffic tents to be very slow as a mix of cars, motorbikes, busses, and trucks try to pass by the narrow road left between the market stalls. However, I love to shop at those markets and to observe the locals buying and selling all kinds of goods. 

Padang Sidempuan is one of the largest towns we passed through. It’s a good place to stock up on supplies. There you can also find mechanics for the different car brands and several hotels to spend the night at.

The whole city Padang Sidempuan was filled with these Vespa motorbike taxis 

We wanted to sleep in our van Black Pearl and were hoping to set up camp next to Aek Sijornih, a park with several small natural pools and waterfalls. It looks like a fun place to visit, so check it out if you’re in the area. However, once we got there in the evening, we realized that it was only accessible on foot over a small wooden bridge. In the darkness it was difficult to find another camping spot so instead we drove to Panyambungan, the nearest town with a few simple transit hotels.

Source: Kumparan

Panyambungan to Bukittinggi

The next morning, Black Pearl was acting up. I will spare you the details, but believe me, it was a very long and nerve-wrecking 200 kilometers drive to the nearest Toyota mechanic in Bukittinggi. Black Pearl needed a lot of breaks but thankfully she somehow managed to take us there safely.

Being worried about Black Pearl, we were not really able to enjoy this part of the route but it was beautiful. It passes through some small towns, leads over mountains, and runs along rivers through valleys which offer many scenic views.

We spent all of our time in Bukittinggi at the Toyota shop, so I can’t really say much about the city. However, we found a cool campground at Tree House Inyak in Sianok Valley. They offer a few simple wooden huts as well as campsites. It’s the perfect place for people who want to be close to the city but still like to be surrounded by nature.

Campground “Green View Homestay” at Puncak Lawang

Once Black Pearl was taken care off and ready to go, we decided to head further out of the city. It was New Year’s Eve and we were looking for a special place to celebrate the beginning of the new  year. We found exactly what we were looking for at Green View Homestay. It’s a simple wooden house with a few rooms for rent and several camping spots overlooking Lake Maninjau and the surrounding hills. You can even see the Indian Ocean in the background. What a sight to wake up to on the first day of the year! Perfect for an espresso coffee and banana pancake breakfast.  

It was a bit tricky to find Green View Homestay, so here is a detailed description for you. Head to Puncak Lawang. When you reach the ticket office, tell the people there that you will stay at “Green View Homestay”. That way you won’t need to pay the entrance fee. Drive straight up the hill and shortly after the ticket office take the first road on the right. Follow it for around 10 minutes. It’s quite steep but we managed to get there with our Toyota Avanza without any issues.

I also recommend contacting the owner Pak Hendri before heading to the campground. He speaks English and this is his number: 085272583434.

The campground has a simple bathroom and it costs around 50.000Rp./person to stay there. Given the amazing location it is absolutely worth it. It was one of my favourite campsites in Sumatra.

After a stormy night... 

Enjoy and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.

Want to find out more about our road trip around Sumatra? Have a look at my other blog post about Sumatra or head over to our YouTube channel Danu & Julie.

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