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Published on November 29, 2017

The proud Batak people of Lake Toba in Northern Sumatra give thanks for the year’s blessings every September, with the staging of the Pesta Danau Toba (Lake Toba Festival) around its namesake lake and its biggest island, Samosir.

The five-day festival showcases a series of Batak art, sports and cultural products: Batak opera, boat races with traditional long canoes called solu balon, Tortor dances, and ulos weaving. Tourists will be impressed with the robust cultural identity of the Batak people, who have thrived around Sumatra despite colonial intrusions and natural disaster.

Throughout the festivities, the stunning views of Lake Toba and Samosir serve as a breathtaking backdrop. Toba is renowned as the largest volcanic crater lake in the world, all that remains of a supervolcano that last erupted about 70,000 years ago.

For more information about the festival, visit their official site:

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For similar festivals that honor nearby bodies of water, visit Cambodia’s River Festival; Myanmar’s Hpaung Daw Oo Festival; and Thailand’s Loi Krathong Festival. For an alternative September festival stop, visit Myanmar’s Hpaung Daw Oo Festival and Brunei’s Hari Raya Haji celebrations.