Discover the wonders of Lake Toba, Indonesia

Lake Toba: a stunning gem in the middle of Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic crater lake in the world, formed by an eruption around 75,000 years ago that created the 100-kilometer-wide, 500-meter-deep caldera we see today.

It’s a majestic place, with inviting blue waters nestled between lush green mountains that earned it a spot on the list of UNESCO Global Geoparks. But there’s more to this unique destination than meets the eye…

Beyond its stunning shores, Lake Toba boasts a dynamic history and cultural charm. From the fascinating history of the Batak tribe to Lake Toba’s local festivals and range of culinary delights, it’s no wonder this unique location continues to draw visitors from all over the world.

Intrigued? Sit back, relax, and let us tell you all about what this fascinating region and its people have to offer…

A community rich in culture

Lake Toba is home to hundreds of thousands of people distributed across seven regencies of the North Sumatra province — many of whom have been in the area for generations.

Perhaps the most famous group in the area is the native Batak tribe. This indigenous Indonesian ethnic group has lived in the area for centuries and is known for its people’s skills as warriors, agriculturalists, artisans, and musicians.

The warm and hospitable Batak people who live around the lake are commonly referred to as Batak Toba. These resident communities have generously opened their traditions to newcomers, sharing culinary specialties, entertainment, and mythology tied to life around the lake.

One of our favorite legends is of Princess Pusuk Buhit, who transformed into a golden fish to protect the lake. We like to imagine she’s still swimming in its deep waters, keeping our tilapia safe…

An ecosystem of conservation

As more and more people flock to its shores to enjoy breathtaking scenery and vibrant local culture, Lake Toba’s residents are committed to preserving its diverse natural ecosystems.

For example, environmental activist Delima Silalahi launched and won a campaign alongside indigenous communities in Tano Batak to secure legal stewardship over 17,824 acres of tropical forest with broad customary significance and biodiversity value.

With the support of the Lake Toba people in North Sumatra, Delima was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2023 — a testament to her conservation efforts as the only Indonesian activist to win this award.

The Batak community has also been called on to share their local wisdom to support government-backed conservation efforts, including reforestation projects designed to replenish the natural environment around the lake.

A base for sustainable aquaculture

Lake Toba is a hub of economic activity, providing livelihoods for thousands of people through farming, fishery, and tourism.

Regal Springs has been expanding our aquaculture operations in this region for decades since our founder stumbled across Indonesia’s bountiful freshwater lakes in the late 1980s.

We were among the earliest aquaculture pioneers in this area, opening our first farm here in 1998. Now, we’re one of the largest companies in the region — employing and caring for over 500 people and their families.

We’re committed to preserving Lake Toba’s vibrant marine ecosystems and the bordering forests and rivers, using floating cages that have minimal impact on the natural lake environment. As a result, our Lake Toba tilapia farm was the first to earn ASC certification — an achievement we remain incredibly proud of to this day.

By conducting meticulous water monitoring and feeding our tilapia fish a plant-based diet, we can continue to ensure the waters around our pens remain clean and healthy — and produce high-quality tilapia fish that are good for people and the planet.

We’re honored to work with local communities to raise sustainably farmed tilapia in freshwater environments worldwide. Contact our locally based teams today for information about where to buy Regal Springs tilapia near you.