This post was last updated on May 20th, 2020 at 05:43 pm
When we were planning our trip through Sumatra it soon became clear that we would travel to Lake Toba. The city (airport) of arrival was already known, that would be Medan because it is easy to fly there (less than 40 minutes) from Kuala Lumpur. We arranged private transport from Medan to Lake Toba and upon departure, the driver immediately said that we would stop at a gigantic and beautiful waterfall, Sipiso Piso, on the way. Sounded great, of course.
With a height of 120 meters, the Sipiso Piso waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Indonesia. It is a fantastically beautiful waterfall, especially since visitors can enjoy the waterfall on the other side of the mountain so beautifully (the view of the waterfall from this vantage point is truly breathtaking). Sipiso Piso means “thousands of sharp knives” in Indonesian; it can be experienced literally when you are at the bottom of the waterfall (you cannot go completely under it, but it already cuts nicely when you get close). The water seems to come from an underground river at the top of the waterfall, but this is difficult to see because of the vegetation on the mountainside where the waterfall “starts”.
When you arrive at the waterfall you usually get off on the other side where you have a beautiful view of the waterfall on the right and the north side of Lake Toba on your left. Here you will find several small shops where you can buy local dishes, snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. Because you’re already at a higher altitude it is pleasant and cool here.
From the small shops, a winding path runs all the way down where the water of the waterfall touches the ground. This trip down is quite tough and for many, probably a heavy attack on the knees. It takes about 30 minutes to get all the way down. It is a decent descent with uneven steps. One step is very high and short, others are low and long. They made photo spots at several points so you can stay at any height to enjoy the view. All the way down you can also see the smaller waterfalls.
When you’re down there you’ll be close to the thundering water that falls from 120 meters high. The way back is also quite tough, you’ll probably take a little longer to get back up. Down the hill, it is also very humid and much warmer than at the top of the hill where you started the tour. Fortunately, there are some resting points, where snacks and water are also sold later in the day. We bought delicious corn from the barbecue for a few rupiahs.
If you’re in the area, don’t miss a visit to Sipiso Piso. As far as we are concerned, this is really one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen in Indonesia. There is a pleasant (non-touristy) atmosphere and the views are fantastic. We arrived there halfway through the morning and were the only ones there.
The entry fee for visiting Sipiso Piso is 5000 IDR (around US$0.4) per person. The cost of parking is also 5000 IDR.
How to Get to the Sipiso Piso Waterfall
The waterfall is about a 45-minute drive from Berastagi, on the north side of Lake Toba near the town of Tongging, on the road between Berastagi and Parapat. When traveling to Lake Toba from Berastagi (or Medan), this is an absolute must-visit. You can arrange transport in the village, this can be a taxi or private transport. If you already have a driver including your own transport during your trip, it is very likely that he knows where to find the waterfall (GPS coordinates: 2° 55′ 0.01″ N, 98° 31′ 59.88″ E).
Best Time to Visit Sipiso Piso Waterfall
When is the best time to visit Sipiso Piso? Here is some information to help you make your decision:
- The best months to view the Sipiso Piso waterfall are February, March, June, July, August, September, and October.
- On average it is hot all year round.
- The rainiest months are April, May, November, and December.
Weather and Climate Averages
- In the month of January, the weather is not good. In the morning the temperature is around 19°C (66°F) on average and the expected rainfall for this month is 544mm.
- From February to March the weather is OK. The highest temperature is 30°C (86°F) and it rains about 557mm every month.
- In April the weather is very bad. By evening the temperature averages 22°C (71.6°F) and, in April, 30 days of rain are expected.
- From May to October, the weather is OK. In the evening, the temperature averages 21°C (69.8°F) and you can expect about 524mm of rainfall/month during this period.
- From November to December the weather is the worst. At lunchtime, the temperature averages 24°C (75°F) and it rains about 97% of the time in December.