Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mentawai, The Hidden Paradise From The West Sumatera

Mentawai archipelago is part of West Sumatra province where since 1999 has been appointed to be a regency. The position of the Mentawai Islands is in the middle of the Indian Ocean and it makes an awesome sea, surrounded by nature and perfect for marine tourism. Mentawai has become one of the famous tourist destinations for adventure, cultural tourism, and marine tourism and especially surfing which is favored by the surfers from local and abroad.

Mentawai generally

Mentawai archipelago itself is a series of non-volcanic island where the cluster of this island is the culmination of an underwater mountains back. There are four islands that form the Mentawai Islands such as Siberut Island, Island of Sipora, North Pagai and South Pagai Island. The location of the islands is located off the coast of West Sumatra province that extends and surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Siberut Island is the largest island of the archipelago and the only one who has a regular shipping to the city of Padang in West Sumatra. The district administrative center is in Tuapejat, in the north of Sipora Island.

Surfing has become a tourist icon Mentawai Islands, even in this place often held an international surfing competition. There are approximately 400 places to surf in the Mentawai Islands.

The waves varied and challenging, even some rolls included in the category of extreme waves are sought by surfers from all over the world.

Mentawai Islands also offers trekking attractions that through the pristine tropical forest and also you can enjoy the lifestyle of the indigenous peoples who live peacefully in it. Mentawai is an area of unspoiled by human hands and a lot of modern infrastructure.

When you visit the Mentawai, you will be offered the feel of an ancient civilization of the Neolithic era where the tribes in these islands are not familiar with metalworking and farming, even the fabric weave technique. So, you'll see the difference cultures with Minangkabau people in the mainland of West Sumatra. The majority of the resident of this island are the Mentawai tribe which comes from Siberut Island with an amount of 30.000 people. Each family in the Mentawai islands consists of 5 to 15 people, which lives in the village or in the field near forest they done. The traditional home from Mentawai itself is named as Uma.

Tattoo process
Mentawai islands have been around 500.000 BC, but there were no clues / proofs when the first people came to this island. Most people of the Mentawai islands follow Animism, then the other follows Islam and Christianity. Initially, the local people believe Sabulungan concept, a concept that everything start from human until monkey, stone, and the weather have spirits which always separated and roam wherever they want.

The traditional ceremony of Sikerei or Shaman usually celebrated during marriage party and when entering the new home with the purpose to ward off the evil spirits

The Mentawai tribe has a unique tradition like tattooing all of their body where it's related to their role and social status. That tattoo made from the cane and coconut charcoal dye which is depicted by using a nail and needle also 2 pieces of wood as a pad and hammer. The process of making the traditional tattoo is known very painful


The access into Mentawai Islands still use motorboat and it's only twice a week, first on sunday night (Sumber Rezeki Baru Ship) and the second on Thursday night (Simasin Ship). The travel is about one day, it's mean the ship back to Padang on Tuesday and Friday night. The ticket price start from Rp 105.000,- until Rp 125.000,-. Also there are additional  ships which is operated every month on first sunday and in the second sunday. Ambu-ambu ship leave on Sunday night from Muara Padang and back from Siberut to Padang on Sunday night. 

If you decide to take off from International Airport of Minangkabau, you can rent a small plane like Tiger Air or SMAC to Tuapejat in Sipora island. After that, you can rent a ship for the travel into Muara Siberut and the travel is about 3 until 4 hours.


Mentawai Islands has become one of adventure tourism destination, cultures, and marine. In this islands, there are some interesting traditional village that must be visited like Madobak village, Ugai village, and Matotonan village. To arrive at these villages you have to through the river and footpath by the route Muara Siberut - Rokdok - Madokbak - Ugai - Matotonam where the mileage is about 5 until 6 hours.

You also recommended to visit Madobak village where in this village there is a waterfall called Kulu Buluk waterfall with a height of 70 metre. Besides visiting Kulu Kubuk waterfall in Madobak village or in the border of Siberut National park in Matotonan village, you can interact with daily activities of local residents and participate in their traditional ceremony. 

You also might visit Ruan Oinan lake which is located in the woods in Saumanganyak village. The form of this lake is like estuary surrounded by a lot of big trees

For you who love surfing, Mentawai islands is the perfect place to increase your adrenaline. In this  islands there are some surf spots with the high and big waves, like in Bosua village which has three-metre wave height. You can use speedboat for 4 hours from Tuapejat regency. Although there are a lot of coral at the beach but the roll waves is perfect and it has been famed by the world surfers.

Another location to surfing is Nyang Nyang island at Katurei village. Some surfers all around the world said that the wave in this place is the highest wave in the world, it's about 4 metre. 

Karamajat island in Katurei island also has a long and high  wave from 2 until 4 metre. In this village there are some floating inn. The wave in Koroniki island, Awera, Sibigeu gulf, Sinakak gulf also must be tested.

If you want the place which the wave is not too big you can visit Siruso island. This island is suitable for family recreation with the white sand and clear sea. You also can swimming and playing with sand  in its foreshore. 

Bulasat island could be another choice, besides it has white sand, also the beach in this island usually very crowded visited by tourists especially in religious holiday. To arrive in this beach, you can use motor vehicle and you will be pampered by beautiful green scenery or in the side of the road you can stop and buy some durians and young coconuts.  


To visit tourism village in Mentawai, you need skilled tour guide and they must understand the local society and its cultures. The tour guide will convince your safety and convenience during the travel. You can pay them from travel agent at Bukittinggi or in the harbour of Muara Siberut.

The sea condition between Siberut and West Sumatera sometimes very difficult passed by the ship because the waves are big enough. Especially on June and July where the waves are very dangerous. On April until October is the best time to surf because on that time the waves in Mentawai islands reach the point of maximum height. On November until March, the condition of the waves are not too high so it's less challenging when you surf there. 

Some best locations for beach sport like surfing are in Nyangnyang beach, Karang Bajat beach, Karonik beach, and Mainut Pananggelat beach. In sub-district of Sipora there're some best spot to surf such as Katiet Bosua beach and South beach also West beach in the sub-district of North Pagai. To arrive at the surfing spots, you can use Motorboat or small plane. Also there are some tour guide services. If you wanna spend the night, there are some inns along the beach in Mentawai islands that can be placed. If you don't have any choice, you can stay at local residents but dont be worried, the local people there are very friendly and kind. They're very habitual with local or international tourists. 

Here the list of some inns you can visit :
Aloita Resort & Spa 
Simakakang Tuapejat island, Mentawai islands, West Sumatera
Contact number : +62 (759) 320354
Awera Island Surf Camp 
Coconuts Mentawai, Mentawai Island 
Contact number : +62-816-4821041
Visit Wonderful for more information about Mentawai tourism object
May be useful and thank you for your visit :)

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