Isolated from the main island of Sumatra, there lies a beauty that nature has sculpted for thousands of years named the Mentawai Islands. An amazing archipelago that Indonesia can ever offer to the world. The exact location of Mentawai is west of the Sumatra just a 158 km from Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra province of Indonesia.
How To Reach Mentawai
Getting to Mentawai is quite easy. For a domestic tourist, take a boat trip from Padang to Siberut, a main island of Mentawai. But for the international tourist, take any flight heading to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and book another flight to Minangkabau International Airport.
Once arrived in Padang, have two options to go to Mentawai, either by ferry or by small aircraft. If the tourist prefers a ferry, there will be some companies can offer such service. But, if someone wants a faster transportation, book a flight of Susi Air which will serve flight from Minangkabau International Airport to Rokot Airport in Sipora, Mentawai Islands.
Once arrived at the destination prepare yourself with various exciting things to do. Check out the list of things to do in the Mentawai Islands below so the vacation can go well and memorable.
Things To Do In Mentawai
Since the Mentawai Islands are surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the beaches in this islands can offer world-class waves perfect even for professional surfers in the world. There are more than 70 perfect surfing spots. The spots located in Nyang-Nyang Island, Karang Bajad, Karoniki, Pananggelat, and Mainuk in Siberut Island. All the spots give different difficulty to challenge both beginner and pro surfers. The waves in Mentawai beaches are well known to the world of surfers because annual worldwide surfing tournament usually takes place here. So, do not forget to bring the surfboard when visiting this paradise.
Above the water surface lies the big waves, but under the water, an underwater Eden is ready to amaze all divers around the world. Mentawai can offer an unprecedented beauty of the underwater world. Plenty of different variety of coral reefs and fishes with colorful colors are ready to free your mind and soul from the burden we feel while working. The Saibi Sarabua cove is the best site for divers to dive and be amazed at its natural sea biotic.
3. Visit All The Islands
Mentawai is an archipelago which means it consists of many islands around it. But, there are four main islands here and exploring them all is a must to experience the true Mentawai. All the four main islands are South Pagai, North Pagai, Siberut, and Sipora. Siberut is the primary island of Mentawai and to explore all of them, a motorized boat can be rented from the locals. The price for renting the boat depends on how we can bargain. To explore by land, we cannot use any fossil-fueled vehicle because the locals do not like such disturbance. To explore, we can rent bikes from the locals, that way we can get a health benefit and do not produce pollution to this living paradise.
4. Meet The Locals
The Mentawai tribe is the one that has settled the islands since thousand of years ago. They are the kind of people who still firmly believe with the norms given by their ancestors. This tribe has a lot of unique and chilling traditions such as tattooing and teeth sculpting. Making tattoo here is unlike we might have seen in modern cities. The tribe still use traditional method in making tattoos. They use a small needle which will be dipped in natural color and then they start to penetrate the skin to paint the tattoo one hit at a time. It is a painful method but the tribe makes the tattoo to symbolize that they are growing to maturity.
Another unique tradition is the teeth sculpting. This tradition is women only. The women of Mentawai will get a sculpt to their teeth. This tradition is done to tell that if a women got a sculpted teeth, they will become beautiful women and the men will be even more interested in them.
Besides unique tradition, the house of the Mentawai people is also unique. The house of this tribe is called Uma which means home. The structure for Uma does not use any metal material at all. All the structures completely made out woods and not a single nail is used to connect all the sides. Instead, they use wooden pegs to connect each structure.
5. Try The Local Food
Subbet is the authentic food in Mentawai tribe. It consists of taro mixed with seamed coconuts and banana. Since rice cannot grow in Mentawai due to the dry soil characteristic, the locals main commodity is taro and other kinds of tubers. The process to make Subbet is pretty simple. First, the taro will be mashed and then rolled into a ball-shape. Then, the ball-shaped taro will be rolled again above the seamed coconuts. After that, the Subbet is ready to be served. It is commonly known that to eat Subbet, the locals also eat bananas as the side dish.
6. Exploring The Jungle
After we have experienced the warmness of the locals, an exploration of the Mentawai jungles can be an exciting activity to do. The jungle of Siberut is one of the most diverse jungles in the world. With lots of medical plants inside, this jungle is a paradise for those who seek natural medication. Besides all the benefits from the medicinal plants, the Siberut jungle is also home to an endemic species of monkey that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The monkey such as Bilou (Hylobates klosii), Joja (Presbytes potenziani), Simakobu (Simias concolor), and Bokkoi (Macaca pagensis).
Although the main feature of Mentawai islands is surfing, we still can enjoy many other activities that this paradise has. Mentawai is the perfect destination when we want to avoid all the stress we always feel during working in the cities. Refresh the mind with all the beauty this natural landscape offer and get a nice warm welcome from cheerful locals. Indonesia is truly a magnificent country which has beautiful treasures around its islands.