MENTAWAI ISLANDS

MENTAWAI ISLANDS

Mentawai Islands (off the west coast of Sumatra, about 90 kilometers west Padang) are a group of isolated islands inhabited by the Mentawaian people. Siberut, the largest island, is home to about 30,000 people. Most visitors are surfers and travelers hoping to see rain forest wild life or the Mentawaian people maintaining their old ways. When they do see people running around in loin cloths, the clothes are usually put on for the tourists and stashed after they leave.

Siberut is generally the only island visited by travelers. Siberut National Park, covering 1900 square kilometers, is renowned for it unique fauna. Animal species found here are found nowhere else in the world, among them some rare monkeys and primates such as the black gibbon, snub-nosed monkey, simakobu (Simias concolor), Joja or Lutung Mentawai (Presbytis potenziani) easily identified its long tail, white face and black hair head, Bokkoi atau Beruk Mentawai (Macaca pagensis), Kloss Gibbon/Bilou or Siamang Kerdil (Hylobates klossii) famous for the beautiful voice, different compared to general monkey

Surfing is big draw. The Mentawai Islands have some of the best surfing conditions in the world: monster waves and swells that remain all year round. With some of the biggest breaks in the world, this is the place to come for some world class surfing. There is no ‘off’ season here, the surf is great all year round. Warm water, perfect barrels and limited crowds — once you surf the Mentawai Islands, no where else in the world will compare. Beautiful coral reefs lie off shore. The waters surrounding the islands are ideal for snorkelling and diving.

Mauara Siberut is the main town on Siberut. There are a few traditional villages nearby. Many that make the effort to visit the Mentawai Islands make the extra effort to venture into the interior to visit more remote villages. This is generally done by boat but can also be done on foot. Conditions on the islands are pretty basic. Independent travelers should bring their own food. Accommodation is usually provided by in family homestays. The easiest way to visit the island is via a tour arranged in Padang or Bukittinggi.

While the physical distance between the mainland and Mentawai is not great, the islands are remains one of the most isolated places in Indonesia, and was only subject to outside influences at the start of the 20th century. The Mentawai archipelago includes four municipalities, Siberut, Sipora, North Pagai and South Pagai. Siberut, the biggest island, remains largely covered with tropical rainforest. Siberut island is home to a rich array of bio-diversity which has earned it designation as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. [Source: Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia to UNESCO] “Siberut is the largest in the chain of four Mentawai Islands situated off the west coast of Sumatra. It has been isolated from the Sumatra mainland and the Sunda shelf for at least 500,000 years, resulting in an exceptionally high degree of endemism. 65 percent of the animals are though to be endemic. Lowland dipterocarp rain forest is the principal ecosystem.”

The remote location of these islands means that the Mentawai people have had very little contact with the outside world until recently. day, the Mentawai still abide by traditional practices and live largely off the land. Local people have a strong spiritual relationship with the forest with a belief system that emphasizes harmony with creation. It is believed people first came to inhabit these islands at least several thousand years ago. Most anthropologists classify the Mentawai people as Protomalay which means they have a mostly Neotlithic culture but have not been effected by Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism. Tatoos are an important symbol in Mentawai culture and reflect maturity, manhood and status. The art of this body painting has been inherited from ancient ancestors and the ink is made from natural fibres.

Visiting the Mentawai Islands

Trekking through lush rain forest, wadding through swamps and paddling in a pirogue (traditional boat) are all activities pursued in the Mentawai Island. Many travellers make the trip to the Mentawai Islands to absorb the culture, meet local clans and learn about ancient traditions. Come and see how a shaman does his work. According to Mentawai beliefs, illness and accidents are nothing but symptoms of a trouble mind.

Muara Siberut on the southeast coast of Siberut is main major point of entry to the Mentawai Islands for tour groups from the mainland. From here, you can travel with a with a local guide and trek inland to some of the Mentawai villages. There is a guest house and restaurant in Muara Siberut. While traveling in villages, guests can sleep on the floor with a local family. Payment is up to you but is normally in the form of cigarettes or other gifts. Visitors are expected to bring their own food. The few restaurants and food stalls that exist generally serve fresh seafood or local food. If you are lucky enough, you can pick and cook your own seafood, but make sure you know the secret recipe/spices from Mentawai people. If you're not into seafood, you can find regular meals as well. Local people do not mind being photographed however it is polite to ask beforehand.

Mentawai island trek adventure travel organise treks on Siberut island. This includes arranging accommodation at home stays with local clans and camping in the jungle. There are also a number of luxury resorts that operate on the islands.Siloinak resort, situated on its own private tropical island near Siberut, is the ideal place to sit back, relax and absorb the beauty of this deserted island. With 900 meters of coconut palm fringed beaches and a refreshing lagoon great for swimming among tropical fish.

Tips: 1) The rain forest terrain is rough and muddy so if you are coming for a hike, bring good hiking boots and appropriate clothing. Depending on what tour option you chose, be prepared for some long hard walks and basic accommodation and food. 2) It gets very wet in the jungle so it is a good idea to line your pack with a plastic bag. 2) Remember to bring a torch, and warm clothing as it gets cool here at night. 3) Washing takes place in the river however you must keep a sarong or swimsuit on at all times. 4) Bring all medicines, malaria pills, and pharmaceuticals with you as well as other thing you find indispensable as it is unlikey you will fund them on the islands. 5) Mosquitos and leeches are common. 6) If you are a surfer, bring your own surfboard with you, because it may be hard to find a surfboard shop in Mentawai. 7) Bring enough cash while visiting Pulau Siberut or other islands in the Mentawai cluster as there are no banks or ATMs in this isolated region.

To gain access to many hard to reach places, you can rent a boat owned by local people. You can find the boat along the beach. The rate depends on your bargaining skill. Independent travellers will need to be able to speak reasonable Indonesian to negotiate with local guides in Sirebut. They also must organise their own travel permits with police. It is best to first pay a visit to The Siberut National Park visitor center in Maileppet (5 kilometers from Muara Siberut) before heading into the hinterland. Siberut National Park staff will be willing to help and share information about the national park and Pulau Siberut overall, or even become your personal tour guide.

Getting to the Mentawai Islands

Sebaung Merauke Air flies between Padang and the Mentawai Islands. It is a 30 minute flight. Flights can be booked via a number of local agents including Mentawai Air. Some resorts which operate on the islands will arrange flights and airport pick ups for you. An overnight ferry service departs from Padang. It is best to regularly check times with ferry operators as timetables can change depending on weather conditions. Probably the easiest way to get to Sirebut is to join a trekking tour. These tours normally depart from Bukittinggi or Padang and will organise transport to the island.

Generally, to reach Siberut in the Mentawai Islands, you must first get fly to Padang, capital of West Sumatra. There are a number of domestic flights to Padang from Jakarta, Medan, Bali and other cities in Indonesia. There are international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Padang. You can travel overland by bus, minibus or car with a driver from other places in Sumatra such as Medan From Padang’s Minangkabau International Airport, which is the primary airport of West Sumatra located about 20 kilometers from Padang, you will make your way to the port at Muara Padang by bus or taxi. From there, visitors using the ferry or boat can cross the Indian Ocean to Pulau Siberut.

Located approximately 155 kilometers from Padang, the trip to Siberut will take approximately 12 hours of traveling by ferry. The ferry will take you directly to Muara Siberut, the port on Pulau Siberut, the only island in the Mentawai Islands which has a regular ferry to Padang, West Sumatra.

The ferries have scheduled departures twice a week from Padang to Siberut; Sunday night (Sumber Rezeki Baru Ship) and Thursday night (Simasin Ship). This trip usually takes up to one day and will return back to Padang on Tuesday and Friday nights. Ticket prices are between Rp105.000, and Rp125.000. In addition, there are additional weekend ships operating on the first and second Sunday of each month. The Ambu Ambu ship departs on Saturday evening from Muara Padang and back from Siberut to Padang on Sunday night.

Another option is, if you depart from the Minangkabau International Airport there are small rental planes available on Tiger Air or SMAC which can take you to Tuapejat on Pulau Sipora, part of the Mentawai cluster and near to Pulau Siberut. After that, you can rent a boat for a trip of around 3 to 4 hours to Muara Siberut on Pulau Siberut.

Lars Krutak wrote: “Although Siberut is part of the Mentawai Archipelago, famous the world over as the “Last Frontier of Surfing,” it is extremely difficult to reach — especially if you want to visit the heavily tattooed Mentawai people who call the interior of this island home. To get here, you must first endure a bumpy, stomach-churning ferry ride lasting some ten hours. The seas get so rough during the overnight passage, that by morning the ferry smells and looks like a Roman vomitorium after an all night dinner party! Then, just as you think you’ve survived the hardest part of the journey, a six-hour dugout canoe journey awaits you after reaching the Muslim and Christian port town of Muara Siberut. If it’s raining, which it does almost every day on Siberut, the dugout voyage can be misery. And if it’s sunny, you’ll bake like a Mentawai sago stick that has just come out of the oven! But if you want to witness some of the most amazing tattooing in the world and hang with some of its most incredible people, then this trip is definitely worth it. You’ll never forget it! [Source: Lars Krutak, Tattoo anthropologist]

Mentawaians

The Mentawaian live on the Mentawaian Islands off Sumatra. Also known as the Mentaweier, Orang Mantawei and Poggy-Islander, their women have traditionally raised taro and tubers and gathered shellfish while the men hunted and fished and grew bananas. The live in group organized around clans and clan houses. In 1966, there were 20,000. In recent years many of them have take up rice farming. [Source: Encyclopedia of World Cultures, East and Southeast Asia edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, 1993) ~]

Although the Mentawaian Islands are not that far from the Sumatran mainland tricky currents, strong winds and coral reefs have made movement between the two bodies of land difficult and the Mentawaian remained isolated from the outside world until well into the 20th century. They were skilled boat builders but had no crafts. ~

The Mentawaians still maintains the lifestyle and traditions passed down from their ancestors from thousands of years ago. They live in houses locally called ‘uma’, made from wooden scaffolds which house several families each. The group has its own language, culture, customs and some still profess a belief in animism. Their clothing is also very simple: Mentawai men wear only a loincloth made from the bark of the gum tree, while women only wear a simple skirt made of palm or banana leaves. Besides clothing, they also recognize a certain "timeless clothing", - the characteristic Mentawai tribal tattoo, - which sometimes entails tattooing the whole body in the traditional way, following a variety of tribal rituals. It is not uncommon to see Mentawai people covered from head to toe in tattoos. Their main food is sago and they raise pigs and hunt monkeys for their daily food.

Mentawaian villages are built along river banks and consist of a communal house surrounded by single-story family houses with several families living in a single unit, with single men living in their own quarters. Society is remarkable egalitarian with decisions on matters affecting the whole community are made in a meetings at the communal house. Large meetings are marked with sacrifices of pigs and chickens and certain normal activities become taboo. ~

Mentawaian History

The Mentawai are Proto-Malays who have migrated from the Yunnan in China then mixed with the Dongson in Vietnam. Many sailed further to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, while others landed on the Mentawai Islands along the west coast of Sumatra. These were the ancestors of the present day Mentawai clans. One of the first outsiders to observe them was Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. In 1821 he wrote: “Now I have to acknowledge the fact that the people of the Mentawi Islands atr even more admirable and probably much less spoiled than we.”

The Mentawai tribe is said to have migrated to the Mentawai Islands from Nias island to its north, living an isolated life here for centuries until “discovered” by the Dutch in 1621. Lars Krutak wrote: “The Mentawai are an ancient tribe that for thousands of years has lived on Siberut Island. Although 19th century Christian and Muslim missionaries converted most of the Mentawai living on the neighboring southern islands of Sipora and the Pagai’s (which are relatively flat), the traditional culture of the Mentawai living on rugged (and somewhat mountainous) Siberut has remained relatively intact; albeit just barely. [Source: Lars Krutak, Tattoo anthropologist +++]

“With Indonesian independence in 1950, an aggressive government campaign was launched to modernize the Mentawaians of Siberut. Traditional cultural practices such as tattooing, tooth filing, and the wearing of loincloths were forbidden because they were considered “pagan” and “savage.” Moreover, every individual was forced to join either the Christian or Muslim faith. +++

“In the 1990s, cultural oppression against the Mentawai took on more brutal forms of forced relocation from jungle villages to resettlement sites in government-created villages. Mentawai religion (e.g., shamanism) was for all purposes outlawed, and police stripped practicing shamans (sikerei) of their medicine bundles, sacred objects, loincloths, and their long hair. Sadly, Mentawai shamans, the keepers of the rain forest and their peoples, were denied their basic human rights; even when these abuses occurred under the noses of international organizations like UNESCO, the World Wildlife Fund, and Friends of the Earth, who were more concerned about saving Siberut’s primates than their indigenous peoples! +++

“Thankfully, several Mentawai clans living in the remote interior of Siberut succeeded in escaping the disruptions and dislocations of the government. One such group, theSarereket or “the people of this place,” made a courageous decision to leave their ancestral village of Ugai — a place where mosques, Catholic missions, and Western clothing were becoming a thing of the present — and move deeper into the jungle in an attempt to retain their original culture.” +++

Siberut Island: Home to the Mentawai Tribes

Siberut Island (Pulau Siberut, 155 kilometers from Padang.) is the largest of the Mentawai chain of Islands and separated from Sumatra by the Mentawai Strait. The 30,000 or so Mentawai that live here for the most part live isolated from the modern world. A closer look into the inner workings of the life of the Mentawai is one of the main attractions for a visit to Siberut.

Besides witnessing the Mentawai tribe’s isolated life, trekking in the protected tropical forests is very much recommended, while, enjoying the scenery around the island is another interesting adventure to be had. Approximately 2/3 of the island is covered with rain forest that offers trekking adventures which are not always easy but physically challenging and will be sure to get your heart pumping.

Much of the island is protected by and has been a national park since 1993, known by the name of Taman Nasional Siberu (Siberut National Park), one of the Biosphere Reserves working in conjunction with the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB). The Siberut National Park is home to four types of wildlife primates found only in Siberut, these being Bokkoi (Macaca pagensis), Lutung Mentawai / Joja (Presbytis Potenziani Siberug), Bilou (Hylobates klossii), and Simakobu (Nasalis siberu concolor) . In addition to these endemic primates, there are also 4 different types of endemic squirrel species, 17 mammals, and 130 species of birds (4 of which are endemic).

To explore the charm of Siberut, there are a number of service travel agencies, and tour guides can be found in Padang or Bukit Tinggi. To enter the Siberut National Park, we suggest that you first call on the National Park Office, at Kantor Taman Nasional Siberut, Jl. Khatib Sulaiman No 46 Gedung ex. Kanwil Kehutanan lt. 3 Padang-Sumatra Barat, Website: http://tamannasionalsiberut.org/Potensi-Pariwisata/

Accommodation on Siberut Island

There are several accommodation options on and off this small island. There is a guest house and restaurant in Muara Siberut. Mentawai island trek adventure travel organizes treks on Siberut island. This includes arranging accomodation of home stays with local clans and camping in the jungle.

There are also a number of luxury resorts that operate on the islands, offering guests the chance to laze under palm trees while they savour the sunset. Mentawai resorts offer luxurious five star surf villas at HT’s resort. Siloinak resort, situated on its own private tropical island near Siberut, is the ideal place to sit back, relax and absorb the beauty of this deserted island. With 900 meters of coconut palm fringed beaches and a refreshing lagoon great for swimming among tropical fishes, this is truly a tropical paradise.

There is an inn at the Siberut National Park. You can inquire directly at the National Park office. Kantor Taman Nasional Siberut, Jl. Khatib Sulaiman No 46, Gedung ex. Kanwil Kehutanan lt. 3, Padang-Sumatra Barat, Website: http://tamannasionalsiberut.org/Potensi-Pariwisata/

Another option, if you would like to know more and be closer to the life of the Mentawai tribe and feel their way of life, you can stay at people's homes here. You can elicit information on personal homestays at the port Muara Siberut, upon your arrival.

For those of you who like to surf or would just like a place directly on the beach, there are cottages along beach at the surfing locations, such as on-Nyang Nyang Island, which is only a short speed boat ride from Pulau Siberut. Additionally, there is also a larger resort on Pulau Nyang-Nyang, the Pitstop Hill Mentawai, Website: http://pitstophill.com, E mail: info@pitstophill.com

Another place of interest, located in Sabang, is a surf camp. From here surfing tours of the Mentawai Islands are regularly scheduled as well. Surf Camp Siberut, Jalan Kandis 1v No 03 Rt 03 Rw 05 Olo Nanggalo Padang 25000

Sights and Activities on Siberut Island

Cultural tourism is one of the main attractions of Pulau Siberu. Witnessing the unique way of life of the Mentawai tribe will be an enriching cultural experience. The existence of traditional houses inhabited by several families (Uma Mentawai) is the first place to get to know and take a closer look at their daily lives. Traditional activities that they do every day are equally interesting, such as menyagu (cooking sago), hunting, making poison arrows, creating traditional tattoos, making Kabit (traditional pants), ceremonial dances typical to the Mentawai (turuk) and medicinal treatment rituals by Sikerei (shamans). In addition, other traditional villages that you can visit are the Madobak, Ugai and Matotonan villages.

As part of the Mentawai Islands, that are famous for some of the best surf in the world, marine tours are another adventure offered on this island. At Pulau Siberut there are regular boats sailing to and from Padang, and they also play an important role in the transportation among the Mentawai Islands.

For those who like to surf, there are Pulau Nyang-Nyang and Karang Bajat at the southern tip of Pulau Siberut, two small islands just a short speedboat ride away. The large waves that come barreling toward the beaches at both of these islands are well known among surfing enthusiasts, attracting experienced surfers from all over the globe. In addition, other marine activities that can be enjoyed here are snorkeling, swimming, fishing and ultimately just relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the pristine white, sandy beaches.

Taman Nasional Siberut now has speed boats for rent, accommodations with a capacity of up to 30 people, and a visitor center building as an information center for tourists who want to explore the national parks in particular and Pulau Siberut in general.

The location and the terrain make ecotourism activities, especially trekking in the national park, a very challenging and full of adventure. You really can never be completely sure what your day will hold for you. Some of the trekking routes will traverse through primary forests with very muddy soil conditions. While trekking through the jungle you will see the Dipterocarpaceae trees, forest orchids, wild flora and fauna and a tropical forest rich with a variety of species found only on this island. Bird-watching and catching a glimpse of other primates and animals, endemic to this island, are other excursions that can be added to the variety filled list of activities to do on this exotic little island.

Madobak. Ugai and Matotonan: Mentawai Villages

Madobak, Ugai and Matotonan villages are not specifically designed into a tourist destination, but their traditional culture and life are well-preserved, making them interesting places for tourists. They are situated in the upper stream of Siberut Selatan. From Muara Siberut, you should take the Purou-Muntei-Rokdok-Madobak-Ugai-Butui-Matotonan route. Each village has its own unique culture.

Madobak, for instance, is famous for its cool Kulu Kubuk waterfall. It has two levels with a total of 70 meters. Each village is also famous for its traditional home, locally known as an Uma, and its traditional ceremony performed by a Sikerei, or shaman. This traditional ceremony is usually performed during weddings, occupation of a new home, to facilitate healing or to drive away evil spirits. Shaman in these three villages still preserve the use of underwear and headbands (Luat) made of colorful beads. Some locals also have Mentawai traditional tattoos made of sugarcane and coconut charcoal dye. These tattoos are made using nails or pins, and two pieces of wood as a pad and hammer. According to the local community, the tattooing process is very painful.

Since there is no other choice, visitors stay in local homes. To visit these villages, visitors should be accompanied with a tour guide who understands the local community and culture in Mentawai to assure your safety and convenience during this trip. You can hire a tour guide from your travel agency in Bukit Tinggi or in the port of Muara Siberut.

Villagers process sago trees into a number of goods, including basic foods, and motor boats. In the Mentawai community, sago is the basic food. Mentawais’ usually eat sago with other dishes such as fish and pork. These villages also have rice. In these villages, locals use wood to cook. They also preserve their community meal tradition. Each type of dish is served in one bowl and family members usually eat from the same bowl at the same time. Watching the local community find sago with their baskets is another interesting attraction.

Madobak Ugai and Matotonan can be reached by boating up the Rereget River which opens to the seas not far Muara Siberut. It takes about three hours to get to Madobak, four hours to Ugai and 5 to 6 hours to Matotonan by motorboat. During high tide, the traveling time will be shorter. You are recommended to take a small motor boat locally known as a pompong. The Distance between Muara Siberut and Matotonan, the most remote village, is 40 kilometers. Unfortunately, the Rereget River has curves and rises in elevation. You can see sago trees on both sides of the river.

Sights and Activities: Madobak Ugai Matotonan VillageBesides visiting Kulu Kubuk waterfall in Madobak village or the border area of Siberut National Park in Matotonan village, visitors can interact directly with the local community about their daily life and participate in their traditional ceremonies.

Surfing at Pulau Sipora: Mentawais Continuous Huge Surf Barrels

Pulau Sipora (accessible by plane from Padong and boat from Siberut) is the Menrawai Islands’ primary surfing destination. Strategically located in the Mentawai Islands, Pulau Sipora is the smallest island in this cluster off the coast of West Sumatera. Compared to the other four major islands in the Mentawai, Pulau Sipora’s position is right in the middle between Pulau Pagai and Pulau Siberut. On this island is the town of Tua Pejat, the district capital of Mentawai. Covering an area of approximately 845 square kilometers, Pulau Sipora is approximately 10-15 percent pristine rainforest. Much of the population on Sipora are either farmers or fishermen.

The best time to visit the island for surfing is from April to October, when the waves are usually at their peak. Even so, you still can enjoy the challenge of the rolling waves at Pulau Sipora most all year round. Some of the world-class surfing points, the Hollow Trees and Lance's Left are at the southern tip of the island. A number of other famous surfing spots are located in the northwest of the island, among those being the Telescopes, Iceland, and Scarecrows.

Hollow Trees, or also known as HT or Lance's Right are cylindrical waves (known as the right tubes) have appeared in international magazines and surfing videos for the past 10 years. When waves of this type come not too large, there will be 3 take off zones which will challenge even the most skilled surfer to maneuver smoothly. When the larger waves come, the peak of the wave where it breaks, will be connected with a continuous barrel, which will again be a welcome opportunity for surfing enthusiasts to hone their skills on the board.

Be careful with what is called The Surgeon's Table at this surfing point. These waves appear as if they are trying to lift surfers to its peak, to wave in the air as if a trophy of some sort. The Hollow Trees site is not recommended for beginners or novice surfers as the waves present a challenge for even those with adequate skills and expertise.

Lance's Left is a strong wave and the most consistent at Pulau Sipora and the surrounding Mentawai areas. Having the characteristics of waves with two different barrels and a take-off zone, Lance's Left (if caught in its perfect condition) is said to be one of the most beautiful waves on the planet. The movement of the waves along the surface of the sea is a result of differences in air pressure and winds which create a larger vertical take-off zone and a perfect barrel. When the waves are not too big, Lance's Left is suitable for surfers with intermediate skills.

In the northwestern sea of Pulau Sipora, there are two other well-known types of waves, the Telescopes and the Scarecrow. Telescopes are a type of very long waves, semi-hollow (waves rolling with a hole in the middle), and almost perfect for surfing. Many surfers who have surfed Telescope waves admit that this is one of the best waves in Indonesia. Telescopes are not too big but lots of fun to surf with their cylindrical shapes. These waves are suitable for intermediate level surfers. The Telescope waves are located the closest to Tua Pejat (the district capital), approximately 5 kilometers to the west of the town. The Scarecrows are a type of wave with a take-off zone from the left which is formed with the wave walls connected directly to the fast rolling barrel. These waves are also suitable for intermediate level surfers.

Another popular surfing destination can be found at Dusun Katiet at the southern tip of Pulau Sipora at Desa Bosua, a small village located approximately 4 hours away from Tua Pejat by speed boat. Dusun Katiet is famous for its perfect rolling waves reaching heights of 3-4 meters. The beach in this village has a relative amount of coral, but that does not deter surfers from hunting down these waves. The waves at Dusun Katiet are at their best from early April to December.

Besides Dusun Katiet, another surf spot known to the international surfers is Karang Manjat, literally translated, Coral Climb. This spot boasts high and exceptionally long waves, making it one of the favorite surf spots on the island. In addition, Karang Manjat is also a prime snorkeling and diving location that should not be under-estimated.

Diving and Snorkeling to Pulau Sipora

Aside from being a destination for surfers, Pulau Sipora is beautiful place with opportunities to engage in other water sports. Snorkeling, diving, or just relaxing on the beach while enjoying the view, accompanied by a cool, whistling breeze as you wait for the sun to set are other attractions to take part on this island.

For snorkeling fans, Pulau Awera, approximately 3.5 kilometers from the dock at Tua Pejat, the district capital of the Mentawai Islands, could be a very interesting point of reference. This beautiful island with its white sand, decorated with scattered palm trees, has a large variety and abundance of biodiversity. Extensive coral reefs are protected areas by the Mentawai government. In this region there are several endemic fish such as the Goldstripe Maroon Clown (Premnas epigramma), Desjardin's Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii), Fox Face-Red (Siganus magnipicus) and Powderblue Surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternoon), all of which can be seen while snorkeling and diving in these waters.

The waters of Karang Manjat have a high percentage of the best live coral, and for this reason encourage a large diversity of fish and underwater life. This is one of the reasons why this is such a popular diving and snorkeling location, the large amount and variety of marine life. At Karang Manjat, are found several different species of angelfish such as the Angel Napoleon (Pomacanthus xanthometopon), Angel Betmen (Pomacanthus imperator), Angel Roti (Pomachantus semicirculatus) and Angel Doreng (Pygoplites diacanthus).

Gosong Siasiat is another interesting dive site, frequented by many tourists and known for, again, the diversity of marine life and beauty of its coral reefs. Ghost Pipe Fish, Nudibranch, Harlequin shrimp, octopus, sea horses, several different species of crabs, turtles, and other creatures can be found in the ocean depths around Gosong Siasiat.

Accommodation and Getting to Pulau Sipora

Pulau Sipora visitors can stay at home-stays at Tua Pejat or liveaboards (boat with sleeping rooms) which can be hired at Padang. For a more adequate accommodation, staying at the resorts here could be an option. We recommend that you reserve a hotel room at these places well in advance

There is an airport on Pulau Sipora but only for charter flights. If you depart from the Minangkabau International Airport, which is the main airport of West Sumatera, there are small rental planes available with Tiger Air or SMAC which can take you to Tua Pejat on Pulau Sipora.

Other than that, the more opted for mode of transportation to Pulau Sipora is usually either by boat of speedboat. The boat will usually sail to Pulau Siberut first, the largest island within the Mentawai cluster, before proceeding on to Pulau Sipora and other Mentawai Islands. Mentawai Express, Sumber Rezeki Baru and Beriloga provide travel services from Padang, capital of West Sumatera, to Pulau Siberut and on t other Mentawai Islands, including Pulau Sipora.

The boat from Padang to Pulau Siberut will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, ticket prices being approximately Rp85.000. Departures back to Padang will be on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Mentawai Express offers a journey by speed boat taking approximately 4 hours to Pulau Siberut from Padang. At a cost of approximately Rp85.000, transportation is available on Thursdays and back to Padang on Friday.

Sumber Rezeki Baru has an overnight traveling service from Padang to Pulau Siberut by ferry at a cost of approximately Rp67.000. Sailing schedule is on Mondays and Wednesdays and return to Padang is on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This journey by ferry can take up to 10 hours. Tickets can be purchased at Bevys Sumatra, Jl. Batang Arau No. 33 Padang, SUMBAR - Indonesia ZIP:25118, Tel. 62 751 34878, Fax : 62 751 38880, E mail: info@bevyssumatra.com Contact: Mr. Elvis Kasmir

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Indonesia Tourism website ( indonesia.travel ), Indonesia government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from factsanddetails.com, please contact me.