Mentawai Islands, this regency consists of several islands extending in the western part of Sumatra island which is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The Mentawai Islands are part of a series of non-volcanic islands and this group of islands is the peaks of underwater mountain range. Most of the inhabitants of the islands in Mentawai Islands district come from Siberut Island. The Mentawai people call their place as Bumi Sikerei.
The Mentawai tribe physically has a somewhat ancient culture; it is the Neolithic era where this society was not familiar with metalworking technology, as well as farming and weaving art. Half of the people here is animists, then some are Christians and Muslims. The Mentawai population is estimated at about 64,000. Mentawai tribe is documented to have migrated from Nias island to the Mentawai islands, living in an isolated life for centuries until discovered in 1621 by the Dutch.
Visiting Mentawai Islands, you will feel outside the world and the noise that you usually live every day. You will see and know all about the culture and daily life of this simple Mentawai tribe. At the same time learn about their wisdom in maintaining the balance of life with nature.
Beside its distinctive indigenous tribes, Mentawai also have natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that a visit to the Mentawai Islands can give you a new experience. Especially if you socialize well with the Mentawai tribe, of course it will be an extreme experience for you.
In addition their stunning beach, Mentawai is a surfer’s paradise. Well, a Mentawai surfing trip should be on everyone’s travel list. A mix of secluded tropical islands, warm clear waters and world-class pumping waves make it a dream surfing destination and is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world.
Best Time to Visit Mentawai Islands
If you’re going to the Mentawai Islands for the waves, the surfing season in Mentawai lasts from March to October (like the rest of Indonesia). That said, there is year-round surfing, but it’s not as consistent or world-class. The good weather of surfing season also coincides with the dry season. If you want to avoid the rainy season, you should note that January and February in Indonesia have the heaviest rainfall.
Even it is part of West Sumatra Province; the Mentawai Islands Regency is far from Padang (city center of West Sumatra). The capital city of Tuapejat is about 82 miles from Padang. First off you’ll need to get to Padang (airport code PDG), which is the nearest major city to the islands and the easiest way is to fly. From Padang airport, you should head for the city of Padang itself usually a day before your scheduled ferry. From Padang you will head to the islands in one option: ship, fast boat, private transportation.
Ship: From Padang to Mentawai by ship will take 10-12 hours. Before leaving, you should really check the departure schedule because there are frequent changes. Each ship has departures on different days. Departure from the Bungus Bay Ferry Port can be reached in one hour from the center of Padang City.
Fast boat: If you want to go faster, you can take a fast boat with 3-4 hours travel time. Depart from Muaro port which is in Kota Tua area of Padang. It’s just that the waves are more pronounced on this boat with 200 people capacity. This Mentawai fast boat departs six days a week, but you have to check the schedule because the destination can be different every day. For example, on Monday the ship will dock at Tuapejat, Sipora Island, but on Tuesday, the ship from Muaro will head for Siberut Island.
Transportation from the resort: There are a number of resorts in Mentawai that mostly visited by the surfers. Well, usually the resort provides transportation from Padang for hotel guests. If you don’t want to bother, you can take this option. Book a resort plus transportation.
Inter-island transportation: Since Mentawai Regency is an archipelago district; the main transportation in this district is motorized boats. From Tuapejat, there is an inter-island boat schedule. You also have to check the departure schedule first because there could be changes.