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Mentawai Islands, The Hidden Surfing Paradise

31 July 2011 2,170 views No Comment

Mentawai Islands is located off the western coast of Sumatera and the chain of the islands stretches for about 360 kilometres in length, from southeast to northwest. The position of these islets and islands, combined with the gentle winds that can blow in several directions in the space of a single day’s work, are famously known to create some of the world’s best surfing waves. Thus, dozens of surfing spots, some world-famous and some remain hidden, have sprung up over the last decade, with more and more are being discovered seemingly every day. Dozens, or even hundreds of surfing spots remain undiscovered to this day, and each will have its own character and level of difficulty.

According to the local regency’s records, the number of tourists visiting Mentawai is around 3,000 to 3,500 annually, and these tourists come from countries as far apart as the Brazil, United States, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Spain, France and Japan.

And around 85 percent of these tourists are surfers.

The best time to surf in Mentawai is from March through to November, while the peak season occurs between June and August. During the peak season, the quality of the waves in Mentawai is second to none, and the consistent and strong breaks generally drive surfing enthusiasts giddy and ecstatic with excitement. The largest cluster of surfing spots in Mentawai can be found in the west and in the south of the chain. In these locations, the direct surf from the Indian and Pacific Oceans finds its way to the islands, promising the ultimate surfing thrills. A particularly popular spot amongst surfers is known as Pitstop Hill where the Pitstop Hill Resort is located.

If surfing is not your cup of tea, Mentawai also offers other great marine tourism attractions such as diving, snorkelling and fishing, as well as jungle trekking and visiting the native Mentawai tribe in Siberut. A decent range of accommodation, ranging from liveaboard to resort facilities, is also available.

To get to Mentawai, you can fly a plane to Padang, then take a bus to Bungus Harbour. The Ambu-Ambu ferry service runs on Mondays and Thursdays from Bungus Padang Harbour to Siberut at 5 pm. On Fridays and Sundays, the Ambu-Ambu ferry departs at 8 pm from Bungus Padang Harbour to Tua Peijat, Sipora.

Alternatively, on Thursdays and Tuesdays, you can fly in to the Mentawais via a small rental airplane, which departs from Minangkabau airport at 10 pm and which has an approximate travel time of one hour. Finally, you can charter private boats, which are usually priced between IDR 7-14 million (USD $700 – $1400).

Here’s the location of Mentawai Islands on map:

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