4 Reasons You Should Go to the Mentawais for Your Next Vacation
May 22, 2019
When people think of Indonesia for a luxury vacation, the first name that pops in their head is usually Bali. But the country is full of hidden gems that are still undiscovered by most tourists. If you want to experience the country’s untouched beauty and find a quiet spot away from the party scene, then the Mentawais should definitely be at the top of your list. The Mentawai Islands are a small archipelago right off the coast of Sumatra, and they are slowly becoming a prime destination for people looking for something out of the ordinary. If you still didn’t have a destination for your next trip, here are four reasons why you should consider the Mentawai Islands for your next vacation.
Have you always wanted to know how it would feel to live on a deserted island? If that’s the case, then you’ll have the chance to realize your dream in the Mentawais. Some of the islands look like a scene straight out of Castaway, and you’ll really have the chance to be at one with nature there. There are also plenty of organized jungle treks you can go on if you want to see it up close. You’ll have the chance to explore the islands’ impressive fauna and flora with a local guide and learn a bit about the islands’ history.
Pristine islands also mean fewer tourists, which makes the islands the perfect place if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet. The beaches there actually look like they do in the pictures. And if you have a craving for some coconut juice, no need to go to a juice stand; just find the nearest coconut tree and get it right from the source.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the islands of South and North Pagai are the least inhabited. They’re a bit off the beaten path and you won’t come across many people there, let alone tourists. This is a great way to get the real Mentawai experience if you can manage to charter a boat there.
Mentawai is becoming one of the most popular spots for surfers and it’s easy to understand why. The swell coming in from the Indian Ocean is awesome and is spread out in a way that makes for great breaks. And while the islands are pretty remote, getting there isn’t that difficult.
One of the ways that you can get to any of the Mentawai islands is to go with Mentawai Surf charters that will connect you to your Mentawai surf camp. Services like Surf Camp Sumatra will connect you with charter providers in the Mentawais and top Mentawai camps around the islands as well. There are also ferries that will take you from the mainland to the Mentawai islands, but going with a chartered boat is usually a better idea.
The Fascinating Native Culture
The island is also home to an elusive tribal Mentawai population with century-old traditions, rituals, and beliefs systems. They have unique traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, like the ritual sharpening of the teeth and intricate tattoos. A visit to the islands is a chance to observe this unique culture up close and is truly a life-changing experience.
If you fancy going one step further during your visit, you may be interested in having a Mentawai tattoo. These are performed by Mentawai shamans who use a piece of wood to hammer a needle onto the skin in an interesting design. During your time on the islands, you’ll likely see a lot of traditional Mentawai people covered head to toe in these tattoos as it’s a traditional tribal ritual that reflects the tribes’ relationship to nature. That said, you’ll also see distinct differences between the tattoos of different clans.
Another thing that separates the Mentawais is the rustic, yet luxurious accommodations. Most accommodations here consist of small bungalows by the sea, some more high-end than others. You’ll really have a feeling like you’re in a different time when staying there and is a great place to disconnect from the outside world.
While the islands are still largely untouched, you won’t have issues getting access to all the amenities you need if you’re staying on a resort. Most of the people coming into the Mentawais either stay on Sipora or Siberut island. However, don’t expect to see listings on major booking sites. Your best shot here is to go with a resort that is managed or owned by a tour operator.
If you’re looking for a place with pristine beaches, authentic beauty, and away from the hustle and bustle of major tourist spots, then you should definitely consider making the Mentawais your next vacation destination.