Mentawai islands are a chain of about seventy islands and islets approximately 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the western coast of Sumatra. The islands lie off the Sumatran coast, across the Mentawai Strait. Siberut is the largest island. The other major islands are Sipura, North Pagai (Pagai Utara) and South Pagai (Pagai Selatan).
Mentawai Islands have become a noted destination for surfing. Some areas of the Mentawai Islands rainforest ecoregion are protected, such as the Siberut National Park. Red junglefowl, the Asian palm civet and crab-eating macaque are also native.
How To Get There
Take a flight to Padang airport (PDG), continue with an hour drive to Teluk Bungus seaport for ferry to cross to Mentawai islands (6-10 hour trip).
From Padang, go to Teluk bungus seaport (around 1 hour trip) to get a regular/fast ferry to Mentawai. The ferry schedule is everyday. With slow ferry, it takes 10-13 hour trip, and will stop by in several islands of Sikakap, Tuapejat, Siberut Selatan and Maileppet. With fast ferry to Mentawai is 4 hour trip if you take it from Pelabuhan Muara. As this fast ferry is small it is reluctantly cause sea-sick.
You can have your hotel/tour operator arrange you a shared/private taxi from Padang, Bukittinggi, Kersik Tuo, to Teluk Bungus seaport or Muara Seaport for the ferry to Mentawai.
The indigenous inhabitants of the islands are known as the Mentawai people. They live a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the coastal and rainforest environments of the islands. They are friendly and open to visitors
The Mentawai live in the traditional dwelling called the uma which is a longhouse and is made by bamboo. Mentawai people have their own tradition and speak their own language. Tattooing was an identity and a personal or communal reflection of the people's relationship to nature, called arat subulungan, although there are motivational and design differences from region to region and among clansMen usually hunt wild pigs, deer and primates. While women and children gather wild yams and other wild food. Small animals are hunted by women. They keep pigs, dogs, monkeys and sometimes chickens as pets.
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