A friend called me the other day, right before Isya. he asked me to go to Mentawai. Which is one of my few dream destinations. It’s not really that far but who hasn’t heard about Mentawai. It’s an island located in the Western part of Sumatra, with its traditional Mentawai tribe inhabitants. Which some may still have animism as their belief. With a canoe-like boat as their method of transportation. One of the most beautiful beach in the world where you can surf, snorkel dan even fishing. Wit its white sandy beach.
More than half of its animal population are endemic. Such as Joja or Mentawai Langur (Presbitys Potenziano), which is a unique species of apes, where they either live in pairs or in a more complex harem group.
Another one is Bokkoi or Kloss Gibbon (Hylobates Klossii) the most primitive kind of gibbons which ironically has a nice voice…or noise, more likely.
With its short and stubby nose and a pig-like tail and two colored body, the Simakebu or Snubnosed Langur (Simias Concolor) is a fast-growing kind of ape.
The event itself is a training for 40 of Mentawaian students who are aspiring to be travel guides. It is an event held by both Mentawai Tourism Board and one of Bandung’s School of Hospitality.
They took this event seriously, not only from the Tourism Board, the Regent himself came all the way to Bandung. They determine to make full use of its tourism instead of only relying in its oil palm produce.
Where do i come in in the picture? My background is in architecture, particylarly home and resort designing. And running of course.
We were planning on staying for a week. The training itself only went for 3 days. we spent most of the early days on travelling. And it should be noted that Mentawai doesn’t only offer pretty waves to be surfed on. Mentawai isn’t only about the traditional people.
We departed by the start of June. My 2 lecturer friends went on a Jakarta-Padang roadtrip for two days because they didn’t want to spend a lot of time in Padang.
As for myself, i’ve been planning to go Bike-Fly-Bike for this trip. I don’t know what the correct term yet, but i’ll keep using it for now.
I bike daily so i’m getting pretty used to it by now so it wasn’t that hard for me to bike all the way from home to the airport. I went for a Bandung-padang flight. I didn’t bring a lot of stuff because i wanted to stay fuss-free during this trip. I used a light daypack. I also didn’t use any bigger bags like that of a pannier. While with Pannier you can store them on the small storage by the wheels. I use a 12 l of daypack.
Unlike what i usually do, where i only pack a couple of short and jerseys for a 7 days biking, i also brought along a trouser and short sleeved shirt while still leaving enough space in the daypack for my gadgets.
I biked from home to the airport and then continued from Padang airport to…pretty much anywhere we were going.
One of the perks of going on a bike is that no traffic will ever be a problem for you. Not to mention it was only 7 km from my house to Bandung airport. So i didn;t have to wake up too early for my flight.
It only took me about 30 minutes to get to the airport. I have an hour to pack up my bike with a wrapping plastic before my flight for me to put into the baggage. I used wrappingplastic because it’s inexpensive and practical. Plus it’s available in every airports. I walk my bike when i’m in the airport. Just make sure to the security person that you will put them in the baggage later. Dismantle the two wheels and then deflate them because their policy doesn’t allow anyone to store inflated things up in the air. And then the two wheels are ready to be wrapped. And then the frames were also wrapped separately. I didn’t take out anything else other than those wheels, except for my camera stand.
My biking days are filled with documented videos and photos. Be it Bandung city views or its more less visited corners.I just rasfered it to my smartphone and then upload them.
I walked my bike all the way to security check while still making sure that the wheels are going to wrapped and put in the bagage. Thankfully they gave me no trouble at all. They even helped me putting it into the baggage, so helpful.
My 48 sized roadbike cost about under Rp. 5.000.000, i wasn’t worry about it. Would’ve been a whole different problem if it cost a whole lot more.
It’s actually safer with a pastic wrap compared to when you use it in a bike box. where people would mistake it for any other box and treat it with no care otherwise.
The wrapping plactic is divided into two, for the complete frame and then the 2 wheels is being wrapped as one. The wrapper is pretty handy when they did it, carefully packig all of the parts and then sealed it with a masking tape.
It only cost about Rp. 100.000 for both wrappings and only weighed about 11,7 kg which is under Lion Air’s 20 kg limit.
Lion Air and Express Air doesn’t charge any extra baggage for the bike, they considered it as the baggage. Garuda wouldn’t even charge us for any sporting equipments. Bikes included of course. Whereas Air Asia would charge us for extra.
With online reservation it went like:
-Domestic for up to 15 kg: Rp. 135.000
-Domestic for up to 20 kg: Rp. 150.000
–Domestic for up to 25 kg: Rp. 180.000
–Domestic for up to 30 kg: Rp. 240.000
–Domestic for up to40 kg: Rp. 390.000
While it would cost more at the airport counter. It’s Rp. 300.000 for up to 15 kg.
The general requirments for you to store your bike in the baggage is:
-1 bike per person
-The bar is positioned along with the frame.
-The pedals need to be dismantle and then wrapped.
-Same goes with the gears.
-The tires need to be deflated.
-Take off the mudguards and then wrap it.
-The pumps, water bottle and other small stuf need to be safely put on the frame.
Not that hard right?
I’ve googled about Sumatran islands way before i went on this trip. We’ve had numerous events in Java, trail runnings in particular.
We’ve only been to Kerinci in Sumatra for these kinds of events. Which is one of the 7 mountain tops in Indonesia. Who knows, in the future Mentawai would be famous not only for its beach destination, but also for the nature trail run.
Alhamdulillah, it didn;t take us too long for finally boarding.
A friend remined me to take up the seat near the window so that i gaze upon the small islands when we land.
But as usual, i forgot to take the seat near the emergency door exit. Thankfully the seats weren’t full so i can just change seat to whichever one i wanted. Alhamdulillah.
We landed before mid day.
I told everyone i was going to bike from the airport so noone needed to pick me up. It didn’t take me long to fetch my bike from the conveyor belt and inflated the tires back on the spot. It was quite a spectacle to say the least. Before you knew it, i was already on my way from the airport. Don’t forget to throw all of the wrappings in the trash bins.
The second day, on Tuesday morning, we were already ready in the dock. My friends got dropped of by car, while i of course, biked all the way. It was only 2 km from the hotel to the dock. Easy peasy. We had lontong sayur Padang for breakfast, which is a tasty local delicacy of rice cake and vegetable curry.
We got in the boat at 7. I stored my bike on the upper deck and then tied it to be safe.
The boat ride cost about Rp. 250.000 per person. The Mentawai Fast boat could fit in about 200 passengers. And goes for 50 km/h. Pretty fast that it only took us 6.5 hour to go from Siberut-Mentawai. WIth a 2 hour stop at Sikabaluan, Mentawai.
The waves were gentle. Can’t wait to see a real wave, the ones in southern part of Siberut, which many considered as the prettiest. As well in Roniki Island, Karangmajat, Mosokut, SIbege, SIbarubaru dan some other places.
The waves are also sort of uniquely named. Waves like Ombak Ular Left, Ombak Tikus Left, Beach Break Left & Right, and Bang Bang Left, etc.
The Mentawai Fast boat was pretty clean. And most importantly all of the rooms are non smoking rooms. Alhamdulillah.Since i quit 20 years ago, i’ve grown no tolerance for cigarette smokes. I’d have asthma even when i inhale them.
Mentawai Fast doesn’t allow any passenger to go to the upper deck. The deck is opened, except for the one in the far back which has a roof but is opened on the side.
Which is suitable for them who can’t go on a day without smoking, Or those who has sea sick. Fortunately the other decks are comfortably air conditioned.
From the Muara Padang deck we took a short stop at SIkabaluan, Mentawai. We waited for 2 hrs for the passengers from here.
It tool 1,5 hrs from Sikabaluan-Muara Siberut.
The waves were still gentle, not unlike those of river, eventough it’s already in the sea. The weather was typical island hot.
The Mentawai island is surrounded by tropical rain forests. From the primary forest, mixed primary forest, to the swamp forest. Each islands with its own flora.
Mentawai is the traditional life of its inhabintans. Also has the oldest tattoo tradition in the world. I am especially interested in their plan of only relying on its tourism and not on its palm oil export anymore. I instantly said yes when the offered to take a sight-seeing trip.
For them to compeletely maximize the tourism they need to fix their infra-structure elements first. The road needs to be well travelled, same goes with the road lights and electricity throughout the island.
As of today the only communication access is only available in the island’s capital region, Sipora Island, on the Southern part of Siberut Island, the biggest island in Mentawai.
Some location in Siberut are already facilitated with communication access.
As for the road, it was indecent to say the least. The concrete were holed and many were damaged and the road could only fit 2 cars from the opposite directions. The rest could only fit for 2 wheeled vehicles.
But a lot can be done to set itself as the cleanest tourism destination while waiting for them to fis the infra-structure elements. Clean and Bike-friendly Mentawai could be the main tourism destination in the country. Not to mention with many of its beach focused events, like surfing, running and biking.
So that’s it from me. See you at another RideNFly, in Malino, Bira Beach South Sulawesi.
With Pannier in the back on each sides of course.
See you then.