This island is about an hour and a half by motorboat from Siberut. It is a pleasant little place and can be walked across in about 30 minutes. There are a couple of tiny villages of people who live mainly off fishing and coconuts. If you see them at the top of a 20 metre tall palm tree, hanging on by just their feet and one arm while they use the...more
Nowhere in Siberut is more than 400m above sea level, so trekking here is relatively easy. However, the low altitude also means that it's very hot and humid, and on top of this you have to do a vast amount of wading through mud, rivers and swamps. Still, it's enjoyable and interesting to spend time with the local Mentawai clans.more
This is where the boat from Padang, Sumatra, will land you. It's small, more of a village than a town, has no cars and has what I found to be a friendly, laid back atmosphere. Having said that, it's not somewhere you'd want to spend more time than you had to. Here you can find a guide and someone to take you trekking in the jungle. Go down to the...more
Boats leave Padang, West Sumatra, to Siberut, about 2 or 3 times a week. The journey takes 10 hours and is overnight. One boat costs 45,000 for a space on deck, or 65,000 for a bed in a room. Another costs 85,000 for a space on deck or 100,000 for a bed in a room. Book your tickets at the port in Padang, Sumatra. There is also a hotel in Padang which can your reserve your tickets - I forget the name, but it mentions it in the lonely planet.
Don't rely on these boats - they are often cancelled because of bad weather and you may have to wait for up to a week after your planned departure date, especially in June or July when the seas are roughest.
One of the main elements in the Mentawai diet. This white, sugary tasting substance is made by an incredibly long and laborious process which takes several days. First the sago tree must be cut down, then hacked open, then the pith removed. Then the pith must be crushed to release the starch then washed and strained to separate the starch from the...more
Don;t come here with a Minangkabau guide from mainland Sumatra, or hire one when you get to Siberut. The Mentawai people hate them bringing foreignors to the territory and making money while giving very little back to the people themselves. Coming with a Minang guide is only likely to give you a worse experience. Guides are EXTREMELY easy to find in Maurusiberut; you can literally find one at the docks and be off on your trek within hours of arriving from Padang.
Lots of Minangkabau, in Padang, Bukkitingi and Siberut, will pretend to be Mentawai to encourage you to take them as your guide. Just wait until you get to Siberut and ask around.