Mentawai Islands Travel Guide

Lying 150kms off the west coast of western Sumatra in West Sumatra Province, the long string of Mentawai Islands are known for their excellent surf. Featuring huge barrels over sharp reefs, Mentawai is, however, only for the big boys and is expensive.

There are around 70 islands and islets in the Mentawai group, of which Siberut is the largest. It is also the closest and easiest to get to from Padang and has decent surf facilities to boot. The other main islands are Sipura, South Pagai (Pagai Selatan) and North Pagai (Pagai Utara).

The best thing about surfing at the Mentawai Islands is that the waves are consistent year-round, with the best featuring two- to four-meter swells from March through November. The main waves to look out for are Lance’s Left and Lance’s Right, Bankvaults, Macaronis, and Gilligan’s. The latter is good for those with less surf experience.

Before or after you surf, Padang City is worth checking out. It is the main town in West Sumatra and has some decent hotels and shops, along with Padang Beach for relaxing.

Getting There & Away

Minangkabau International Airport in Padang is the main entry point for the Mentawai Islands. Flights come in from all over the region and the airport is 1 hour, 30 minutes from Jakarta by air. Ferries and yacht charters run to the islands from Padang harbor.