The Mentawai Guide
“Use this guide to your advantage, it will save you time and money”. – Mr T
Mentawai is a definite bucket list surf destination. You can expect to budget anything from around $1380 per person depending on your preferences as explained later in this post. Mentawais is considered to be one of the more expensive surfing destinations in Indonesia, purely because of it’s remoteness and the high cost of logistics.
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How to get to the Mentawais
You will need to fly to Padang and hop on to a ferry or speed-boat, which will take you to the Mentawai islands. To get to Padang, you can either fly via Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta. You may need to stay overnight in Padang depending on the ferry departure schedule. The ferry schedules are hard to get your hands on!
Ask the Taxi to take you to Brigittes House or New House,they will help you out with ferry bookings, taxis to and from the airport, and anything else whilst in Padang. Click here to view the Mentawai Ferry Schedule.
Things to bring to the Mentawais
Use this as a checklist:
- Bring enough cash (check with your camp or resort about amounts required – extremely unreliable or NO ATMs in the Mentawais!)
- Two pairs of clothes for humid/tropical climate.
- Towels, Boardies, Rash vest, Sunblock, Hat, Tropical surf wax.
- Mosquito repellent, A book, Snacks, headlight.
- A few spare leashes (plus the ones on your boards), Boards for big waves and small waves, fishing and snorkelling gear (if you prefer to use your own).
- A sense of adventure.
- Cameras and accessories.
What to do in the Mentawais
Surf, Fish, Surf, Fish, Dive, Spearfish, Chill out, Eat coconuts, Eat food, Meet awesome people, Learn new things, Drink Bintang, Yoga, Jungle treks, Snake hunting, Discover, Nap in the shade on untouched beaches, Explore, Adventures, Breathe, Relax, Read, Play cards, Surf.
Mentawai Budget Guideline
A few points to consider when reading the Mentawai Budget Guideline:
- This is a Guideline based on prices from March 2016.
- US Dollar is the currency of choice as most currencies are based on the performance of the Dollar. Click here for a currency converter.
- The Duration is two weeks (14 days).
- The City of Departure is Cape Town, South Africa.
- Flight prices are from Booking Buddy (one way to compare the cheapest flights from a variety of companies.) (Please click this link if you decide to book your flights using booking buddy, thank you)
- My prices are based on direct international flights to Padang.
- The cost indicated is per person.
- Beers cost between $2 (small) and $3.50(large)
- ‘Accommodation, food and water’ includes three meals a day. I have also allowed for two overnight stays in Padang at Bridgette House, for the journey to and from the Mentawais.
What type of traveller are you? Decide on the type of traveller you are, or would like to be, for this adventure.
- The Backpacker travels with a backpack for long distances and long periods of time. He/she uses public transport, stays at inexpensive places aka homestays and is generally interested in meeting the locals and doing some sight seeing. If you are considering this option, ensure that you pack only what is necessary. Two of us were able to share a backpack small enough to pass as hand luggage, and one board bag which we filled with our less important ‘stuff’, always ensuring the bag was locked with cable ties, before sending it through.
- The Flashpacker travels like a backpacker but is usually older. He/she has a higher budget and prefers to bring along more ‘comfort’ items and gadgets, examples include; Couples, Writers, and Digital Nomads. Flashpackers choose the more ‘comfortable’ form of travel when that option is available to them, but sometimes they may have no choice other than what is available.
- The Big-Ticket will always choose the most luxurious or most convenient option available to them, and will often fly at short notice (from 2 hours after they receive a swell report) purely to get the swell. Whether its luxury or convenience they’re after, it normally carries a heftier price tag.
|Return International Flights from Cape Town, South Africa to Padang, Indonesia. (See Booking Buddy)||$900-1100||$900-1100||$1000-6000||Excludes additional charges for boards. Check with your airline before booking as each airline varies. Click this link for prices.|
|VISAS* (Flights to Bali and Jakarta provide free Visa on arrival for certain countries.)||$35||$35||$35||For direct international flights to Padang.|
|$20*-50||$20*-50||Included||Share a taxi to share the cost.|
|Ferries and Boards* Slow ferry($10 one way) excl boards. Fast Ferry ($25 one way) excl boards.||$20-100*||$20-100*||$0-100*||Fast Ferry including surfboards ($25). Please note: Body boards cost less to transport ($15)|
|Snacks, drinks and beers.||$0-40||$40-70||$0-1000||Big Ticket travellers often opt for all expenses paid vacations.|
|Accommodation, food and water||$310*-640||$810-1015||$2000-6000||*A place to stay and food in the belly.|
|Fuel for the boat to take you to the surfspots*||$0-300||$0-100||Included||If fuel was not included in the cost of your accommodation.|
|Activities and Contingencies||$100-120||$100-400||$100-2500||Activities such as Guided Jungle treks, Photographers, Snake walks etc. Money for Justin… Justin Case. (Recommended)|
Table 1: Our Mentawai Budget Guideline for a 2 week holiday in the Mentawais.
(‘Table 1’ highlights the main costs involved for various types of travellers. Our Mentawai Budget Guideline can be used as a guideline for any traveller who wishes to visit the Mentawais. Remember that these prices are based on our own experience and knowledge gained between May-July 2015.)
Where to stay in the Mentawais
We suggest contacting our booking staff to assist you.
Below are a few links to get you started.
Useful Information to know before going to the Mentawais.
- Make copies of all your important documents such as passports and proof of insurance/medical cover.
- Make sure you have enough cash on you before getting on the ferries to go to the Mentawais or other remote parts of Indonesia.
- There is an option to purchase VIP tickets for the Ferry, this will secure you a spot in an Air-conditioned Dormitory. Remember to book these in advance.
- Travelling in groups will reduce costs of various activities by giving the group ‘negotiating power’ when required.
- Don’t accept the first price from the first taxi driver, ask a few drivers before you settle on one. There is actually a company that sends their taxi drivers to the airport and you pay a set price to the ‘agent’ and receive a ticket, stay calm, it’s all part of the learning process.
- Make double sure about Ferry departure dates and times.
RiderzGallery Mentawai Review
The Mentawais covers a large area with many uninhabited islands and unexplored surf Spots.
You will experience absolutely insane surf, adventure and the unknown. If you would love to live in paradise for a couple of weeks, the Mentawais is highly recommended. You will be able to ‘switch off’ completely and discover the undiscovered. There are many camps and surf spots spread far and wide all over the Mentawais.
Be sure to bring a sense of adventure and allow for at least 2-3 days of your holiday for travel to and from the ‘mainland’. The ferry rides range between 3-18 hours long and sometimes cannot leave due to various reasons (this happned to us on a ‘Mentawai-inter-Island’ ferry headed for Sipura).
This is a perfect destination if you want to experience true adventure like ‘Robinson Cruso’. But when is the best time to go? Now, or as soon as possible! For more info about surf spots in Mentawais click here.
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