Tag Archives: Mentawai

The adventurous swamps of Mentawai

 

Under me the swamp and above the sky


Take the Mentawai Fast from Padang (only twice a week!) to Muara Siberut and you will get close to the last native inhabitants of Sumatra, who live in the swamps of the island.

Muara Siberut

Muara Siberut is a busy small town. It takes around 20 minutes by ojek (motorbike taxi) from the harbour to get to the town. It shouldn’t cost more than 25.000Rp. Ibu Ar (mum Ar) and her guest house is well known in Murau. The lady owns and managing the hostel on her own, her husband passed by last year. Her full name is Ibu Ar Syahruddin and if you ask the guys at the harbour to bring you there, they will do it and you won’t need to discuss any more with them about who knows what else.

Ibu Ar’s Phone: 0813 6304 9506

You can contact her before you arrive but actually it is absolutely no need to book in advance, so you can go there wherever you want and there will be for sure somebody at home.

It is a wooden house, the rooms are small but nice and tidy. The price for two is 100.000Rp. Toilets are outside.

Ibu Ar’s guesthouse

 

The homy balcony

 

In Muara itself you will still have a phone signal, your mail server and what’s app will work more or less but it is easier to forgo Facebook. You will have electricity by night and in the morning but it can happen by daytime that it vanishes for some couple of short hours.

Muara has shops, you can buy drinks and food. You will find medicaments as well and a lot of warungs (local restaurant). For your basical needs there is a service.

The Indonesian government started with aid projects, organised villages with small schools, shops and religious education (Islam, Catholic) came into being in the swamps of Siberut. Most of the natives live nowadays in those communities. There is still no electricity over there, no signal but what you will find for sure is an incredible beauty.

A great chance to get closer to the tradition and culture of the natives of Mentawai is to stay with them in one of their villages.

Madobag village


 Madobag is the village of my friend Gejeng. He is a very competent guide with license. He must be around 35 years old, nobody knows it exactly, as he was born in the jungle and lived there as an aborigin for a very long time.

My beautiful friend, Gejeng

I asked Ibu Ar to become our contact to reach Gejeng, then Gejeng himself still doesn’t have a phone or email.

So if you would like to see and experience the daily life of the people in the jungle, if you would like to stay there for a night, some days, a week or even longer, Gejeng can help you and show you the almost forgotten spirit of Mentawai. He is a swine herd, which is the traditional work of the Mentawai natives and a hunter with his six dogs.

Stay short or long, everything is manageable. One night in a village with a small trekking tour to visit people who still stay outside of the “civilisation”, or some couple of days with longer treks, it is up to you and your imagination. Our phantasy is their daily life.

A traditional house

To contact Gejeng just ask Ibu Ar, she will send somebody for him and Gejeng will come to Murau.

Which means, you don’t have to book any tour from the mainland. You can go there, have a look first and you can organise your tour by yourself. Gejeng became my friend, he knows and loves his land; his mind is beautiful.

How can you prepare yourself for the jungle? Gumboot. The only thing which is indispensable is gumboots as you will cross swamp area. There are enough gumboots in the villages, it is not necessary to bring your own boots.

 

Tarason and me

Gejeng works together with his friends. There are five more guides in Gejeng’s village. I had the chance to get know Andi. He joined our tour and was really good taking care of me.

 

Andi. Sometimes there is a chance to cross the river dry.

 

Inside a traditional kitchen

 

Enough for everybody

 

Gejeng, me, Andi and Rostam

 

And if you wish to explore South Siberut riding a motorbike by yourself, just ask for a Honda and enjoy.

Pompon – a wooden fishing boat

 

The abandoned beach next to Muara

 

For a walk
At the river side

If you have any questions, would like to know more about your possibilities, see more pictures or everything else, you are always welcome to contact me on:

smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

On the way
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