INTO THE WILD WITH MENTAWAI TRIBES

MENTAWAI ISLAND
4days 3nights

30Nov2016

Around 10.30am landed at Minangkabau International Airport (PADANG) West Sumatra. Luckily Lion air was on time this time round. I guess it’s my 5th visit to Padang and always loved the food in here. Our guide Pandra and his friends picked us from Airport and we drove to Padang city for our hotel checkin at NEW HOUSE PADANG.  It was a long ride from the airport to the hotel we stayed.

We went to eat the local food, tried some delicious Ikan Bakar @Rumah Makan Ikan Bakar Pak Tri's Cokro which offers a good delicious food around the area. Then in the evening we just chilled out around Pondok where the night lines up with all the good street foods. Finally we head back to the hotel to have some good rest for the night.

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1Dec2016

Mentawai tribe are the native people of the Mentawai Islands. Their population is estimated to be around 60,000. With some of the amazing tattoo works on their body resembles they belong and dwell in nature for survival.

Mentawai is located on off the coast of Padang - West Sumatra, Indonesia. Mentawai consists of about seventy islands, the major islands are : Siberut (the largest), Sipora, South Pagai and NorthPagai. The difficulties in communication and transportation make the island of Siberut is isolated.

Woke up around 6am and headed towards the Muara Harbour terminal. We boarded the 7am ferry via Mentawai Fast  sailed towards Muara Siberut. It’s the fastest ferry which is scheduled 3times a week only. The journey to Siberut  Island takes around 3hours on normal sea condition. Pack your medicines if you have seasickness. Sometimes the waves get too choppy, people onboard usually tends to puke. I slept the whole journey only realised we docked at the Muara Siberut after waking up. It was a good ride.

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From there we took motorbikes which dropped us nearby kampong Kabitat. We met some villagers there and had our lunch, we chilled out prior to our river boat ride. The villagers were very friendly and welcoming. It started to rain for a while. Finally around 3pm we took the long river boat which drove though a thick jungle and lush greenery. We reached the last stop until the boat to go, we walked bare foot in the wilderness. Unfortunately we didn’t have gumboots. It was a very muddy trail nearly to the knees. The forest was filled with Sago plantation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a 40mins walk we arrived on of the village called Rokdok. There was only one hut and the tribe family was living there. We stopped by for the night.  The house where Mentawai Tribes lives is called as an Uma, the traditional communal house of the Mentawai Trbies. Uma which is usually a longhouse and is made by weaving bamboo strips together to make walls and thatching the roofs with grass, the floor is raised on stilts and is made of wood planks. Underneath of the planks Pigs and other farm animals are been breeded which serves as daily food for the tribes. With no electricity or phone communications Tribes live and survive using their skills within the nature, they have literally adapted the living.

The guide made us some dinner for the night. It was an insane night with foul smell of the farm pigs and chattering sounds from the nature, the attacks of the commando mosquito, hardly we slept the night on the mat with the bare necessity. Indeed it was a great experience to survive in the wild.

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2Dec2016

It was 5am when I opened my eyes hearing the loud noises from the forest birds and chickens. With the morning breakfast the tribe showed us how they extract Sago powder from the trees which is the main food of Mentawaian Tribe. They also survive eating the Sago worms.

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Today the tribe should us how to make LION CLOTH. A loincloth is a one-piece garment which usually covers the lower part of the body specially the genitals and the buttocks. This is the main clothing of the Mentawai Mens. It’s made from the tree by removing the skin of the tree and softly hammering it with the wood and been dried in the sun for a while to absorb all the moisture within. Then it’s wrapped around the buttocks in a traditional manner.

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Around noon we departed to the next UMA which was around 30-40mins walk. This trail was even worse and muddy all the way. Finally after experiencing on day one now we were too used to it. We continued our way and reach the river stream where we got cleaned prior reaching to the place. We were welcomed by KUKI. He is one of the most well known people around the area and he had the largest house around the place. Where usually the tribes gather for the feast unfortunately we didn’t encounter all the tribes at this place.

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Kuki taught us how tribes make poison arrows by using the things available in the jungle to hunt the wild boars, monkeys and other animals. We then learnt and prepared some local foods and dishes for our dinner. It was a long tiring day. We rested for the night luckily didn’t encounter so many mosquitos today. Was a bit peaceful night.

3Dec2016

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After spending our adventurous days in the jungle of mentawai it was time for us to head back to the civilizations. We tracked and walked our way back to the Siberut Island. We took river boat and finally good to be back to normal life. We had some nice shower and lunch, at 3pm we took the Mentawai Fast back to Padang. We arrived Padang by 6.30pm.

It was one hell of an adventurous experience to be in the wild with the MENTAWAI TRIBES.

If you are looking  to experience this adventure do contact this email : contact@sgtrek.com

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