Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 22 January 2015 • Destination
Who would have thought of West Sumatra when it comes to beautiful beaches? Hardly anyone, Indonesians included. For the time being, east Indonesia is the star of beaches and everything marine. Also, being home to CNN Travel’s best food in the world, Rendang, West Sumatra is known more for its culinary heritage then it is for white sandy shores. To my surprise, West Sumatra turns out to have some nice islands and clear blue water. Which is why I recommend island hopping West Sumatra as another activity, adding to the long list of things you can do in this province.
My experience is to call Pak Carlos, or his wife who usually answers the phone, of Losmen Carlos located on Bungus Beach. He will arrange your island-hopping trip, including lunch and drinking water. Tours start at 8-9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. depending on your liking and the others that are on the tour that same day.
On our visit, we paid IDR 250,000 / pax (2014), which took us to 3.5 islands. You can actually a pay IDR 300,000 / pax for an extra banana boat ride, but It’s just not my thing. Since I traveled in a relatively large group of 12, you need to check if the same prices apply for 1 or 2 pax.
You can call Pak Carlos at: +62 813 7848 4971.
The Islands of West Sumatra Coast
Once upon a time, Sikuai Island used to be THE island to visit. People would travel to West Sumatra just to enjoy the Sikuai Island at the Sikuai Island resort, with prices that were pretty costly. Budget travelers were allowed to camp on the beach, but not for cheap price either. Unfortunately, the resort now remain ruins with a side of trash. Management didn’t go so well, hence it closed down.
The beach, on the other hand, was really nice. I can see why people invested and kept their prices high. It had a nice stretch of white sand and shading coconut trees, on which some of us fell asleep. The water gradation is so alluring; it’s a beach to jump into. The water is a fresh blue. I had a nice swim that afternoon. Sadly, much of the corals in front of the resort are dead, not much to see. But Alex, my travel mate, had said that the corals were much nicer on the southern part of the beach.
I see why Sikuai Island was now a prima donna and still worth the visit till today. I’m sure it’s worth the visit on a weekday. I’m sure it’s pretty packed with locals on the weekends.
For swimming, I’m for Pagang Island. The beach was a nice long stretch of white sand. The water was clear. It had a jetty we could jump off and a few local boats. We didn’t venture too far in as the jetty area was sufficiently bliss. It was the cleanest beach of them all. There was plenty of space for everyone, and this beach made every member of the group jump into the water. There’s not much more to say.
This had to be my favorite island of the lot. Named after a ‘sumpah’ or vow, this island has a history of being the island where the Dutch and locals made a promise during the colonial days, which eventually was broken. A few people died, due to the betrayal, but weren’t buried here. I think.
The water was so clear. Fast drop of sea bottom gave the island dark-greenish blue water all around the white sand beach. The best sight would have to be the easy-going fishermen doing their daily routine of collecting their catch. Because the sea floor plunged quickly into deep sea, the fishermen were very close to the shore. It was nice to see their beautiful colorful boats against the blue and green background.
Technically, this isn’t an Island, hence the 0.5 of the 3.5 islands on this island hopping venture. It’s a bit of land that is connected to the mainland by a stretch of sand. Named Pemutusan, derived from ‘putus’, because it’s disconnected from mainland.
There are a few hammocks to sit on and sun bathe, a few stalls that sell fresh coconuts, and a few bamboo shacks to hide from the sun. Pleasant, although the beach isn’t the best compared to the other islands.
I do have to note that we found a few dead purple jellyfishes washed up on shore on some of the islands. I also saw one, when swimming at Pagang Island. I’m no fan of ocean jellyfish, unless they have evolved for hundreds of years and lost their sting like those at Kakaban Lake. My boatman said they were harmless, but I can’t say for sure. Just keep a look out when you go swimming.
This post is part of the #Minangkabike campaign of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. The opinions were my own.