There are a ton of things to consider prior to your departure but overall the trip is almost as simple as showing up at Padang airport, getting on a boat, and finding good waves.
- How do I get to Indonesia?
We recommend that you travel to Padang in Sumatra (port of departure) via Jakarta starting in 2010, because of Tiger Air ways termination of direct flights from Singapore-Padang.We can assist with bookings for your international flights, your Garuda air ticket to Padang, any additional domestic flights with in Indonesia, and any necessary overnight accomodations.Our crew and ground staff will meet you at the airport in Padang on arrival and make arrangements to transfer you to the boat.
- What do I do about my flight arrangements?
Saraina Koat Mentawai utilizes Oceanview Travel to handle all of our guests air transportation issues for our United States based customers. International customers please contact your local travel agency. Whether you have frequent flier miles you’d like to use or simply book your flight to the Mentawai’s or beyond, Oceanview Travel can take care of you better than anyone – please ask for Jeff Samuelson.
- Where should I stay if I have an extra night on land?
This answer depends on where you have to stay for that extra night. Quite simply we suggest the following options:Singapore: In Singapore we recommend using the Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel – The Roxy. The Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel is a world away from Singapore’s hustle, yet just 10 minutes from key locations such as the city centre, Changi International Airport and Singapore Expo, it is located on the East Coast of Singapore on Marine Parade Road Road, opposite Parkway Parade Shopping Centre and within walking distance to East Coast Recreation Park.If you don’t have enough time to leave the airport there is a transit hotel inside the airport that works quite well, the only downside to this option is that they have a major construction project underway and at times your stay could get quite noisy.
Padang: In Padang we recommend using Best Western Basko Hotel. They are the nicest Hotels in Padang and the meeting place for surfers all over the world. They offer decent accomodations, a hearty breakfast in the morning and are reasonably priced.
We are more than happy to help you make your reservation in advance, and you pay for the hotel when you check out.
- What do you suggest I pack for my trip?
The best advice when packing for a surf trip is to pack as light as possible. This fundamental rule of travel is especially true on a surf charter through the Mentawai Islands- when most of your time is spent in the water. Please click here to view our Essentials page and a extremely helpful checklist you should use for your trip.
- What kind and how many boards should I take?
We highly recommend Resin 8 brand surf boards. They are the best boards on the market today, bar none, combining the best shapes, strongest materials, best flex pattern, and precision finishing work; The Ferrari of Surf boards. Most people bring 2-4 boards. Mid length boards generally get used and only occasionally do the short boards and guns get pulled out. I generally bring 4 surfboards – two shortboards (6’2″), one mid sized board for when it gets a little bigger (6’5″), and one gun for the biggest days (6’10”). If you are going to bring an extra board we would suggest a replacement for the board you will use the most as it is not uncommon to break boards. If you want to travel lightly, and bring no boards at all, then we offer a wide variety of surf tech boards for rent, at our Kandui Resort SurfTech Rental Center, soon to be the Resin 8 rental center. If interested please inquire with Jordan Heuer, firstname.lastname@example.orgThe best answer I can think of is to pack whatever you feel most comfortable surfing on. If riding traditonal fiberglass boards, then be prepared to ding up your boards and possibly break a few of them on your trip. Lastly, a good ding repair kit is crucial! At the very least bring some sort of sun cure resin for quick fixes.
- What types of services and amenities are available onboard?
Please refer to each individual boat’s detail page to see what each one has to offer.
- What type of health precautions should I take?
- Most travelers usually update their tetanus and hepatitis shots before traveling to any remote region of the world.
- Malaria is a reality in some parts of Indonesia including the Mentawai Islands; consult your doctor for more information.
- If you take a prescription medication make sure you bring the necessary paperwork that goes with it in case of an emergency.
- If you are prone to seasickness please bring something to counteract its effects such as dramamine or bonine.
- For more information please consult your doctor.
- Should I be concerned about malaria?
It is a matter of personal choice whether to take anti- malarial medication. Malaria is endemic in some of the places you will be visiting. Knock on wood, but to date we have never had a single guest contract Malaria, nor have we, and we live in Indonesia year round.So far so good, but the best policy is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos.
- Do I need travel insurance?
Travel Insurance is mandatory for your personal safety and proof of Travel Insurance is mandatory for each guest before boarding any of our boats. The easiest way for United States customers to acquire travel insurance is through our travel partner, Jeff Samuelson, at Oceanview Travel. Travel Insurance packages start at $60 and go up. A decent travel insurace package will provide coverage for the following: trip cancellation and interruption, baggage delay, baggage coverage, travel delay, emergency medical and dental, emergency, medical transport and evacuation, and travel accident insurance.
- What documents do I need to take?
Citizens of the United States need a passport with at least six months of validity left and one other form of identification.Saraina Koat Mentawai require that you send us your passport information including the number, date of issue, and place of issue prior to your departure at the same time that you pay your deposit, so we can arrange the necessary harbor permits for your travel through outt the Mentawai’s. In case you misplace any vital documents you should also carry a back-up photocpy of your passport, id, and airline ticket with you at all times. It doesn’t hurt to leave another copy at home as well.When you are in Indonesia you will be issued an immigration form that you must keep until your departure. When you leave they will aks to see it to determine how long you were in Indonesia. Please take care of that form once they give it to you and don’t lose it!
* The most important thing to remember on this list is to make sure that you have an updated passport and a valid Visa if your passport is issued in an obscure country like Sweden. You will not be permitted to enter Indonesia if your passport is going to expire within six months of your departure or if you are from a country that requires a special Visa to enter. Most people can take care of their Visa upon entering Indonesia including citizens of the United States and Australia but before you purchase your airline tickets please check with your local authorities to make sure you’re covered.
- How long can I stay in Indonesia?
Most travellers coming from the US, Australia, and Europe are issued tourist visas upon arrival, but if you carry a passport from other countries it is worthwhile checking to see if you need a visa. The standard tourist VISA is applicable for up to 30 days. If you plan on staying longer in Indonesia you must apply for an extended stay tourist visa at your local Indonesian Embassy, prior to departure or in Singapore on the way to Indonesia.The extended stay tourist visas are easy and cheap to obtain and give you a full 60 days in Indonesia instead of only 30 days. Please note, that it may take up to 3 full working days to process a tourist visa at all Indonesian Embassy locations, so best not to wait until last minute to apply for one.
- How much money do I need to take?
Once you get on the boat all you have to focus on is getting as many good waves as possible. Most of our guests bring extra money for the following reasons:A. Traveling Money: US$ 500, or an ATM card, just in case.B. Souvenir money: US$ 50
C. VISA money: US$ 25
D. Money for tipping the crew: suggested tip is 10% of the cost of your charter, but it is a tip, so this is entirely up to you.
E. Miscellaneous… emergency, etc.
Once you arrive in Padang the best way to exchange money at the highest possible exchange rate is to simply take it out of a bank’s ATM machine once you are already in Indonesia. Please make sure to notify your credit card company that you will be travelling to Indonesia, otherwise they may close your account when you try to withdraw money from an ATM machine in Indonesia. If you do decide to exchange money please make sure you have immaculate, non-wrinkled bills – even then they might not get taken by the money changers, and if they do take them, they will give you a lower exchange rate. Travelers Checks are useles, unless you have lot’s of extra time to go sit in a bank for hours on end.
- Is there a photographer available for my trip?
Saraina Koat Mentawai was the first Mentawai surf charter company to offer our guests the option of bringing a photographer to document your adventures. It has proven to be a great option, and every group who choose to hire Sebastian, end up very pleased with their professionally documented, high resolution photographic evidence to show off to their envious friends at home. For more information about how you can add a photographer to your next trip click here.
- Can I recharge my video camera etc… on the boat?
All of our boats use 240V electricity, so please check on your charger, to make sure your charger is compatible with 240 v. You should be able to charge whatever you need but it doesn’t hurt to bring a converter set just in case.
- Do you have fishing and/or diving gear onboard?
We have some fishing equipment on board, but if you are a keen fisherman bring some of your own lures and maybe your own casting rod.If you’d like to snorkel please bring your own equipment for sanitary reasons.If you must bring a spear gun there is a risk of it being confiscated by customs. I suggest you break it into it’s components and separate them in your baggage, and you should be all good. In case of confiscation, we can get it back from the police for you for approximately $50 – $100, but no guarantees.
- Can I be contacted while I’m on the boat?
All of our boats are equipped with a satellite phone to make calls home. Satelite phone calls on SKM vessels, cost $5 for the 1st minute and $3 for every additional minute. If a family member needs to reach you while you are out on the boat, then they may call you on the boat at no charge to you on the boat. These trips are in a very remote area and 1st world communications are not readily available, but we also get cell phone reception at select location around the Mentawai Islands Chain. Amazing for being in the middle of no where!
- Can I check my e-mails while on board?
At the moment we do not have e-mail capabilities on board, but you may use the internet at Kandui Resort when the boat is around Play Grounds area, and at Macas Resort, when you are surfing at Macaronis. Internet usage prices vary from one resort to the next, but are reasonbly priced, and affordable regardless. We get daily surf reports, and weather condition reports via email, by making a telephone call to our head office every day, so we alwasy know whats up, and coming our way next.
- What is your policy on illegal substances?
Please don’t bring any! Our operation is drug free. We have already been searched by Indonesian authorities upon the basis of an unfounded allegation. If drugs had of been found in passengers cabins or baggage we could have lost the vessel and faced imprisonment, along with the passenger. It’s just not worth it!
- Can you give me an idea of how many other people I’ll be surfing with?
This question really depends on where you want to surf, educated decision making on the part of the surf guide, and of course, a bit of good luck. It is possible to get away from the main spots and surf in solitude – everything really depends on the conditions for that day and the consensus among the group. We can almost always get empty surf, if you are willing to surf spots off the beaten trail or name spots when they are on shore, then all of a sudden the conditions may go off-shore, and you have empty perfection. SKM’s boat take pride in being the first boat at the break every morning, at least 90% of the time, or more, and scoring perfect empty surf in solitude, right under every other boats noses.
- Can I celebrate a special occasion onboard?
Hopefully with enough advanced notice we can accomodate any and all requests.
- What happens if my flight is delayed or my boards don’t make it?
Fortunately we rarely encounter problems with our guests boards. In the rare instance that your boards do not make it we still send the trip out on schedule and make arrangements with one of our boats or another boat to rendezvous with you and drop off your boards. In some cases, you will be required to pay the price it costs us to get your boards delivered to you, but you can always make a claim with your travel insurance company to get refunded. In case your boards take several days to arrive,you may always rent Surf Tech boards from are sick arsenal of new Tuff lites and TL2’s, from our Kandui Resort, Surf Tech rental center while you wait for your boards to arrive.If your flight is delayed we react accordingly but since most of our groups are whole group charters if one person is delayed, the whole group is delayed and it makes everything that much easier to cope with. Whatever time you arrive in Padang we’ll be there to pick you up at the airport fend off the porters, and take you to the boat.
- What happens when I arrive in Padang?
This is one question we hear most frequently. Perhaps the best way to answer it is to show you step by step what happens between the time you touch down in Padang and when you reach the boat. Click here for the full rundown.