Journey to the deep jungle of Mentawai

Gin Seladipura @gibicJune 2018 · 4 min read

Sikerei berjalan diatas tanah yang akan dijadikan Trans Mentawai.jpg

Hi steemian! It's been a while since my last post about travels. Today I'm going to take you the deep jungle of Mentawai, West Sumatra, Indonesia.

If you're not into adventurous travelling, Mentawai is still a good choice because it has beautiful beach with great waves. I assume that surfers must already have heard about this place. But let's travel deeper to the jungle.

Let's meet the Mentawai People.

On my previous post, I have shared two photos of monkey skeletons. That skeletons was hanged in a house of a Sikerei, the Mentawai's shaman. Considered it as a decorations, a souvenir of the great hunters.

Here's the photo in case you're too lazy to browse my old post :)

Tengkorak kera hasil buruan.jpg

Yes, the indigenous inhabitants of the island are still maintaining their natural life, they live a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Men hunt wild pigs, deer and primates. While women and children gather wild plants from the jungle. They gathered fish from the river too.

Aman Tonem berburu.jpg

Sikerei perempuan dengan sampannya.jpg

Mencari Ikan di Sungai.jpg

The Mentawai is famous for their traditional tattoo. Every adult has a tattoo as a symbol of their close relationship with nature. The tattoo designs was distinctive for each clans. Tattooing is done with a needle and wood which is hammered on the needle by a sikerei.


Mentawai people are nice. They greeting each other with a word "Aloita!". Believe me, you'll hear this word a lot. Like, a lot!

The Mentawai people are heavy smokers. If you want to greet them, make sure that you bring some packs of good cigarettes. Surely they do have their own traditional tobaccos, but they love to taste some of your cigarettes too. Oh, and they love small souvenirs too. Please, do bring some for them.

The experiences in live-in with Mentawai people is quite different, it's unique, somewhat mystical, but overall nice. They're so friendly. If you're lucky, they will ask you to join them in hunting wild animals, with arrows. But before that, we will learn how to prepare a traditional poison from wild flowers and leafs.

It was difficult things to made a poison from wild plants. But they were doing it like it was nothing. While we were too affraid and slow to mix all the ingredients. I means, it's poison anyway. Should be extra careful. I understand why Severus Snape is a cranky teacher now. Lol.

Aman Tonem meracik racun panah.jpg

In this type of traveling, you'll sleep in a traditional house called Uma. You'll eat with them, you'll shared (a lot) cigarettes with them. They will share you stories. And you will share your stories too. Indeed its an exchange of information in the most traditional way. Forget your gadgets and other electronic devices, you won't need them here.

Aman Laulau dan anaknya Aman Gotdai.jpg

In our last journey to Mentawai, we were lucky because some Sikerei agreed to do some kind of farewell ceremony. They served porks, and chickens, and vegetables. They asked us to gathered in an Uma, and they do a ritual dancing with the Gajeuma (traditional Mentawai percussion) as the background music. What a spectacle that was. There were no sounds but the rhythm of the gajeuma's beat and Sikerei footsteps...

Sikerei Menari.jpg

At the end of the ritual, a Sikerei did some forecast, he said that some of us will back to Mentawai, soon. Well, of course! We will back to Mentawai, for sure!

To experience their live patterns and traditions, we could see the impact of globalization on this traditional society. The real impact. Sad but true. But the most important things from this travel is to take a chance to become long-term friends with members of this unpretencious society. Peace.

All of the photos above are owned by my company Please don't reuse it without our permission or else we will take you the deepest jungle and leave you there :)

Some of the photos are taken by my beloved photographer, our dear friend, the talented Kukuh Sukmana.

If you want to travel to the deeper Indonesian Archipelago, feel free to visit our website: Plesir!.

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Wow! How lucky you are to have experienced living with this beautiful tribe. Beautiful pictures. I'd love to spend time with people like this who care about the earth, living simply without over indulgence. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. <3


Yeaah, I'm so lucky! :D thank you for stopping by


wow I love the journeys full of ancestors, culture and nature, it is interesting to learn and see another part of life, we are used to other things, I would love to get there, I will make sure to carry cigarette, thanks for the publication


Please please, come to Mentawai and I guarantee, the trip will be unforgettable


What an amazing post! Thanks for sharing in here! The photos of your trip are awesome and worthy of being published in National Geographic as they are unique! You are so lucky to have experienced they way the live.


Aw @lymepoet, you're too kind!


Amazing. Thank you for bringing these insights.


Hi @lady-idra, thank you! I'm so happy to share this story


This is a beautiful post written with love for the Mentawai tribe. And every single word, every photo breaths the specialty of this experience. You are a lucky man to have that experience!


Hi Hetty! Thank you for your nice comment. Yeah, I have no other option but to fall in love with this beautiful tribe. They are too awesome, and wise. It is an amazing experience, indeed :)


Ahaha be sure not to use those photos.. don't want to be left there. Sounds like an amazing place to visit. Great post and now following you... looks like I have a lot to catch up on...


Haha. Surely mate. Thanks for follow. I'll try my best to keep posting.


Ada lepon dan ama lepon juga, sepertinya banyak sekali yang berubah sejak saya terakhir di sana bang @gibic, apa kabar sudah mereka sekarang ??


Kabar mereka baik. Ayolah dikunjungi lagi :)
Btw @el-nailul dikau sudah mulai bisa aktif ga di discord? Kita lagi mulai bangun kurasi konten bahasa Indonesia nih di C-Squared.


Kadang bisa kadang gak @gibic, Kalo udh lancar online saya akan gabung sekalian bantu2 kawan kita Indonesia.


That's a pretty cool experience you shared here. I've seen the mentawai tribe before on tv, and also their traditional tattoos.. very cool you can share this with us here.. I enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures..


I'm flattered to have @anouk.nox commenting on my post. :D you're amazing!
Really glad to know you enjoy this post. I really appreciate it :)


Hey, @gibic. I am a curator of the Whaleshares Curation Team. I have selected your post to be presented in a live curation discussion on Monday 25th June. Your post will be awarded a Whaleshares vote on the night. I do hope you can come along and spectate. The event will be held in The Curation Lounge on the Whaleshares server.

Here is a post (from last week) explaining things:


Whoa @kotturinn you made my day! Am I late to tune in? I live at GMT+7 :|


Ah, yes, sorry! The event already ended :(. It starts at 6 PM EST. You and the other people whose posts were presented will be awarded with an upvote sometime this week.


Hi @kotturinn, is the whale already upvote my post?Sorry, i’m a bit worry because today is the payout day for this post 😹


Nope, looks like you haven't received an upvote. I will let them know and maybe they will upvote a different post of yours.
I'm sorry about that, I'm not in charge of placing votes on selected posts.


Hey! Since this post paid out already, they placed a $3.10 upvote (fuzzyvest) on your post about Dani tribe, I believe.


Hi! Oh, okay. Thanks a lot! That explains why my post got a sudden pending payout :D


No problem!


Really interesting post, I love travel stories from places off the beaten path! How did you get to the people of Mentawai, with a tour operator or by yourself? Do they speak English, or how did you talk to them?


Hello @roadtrips glad to see you here! I run a small company that help people to get to the deepest Indonesia culture, just like this one.
And no, they're not speak English, they even don't speak Indonesian. But we have a local translator for that :)


Thank you for the reply! That sounds really interesting. How much does such a jungle tour cost and how many days does it take?


Hi @roadtrips sorry for late reply, for this kind of trip usually we take 5 - 7 days. For the cost, it really depends on how many people join on the trip. More people, the cheaper (open trip system). For more detailed info on your specific needs, you can reach us via email at plesir[at]
And for an insight of what kind of trip we’re offering, you can visit our web at (in english)