When it comes to this part of Indonesia, travellers usually come to Sumatra for hanging with wild orangutans, or surfing the Mentawai Islands. Nias is mostly attractive only to the surfing community.
Having one of the best right handers around, Nias is clearly an island where surf breaks scatter the coasts but that aside, the appeal is limited to the generic travelling community. For surfers who enjoy riding from dawn to dusk, Nias ticks all the boxes.
Gunung Sitoli is Nias’ airport. Planes fly between here and Medan (Sumatra’s capital city) plus some of the smaller islands nearby. The airport is simple; not the type you’d worry about checking in 3 hrs prior to departure. All departures are domestic and arriving 30 minutes prior to flying should be sufficient.
- Singkil to Nias: 6 hour journey, Mondays and Thursday morning. Economy class is approx 52,000Rp
- Sibolga to Nias: 10-13 hour journey, Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Saturday’s at 7pm. Cost is approximately 65,000/120,000Rp economy/VIP
There are plenty of drivers lingering around Gunung Sitoli airport hoping to take you to accommodation. Without any obvious signs of a system, somehow each independent driver appears to either work within a larger organisation or be overly gracious not to take another drivers business. The drivers speak limited English and have a particularly laid back attitude. Expect to cooperate as there are no other options for travel from Gunung Sitoli, and the airport isn’t located near accommodation, nor are there buses on the island.
One of the most popular surf spots is Sorake. Located on the southern coastline, Sorake boasts one of the world’s best surf breaks. It’ll take around 3 hrs to drive from Gunung Sitoli to Sorake, and on arrival expect the surf break, a few losmen, and little else. Nothing but surf = surfer’s paradise.
Sorake’s surf break is at the end of a road that has around a half dozen very basic losmen, one slightly nicer accommodation, and a few local houses. There isn’t a market, shops or anything similar so arrive prepared. The rocky shore isn’t great for swimming. But for surfers, this could be an ideal spot; budget accommodation, hard to reach and therefore minimal tourists, and friendly local kids.
There are other breaks on the island, as well as surf schools and camps. No public transport available on the island or scooters for hire mean that Nias is the kind of place where you choose your surf break and accommodation, then stay put for the duration of your surf holiday.