Please feel free to peruse the links below to find out all the information you need on taking a trip with Sumatran Surfariis. If you don’t find an answer to your question, or for a more direct response, feel free to contact us.
TRAVEL AND FLIGHT INFORMATION
As of February, 2012, Minangkabau International Airport in Padang can only be accessed from Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Batam and Medan.
Kuala Lumpur has been the most popular route recently, with several different flights arriving daily through Air Asia. Air Asia charges a small excess fee for boards and luggage (you can find more information about their fees on this page here: (www.airasia.com/au/en/baggage-info/sports-equipment.page). Guests should allow at least 3 hours between their arrival into Kuala Lumpur and their flight out, as guests have had delays and missed flights. 4 hours is the minimum the airline recommends. The city of Kuala Lumpur is at least 90 minutes via taxi away from the airport, so please take that into account in staying a night in town for layover. There is a hotel airport operated by Air Asia (www.tunehotels.com/our-hotels/klia-lcct-airport ) for those who do not wish to go into KL.
You may need to change terminals in Kuala Lumpur. ALL domestic and international AirAsia flights operate out of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) which is approximately 15-20 minutes by car from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Main Terminal Building. You should allocate ample time if you need to travel between the two airports for connecting flights. There is a shuttle bus (Nadi) that runs between the Main Terminal Building of KLIA and LCCT. The frequency for Nadi KLIA feeder bus is every 20 minutes. These feeder buses will wait at the curbside at the LCCT. The first trip from LCCT to KLIA MTB is at 5:55am, and the last trip runs at 12:35am midnight. The fare is RM1.50.
Jakarta has many different airlines servicing Padang, Garuda being the most reliable and well known (and not surprisingly, slightly more expensive). Lion Air is the budget carrier, but has more frequently experience delays. Additional airlines include Mandala Air, Tiger Air, Sriwijaya, and Citilink.
Upon arrival in Jakarta, most guests will be arriving into the international terminal. Then, to fly out from Jakarta to Padang, guests must use the domestic terminal. This can entail a relatively long walk, or a short taxi ride/free shuttle bus that runs regularly and takes 5 minutes. Blue bird and Silver bird are the recommended taxis in Jakarta. If you decide to walk, this is one instance where the porters can be very helpful. It’s a longish hike and guests must change floors, and it’s not exactly easy to navigate if you’ve never done this trip before. So, porters can help you carry your baggage and make sure you get to the correct destination. No more than 2 porters are necessary (1 is usually enough), and a rough guide is 10,000 rupiah per bag per porter. For guests staying overnight in Jakarta, we recommend FM7 hotel right near the airport for everything you will need (www.fm7hotel.com)
We kindly ask that your group tries to arrive and depart from Padang on same flights or similar times, this will help with pickups and drop offs.
1. Upon arrival into the Padang airport (or your first port of entry in Indonesia), you must purchase your travel visa. The cost is of your travel visa is US$ 35.00, or the equivalent in other currencies. If you have a CLEAN, UNMARKED US$ 20 and US$ 5 bill, this will greatly expedite the process. This will cover 30 days of surfing and travel in Indo. If you are planning on staying longer than 30 days in Indonesia, you will need to apply for a 60-day visa at the Indonesian embassy closest to you.
2. PLEASE TRY AND GET YOUR GROUP TO ARRIVE & DEPART ON SAME FLIGHTS OR SIMILAR TIMES TO HELP WITH PICKUPS AND DROP OFFS.
3. You will also need to fill out an arrival card that immigration checks. They will stamp the card and tear off half. KEEP THE REMAINING HALF AND DO NOT LOSE IT. The same goes for the receipt you get for your $35 visa on arrival, as they will be checking for these items upon departure
4. Once through immigration you will be bombarded with porters. They are persistent, pushy and not the best welcome. They will nearly expect you to use them, but in all honesty it’s really not necessary. It’s probably less than 100m from where your bags come out to where our flatbeds are parked. So, if you can somehow avoid the porters, it’s definitely not a big hassle to carry your bags. However, should you require their help, or if you are unable to resist their “charm”, you will need to pay them. 20,000 – 30,000idr (2-3usd/aud) for ONE PORTER to help you is more than enough for what they do.
5. The Padang airport is congested, but small. A representative from Sumatran Surfariis will be waiting for you just outside the gates and will be holding a SUMATRAN SURFARIIS sign, and he should be easy to spot. Please watch for him and introduce yourself.
6. Our couriers will take you and your baggage from the airport to our offices. These drivers are our guys and safe. They also help to assist you with bags, once you are outside the terminal.
7. On the rare case that something has gone wrong and the drivers are not there, please let the taxi drivers and scouts asking you if you want a lift that you are with Sumatran Surfariis and inform them which boat you are on. You can contact our office and office managers directly at the following numbers:
We have recently moved offices; so if you do jump in a taxi, give the address as;
B12, Parak Gadang.
We will pay the taxi on arrival, so don’t stress about paying or bargaining.
8. Once you’re at our office, it won’t be long before you get a cold drink and chill out. But before you get too settled in, we need to photocopy your passport 3 times. If you have a copy, great; it’s always good to travel with one, but we will still need to photocopy the passport three times. Also note, if you are the last person in your group to arrive and you’re arriving later in the evening, it is a huge help to have 3 copies of your passport ready, so we can take you straight to the boat.
9. Our team will be in the office to say hi and welcome you. The drivers will look after your boards and bags, and soon after arrival they will take your boards and larger items down to the boat. Thus, if there is something special you need from your gear for immediate use, please grab it out at the office. Your boards and bags will be safe, but if you want to hang on to this and travel with it, it’s fine as well. We recommend keeping your small bag with passport and money with you at all times.
10. While at the office, it’s good to consider if you want to order extra beer, or if you want to run to the market to purchase and specialty items prior to your trip. Free WIFI is available in the office, and there are tee shirts and small gifts to buy. You can order food and drinks, crash out on one of the big couches, or go for a walk around the area. Our new office is located in an upscale residential area, and with all residential areas in Padang we have to be respectful. Therefore, whenever you leave the office, please wear a tee shirt and please be considerate of our neighbors.
11. Once on board, all drinking water, 3 meals per day, snacks, 3 beers, 3 juices, and 3 soft drinks per day per person are covered in the price of your charter. Any other expenses such as hotel, phone calls, extra drinks, dinners or miscellaneous purchases are to be covered by you. Our drivers will take you to the market or anywhere in Padang, free of charge.
12. The only accepted currency in Padang is Indonesian Rupiah. We can change US dollars or Australian dollars for you at our office, however traveler’s checks can only be changed at a bank. Banks in Padang are only open until 2pm (weekdays). An ATM is available with a 8 minute walk from the office. Their is a map on our white board to guide you to this location.
13. All our boats are now anchored at the Bungus harbor, which is an additional 45 minutes from our offices (90 minutes total from the airport). We like to be leaving the office at about 5pm if all guests have arrived in time so we can begin the crossing with ample time to reach the first waves around daybreak.
14. We have used surfboards for sale on the second floor of our office. The sizes, qualities, and quantities vary over time, but if you’re short a board upon arrival in Padang, there is a good chance we have something compatible for you in our office.
When flights don’t match up with your trips arrival and departure dates, there are a couple of options for staying in Padang.
Hotel Pangeran – Hotel Pangeran is currently the premiere hotel in Padang. Close to the airport and right on the beach, this hotel offers a swimming pool, massages, Satellite TV, Internet and AC. Prices can vary but range from 725,000 Rp- 1660000 Rp and can be shared by 2 guests. This hotel is about 10-15 minutes by taxi from the center of Padang town, so if you want to walk around town, we would recommend Plan B or Axana Hotel. For current pricing and availability please visit their website: www.hotelpangeran.com.
Plan B Hotel – For those not fussed with a pool but are more interested in the nightlife, Plan B is the cheaper option. Located centrally and walking distance to everything, Plan B offers everything that Hotel Pangeran offers without the pool. Prices range from 495000 Rp – 700000 Rp and can be shared by 2 guests. For current pricing and availability please visit the following website: www.booking.com/hotel/id/plan-b.en.html.
Axana Hotel - Hotel Axana is the newly built hotel on the old Ambacang property. This hotel is very central, and also recommended. For current pricing and availability please visit their website: http://theaxanahotel.ambacang.com/
For any other questions please contact your Sumatran Surfariis sales representative.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Sumatran Surfariis runs trips all year round and have found that some of the best times to travel are outside of the traditional “peak season”. This is considered to be roughly May – September. Most of the reefs in this region favor South – West direction swells, which are prevalent at this time. As no surprise, it’s also the most crowded time of year. However, we have a few secrets up our sleeve for when the island chain is busy, so trusting in our many years of knowledge is always recommended.
You can also score waves in the “off” months, and these times are generally favored by our skippers and guides because this reminds them of how the islands “used to be”. October – April offers fewer boats and can have magic condition, including those months when people are convinced there is no swell. And that’s fine with us. It’s quiet, the weather is epic, we have our secret swell magnets that are actually better when the swell is smaller, and if the swell DOES pop then we have our pick of the magazine waves to ourselves.
The Mentawais and the Sumatran islands are not just for pros. If you would like to come and see why its considered the best and most consistent surf destination in the world, but are more interested in head high waves alone that big tubes, look outside the box and trust us with finding you what you want. If you are not a full group, we’d ask that you give us a complete and honest bio of yourself, and we will do our best to fit you with a group of similar skills, desires, personality types, nationalities, etc.
As of August, 2016, you no longer have to pay for your 30-day travel visa upon arrival. However, if you wish to extend your trip in Indonesia, you need to visit your local embassy for an extension.
Yes,travel insurance is mandatory and your policy must include medical evacuation. Please ensure to bring your policy details with you. We advise that you take out travel insurance when you pay your deposit or book flights, as this will cover you for unforeseen circumstances that may arise prior to your trip. Please check your policy, as travel problems are much more common than actual injuries on the actual trip.
We have a few recommendations for travel insurance companies on this page here.
Yes, our friendly Sumatran Surfariis team will be there to meet you at the airport and drop you off at the end of your trip. Please provide your SS Sales Representative all flight information as soon as you have booked flights so he can coordinate your pick up and drop off.
Yes, you are permitted to bring one liter of alcohol into Indonesia. Please note that duty free is not available at the Padang Airport.
Padang International Airport is approximately 45 minutes from the heart of Padang (but can be upwards of an hour on the busiest days), where our offices are located. Under normal traffic conditions, it takes a total of approximately 90 minutes to travel directly from the airport to the Bungus Harbor, where our boats are anchored.
The absolute latest arrival time we can accommodate is 18:00pm (6pm) on the day of your departure. For those arriving around this time, please ensure that you have 3 photo copies of your passport, be fully paid up, and have organized any extra beer/drinks etc. required for the trip. As some of our boats are located in Bungus, which is an additional 45 minutes from our offices (total roughly 90 minutes from the airport), we recommend that you get a flight that lands midday or earlier. This allow you to be less rushed and begin your crossing at a good, early hour.
We can make even the early 8am departures. However, depending on your location and surf/weather conditions on your last surf day, your last day might be cut short slightly if the weather is inclement or you’re far away to make sure we have ample time to make the crossing. Therefore, we recommend a late morning (or later) departure, as this provides more breathing room and gives you a better chance of surfing until dark on your last day.
All airport and boat transfers are covered in your cost. Once on board, all drinking water, coffee, tea, 3 meals per day, snacks, 3 beers, 3 juices, and 3 soft drinks per day per person are covered in the price of your charter. Any other expenses such as hotel, phone calls, dinners or miscellaneous purchases are to be covered by you. Our drivers will take you to the market or anywhere in Padang, free of charge.
We always stock extra beer in our offices that can be purchased prior to your trip. If you will be wanting an extraordinarily large amount of extra beer, we advise notifying your representative in advance. This expense should be paid at our offices prior to departure via cash (USD, AUD, IDR) or credit card. There is a 3% surcharge for using credit cards and we currently accept Visa and MasterCard.
There are certain areas in the islands that have good mobile reception. We usually try to pass by these so you can check in with family and friends. All SS boats are equipped with satellite phones for you to call out in case of emergencies, as well as check in with SS office via radio. If there is an emergency and your loved ones need to contact you immediately, please have them contact your representative and he will have the office radio out to the boat for the fastest service.
Not currently. We are looking at ways to include internet connectivity on our trips, but at this stage we do not offer this on board. The only way currently for guests to get full-time reception of streaming quality on board is by renting a satellite modem. If you just need to check emails periodically, but reliably, a satellite modem with a data kit is a much less expensive option. Internet IS available at the SS office.
We have both full-time photographers and guides double as photographers and have become exceptional in the art of surf photography. Please check with your SS representative to see whom you will have on board. Prices vary from roughly $200usd – $350usd/person, depending on which photographer you have and what package you get. Many rates/packages can be negotiated, but you should do so at the beginning of your trip, and please note that once an agreement has been reached you are obliged to follow through.
The national currency is Indonesian Rupiah. In Padang and the islands this is the only accepted currency. However, you will require US$35 for your 30-day travel visa upon arrival, and it is advised to have this payment in USD ready prior to arrival, as it will greatly expedite the customs process. US$ & AU$ can be exchanged at the Padang airport or the SS office. To purchase souvenirs from one of the many “floating” gift shops (canoe) you will need Indonesian Rupiah, and usually your guide has enough change if you need to swap some IDR out from him. If you would like to tip your crew, it is acceptable to do so in IDR, USD, AUD, or EUR. Your guide will pool the funds and distribute them evenly amongst the crew.
Indonesia has a similar voltage to Australia, and all boats have suitable adapters onboard. If you are thinking of bring your own then please do so; a universal adapter is never a bad thing to bring on any trip. Indonesian plugs are the same as European and have 2 x round pins. US travelers please note that power is 220v and 50Hz and you may require voltage regulators. Many modern chargers allow for use in in a range of voltages so please check your manuals.
We strongly recommend that you seek information from your doctor regarding malaria treatment and any other requirements such as hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, etc.. We also advise speaking to your doctor about any additional recommendations for illnesses that are common in this area. For example, Cipro is often prescribed by some doctors to combat a stomach bug that can be common in these areas, and it’s also a good medication for general for infections.
Many guests feel that malaria medication is overkill on a boat trip, given the facts that you are usually anchored far from land and there is a often a good breeze at night. Those factors, combined with the use of a light clothing to cover up and spraying any remaining exposed areas with mosquito repellant, is often enough to satisfy guests that they are adequately protected from infections. But, once again, this is a decision that should be made between you and your doctor, and Sumatran Surfariis accepts no responsibility for any illnesses contracted while on board our trips.
No, No, No. Don’t even think about it. Surfing is the new high!
Your usual short board, a “step-up” board, and a semi-gun between 6’6” – 6’10” are the most surfed boards (for the average-sized surfer). Trips heading up north or far south warrant a 7-foot+ board if you have the room in your bag. You should check your airlines policy for extra boards.
Sure! Please check your airlines policy for larger items such as SUP boards. Please advise your SS sales representative if you are bringing a SUP so we can be prepared for pickups.
The island chain offers all variations of waves, from super hollow shallow waves to long cruising walls that break in deep waters. We can accommodate just about any skill level so please make sure you let us know what you are after so we can plan accordingly. The most successful trips are those when an entire group is at the same general level and is looking for the same general thing in terms of waves. The only time dissatisfaction can occur is when you have a group of surfers with drastically different skills/desires, i.e. a group of half pros mixed with half beginners. If we have gaps on an existing trip, we always try to fill the empty spots with surfers of the same general skill, age group, personality type, etc. so we have a compatible match and everyone is happy.
While fishing is still a popular non-surf activity on our boats, it’s getting a bit more disappointing each year. We will still be trolling when we move and we will still catch fish, but its definitely not what it used to be like. However, there are still a lot of trevally and you will occasionally land the larger pelargics, so it’s still fun to try.
Our boats are set up with 2 trolling rod and reels, gaffs and some lures, but we could always use more. Rapala Magnums or weighted bullet head are the most successful, with green or light colored working the best. We travel at approximately 8 – 10 knots, so have this in mind, as we sometimes lose a few to the sea. Fish can’t be brought into Padang, but it sure is great to gobble them up on the boat. Therefore, personalized fishing gear is very welcome aboard: feel free to bring rods (including popping rods), reels, lures, etc.