Part of the isolated Mentawai archipelago, Karamajet island is a four-hour speedboat ride from the western coast of Sumatra; we suggest you get there fast, before more people get wind of it.
On this idyllic island, you’ll find postcard-perfect beaches surrounded by cerulean waters that is at times calm and at times heavy with superlative swells; a rare species of black-and-yellow monkeys named simpai Mentawai by the locals; and even shamans (below) who still dress in customary outfits and practise their traditions.
The rides of your life
Staying at Kandui Villas (below) puts you in the heart of the Mentawai Islands’ popular ‘playground area’, which is home to over 20 surf spots. The renowned Kandui Left, for instance, lies just in front of the villas, while Kandui Right, or Rifles, is just a six to ten-minute ride away on the resort’s dinghy or large blue wooden canoes.
The first – also known as Kanduis or Nokanduis – is a fast, barrelling left-hand point break said to be the best of its kind in the world; we’re talking about waves that stretch some 12-feet high. The second is touted by the likes of world champion Kelly Slater to be the best right-hand break worldwide.
Not a pro surfer? Fortunately, there are also a good number of locations nearby for those new to the sport. On the east side of Karamajet island is an area called Four Bobs, which is perhaps the ideal spot for newbies. The playful right-hand break is a far cry from the more intense swells in other areas, but is still popular with surfers looking for a fun ride. Once the wave breaks on the reef, it reforms into a long, mushy white-water ride – perfect for beginners who need time to master the art of standing up (above).
The only eco-luxury resort at the remote locale, Kandui Villas comprises 12 beachfront umas (traditional Mentawai-style houses) that may look rustic but are comfortable and air-conditioned. Constructed from sustainably sourced local woods, the umas boast hand-carved animal, jungle and ocean motifs on the interior walls, as well as handmade furniture.
At mealtimes, everyone dines together at large communal tables. The made-to-order breakfasts include cinnamon and banana pancakes, eggs Benedict and fresh-fruit bowls – all great for pre- or post-surfing. An onsite greenhouse supplies fresh herbs, vegetables and salad greens (above), while an organic orchard on the hill in the centre of the island provides a variety of tropical fruit.
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It’s up to you to decide how to spend your free time when you’re not surfing. And you can, of course, have a wonderful stay without going near a surf board; on the table are activities such as snorkelling, fishing, yoga, canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding through mangroves to see a ‘ghost forest’. There’s even a shipwreck to be explored – though it is accessible only at low tide. The resort’s sparkling saltwater infinity pool is a great place to cool off, après-surf. And watching spectacular sunsets with a fresh coconut drink in hand is as dreamy as it sounds.
– TEXT BY TIFFANY ESLICK
PHOTOS: KANDUI VILLAS, INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.