We left behind the chaotic and hellishly hot cities of Java and moved to the less populated and more wild Sumatra. And right away we’ve found ourselves in heaven.
Authentic Sumatra is an ecoturism project and an association established in the fishing village of Nagari Sungai Pinang. Tourists can stay in the Ricky’s Beach House or the four bungalows bulit here.
The price includes accomodation, meals, short trips around the village and copious amounts of coffee and home made ice-tea. All the money spent by tourists stays in the village – most goes to the 10-person crew but 30% of the money is saved to finance education for motivated kids from the village.
It’s a pity we could only stay here for three nights. It was a rare chance to stay in an authentic place without any touristic crap and really talk to people and get to know them a little bit as the whole crew speaks English. The people here are really amazing, and we were intimidated by their many talents and skills. Not only are they prettz much self sufficient, but they also sing well, play instruments and learn Polish phrases much faster than we could learn Indonesian.
It is really worth spending more time here to take part in the everyday life of the village, see the beautiful area and slow down TOTALLY. At first I was nervously moving around, feeling the need to do something but after some time I gave in to the sleepy atmosphere, watching the dogs and goats wandering around and trying to steal some of the fish left out to dry in the sun.
If you’re a fan of all-inclusive 5star resorts, don’t even consider visiting the village. You’ll be greeted with cold showers and squatting toilets. For us though, it was one of the best places we’ve ever been to. Together with two really nice French-Portuguese guys we ate every last crumble of the humble meals prepared by the talented crew.
The village, like most of the country, is muslim so minis and bikinis are not an acceptable beachwear. However, if you feel like sunbathing, you can visit the surrounding beaches outside the village. Interestingly, the local Minangkabau ethnic group is matrilineal which means that the property and land is passed down from mother to daughter and only the daughters in the family guarantee the survival of the tribe. As the boys themsleves admitted: “Girls power!”
It is hard to describe what makes this place so special. It’s best if you come and see for yourself. We would definitely like to come back one day for a lazy holiday with our friends.