Straddling the equator, Sumatra, the largest and westernmost of the Sunda Islands, combines incredible diversity and natural wealth with an astonishing cultural multiplicity. Its lush tropical forests are home to a large number of extremely rare animal and plant species. The volcanic chain which extends over 1700km along the Indian Ocean offers grandiose landscapes of mountains at the foot of which spread out paradisiacal beaches. Made up of around ten provinces, it is made up of a mosaic of astonishing peoples with very marked identities and singular societal rules.
The splendor of its landscapes and the originality of its multiple tribes obviously make Sumatra a dream destination for lovers of exoticism.
Landing at Padang airport in the center of the west coast of the island drops off the visitor in the province of Sumatra Barat (West Sumatra). Territory of the Minangkbau, people with ancestral matrilineal traditions, the province of Sumatra Barat certainly stands out as the most spectacular of the provinces of Sumatra and its only discovery is often not enough for a single trip.
The coast and the Mentawai Islands
Paradise coastal islands, marvelous beaches and seabed , volcanic mountains and crater lakes with bewitching landscapes, nature reserves of unique species, fertile plains and plateaus, picturesque and welcoming villages with unique ancestral customs make up the province of Sumatra over an area of 42899km2 barat.
With a coastline approximately 500 km long and a string of islands which make up the Mentawai archipelago and which stretches out a little over a hundred kilometers offshore, Sumatra Barat has everything to seduce not only lovers of beaches, diving and surfing but also travelers eager for wild nature and cultural encounters.
Of the Mentawai Islands, Siberut, the northernmost and largest is also the most visited of them. Covered with a thick tropical forest, it is dotted with traditional dwellings, the “uma”, of the Mentawai people who occupy the island, an animist and naturist people for whom beauty, which is materialized by tattoos often all over their bodies, and harmony with the forest are essential aspects of existence. The archipelago, separated from Sumatra by the Mentawai Strait trench for several hundred thousand years ( Middle Pleistocene period) has allowed more than twenty endemic species to develop there. Each of the four islands of the archipelago benefits from natural conditions conducive to the formation of ideal waves for surfing.
Immense inner riches
Inland from the province, a little less than a hundred kilometers north of hectic Padang, the town of Bukittinggi , at the top of a verdant hill, is a haven of peace . In the heart of the Minangkabau country, BuKittinggi, welcoming and amazing with its customs and the architecture of its roofs in the shape of buffalo horns, is a step towards the Rimba Panti nature reserve preceded by the Raflesi reserve.which protects the gigantic endemic flower of the same name. To the west of Bukitinggi, the Danau Maninjau, a deep crater lake with cool, clear waters promises beauty and serenity at all times. To the south of BuKittinggi, the village of Pandai Sikat, where the ancestral art of weaving “kain songket” is practiced, cottons and silks mixed with gold and silver thread, is worth a detour. To the east, between Bukitinggi and Batusangkar, fertile fields and rice paddies follow one another. Two hours south of Padang is the Kerinci Seblat National Park dominated by the active Kerinci volcano which covers 140,000 km2 with jungle, mountain ranges and rare and endemic species.
Endearing and unique in many ways, complex and multiple, the Sumatra Barat region, on the borders or rather at the beginning of the terrestrial world, has natural and human riches so rare and precious that it finally arises as a point of the world outside the world. that we must protect while learning lessons.