Beyond Bali


    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

      1-2-2017
     

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    The beautiful underwater life of Mandeh Sea Park.

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Mandeh Sea Park is surrounded by crystal clear waters.

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra
    The beautiful underwater life of Mandeh Sea Park.

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra
    Mandeh Sea Park is surrounded by crystal clear waters.

    Hidden Gem Of West Sumatra

    Our contributor Donny Syofyan discovers Mandeh Sea Park, an untouched paradise in West Sumatra...

    West Sumatra has become one of the top tourist destinations in Indonesia, be it for a weekend getaway or a long holiday. This province which is known for its iconic Rumah Gadang (the traditional house) has virtually everything tourists are looking for, from remarkable natural sites to unique cultural attractions. And now, West Sumatra gives one more reason for tourists to come and visit with the discovery of a hidden paradise, Mandeh Sea Park.

    Located at Koto XI Tarusan subdistrict in the Pesisir Selatan regency, Mandeh Sea Park boasts magnificent marine life that takes one’s breath away. Visitors can opt for diving or snorkeling to discover the fascinating water world just beneath the ocean’s surface. Due to the beauty of its underwater life, Mandeh Sea Park is often considered Sumatra’s very own Raja Ampat Islands, an area of Papua that is known world-wide for its incredible underwater charm.

    Under The Sea
    Mandeh Sea Park sits on an 18,000 hectares of land. The word “mandeh” is derived from the name of a village in the region. This area consists of exotic islands, among the famous ones are Cubadak, Sirandah, Cingkuak, Pagang, Pasumpahan Island and more. Many of these small islands are still untouched, and that’s where the beauty of Mandeh Sea Park lies. Visiting this area is incomplete without going island hopping for sure, and a one-night stay is certainly not enough. Stay at least a couple of nights in this area – take it from me, you won’t regret it for the rest of your life!

    Around 70 hectares of Mandeh Sea Park is home to coral reefs and various species of marine biota. This area is also so well maintained that a variety of marine species can live freely and untroubled by human contact. That is also why it has become a haven for divers. Aside from its coral reefs, Mandeh Sea Park is also known for its shipwreck, located in the Mandeh bay at 20 to 25 meters deep. Recently a team of shipwreck explorers assigned by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries made a video about divers on a guided tour around the shipwreck. The shipwreck is believed to be the MV Boelongan, a Dutch cargo ship, which was bombed by the Japanese army in 1942.

    Meanwhile, non-divers can go snorkeling to discover the underwater beauty. There are a lot of hot spots for snorkeling across this sea park. Some of the islands are surrounded by waters so crystal clear that divers and snorkelers can see many remarkable marine organisms clearly from the surface or several meters down. Once done with the diving or snorkeling, a visitor can relax on the white sandy beach and enjoy the fresh air. The scenic beauty of Mandeh area can also make one instantly forget about the world.

    Mandeh Sea Park is also a paradise for photography enthusiasts, and therefore, a camera is essential to bring while visiting the area. The beautiful underwater life and the magnificent landscape make Mandeh Sea Park the perfect place for a photo hunt.

    To A Better Future
    This area has such great potential as a tourist destination, and that’s why the local government continues making improvements. They aim to make Mandeh not just as a tourist spot, but also a national sea park with a conservation area and a marine laboratory.

    People who work in the tourism sector around the area are empowering local residents through tourism and travel industry. In the last couple of years, they have successfully promoted Mandeh on a national scale. A number of people that focus on ecotourism were appointed to help manage the travel business in the area, from the culinary industry to arts and craftsmanship, as well as boat and tour guides and homestays.

    To improve the culinary business, for instance, a number of seasoned chefs in Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra, has come to Mandeh to share their cooking ideas. Under their guidance, the cooks in Mandeh recreated rendang, West Sumatra’s traditional food that is usually made with beef, but in Mandeh using octopus, muscles, shrimps and other seafood that are easily found in local waters. The tour guides also receive training and visit other tourist attractions in West Sumatra on a study tour. The locals are also encouraged to build homestays – during my visit, there were already two homestays in the area, and five more were being prepared.

    Even the young generation also receives education to help boost the tourism sector in Mandeh. The children of Nyalo River and Nagari Mandeh are learning English so they can communicate with foreign visitors. Businesses in Mandeh will also be certified for quality control. All of these efforts aim to establish sustainable tourism in Mandeh.

    HOW TO GET THERE:
    From Bali, you can get to Padang via Jakarta. Daily flights from Jakarta to Padang are available with Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Sriwijaya Air and Lion Air. Cars are available for rent at Rp. 500,000, inclusive of a driver and fuel for a day trip. You can book a car and driver before arriving in Padang for airport pickup.

    WHERE TO STAY:
    Giszella Hotel
    Jalan Raya Padang-Painan, Ps. Baru, Bayang
    (0756) 441-467
    Langkisau Resort Hotel & Restaurant
    Jalan Baru Pantai Salido KM 0.8, Salido
    0853-6343-1455

    Rihan Hotel
    Jalan Jenderal Sudirman No.205, Salido
    (0756) 213-26
    Anak Salido Residence
    Jalan H. Agus Salim No 42, Painan
    0813-8458-1472

     
    Donny Syofyan

       Contributor : Donny Syofyan


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