On The Way There, Trippin’ to the Mentawais

Words by Brenna Paulsen
Photos by Brenna Paulsen

It was somewhere in the 20th hour of being on a plane that I started to wonder if traveling 5 days to go on our 2 week honeymoon was worth it. Later, in the 40th hour of travel my husband, Alex, attempted to reframe our journey. He mused about how long the trip would take by boat, not a modern boat, but like a steam-ship type boat. I imagined, with no real knowledge or facts, that it’d take us months, maybe even a year to reach where we were headed. Then I concluded that we are lucky to live in the age of air travel. Where were we headed that would take us so long to get to? Basically the antipode, but not precisely, precisely we were traveling to the Mentawais, which are islands off the coast of West Sumatra. These Indonesian Islands are known for their reef breaks and turquoise waters. They are not known for being easy to get to, especially from the United States.

We wanted to honeymoon in a far-off place (with waves for Alex) that was unlike anywhere we’d been before. We found what we were looking for at Aloita resort. A lot resorts in the Mentawais cater to a strictly surfing crowd, but Aloita has a lot to offer- yoga, snorkeling, SUPing, trekking, beautifully designed bungalows, helpful and welcoming staff, and insanely good food. Alotia has 10 bungalows on a basically private island so it feels like you have the beaches to yourself. There is a good mix of privacy and community at Aloita. You can get your share of solitude while lounging in a dockside hammock or a beachfront lounge chair. There is no lack of nooks to escape to. However, since meals are served family style, you also get to spend some time with your bungalow neighbors and the Aloita crew. Eating communally leads to making friends quickly, sharing stories of your hometown surfing spots or your insanely long journey to Indonesia. The remoteness of Aloita means the nightlife is limited to playing pool or ping pong while drinking a few Bintangs. Which we were down with, especially considering our heavy jetlag, plus catching the sun rise every morning was completely perfect.

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Kuala Lampur Tower

Journay to  Mentawai: what our itinerary looked like on the way there

Drive to Newark, fly to Lome, Ghana (18hrs)

Refuel, land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, layover for 2 hours, board new plane to Singapore (9hrs)

Layover for 1 hour, board new plane for Kuala Lampur (1hr)

Land, get picked up by hotel van, drive to city in heavy scooter traffic (1hr)

Spend 2 nights in KL, go back to KL airport, fly to Padang, Indonesia (1hr)

Get picked up by Nanik from Aloita resort crew, drive in a van to hotel from airport (~30mins)

Spend 1 night in Padang and get picked up at the crack of dawn to go to Mentawai Fast ferry, travel on ferry in a bit of swell that makes you want to keep your eyes closed for entirety of ferry ride (3hrs)

Arrive in Tua Pejat, Mentawais, get picked up by Aloita crew in motorboat, take boat to arrive at Aloita Resort (~10mins)

Was it all worth it? 100% and then some.

Here’s what a day at Aloita Resort looked like

6:30am- Yoga

7:30am- Alex morning boat surf

8:00am- Breakfast

8:30am-11:30am: Read, lounge in the sun, go in and out of the crystal clear water

12:00pm- Alex gets back from morning surf, then lunch

1:00pm- Snorkel sesh and shell hunt

2:00pm- Read or nap then get a smoothie

3:00pm- Alex afternoon boat surf

4:00pm- Brenna Tkos, beginner wave, surf or SUP

6:00pm- Bintang + Sunset

7:00pm- Dinner

8:00pm- Play pool or ping pong with resort friends

9:00pm- Go to bed because it’s dark, and you want to catch sunrise/yoga in the morning


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Surfboards ready to head out on the boat

The hardest part about being at Aloita was having to say goodbye, as you leave to go to the ferry the Aloita crew and guests walk down the dock to see you off. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this at a resort before. It was pretty damn special to wave “goodbye” to these friends we met in paradise. On the plus side the journey home was considerably shorter by about 2 days.

Learn more about this awesome resort on their website or see more beautiful photos on their instagram @aloita_resort

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