Mentawai Islands Regency

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Mentawai Islands Regency
Kabupaten Kepulauan Mentawai
Coat of arms of Mentawai Islands Regency
Location within West Sumatra
Location within West Sumatra
Mentawai Islands Regency is located in Sumatra
Mentawai Islands Regency
Mentawai Islands Regency
Location in Sumatra and Indonesia
Mentawai Islands Regency is located in Indonesia
Mentawai Islands Regency
Mentawai Islands Regency
Mentawai Islands Regency (Indonesia)
Coordinates: 2°11′S 99°39′E / 2.183°S 99.650°E / -2.183; 99.650Coordinates: 2°11′S 99°39′E / 2.183°S 99.650°E / -2.183; 99.650
ProvinceWest Sumatra
Regency seatTua Pejat
 • Acting RegentMartinus Dahlan
 • Vice RegentVacant
 • Total6,033.76 km2 (2,329.65 sq mi)
 (2020 Census)[1]
 • Total87,623
 • Density15/km2 (38/sq mi)
 • ReligionChristianity 79,94%
- Protestanism 49%
- Catholicism 30,94%
Islam 19,56%
Time zoneUTC+7 (Indonesia Western Standard Time)
Area code(+62) 759

The Mentawai Islands Regency are a chain of about seventy islands and islets approximately 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. They cover 6,033.76 km2 and had a population of 76,173 at the 2010 Census and 87,623 at the 2020 Census.[3] Siberut at 3,838.25 square kilometres (1,482 square miles) is the largest of the islands. The other major islands are Sipura (or Sipora), North Pagai (Pagai Utara), and South Pagai (Pagai Selatan). The islands lie off the Sumatran coast, across the Mentawai Strait. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands are known as the Mentawai people. The Mentawai Islands have become a noted destination for surfing,[4] with over 40 boats offering surf charters to international guests.[5]

Administrative districts[edit]

Mentawai Islanders
Islanders in a photo by C.B. Niewenhuis

The Mentawai Islands have been administered as a regency within the West Sumatra (Sumatera Barat) province since 1999. The regency seat is Tua Pejat, on the island of Sipora. Padang, the capital of the province, lies on the Sumatran mainland opposite Siberut. The regency is divided into ten districts (kecamatan), tabulated below from south to north with their areas and their populations at the 2010 Census[6] and the 2020 Census.[7] The table also includes the locations of the district administrative centres, the number of villages (rural desa and urban kelurahan) in each district, and its post code.

District English
in km2
2010 Census
2020 Census
No. of
Pagai Selatan South Pagai 851.28 8,782 9,373 Bulasat 4 25391
Sikakap (a) Central Pagai 312.60 9,531 10,219 Taikako 3 25399
Pagai Utara North Pagai 371.25 5,212 6,031 Saumanganya 3 25390
Sipora Selatan South Sipora 348.33 8,460 9,812 Sioban 7 25392
Sipora Utara North Sipora 272.40 9,097 11,968 Sido Makmur 6 25398
Siberut Selatan South Siberut 328.00 8,446 9,933 Muara Siberut 5 25397
Siberut Barat Daya Southwest Siberut 1,013.83 6,069 7,058 Pasakiat Taileleu 3 25393
Siberut Tengah Central Siberut 589.75 6,069 7,089 Saibi Samukop 3 25396
Siberut Utara North Siberut 782.68 7,774 8,337 Muara Sikabaluan 6 25395
Siberut Barat West Siberut 1,163.64 6,733 7,803 Simalegi 3 25394
Totals 6,033,76 76,173 87,623 Tuapejat 43

Note: (a) Sikakap District covers the northern part of South Pagai Island and the southern part of North Pagai Island, plus some intervening small islands.


Administrative villages (desa) listed for each district:[8]

District Villages
Pagai Selatan Bulasat, Makalo, Malakopa (Malakopak), Sinaka (Sinakak)
Sikakap Matobe (Matobek), Sikakap, Taikako
Pagai Utara Betumonga, Saumanganya (Saumanganyak), Silabu
Sipora Selatan Beriulou, Bosua, Mara, Matobe (Matobek), Nemnemleleu (Nem-Nem Leleu), Saureinu (Saureinuk), Sioban
Sipora Utara Betumonga (Beutomonga), Bukit Pamewa, Gosooinan (Goisooinan), Sido Makmur, Sipora Jaya, Tuapejat
Siberut Selatan Madobag (Madobak Ugai), Maileppet/Maleppet, Matotonan, Muara/Muaro Siberut, Muntei
Siberut Barat Daya Katurai/Katurei, Pasakiat Taileleu (Pasakiat Taleleu), Sagulubbeg (Sagulubek / Sagalubeg / Sagalubbek)
Siberut Tengah Cimpungan, Saibi Muara (Saibi Samukop/Samokop), Saliguma
Siberut Utara Bojakan, Malancan (Malancang), Mongan Poula/Paula, Muara/Muaro Sikabaluan, Sirilogui, Sotboyak
Siberut Barat Sigapokna, Simalegi/Simaligi, Simatalu Sipokak



The first photos of the surf breaks in the Mentawais area were leaked after a surf trip in 1992 aboard the MV Indies Trader, with professional surfers Ross Clarke-Jones, Tom Carroll, and Martin Potter.[9] Ever since then, the Mentawai Islands have been well on the radar of surf travellers around the world. At the West of Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands have the most consistent surf breaks in Indonesia making it one of the preferred choices for serious surfers. The tropical waters surrounding the islands offer year-round waves up to 15 ft (4.5 m).[10][11]


Dugout canoes on a river in Siberut
Mentawai Islands topography

The islands have been separated from Sumatra since the mid-Pleistocene period, which has allowed at least twenty endemic species to develop amongst its flora and fauna. This includes six endemic primates: the Kloss's gibbon (Hylobates klossii), Mentawai macaque (Macaca pagensis), Siberut macaque (Macaca siberu), Mentawai langur (Presbytis potenziani), Siberut langur (Presbytis siberu), and pig-tailed langur (Simias concolor). They are highly endangered due to logging, unsustainable hunting, and conversion of rainforest to palm oil plantations.[12] Some areas of the Mentawai Islands rainforest ecoregion are protected, such as the Siberut National Park. Red junglefowl, the Asian palm civet and crab-eating macaque are also native.[13]

Seismic activity[edit]

The Mentawai Islands lie above the Sunda megathrust, a seismically active zone responsible for many great earthquakes. This megathrust runs along the southwestern side of Sumatra island, forming the interface between the Eurasian Plate and Indo-Australian Plate.

Earthquake and tsunami activity has been high since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In 1833, the region was hit with an earthquake, possibly similar in size to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake;[14] another large earthquake struck in 1797. On October 25, 2010, an earthquake in southern Sumatra led to a deadly tsunami that devastated villages in South and North Pagai.[15] On March 3, 2016, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude occurred off the Indian Ocean, a few hundred kilometres from Mentawai islands, as a result of strike-slip faulting within the oceanic lithosphere of the Indo-Australia plate.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Badan Pusat Statistikm Jakarta, 2021.
  2. ^ "Penduduk Menurut Wilayah dan Agama yang Dianut Provinsi Sumatera Barat". Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  3. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  4. ^ "SURFAID". SURFAID. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Every Surf Charter Boat in the Mentawais | 41 Boats with Photos and Info". Indies Trader. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  6. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  7. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  8. ^ "Daftar Desa & Kelurahan di Kabupaten Kepulauan Mentawai". Kode Pos Indonesia. 2020. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  9. ^ "Mentawai". Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  10. ^ "Top 10 Place to Surf in Indonesia". allindonesiatravel. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  11. ^ "15 Surfing Destination". Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  12. ^ Whittaker, D. 2006. A conservation action plan for the Mentawai primates. Primate Conservation 20: 95–105.
  13. ^ "Mentawai Islands rain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  14. ^ "INDONESIA - THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OF 1833 OFF THE COAST OF CENTRAL SUMATRA - Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Kill 113, Merapi Volcano Eruptions Hours Later". News article. October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "M7.8 – Southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia". Retrieved March 2, 2016.

External links[edit]