Nias Island lies 125 km off the west coast and has been host to the World Surfing Championships. It is the surf which brings people here, but the place also has a history and a unique culture. Here, as at Ambarita on Samosir Island in Lake Toba, they also have stone chairs and tables that were once used by tribal chiefs. They weight about 16 tons, and in former times dead bodies used to be laid out on them until all the flesh had decayed. So when you are not surfing, explore some of the villages.
Bawomataluo is the oldest, its name meaning Sun Hill. At 400 meters above sea level it is reached by climbing 480 stone steps. The villagers houses are built around a square dominated by the King's house, which is built on massive wooden pillars and decorated with carvings. The square was used for war dances and the traditional stone jumping rituals to initiate boys into manhood and train them for war.
Hilisimaetano is similar in style but more easily accessible, and Gomo has an old park with many huge old stone carvings. But it is still the beaches and superb surf that attracts people to Nias. Lagundri and Sorake beaches on the south coast, several kilometers of white, palm lined sand, about 12 km from Teluk Dalam. There are other, smaller islands such as Asu Island which can be reached by boat from Nias, a smaller island with a few guest houses and Losmen.
Nias is reached by ferry from Sibolga. The trip can take between eight and thirteen hours depending on weather. Try to get your ticket from the ticket office, as we have received many complaints of a variety of ways in which travellers have been tricked.