Exploring the Raja Ampat of Sumatra

By admin, in Travel on .

West Sumatra becomes one of the most attractive tourist destinations, both on weekend and holiday in the country. Various natural and cultural attractions are found in the province known for its big house, locally known as Rumah Gadang.  A new tourist appeal will add to the province with Mandeh Sea Park turning into the country’s tourist spotlight recently.

Mandeh Sea Park is famous for its beauty and charm. It is located in Koto XI Tarusan sub district, Pesisir Selatan regency, West Sumatra. Going into its astounding underwater world, one might enjoy diving, snorkelling and viewing the fresh and fascinating world just beneath the ocean’s surface of Mandeh resort. Many admit it as Raja Ampat of Sumatera.

Mandeh resort has a total area of ​​18,000 hectares. The word ‘mandeh’ is taken from a village in the region, consisting of beachfront, bay, sea, and small islands. Visitors would find a range of exotic islands here, which is too strong to be described or conveyed in words, like Cubadak Island, Sirandah Island, Cingkuak Island, Pagang Island, Sikuai Island, Pamutusan Island, Pasumpahan Island, and many others. Those are few of the many islands with which people might recognize.

If truth be told, there are many other small islands that are still ‘virgin’ and rarely visited. While paying Mandeh resort a visit, be sure to visit the islands. One night stay is certainly not enough. Staying for a couple of nights in the area will be much better. You will not regret in your lifetime.

Mandeh resort has an area of 70 hectares of coral reefs and various species of marine biota, which are so well maintained that a variety of marine species can live freely there to date. That is why it is worth being the heaven for those who like diving.

In addition to its coral reefs, a remarkable thing in Mandeh resort is its hot spot for shipwreck. Many believe it is the best across the archipelago. It is located in the Mandeh bay at a depth of 20-25 meters. A team of shipwreck explorers representing the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has taken its video, taking potential divers on a guided tour of the shipwreck. The shipwreck is believed to be MV Boelongan, a Dutch cargo ship, which was bombed by the Japanese army in 1942.

If you are fond of snorkelling and attracted to the underwater beauty, Mandeh Sea Park is the perfect place. Hot spots for snorkelling are scattered across the sea park. Assorted islands in Mandeh have clear and blue water, cause divers or snorkelers’ eyes to clearly see many thriving marine organisms under the surface of the water. What’s more, the water is not too deep. Relax on one of the beaches on the white sandy Mandeh island and enjoy the fresh air, scenic beauty of Mandeh area really helps someone let off steam.

Do not forget to bring your best camera during a visit to Mandeh. Adorned by the beauty of its landscape, islands, beaches and its underwater world, Mandeh is a paradise for photographers.

Thanks to its great potential as a tourist area, the regency government of Pesisir Selatan continues to build and improve the tourist area of Mandeh. Top of that, Mandeh area will be declared as the national sea park along with its massive construction of supporting infrastructures. This zone will not just be a tourist spot, but also will become a conservation area and laboratory.

Together with the government, tourism activists are empowering people to have high awareness of tour and travel. Over the last year, they already promoted the promising potential of Mandeh to national scale. Furthermore, numerous groups of ecotourism have been made to manage travel businesses involving culinary, crafts, art tradition, boats, tour guides, dive guides and homestays.

They have been trained to run the culinary business. Guided by seasoned chefs in Padang, typical culinary arts of Mandeh are highlighted such as octopus rendang, seashell rendang, shrimp, and other seafood. They are easily found on Mandeh waters.

While tour guides have also received training and made study tour to other tourist attractions in West Sumatra, people in the area are encouraged to have their own home stays. There are two homestays and another five are being prepared now. Children in Sungai Nyalo and Nagari Mandeh are being trained to speak English so that they are capable of communicating with those paying Mandeh a visit. Members of business groups will be further certified for the sake of quality control of the locals’ travel businesses. It will, in turn, set the scene for sustainable tourism in Mandeh. (DONNY SYOFYAN)

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