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Hunting headhunters- Nias or Mentawai?

Cairo Governorate...
3 posts
Hunting headhunters- Nias or Mentawai?

I'm heading to Indonesia again in a few weeks (Only for three weeks). I realized what I crave is meeting authentic ethnic communities over the obvious temples complexes etc. I'm also a travel photographer so visually striking houses and landscapes are of interest but not so much as people.

Can anyone explain what the differences/similarities are between the Nias and Mentawi people (and islands generally?

It strikes me that the Mentawai have the most authentic culture, but will I find similar tribes off the beaten track in Nias? I read that the best plan is to be invited to a wedding (This happened to me last year in Bali and I wasn't even fishing for an invite!)

The majority of images from Nias seem to be of the stone jumping. How regularly is this done? Is it done purely for tourists benefit?

The Prehistoric megalithic sites interest me to a point but I'd prefer to trek for a day to seen tribes again over 'sites'

I would consider Borneo or other locations if anyone can make suggestions

2 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
2,463 posts
36 reviews
1. Re: Hunting headhunters- Nias or Mentawai?

I would say Mentawai. Nias itself is very well connected but there are some minor islands that are more remote.

You could look for the orang rimba in Jambi as well.

Edited: 11:07 am, June 07, 2018
Nias Island...
Level Contributor
14 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Hunting headhunters- Nias or Mentawai?

Sometimes people said that Mentawai and Nias share a similar but in fact they are different. Although These two islands are close to each other but the culture is totally different. Mentawai is well known with its indigenous people and their tattoo culture while Nias is well known with the headhunting culture in the past when the war among villages occurred. Some evidences of the headhunting culture can be found in Nias Heritage Museum located in Gunungsitoli.

Nias is also famous with the stone jumping, war dance, megalithic sites, beaches and surfing. Stone jumping can be performed in South Nias traditional village anytime but the visitor should pay IDR 200-250K per jump unless there is official ceremonies where you can watchthem for free. The megalithic sites lay in Gomo area (South Nias) which can be accessed for a day trip. Gomo was known as the origin of Nias ancestor. The traditional villages can be found in the North and also in the south. The wooden traditional houses in these two areas are unique because they built it without using iron nails in connecting the joints.

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