Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pulau Pagang, West Sumatra

Back to Sumatra... Bright and early the next morning we packed up our stuff and escaped from dismal Bungus Beach with haste.  Gavin, our Dutch pal Ferry, and I hired a boat and a guide for a trivial amount.  The four of us, along with supplies for a couple of days headed out to Palau Pagang, a pristine isle just an hour down the coast from Bungus.

Ferry Vonk - avid traveler, smoker, reader, and musician.  Listen to some of his artistic output HERE.

The fishing boats in this area were ecstatically decorated.

Pagang Island, where time drifts by like a listless breeze through the palms.  With no electricity and no permanent inhabitants, it's almost completely deserted, just a few sheds, fallen coconuts, the tracks left by giant monitor lizards, and a few cabins dot the main beach.  Pristine beaches and water of the purest hues ring the islet.  It was truly a magical place to spend a few days.

Our guide was so sweet, constantly offering us drinks and snacks, preparing great home-cooked meals, and even constructing me a flower necklace!

What did we do on this deserted island?  A whole lot of paradise.  During the day we swam in the deep blue and snorkeled, taking advantage of the clear water and the proliferation of sea life in the reef off of the northern tip.  Sea turtles, blue-spotted rays, and even a rare banded sea snake were encountered during our brief time on the island.

Gavin learned how to fish with a hand line.  It was pretty unsuccessful, but fun.

We took a long walk one afternoon and explored the island.  We collected shells and chased crabs.

Sunsets were beery and vivid.

Around this time Gavin had a prolonged swim with a precocious sea turtle.  There is no snorkel like the magic hour snorkel.  Thank you Terrence Malick for the inspiration... reefs are truly alive when the sun is declining.

If you happen to be in West Sumatra, make your way to Pagang Island.  This was our last stop on the world's sixth biggest island and it was one of the highlights.


Carol said...

The beach is so clean, the water so clear-I guess you only get that when you get off the beaten track. Great photographs!

Capenwray said...

Looks and sounds like an amazing time.

Anonymous said...

Nice story ... Thank you for sharing ... as Indonesian People, i never go to pagang island :)

Gavin Pilisi said...

Thanks for reading. Unforgettable island!

Massi said...

Hello Nellie. I've readed this post. This summer I would like to go to palau pagang. Can you say me how did you do to hire a boat and a guide for a trivial amount?
I've read in the web,the transfert from Bungus to the island is very expensive.!!If you have a contact for me can you give me it? Thank you Massi

Massi said...

hello Nellie. I've readed your post for palau pagang. Nexy summer I would like to go in the island. can you say ma how did you do to hire a boat and a guide for a trivial amount? I've readed in the web the transfert from Bungus to the island is very expensive.If you have a contact for me can you give me it? Thank you,Massi

Gavin Pilisi said...


Our memory banks are eroding... In retrospect, it wasn't a trivial amount and was definitely the most expensive place we stayed in Sumatra. That said, it was well worth the experience. We got the boat tour, a really nice private guide who cooked for us at night, and spartan accommodation on the island for around $45 per person for one afternoon/night/morning on the island. But that figure may be too low, maybe it was about double that... We booked it from one of the bungalows right on Bungus Beach (another name which eludes us now). If you have camping gear, find a random fisherman to take you out there.