Nias Island covers an area of 5,121.3 km2 (1,977.3 sq mi) (including minor offshore islands). It is mostly a lowland area rising to around 800 m (2,600 ft) above sea level. There were 756,338 inhabitants on the island (including minor offshore islands) at the 2010 Census. The latest estimate for January 2014 is 788,132.
It is located in a chain of islands parallel to the west coast of Sumatra; Simeulue is about 140 km (87 mi) northwest, and the Batu Islands (which are administered as part of Nias and have an ethnically similar population) are located about 80 km (50 mi) southeast. This chain, which resurfaces in Nusa Tenggara in the mountainous islands of Sumba and Timor, is the forearc of the South Sumatra Basin along the Sunda Trench subduction zone.
At Nias the oceanic plate is being obliquely subducted under the Asian Plate at the rapid rate of 52 mm (2.0 in) a year (Milsom)
Nias is the largest of the islands off Sumatra that are part of North Sumatra province. This archipelago consists of 131 islands, of which Nias Island is the biggest. The population in this area was 756,762 inhabitants at the 2010 Census, including Ono Niha (the indigenous inhabitants of the island), Malay, Batak, and Chinese; in January 2014 the population had risen to 788,132.
Until 2003 Nias was an administrative regency (kabupaten) covering the entire island, part of the province of North Sumatra. In 2003 it was split into two regencies, Nias and Nias Selatan (South Nias). Subsequently the island was divided further, with the creation of two further regencies from parts of the former Nias Regency – Nias Barat (West Nias) and Nias Utara (North Nias) – and the designation of Gunungsitoli as an autonomous city independent of the four regencies. Gunungsitoli remains the capital city of Nias regency and it is the center of administration and business affairs of the Nias regency. Teluk Dalam is the capital of Nias Selatan.
All parties in the North Sumatra Legislative Council have agreed to the formation of a Nias Island province (comprising Nias, Nias Selatan, Nias Utara and Nias Barat regencies, and Gunungsitoli municipality). It has been approved at a regional plenary session on 2 May 2011, but still awaits approval from Central government, which has not yet enacted the grand design for additional provinces. The new province will thus cover an area identical to the original Nias Regency prior to the latter's division in 2003. Apart from Nias Island itself, the province will include the smaller Batu Islands (Pulau-pulau Batu) to the south, lying between Nias and Siberut; the Batu Islands form two districts within South Nias Regency.
The first ancestors of Nias were Austromelanesoid race from Hoabinth at 10,000 B.C. and then came more advance Austronesians from Taiwan which shifted the existence of the Austromelanesoids.
Isolated yet worldly, the Nias Island chain has been trading since prehistory with other cultures, other islands, and even mainland Asia. Some historians and archaeologists have cited the local culture as one of the few remaining Megalithic cultures in existence today. While this point of view is hotly debated, there is no doubt that Nias' relative geographic isolation has created a unique culture. As a culture of traders, the people of Nias find tourists to be a welcome – and historically familiar – phenomenon.
Nias is best known for its diversity of festivals and celebration. The most well-known events are War Dances, performed regularly for tourists, and Stone Jumping, a manhood ritual that sees young men leaping over two meter stone towers to their fate. In the past the top of the stone board is covered with spikes and sharp pointed bamboo. The music of Nias, performed mostly by women, is noted worldwide for its haunting beauty.
Gunungsitoli is home to Nias's only museum, the Museum Pusaka Nias (Nias Heritage Foundation), which houses over 6000 objects related to Nias's cultural heritage. The museum had recently built a new building and had improved their storage and exhibitions when the 2004 earthquake and tsunami occurred. The museum suffered some damage to the grounds and collections, but museum staff are working to recover from this devastating event
The predominant religion is Protestant Christianity. Six out of seven Niasans are Protestant; the remainder are about evenly divided between Muslim (mostly immigrants from elsewhere in Indonesia) and Catholic. However adherence to either Christian or Muslim religions is still largely symbolic; Nias continues into current day celebrating its own indigenous culture and traditions as the primary form of spiritual expression.
The people of Nias build omo sebua houses on massive ironwood pillars with towering roofs. Not only were they almost impregnable to attack in former tribal warfare, their flexible nail-less construction provide proven earthquake durability.
Nias is home not only to a unique human culture but also endemic fauna which differ from other areas of North Sumatra because of the island's remote location separate from Sumatra.
Nias is an internationally famous surfing destination. The best known surfing area is Sorake Bay, close to the town of Teluk Dalam, on the southern tip. Enclosed by the beaches of Lagundri and Sorake, the bay has both left and right-hand breaks. As they wait for waves, surfers can often see sea turtles swimming below. There are also two consistent, world-class waves in the nearby Hinako Islands, Asu and Bawa. Many lesser-known, high-quality surf spots with low crowds await adventurous travelers.
Nias was part of the famous Hippie trail of the 1960s, particularly traveled by surfers, which led to Bali. It has been the site of several international surfing competitions in the past, particularly before the 1998 Indonesian Reformation Movement.
Despite the storied history of surfing in Nias, international surfing in Nias has slowed down especially (but not specifically) due to the recent earthquakes. The situation is slowly changing, however.
To reach Nias, there is a weekly ship from Jakarta to Gunung Sitoli; there were ferries from Sibolga to Gunung Sitoli, Teluk Dalam, or Lahewa every day; before the Asian financial crisis hit Indonesia, there was a daily flight from Medan to Gunungsitoli. This became less frequent following the crisis.
Since the 1998 Reformation, however, transport links on and to the island have become poor. Internally, the road system is in a very bad condition. Externally the air and ferry links are unreliable. There are two ferry terminals (Gunungsitoli and Teluk Dalam) and an airport (Binaka, near G. Sitoli) on the island, serviced mainly from Sibolga and Medan respectively. However, local ferry companies regularly go out of business (or their boats sink), so only one terminal may be active at any given time. Since the 2005 earthquake, transportation has improved to cope with the increase in travel needs for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. Wings Air and Manunggal Air are the airlines that fly to Gunungsitoli.
Day 1 Arrive Gunung Sitoli – Teluk Dalam
Upon arrival at Binaka airport in Gunung Sitoli meet with your local Sumatran guide outside the arrival area of the airport and depart by private A/C vehicle with driver to your hotel for check in. You will visit first the Museum Pusaka Nias which is the only and complete museum with over 6,000 interesting cultural and historical objects on display. After lunch in the local restaurant, you proceed to Lagundry beach, Souther of Nias. In the afternoon arrive in Teluk Dalam and check in to Baloho Resort or Lilis surf Camp for overnight stay.
Day 2 Bawamataluo – Megalithic culture – stone jumping & war dance
Breakfast is served at the hotel. You are picked up by your guide and driver for today’s visits to Bawomataluo. You will observe megalithic cultures and the way of life of the Nias tribe. Demonstration of stone jumping and a war dance will be optional (not included). Stone Jumping is a manhood ritual that sees young men leaping over two meter stone towers to their fate. In the past the top of the stone board is covered with spikes and sharp pointed bamboo. After lunch in the local restaurant, you will continue visits to Hilisamaetano and Hiliamaetaniha traditional villages. In the afternoon, you return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 3 Teluk Dalam – Gomo megalith exploration – Gunung Sitoli
Breakfast is served in the hotel. After breakfast you are picked up by your driver and tour guide for today’s visits. You will drive to Gomo via Lahusa. Enroute stop at Tetegewo to see the megalithic stone. Arrive at Gomo, you cross the river to visit Tundru baho. Lunch will be served at local restaurant. Another visit is to Boronadu to see the Megalithic Stone. Continue drive back to Gunung Sitoli for overnight stay in Wisma Soliga.
Day 4 Gunung Sitoli – Departure
Breakfast is served at the hotel. This morning you are free at leisure until time for your transfer to the airport for the flight to your next destination.
Rate : USD 790/person/twin share, Minimum 2 person
- Accommodations as mentioned above in double/triple room + breakfast
- Transport as per program based on minivan (Kijang Toyota) + fuel & driver
- Entrance and parking fees as per program
- Local English speaking guide Excluded
- Flight tickets and airport tax
- Personal expenses; meals (lunches & dinners), drinks, donations, laundry, souvenirs, etc
- Tips for guide/driver
- Travel insurance
- Any optional program
- Alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks
- Any personal exoenses
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