Travel to Nias in Indonesia. Lagundri Bay and more

by Ale Werner
Sunset in Sorake Beach

Nias is a small island west of Sumatra, one of the largest in Indonesia. Despite not being a very touristy place, it has many attractions that caught our attention. One of them is a small beach south of the island, abandoned in time and where the light until recently was only turned on by generators and there were no luxuries or many amenities… We talk about Lagundri Bay. This place is well known for surfing in Nias, but Lagundri Bay also has other attractions and is ideal for taking a break from big cities and everyday life. Here you will feel like you have stepped back into the past. In this post, we tell you more about Lagundri Bay, the famous beach for surfing in Nias, Indonesia.

A little history about Nias and Lagundri Bay.

Nias is an island that has been a bit stopped in time. Here there are no great cities and their ancient culture of warriors is still preserved. The villages are small, most have just two streets and a huge stone in the entrance used for the “test of manhood”, in which who can jump it without touching it is worthy of defending his people.

Years ago, before the 2004 tsunami, many tourists came to the island in search of waves to surf. However, the island of Nias was one of the most affected in Indonesia with this natural disaster and then with the earthquake that also affected the area in 2005. Both disasters caused major geographical changes on the island, such as coral barriers that where rose several meters and other areas that sank in the sea.

When you walk along the roads you will see many tombs on the sides of houses, most of which are empty because not all people were able to found the bodies of their loved ones who died during these terrible events.

After a few years, the tourists started to return and the island of Nias began to rebuild, but the scarce economic and little help from the Indonesian government has made this process very slow.

Tumbas. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

One of the main destinations on the island is “Lagundri Bay”, a coral coast shaped like a horseshoe ideal for surfing. This bay is also commonly called Sorake o “The Point” because of the beach in the place ( which has no sand as is mostly coral floor). At high tide, the sea forms natural pools.

Unlike other popular islands such as Gili Trawangan near Bali, in Nias, you will still find an authentic culture and kind local people. Therefore, its infrastructure is not the best in terms of luxury, but it is ideal for resting and enjoy the nature all around.

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Our trip to Lagundri Bay in Nias

We agreed beforehand with a local boy to pick us up at the airport and take us to the beach, so the arrival was quite easy. We spent 6 nights enjoying the beach, waterfalls, natural pools on the reef and the tranquility that emanates from this place.

We believe that it is an excellent alternative for those who enjoy leaving the tourist routes without major sacrifices. It is true that nowadays the island is already more reconstructed, but it is many years away from resembling places like Java or Sumatra.

Map of Nias and Lagundri Bay

What to do in the south of Nias and in Lagundri Bay

There is much more to do in the South of Nias apart from surfing at Lagundri Bay. You can visit traditional villas to better understand the culture of the island, bathe in waterfalls, float in natural pools on the dead reefs that surround the beaches and much more.

Surfing at The Point, Lagundri Bay.

Surf en Lagundri Bay. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Surf en Lagundri Bay. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

The wave in Lagundri Bay is considered one of the top 10 in the world. The conditions of this place are almost perfect. With a horseshoe-shaped entrance, going inside the sea and approaching the drop is really easy by jumping from the “tips” of the horseshoe, the break is predictable and constant, a perfect tube that can last up to 10 seconds is formed and, in addition, there is a lateral current that will take you back to the break without having to row too hard.

However, every year more and more people come to Lagundri Bay to surf, so it is possible to find crowds in high season. Even so, there will never be as many as on the island of Bali, so it remains a highly recommended destination for surfers.

For more information on surf conditions in Lagundri Bay, enter our post here.

Sorake Beach and other beaches on the area

Sorake Beach. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

It has the name of “beach” but the truth is not what you are thinking of. Between the coast of Sorake and the sea there is no sand, but a huge reef that is visible at low tide, and where natural pools are formed during high tide.

Yes, there are other beaches in the area where you can find more sand but do not expect the Caribbean. For example, in Lagundri, there is a small section where you can lie in the sand and relax. But once you enter the sea, you will begin to feel the corals and reef under your feet.

Waterfalls (Namo Si Felendrua)

Namo Si Felendrua, Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Namo Si Felendrua. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

There are several waterfalls in the area, but we visited Namo Si Felendrua, not far from the small town of Bawömataluo. To reach them it is necessary to use some kind of transport, ideally, rent a motorcycle. Once in the village, start asking the locals for the correct address to a school. From here someone should guide you because there is no marked path and the walk is about 20 minutes at least until you reach the waterfalls by climbs and descents in the middle of the jungle.

You will find in this waterfall some rapids and natural pools where you can bathe and enjoy.

Natural pools on the reefs

Piscinas naturales en Nias- Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Lagunas naturales en Nias. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Lagunas naturales en Nias. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

After the terrible earthquake in 2005, some coasts of the island rose several meters, reaching even higher than the old coast. One of this areas is located a little north of Sorake beach, so you can walk like 10 minutes to reach it.

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Here you will find several natural pools that were formed. It is possible to bathe and enjoy the oscillation of the water that enters and leaves the pools in coordination with the waves.

From Lagundri Bay you can walk to these pools along the coast, but remember to wear good shoes because the soil is dry coral and can easily cut your skin.

Campung Bawomataluo

Niñas vestidas tradicionalmente. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

If you want to know a little more about the traditions of the island and ancestral culture, you can visit one of the many traditional villages that are in it. The closest to Lagundri Bay is Bawomataluo, one of the largest traditional villas in the south of Nias. For a small fee, local children will show you how they jump the huge ceremonial stone at the entrance.

Relaxation and tranquility

Caminando por la costa. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Despite what is said about the “crowd” of tourists who come to enjoy surfing in Lagundri Bay, the area is extremely quiet. The little development and infrastructure make everyone go to bed early. Life begins at dawn and the days go by calmly. It is the ideal destination to sit down to read a book while listening to the sound of the sea or of small local children playing around you. Buy a fresh coconut and refresh your mind and soul.

Important information to plan your trip to Nias in Indonesia and surf in Lagundri Bay.

Best time to go to Nias and surf in Lagundri Bay

The best time to go to Nias and surf in Lagundri Bay is between May and September when the waves are bigger and even international competitions are held. The rest of the year you can also go, but there may be weeks when the waves do not exceed 50 centimeters in height. For more information about the optimal conditions of the wave, enter here.

The rains are usual throughout the year, but in terms of temperature, the best time to visit is from September to November when the maximum does not usually exceed 31ºC.

How to get to Nias

1. Get to Nias by plane.

Nias has a small airport called “Binaka Airport”. Because few people travel to the island by this means, most flights come from the Medan International Airport on the island of Sumatra and are very irregular. The airlines carry out this route for periods, although at present they have been resuming the constant operation that they had before the earthquake.

Find here our best tips for traveling by plane. If you arrive in Nias from other countries, it will be many hours in the air and you will definitely need them.

Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

2. Get to Nias by ferry from Sibolga Port in Sumatra

The most common way to get to Nias is by ferry from the Sibolga port in Sumatra, and arriving at Gunung Situoli Port in Nias. The boats that make this crossing are slow, so the route is usually done at night and lasts between 9 and 12 hours. You can find out the schedules on the company’s website here.

Transporte local. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Whatever alternative you take to get to Nias, outside the airport will always be taxis and minibusses ready to take you wherever you want. Land transport values are quite expensive, as drivers previously agree on them. We recommend you to bargain very well with them and look for other tourists who can go to your same destination to share the expenses of the car.

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If you do not want to spend a lot and your destination is an important city within the island, then you can also look for adapted vans (jeepneys) with seats in the peak up that are used as public transport.

How to get around Nias

The best way to get around Nias is to rent a motorcycle near your accommodation and move freely around the island. Because it is not well developed, public transport works quite poorly and locals often walk long hours to get from one place to another.

You can also ask at your accommodation for taxi drivers or tuk-tuks if you do not want to drive yourself. You will always find someone who wants to take you on a trip when traveling to Nias if you pay them.

Tuk Tuk. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Where to Eat in Nias

Many accommodations have their own kitchens where for a supplement you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. In general, the meals are based on fish and shellfish, such as lobster and shrimp, so when traveling to Nias you will have the opportunity to enjoy these specialties for a very low price.

You can also visit local markets and food fairs. In general, we do not recommend buying meat and fish, as it is difficult to know the treatment they have had and how long they have been uncooled, but the fruits and vegetables in Nias are delicious.

Feria de comida. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Feria de frutas y verduras. Viajar a Nias y Lagundri Bay.

Accommodation in Lagundri Bay in Nias

Only in Lagundri Bay, there are more than 40 different accommodation options, either “Losmen” (which translates to Inn’s in Indonesia) or hotels. Some are very simple homestays, but nowadays some hotels offer better services such as air conditioning and western bathrooms. We leave you some recommendations for your trip to Nias in Indonesia.

  1. KabuNohi Sorake Resort: It is by far the most luxurious alternative you will find. With double rooms with private bathroom ranging from USD $ 100 per night.
  2. Osesa Nias Surf House: An excellent alternative steps from the beach. Family room alternatives for prices surrounding USD $ 40 per night.
  3. Nias Keyhole Surf Camp: Ideal for those who want to be close to other surfers in a more juvenile environment. The rooms and bathrooms are not as comfortable, but they are acceptable. The atmosphere is the best in this place.
  4. Baloho Beach Resort: Simple rooms, but with a pool available all year round.

Some Traveler Advice

  1. Money: Carry cash for your entire stay. ATMs are scarce, and credit cards are practically not accepted anywhere.
  2. Take care of your feet: Given the enormous amount of reefs around the island, dry or alive, always protect your feet with water shoes when entering the sea or walking along the coast. Dry corals and stones are sharp and will cut your skin easily.
  3. Internet: The Internet connection is quite scarce, and not everywhere you will find a cell phone signal. If this is important for you, ask in your accommodation if they have a connection and how is the speed of the network before booking.

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