Traditional Culture And Life At Madobak, Ugai And Matotonan Villages

Madobak, Ugai and Matotonan villages are not specifically designed into a tourist destination, but their traditional culture and life are well-preserved, making them interesting places for tourists. They are situated in the upper stream of Siberut Selatan. From Muara Siberut, you should take the Purou-Muntei-Rokdok-Madobak-Ugai-Butui-Matotonan route. Each village has its own unique culture.

Madobak, Ugai, Matotonan Villages
Madobak, Ugai, Matotonan Villages (Source :

Madobak, for instance, is famous for its cool Kulu Kubuk waterfall. It has two levels with a total of 70 meters. Each village is also famous for its traditional home, locally known as an Uma, and its traditional  ceremony performed by a Sikerei, or shaman.

Kulu Kubuk waterfall
Kulu Kubuk waterfall (Source :

This traditional ceremony is usually performed during weddings, occupation of a new home, to facilitate healing or to drive away evil spirits. Shaman in these three villages still preserve the use of underwear and headbands (Luat) made of colorful beads. Some locals also have Mentawai traditional tattoos made of sugarcane and coconut charcoal dye. These tattoos are made using nails or pins, and two pieces of wood as a pad and hammer. According to the local community, the tattooing process is very painful.

You should not miss the unique traditional culture in Mentawai!


In the Mentawai community, sago is the basic food. Mentawais’ usually eat sago with other dishes such as fish and pork. These villages also have rice.

In these villages, visitors can order bead necklaces, containers or briefcase-type souvenirs which are made of sago trunks or other handicrafts. Visitors can also order sago for souvenirs.

Since there is no other choice, visitors stay in local homes, but don’t worry; local inhabitants in Madobak, Ugai and Matotonan villages are friendly and cheerful!

Besides visiting Kulu Kubuk waterfall in Madobak village or the border area of Siberut National Park in Matotonan village, visitors can interact directly with the local community about their daily life and participate in their traditional ceremonies.


Visiting these three villages is an amazing experience. Their natural condition is shown from their wooden Uma, sago trees processed into local basic foods, motor boats park by river sides and their different local cultures than those of urban areas.

In these villages, locals use wood to cook. They also preserve their community meal tradition. Each type of dish is served in one bowl and family members usually eat from the same bowl at the same time. Watching the local community find sago with their baskets is another interesting attraction.


You can visit these villages by sailing through the Rereget River. It is a way to go to the upper stream from the beaches in Muara Siberut. It will take about three hours to get to Madobak, four hours to Ugai and 5 to 6 hours to Matotonan by motorboat. During high tide, the traveling time will be shorter. You are recommended to take a small motor boat locally known as a pompong.

The Distance between Muara Siberut and Matotonan, the most remote village, is 40 km. Unfortunately, the Rereget River has curves and rises in elevation. You could see sago trees on both sides of the river.

To visit Muara Siberut from the arrival gate of the Minangkabau international airport, visitors should go to the Muara Padang port by bus. From there, visitors should take a motor boat across the Indian Ocean to Siberut Island.

The boat schedule from Padang to Siberut is only twice a week; Monday night (Sumber Rezeki Baru ship) and Thursday night (Simasin ship). This trip will take one night which means the boat returns to Padang on Tuesday and Friday nights. Tickets for these ships are sold for Rp 105.000 to Rp. 125.000 each. In addition, there is an additional ship operating at the first and second weeks of each month. This Ambu-Ambu ship leaves on Saturday night from Muara Padang and returns from Siberut to Padang on Sunday night.

If you take the Tuapejat way, which is the capital city of Mentawai district; from the Minangkabau international airport you take a small plane such as Tiger Air or SMAC to Tuapejat in Sipora Island. After that, you rent a boat for a 3 to 4 hours trip to Muara Siberut.


To visit these villages, visitors should be accompanied with a tour guide who understands the local community and culture in Mentawai to assure your safety and convenience during this trip. You can hire a tour guide from your travel agency in Bukit Tinggi or in the port of Muara Siberut.

Facebook Comments

"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."

error: Do Not Copy