Sumata is mostly still off the tourist’s list so if you’re wanting somewhere truly authentic that’s rugged and still exciting, I’d definitely recommend it. It is one of those places reserved for adventurous travellers. Here’s how you can visit the Sungai Pinang Waterfall and maybe jump from it.
You’ve got to start out from Sungai Pinang
Me: You guys want to hike the jungle and waterfall? Kids: Yeh, I guess so. Me: I think you can jump off the waterfall into the pool below. Kids: YES!!! WE'RE COMING!
In order to climb the waterfalls you’ll need to make your way to the isolated fishing village of Sungai Pinang in Western Sumatra.
The closest airport is Padang but then you’ll need to find a driver who will navigate the pitfalls of the forest roads to get into the village. It’s all part of the adventure so if you’re looking for a something that falls outside the remit of staying in a western resort, this will definitely suit you.
Where can you stay?
We recommend both of them although Ricky’s was made more special for us by the attention of the guys working there. They were wonderful and really made our trip memorable.
All of these photos were taken with my underwater camera, a Nikon A1. I didn’t want to take the risk of getting my proper camera wet which in hindsight was foolish.
I’ve never really got to grips with the A1 as a camera and whilst it works well underwater (at times) it doesn’t work well on land at all. It doesn’t cope well with temperature difference and becomes smogged up very easily.
Travelling up the river
From the mouth of the Indian Ocean you’ll start the slow ascent boating up the river as you pass kids playing in the water and buffalo lolloping around in the muddy banks to stave off the heat.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from these creatures and it turns out that they’re curiously shy. They have enormous horns which can be a little intimidating but once you’ve lured them over and made physical contact, they’re sweet and obviously like to be petted.
Rice paddies thigh-high on the way to the Sungai Pinang Waterfall
Once the boat has moored up, it’s just a short hike through the thigh high, green rice paddies before you start to follow the meander of the river. Hiking past a few boulders and swinging on the branches of the trees you shortly arrive at the waterfalls. Although it’s not very strenuous it’s exceedingly hot due to the humidity and the freshness of the water is a relief.
We wished we hadn’t taken our big, heavy walking boots because they were so hot and uncomfortable. A good pair of thick-tread trainers/sneakers would have been much better.
Sungai Pinang Waterfall Ulu Aie, Sumatra
It’s difficult to show you just how big these falls are until you compare the size of the humans in the photos to the falls themselves. My photos don’t seem to show how impressive they are and we only went at the beginning of the wet season.
There’s a number of pools which are deep enough to swim in and you can follow the water to different pools as it cascades down through the rocks.
When you first get in the water feels absolutely freezing in comparison to the heat of the jungle but it’s such a welcome relief to wash away the sweat!
I’m not sure where the source of the water is but it can’t be too far away as it’s crystal clear. No need to worry about not seeing creepy crawlies or anything.
The pinnacle of the Sungai Pinang Waterfall is that jump!
Of course, the pinnacle of the trip to the waterfall is the jump which our crazy kiddos did a number of times!
Judging by the whole speed = distance/time equation we think the falls were about 10m high.
So the question is, would you jump?
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