Cubadak Paradiso Village, Sumatra

Cubadak Island located just off the coast of West Sumatra. The history of Sumatra is rich and complex. Archaeological evidence suggests that Sumatra was the gateway for migrating tribes from mainland Southeast Asia, with hunter-gatherers living along the Strait of Melaka some 13,000 years ago. This popular trading route on the east coast opened the archipelago up to China, India, and the world, thus exposing it to the popular ideas of the time, such as Islam.

Rich in cultural heritage, this region is home to around 4 million Minangkabau people, one of the last populations to have a matrilineal culture, which directly contrasts the island’s dominant religion of Islam. This region’s natural beauty is also a marvel, with rolling green countryside, endless winding rivers, and mini waterfalls dotting the roadsides.

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The beach here is also very beautiful, with white sand stretching for around 1km – perfect for lounging around and reading a good book. But don’t expect beachside butlers or five-star luxury, as this island has its own, more relaxed way of doing things.

The island is very well suited for divers looking to explore a lesser-known region, and the local government are actually planning on marketing this area as the next Raja Ampat. With several dive sites at hand, including a house reef, several pinnacles and even a wreck, there are plenty of things to see underwater – although visibility was only around 5-7 metres during our visit.

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When not diving, spend daylight hours frolicking in the clear water, lounging around on sun beds whilst enjoying the sounds of rolling thunder coming from the distant, ominous clouds. Although Cubadak is not exactly isolated – there is a village visible over the water in the distance – you still feel like you’re 100 miles from anywhere.

If you enjoy hiking, behind the resort is a large hill, enveloped in forest. There is a path that takes you to the top in about 45 minutes – a spectacular place for taking photos. This path is perfect for spotting birds, including the colourful kingfisher.

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How to get there:

Getting to Cubadak Island involves flying firstly to Padang Minangkabau International airport, a 1-hour and 20-minute flight from Jakarta. The flight is the easiest part of this journey, however, as we discovered on the 3.5-hour car ride that proceeded, passing over windy hillside roads through forests to reach the island, located only about 20km south of the city of Padang. Once reaching the harbour of Corocok Tarusan, we were whisked onto a speedboat for a 10-minute ride, finally arriving at this little resort where time seems to have stood still.

For more information and reservation write booking@topindonesiaholidays.com

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