Here at Bintang Surf Charters, your enjoyment, safety and satisfaction are our top priorities.
We are confident that you will have a trip of a lifetime, so we have developed this extensive frequently asked questions list to ensure that you are well prepared to maximise your time with us.
You can book a trip on with Bintang Surf Charters through the following channels:
Our bookings are minimum 11 days, although we do also offer guests to book 2 consecutive trips (22 days). To ensure the highest level of comfort for our guests, we cater to a maximum 12 guests per charter. The minimum number of guests per charter is 10.
Once contacting us, we will discuss with you about schedules, preferred locations (Mentawai, Telos, Banyak Island), price and all other important information relevant to your trip.
Our charter schedule is available through inquiries only.
Once a schedule has been agreed upon:
- You will need to read and agree to Bintang Surf Charters terms and conditions.
- Read and sign the booking form
- Make a $1000AUD deposit per person. Once the deposit is placed, your charter is confirmed. The remaining balance is due 3 months before the charters departure.
We suggest your group nominates a group leader to handle finances as this can reduce transfer related costs and also save time on administration duties for both your group and our staff.
All monies paid will be recorded and you will be sent a receipt.
It is a requirement that all guests submit their full passport information. This includes:
- Full name:
- Date of Birth:
- Expiration Date:
- Passport Number:
If you have changes to your guest list we can generally accommodate this as long as you contact and make us aware of the changes.
Please ensure that you have AT LEAST 6 MONTHS before your passport expires from your date of entry into Indonesia. For example, if you are travelling with us on March 1, your passport must be valid until AT LEAST August 1 of the same year.
This is of absolute paramount importance. Failure to comply with this will result in you potentially being rejected from boarding your aircraft and a 100% certainty of being rejected from entering Indonesia.
Do I need a Visa?
We suggest that you contact your local Indonesian Embassy for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding your Visa requirements.
For many nationalities, arrival Visas are free to enter Indonesia. There is also a VOA (Visa on Arrival) option depending on your nationality. The ‘Visa on Arrival’ fee is $35USD for 30 days, payable in crisp series (2006) or newer USD bank notes at the airport. The VOA is extendable by 1 month at the nearest immigration office.
As stated, we suggest that you make contact as soon as possible with your local Indonesian Embassy regarding your Visa requirements as soon as possible.
How do I get to the Bintang Surf Charters?
You will need to fly to Padang (PDG), West Sumatra, Indonesia.
The below are suggestions.
A trusted travel agent will be able to assist you in reaching Padang or you can contact our Padang ground handling for any assistance.
You will organize a flight from your Country of Origin to one of these major cities’ airports in South East Asia. You will then fly a domestic flight onward to Padang.
- Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Padang (PDG)
- Denpasar (DPS) – Jakarta (CGK) – Padang (PDG)
- Jakarta (CGK) – Padang (PDG)
Please try and co-ordinate your group to arrive at the same time.
Once you arrive in Padang, we will be at the airport to meet you.
What happens once I land in Padang?
Porters are available to assist you with your luggage and charge between Rp 20,000 – 50,000 ($2-5). Porter fees are optional, are not included in the overall charter price, and will need to be paid by yourself.
You will then proceed through Immigration and then to Customs. Customs will inspect your luggage for any contraband, excess liquor and cigarettes.
Once you have received Customs clearance, you will be greeted by a Bintang Surf Charters staff member and transferred to an air-conditioned vehicle. Depending on how early you arrive, we will take you either to a Hotel to wait or directly to the Bintang!
What do I do about my passport and other travel documents?
Our representatives will take a copy of your passport once you have arrived and will give the document back to you prior to the charter’s departure.
It is always smart to travel with copies of documents such as passport and travel insurance policies (we recommend keeping copies in a different location to originals in case you lose them). It is also a good idea to leave a copy at home so your family/friends can assist in the event of you losing them.
What happens if my luggage goes missing and doesn’t make it to Padang?
In the unlikely event that your luggage doesn’t make it with you to Padang, go directly to the airline service counter and inform them. Keep a copy of your lost baggage documentation (if possible, get the contact details of the airline representative). Inform the Bintang Surf Charters representatives at the airport and if possible, directly inform us through any communication channel you use. We will attempt to trace the luggage and have the items delivered to the Bintang as soon as possible.
Where can I stay in Padang if I arrive early?
We are more than happy to recommend a range of different hotels and homestays to suit your budget.
How do I buy alcohol for this trip?
We now include 6 beers per day per person for full paying groups only.
If your group is looking to acquire more alcohol on the trip, please let us know and we will organize this for you. Beer is Rp 450,000 ($45)/carton and this can be financially settled with us upon your arrival in Padang. Guests will typically order a total of 60 cartons of beer per charter.
We do sell the alcohol on board the boat, and you can also bring your own alcohol.
What the deal with this Surf Tax?
As of 1 August 2016, the Mentawai Government introduced a new Surfing Tax for any tourists surfing in the Mentawai Islands. This cost of the tax is Rp 1,000,000/person. We have included this cost in the total charter cost.
How long does it take to get from the airport to the Bintang?
Traffic dependent, it takes roughly 90 minutes.
What happens once we arrive on the boat?
We will greet you with our warmest welcome, and friendliest smile. We then take you on a tour of the boat and run through some basic boat rules. You then get to decide the sleeping arrangements amongst yourselves. P.S you’ll be happy to know, the beers are already on ice!
Where do we get to surf?
We will have a group discussion on where to first surf by considering weather conditions, swell size, location of other boats, natural/goofy stance. It is a majority decision, but the Captain has the final say with regards to the safety and wellbeing of the vessel, crew and guests.
Do I need to bring cash during the charter?
We advise that you do bring cash however, it is up to you. You might want to buy gifts for family back home or you might want to buy some trinket for yourself.
If you have had a good time, you might want to tip the crewmembers. We recommend $50 to $100 pp, once you’ve experienced our crews’ great work, you’ll agree.
You can also buy cheap souvenirs from the local villagers that paddle out to the Bintang in canoes. There are also t-shirts and sarongs (this also supports the local communities’ economy). We advise that you do bring cash.
Travel Insurance and Medical Supplies
TRAVEL INSURANCE IS MANDATORY ON THE BINTANG – NO INSURANCE EQUALS NO LEAVING PORT. We recommend STI Travel Insurance. Book through the website on the booking page for a 15 per cent discount
Do I need to bring my own medical supplies?
We recommend that you bring your own if you have any personal medications, along with medication for anything you may be susceptible to, for example, ear and/or sinus infection, allergies, UTIs, asthma, stomach/digestive ailments, skin ailments.
You can also bring some of below (optional):
- Small bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Sterile cotton gauze squares (boxes)
- Primapore (or equivalent) is a non-stick wound covering surrounded by a skin adhesive tape. It allows wound protection from dirt etc in the same way band-aids do but is larger and the skin adhesive parts completely surround the wound. We suggest 4 inch size/ 10cm width
- Fresh disposable razor
- Small bottle aqueous chlorhexidine
- Q-tips / earbuds
- New toothbrush for scrubbing wounds
- Duoderm (or equivalent) is a waterproof colloidal dressing patch useful for large area full-thickness abrasions and ulcers which are not infected.
- Antibiotics for skin infections and ear infections
- Athletic tape
For Doctors / Nurses: There are a few medical items that are difficult to obtain or unavailable completely in Padang that would very helpful to bring with and donate to our medical kit, if not needed by yourself during your stay.
- Sutures, all sizes
- Antibiotics for gram-negative infections
- Pain killers and muscle relaxants for serious injuries / medical evacuations
- Sterile gauze
- Sterile gloves
We have a FULL Medical Kit on board should you forget or need anything. The Captain has completed a current First-Aid course and is experienced in handling in most problems that may arise.
There are many health issues you should be aware of. We have stated very clearly in our disclaimer that we advise full travel insurance, and that you should seek the opinion of a doctor prior to travel.
Malaria is something you should speak to your doctor about. Being on the boat, there are far fewer mosquitos than land-based camps, so the opportunity to contract the disease is extremely limited. Yet again, if you choose to take a course of anti-malaria tablets, or just put aero-guard on each night – the decision is yours as you have been made aware of the fact of Malaria in the region. Dengue Fever is also present.
There is also the ever-present threat of reef cuts or board injuries. Over the years we have had a lot of experience with these types of injuries. There are times when the Captain will be able to sew you up. Generally speaking, we are not specially trained medical personnel. If the situation calls for an immediate evacuation, this will be coordinated with your insurance company via our satellite phone. Depending on response time, you might be shuttled back to port via the fast ferry or speedboat if weather permits. Again, we strongly recommend you take out travel insurance, in the event of something like this happening.
Seasickness is also a factor given that you will be on a boat. It is rare that someone becomes seasick, and generally speaking, it is only for the first evening. Typically, after the first-night passengers have adjusted to the motion of the ocean and have become comfortable. If you are prone to becoming seasick, perhaps take some travel sickness tablets for the first night. We suggest that you begin taking the sickness tablets the night before departure so they are already in your system when you arrive.
Dehydration is another regular health hazard we have encountered aboard. We are very close to the equator and it is very hot and humid in the region. Passengers get excited, surf as much as they can, drink too many cold cokes or beers and NOT ENOUGH water. This can very quickly result in headaches, nausea and listlessness. We cannot stress enough the importance of drinking plenty of water. Perhaps bring Hydralyte in case you or one of your mates comes down with dehydration.
We have 220-240 volt AC power with both Australian and Indonesian connections.
We can assist you in buying a local Indonesian sim card when you arrive in Padang or you can use your mobile phone with international roaming in certain areas.
Not all islands are fitted with cell phone towers, so not all areas have cell coverage. There are now different locations you will have cell phone service whilst on the Bintang. One of these includes 4G access.
We have an Iridium satellite phone on the boat and we use this for OUTGOING calls only. The cost for this service is expensive (US$5 per minute), but it is there if you need to call home. The satellite phone is only for emergencies.
Alternatively, if your family needs to contact you, they can contact us. And the option exists that they can use any of social media channel that we have provided in our booking process.
Other activities on board
Heaps! We have masks and snorkels, as well as flippers – enough for all on board to go for a snorkel over the reefs. We also have a spear gun, and before you ask – a lot of fishing gear! Many of our guests bring their own equipment (personal choice), but if you have no room to do so, we have plenty of gear for you to use.
Food and Meals onboard
Our Master Chef Jerry is onboard and will spoil your appetite with delightful meals.
Please notify us during the booking process of any dietary requirements.
Things To Pack
- Your own toiletries (toothbrush, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shaving cream)
- Tropical formula wax
- 3-4 extra leashes – at least one for big waves
- Removable fin sets, 2 fin keys in case you drop one in the water
- Surf hat
- Sun hat
- Boards of varying sizes – fun board, mid-size, and one for the BIG days
- Reef booties
- Ding repair kit, sun cure resin
- Rash vests
- Towels. One for the surf, and one for the shower
- Extra cash for crew tips and souvenirs.
- Copy of passport
- Long sleeves t-shirt
- Sunblock & after sun cream