There are loads of things to do in North Nias. The long coast line with its many beaches and islands offer many opportunities for surfing, snorkling and fishing. The interior of the island is also a great place to explore for adventurous travellers! Nestled amongst the rolling hills are waterfalls, rivers, caves and traditional villages. Great scenery and roads with very little traffic also make Nias the perfect place for Bike Tours.

Pulau Panjang (18)

The Art of doing Nothing!

While there are many things to do here, there are few organized activities. Travellers who come to North Nias have to be resourceful and make their own arrangements.  Here you are truly off the beaten path and have to rely on yourself to make things happen.  Hardy travellers are rewarded with unique experiences; being the only person on a beautiful beach, having a surf wave all to yourself or being the first outside visitor to a remote village.

Apart from all the exciting stuff you can do here, don’t forget that one of the most important reasons to visit North Nias is to do nothing! The slow pace of island life is a great way to take a break from the stress of everyday life. Relaxing and chilling out on the beach, i.e. doing nothing, is an activity we can really recommend.


Hello Mister!

People on Nias are welcoming and inquisitive.

People on Nias are very friendly and curious about travellers. Many people will want to practice their English or have photos takes with you. They are genuinely happy to see tourists, and proud that you choose to visit Nias. Kids will constantly be yelling HELLO MISTER (regardless if you are male or female) or GOOD MORNING (regardless of time of day) as you pass by. Just yell hello back or wave and everybody will be happy. Along the coast people are used to seeing foreigners as many aid workers were working on Nias between 2005 to 2010. In the interior it is different and you may encounter children who have never seen a foreigner. In some cases they may run away or be very shy. When traveling around Nias, always remember to smile. If you meet someone and smile at them, they will always smile back. If someone is staring at you, it’s not out of hostility, it’s because they are surprised to see you. If you smile and wave, they will smile and wave back 99 % of the time. Indonesians often call Caucasians “Bule”. This is not a derogatory term, just a word to describe (mainly) white people. Another more literal term for foreigners is “Orang Turis” ( Tourist People).

Meeting foreigner

Very excited kids in scout uniform (compulsory every Friday) meeting Orang Turis. Lotu, North Nias.

Ke mana?

A smile on Nias is always returned!

Even with very little Indonesian you will be able to communicate with the locals. Most of them are curious about you and where you come from. The most common question are “where are you from” (dari mana?) and “where are you going” (ke mana?) Most people are totally satisfied with knowing that you are from Australia and that you are going to swim in the local waterfall. Some people in remote areas may be surprised to see you, as they cannot understand why a foreigner would want to visit to their poor village and might think that you are lost. Smile and tell them in a word or two what you are doing: for example “Jalan-Jalan” (touring – travelling around).

If you are polite and respectful Nias people will be helpful and welcoming! Remember to smile!

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