FAQs -

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Yes, we are able to accept credit card payment for trips via our travel agent in Australia. Please be advised that if you are out of Australia that there will need to be a conversion from your currency to AUD based on the banks rate on that day. Your card will then be charged at the rate that the bank has given them. There is a 2% surcharge for Helloworld to handle the transaction. It is not recommended to use credit card in our experience as by the time you do the conversion and pay the fees it works out much less expensive to just do the international transfer with the details provided on your invoice. This is our preferred method also.

Surfbanyak uses Maxine Leske from Helloworld Geelong should you decide that you would still prefer to use a credit card – please contact her at:

Helloworld Geelong Market Square
109 Moorabool street, Geelong VIC 3220
T: +61 (3) 5221 1722
F: +61 (3) 5221 8571

Surf Banyak charters currently departs from Lahewa on Nias, and the easiest way to get there depends on whether you are coming from overseas or you are travelling elsewhere in Indonesia.

If you are coming directly from overseas, it is easiest to fly to Medan’s Kuala Namu airport (KNO), where we can organise a meet and greet and your domestic travel to and from Gunungsitoli (GNS) and then on to Seriti at Lahewa so you don’t have to do anything. Most guests travel to Medan via Singapore (Silk Air, Valuair/Jetstar), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian, Air Asia) or Jakarta (Garuda). You can order the transfer package as part of your trip with Surfbanyak at the following rates:

Transfers from Medan:
$US400, includes return flights from Kuala Namu Airport (Medan) to Gunungsitoli; meet and greets off all your flights; and transfer of boards/luggage to and from your charter (note that Sumatran airlines usually cannot take an entire group’s surfboards and have restrictions on length/weight). Please see SURFBOARD TRANSPORT below. Basically, with this package you arrive in Medan and we look after the rest!

We can arrange to provide transport to and from hotels in Medan. All costs for Medan transfers to be paid by the guest prior to arrival. So, if you are wanting to spend the night in Medan on either end of your trip and be transferred to and from hotels this will be an additional expense.

Alternatively, if you’re a hard core independent traveller and cheapskate with experience, you can get yourself from Medan to your charter by public bus and ferry for under fifty dollars and in a day or two, but you’ll be needing more than a surf at the end of it! We recommend getting our transfer option unless you are fluent in Bahasa Indonesia and experienced in Sumatran logistics.

Many of our guests visit Lagundri/Sorake on their travel and we can also help with accommodation and transport on Nias – just let us know.

In all cases, please run your itinerary by us before you book just to make sure!

Please contact us for more information regarding this but if you have opted for the transfer package we will arrange for your boards to travel either with you on your flight, unaccompanied on another flight or via an overland and speedboat transfer service.  In any case you will have your boards in the Banyaks prior to your first surfing day.  If you are travelling with an exclusive booking of the boat and are all travelling together on the same schedule then please contact us to arrange the best way for us to cater having you all arrive at the boat with your boards in tow

You must be at your charter on the Monday afternoon of departure by 3pm. If you come from Medan and have the transfer package, you’ll need to be in Medan by 08:30am Monday.

Departure/arrival from Medan on same day of charter can be organised in most cases. Please contact us before confirming flights as domestic flight schedules do change. If you want to come into Indonesia on the same day as your charter departure, the Silk Air flights from Singapore arriving in Medan 0755 or Air Asia AK450 from KL arriving at 0735 will work.

Again we will need to know the whole groups itinerary to arrange transfers of guests and boards to make sure that everything flows smoothly for the arrival of all guests and boards to the boat.

On the way home, you do not need to stay the night in Medan on Friday and depart on Saturday after your return, as the domestic flights from Gunungsitoli to Medan are normally very reliable and we will have you back in Medan on the afternoon of the Friday. In any case you must have fully comprehensive travel insurance as we can bear no responsibility for missed connections due to domestic airline delays or cancellations.

We do not book accommodation for our guests as we would prefer you to choose your own level of accommodation and pricing.  We recommend the JW Marriot Hotel and Grand Swissbel Hotel in Medan as a 5 Star option and around $US100 per night twin share.  The 3 Star option that we recommend is the Danau Toba Hotel for around $US50 per night twin share.

Surf Banyak uses Maxine from Helloworld Geelong to book these, please contact her at:

Helloworld Geelong Market Square
109 Moorabool street, Geelong VIC 3220
T: +61 (3) 5221 1722
F: +61 (3) 5221 8571

Basically, you need surfboards, boardshorts, spare wax/legropes/fins/equipment, reef boots/booties, sun protection, towel, long shirt/pants for mainland insect protection, insect repellent, something to read (or DVDs/USB media though we have quite a selection), an ipod or similar if you want to play some music (though we have plenty on board), painkillers/personal first aid (though there is a thorough first aid kit on board), seasickness tablets if you get seasick, some duty free spirits (1L max allowed into Indonesia) if you drink.

Life is pretty simple out there but there are no shops so you can’t buy anything you leave behind!

If you like to fish, some lures / tackle are always appreciated. All bedding and a towels are provided.

Bring a Hard Drive (Not USB Stick as they transfer too slow) if you’d like to get photos from the trip – we usually put everyone’s shots together at the end

We have a “Guest Guide” available for download through the site or contact us to have  a copy sent to you that has a more detailed list if the entire trip “do’s and don’ts”.

You should make an informed decision on vaccinations and medications such as anti-malarials, based on professional medical advice.

Medan is a large city without significant documented cases of malaria. Out on the boat, the main anchorage at Bangkaru / Treasure Island is mosquito-free. However, other islands in the Banyaks do have night-time malarial mosquitos. We keep sleeping areas sealed and air-conditioned.

Most of our guests do not take anti-malarial medication but this is a personal decision you should make based on medical advice. Be aware that Medan and the Sumatran mainland has daytime mosquitos that carry dengue fever, for which there is no preventative medication.

Bring high-quality insect repellent, appropriate clothing and stay covered up when in the city.

There is little coverage in the Banyak Islands.

If you have a phone operating on the Telkomsel network you may occasionally get signal to send an SMS at certain points around Tuangku, but it’s best if you don’t rely on it. Freedom from the cellphone is one of the benefits of a Banyak trip!  You are able to buy a Simpati brand sim card at the airport in Medan to insert into your phone.  If you intend to do this please ensure that your phone is unlicked with your current service provider before entering Indonesia.

The phone number for the satellite phone on board the Seriti (if you need to be contacted urgently) is +870776140216.

Text messages to this number can be sent via http://connect.inmarsat.com/Services/Land/IsatPhone/SMS/sms.html

You can also make or receive calls on this number to stay in contact with family or business, though be aware that satellite call charges can be expensive.  Approx $US6 per minute!

Although it is difficult to purchase alcohol in Aceh and much of Sumatra, we can pre-order beer and spirits for you*.

Basic spirits are available at USD50/bottle.

Beer  is $40/carton (24 pack).

You are allowed to bring one litre of alcohol into Indonesia, though if you have purchased more in Indonesia we are happy for you to bring it on board.

*Alcohol must be prepaid at start of trip and will be adjusted at the end

Yes, we have generators powering the boat constantly and plenty of power points in your room and throughout the boat.

Bring a travel electricity adaptor for the European-style two pin round plug – we have adaptors on board but you might need one on land as well.