Mursala Island: Waterfall drops into Indian Ocean

Mursala Island is located in Central Tapanuli Regency, the east coast of North Sumatra. Mursala is the biggest island in Central Tapanuli district, North Sumatra and was used once as a place to make the Hollywood movie KingKong (2005) for it’s amazing scenery. Mursala is surrounded by amazing white sand beaches but the most interesting spot to visit here is the famous Waterfall.

 Mursala Island

The 8,000 hectares island is called Mursala Island, popularly also known as Mansalaar Island, home to a handful of families. The Island became one of the settings for the 1933 classic movie “King Kong”, and was recently portrayed in Indonesia’s movie “Mursala” released in 2013.

Situated between Nias Island and the town of Sibolga, Mursala Island is administratively part of the Barus sub-District in the Central Tapanuli Regency, just Southwest of Sibolga. What makes the island special is its 35 meters high waterfall that tumbles down over granite cliffs directly into the ocean. Known as Mursala Waterfall, this amazing panorama faces the Indian Ocean.

There are only a few waterfalls like this in the world, two of them are in Indonesia (the other one is Kahatola Waterfall in Maluku). The water of Mursala Waterfall originates from the shortest river in the world, 400 metres wide and 700 metres long, running through granite rocks sounding tumultuously making the scenery even more impressive.

 Mursala Island 2

The name Mursala is said to have been used since the 7th century when merchants from Arabia frequently visited West Sumatra to trade, in search of camphor, which was then abundantly produced here. In Bahasa Indonesia, camphor is known asKapur Barus, meaning chalk from Barus.

Before docking at Barus Bay on mainland Sumatra, Arab traders would first pray (shallat) on Mursala. The practice eventually led locals to call the island : Mursala,  derived from the word “Mur” (a local word for Arabs) and Sala, derived from the word Shallat or prayers.

Mursala Island is surrounded by beautiful, uninhabited islands nearby, among which the Puti Island, Silabu Na Godang, Kalimantung, Silabu Na Menek, andJambe Islands. The seas around the islands are decorated with stunning coral reefs inhabited by most colorful underwater creatures which makes this a perfect place for snorkeling and diving. There is also a picturesque lagoon between the Silabu Na Godag and Kalimantung islands. While the Silabu Na Menek Island offers its own wonders beautiful flowers that grow over rocks and steep cliffs.

How to get Here: 

To Get to Mursala Island, you must first reach the town of Sibolga on the west coast of North Sumatra situated approximately 350Km from Medan,  capital of North Sumatra. The drive will take 8 hours by car.

From Sibolga hire a speed boat at Pandan Beach or Bosur Beach. The boat takes up to 20 passengers. The trip will take about 1 hour, and usually includes island hopping, visiting nearby islands.

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