Getting to Nias by air
Today the vast majority of visitors to Nias arrive by air. It is the most convenient way to get here, and there are an increasing number of flights to both Nias and Medan. The Gateway to Nias is Medan, the capital of North Sumatra and Indonesia’s fourth largest city. Its newly constructed international airport has direct flights to many Southeast Asian capital cities. Medan Airport is also known as Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) and is located 32 kilometers east of the city.
There are 8 daily flights from Medan to Gunung Sitoli on Nias Island. Gunung Sitoli is the largest town on the Island. Gunung Sitoli airport is also known as Binaka Airport (GNS) and is located 20 kilometers south of the city.
Getting to Medan
Medan (Kuala Namu International Airport) is served by direct flies from many capital cities in the region. Below is a table of the most important air links to Medan.
|JAKARTA||35 daily||2:20 hours||Garuda, Lion Air, Air Asia, Sriwijaya Air, Citilink, Batik Air|
|SINGAPORE||2-3 daily||1:20 hours||Silk Air, Jetstar|
|KUALA LUMPUR||8 daily||1:00 hour||Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly|
|BANGKOK||1 daily||1:55 hours||Air Asia|
There are also a number of direct flights to Medan from regional towns in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
From Medan to Nias Island
Gunung Sitoli (Binaka Airport) is currently served by 8 daily direct flights from Medan. The flights are operated by Wings Air which is a subsidiary of Lion Air (6 flights) and Garuda (2 flights). The flight takes just under one hour. Typically flights depart at 5: 30, 6:00, 6: 30, 8: 15, 9:00, 11:30, 12:50 and 14:00. Check the Lion Air and Garuda websites for exact departure times as they may vary.
There are also less frequent flights between Binaka Airport and Sibolga, as well as Silangit Airport near Lake Toba. This is a good alternative if you are combining your visit to Nias with a tour of Sumatra. Contact Susi Air directly for flight details as they may not be available on their website.
Another lesser used route into Nias is catching the daily Susi Air flight from Padang to Telos (Lasondre Airport). From the Telos it is possible to fly onwards to Gunungsitoli on Nias Island. However it is notoriously difficult to secure tickets on this flight and many travelers in this direction end up taking the fast ferry (4-6 hours) to Teluk Dalam in South Nias.
Ticket price and over sized luggage
The price for a return ticket from Medan to Nias with Wings Air is approximately (2016) IDR 900,000- IDR 1,200,000 (USD 90-120). Luggage allowance on Wings is 10 kg, on Garuda 20 kg. The excess luggage fee for Wings is IDR 22,000 per kilo (USD 2) and for Garuda it is IDR 16,000 (USD 1,6). It is not a problem to check-in large items such as surf boards and bicycles on the flight. Wings Air and Garuda fly to many popular Indonesian surf-destination and are used to handling over-sized luggage. Wings charge IDR 200,000 per surfboard. On Garuda surfboards are free.