Weh Island

Weh - Part 1 : Weh Island
Weh - Part 2 : Diving Weh
Weh - Part 3 : Marine Life
Weh - Part 4 : Morays!
Weh - Part 5 : Other Things To Do
Weh Island

Weh island ('Pulau Weh' in Bahasa Indonesia) is a small island just off the northern tip of Sumatra, and is located directly north of Aceh city ('Banda Aceh'). Since Sumatra is the northernmost of Indonesia's large islands, Weh island has been bestowed the honour of having the (so-called) most northern point of Indonesia, a point that is called 'Kilometer Nol' (Kilometre 0). There are however, a few other rocky outcrops and small islands further north (such as Rondo Island), so I suppose that Kilometer Nol should more accurately be known as the most northern point of Indonesia that is connected by road!

Before we go any further though, let me tantalise your taste buds with this terrific teaser of Weh island, filmed and edited by a close friend of mine, Andy Saiden:

Weh island is most often referred to as 'Pulau Weh' but you will on occasion find locals who refer to the island as 'Sabang', the name of Weh island's largest town. The island is famous for the magnificent scuba diving sites that are scattered around the north-western tip, but the island remains relatively uncongested despite this. This is most likely because of two reasons: the area has had to be rebuilt from scratch after the devastating tsunami of 2004 (triggered by the magnitude of 9.3 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, the epicentre just off the west coast of Sumatra); as well as the relative difficulty in getting to Aceh province from Malaysia prior to AirAsia opening up routes to Banda Acheh from Kuala Lumpur (despite being right next door).

Nearest Hyperbaric Chamber
RSAL J. Lilipory Sabang

Jl. T. Chik Ditiro,

Sabang (Pulau Weh) 23511

Email: liliporyhyperbaric@yahoo.com

Telephone: +62 (652) 21302

Sulthon Hakim, Handphone: +62 87 739 510 520

Polsek Sukakarya
Sukakarya Province Police

Telephone: +62 (852) 6154 9946

Iboih Beach

Iboih is home to Rubiah Tirta Divers, the first dive centre to be established on the island. The dive centre was founded by the late Mr. Dodent way back in the 70s, and is now run by his tree sons: Iskander, Yudi, and Isfan. Mr. Dodent was one of the first to advocate for the protection of Weh's marine environment, and helped Iboih to achieve Recreational Park status and Weh island to achieve Marine Park status, ensuring the protection of the area. Mr. Dodent was even given awards in recognition of these efforts. Rubiah Tirta has a very relaxed and jovial atmosphere and is pretty affordable, offering very reasonable prices for both fun dives as well as PADI courses. Bear in mind that there is no diving permitted on Thursday nights and Friday mornings!

Rubiah Tirta Divers
Contact Person: Isfan or Yudi

Address: Jl. Pantai Iboih, Pulau Weh, Kota Sabang, Aceh 23518

Telephone: +62-652-3324555

Whatsapp: +62-823-60002100

Getting There

Once you manage to make your way to Banda Aceh, you'll need to get to the Ulee Lheu Port (Banda Aceh jetty) for one of the ferries that goes to Balohan Port on Weh Island. You basically have two options: a fast ferry (Pulo Rondo or Express Bahari) that will take you about an hour and costs IDR80k, departing at 09:30 and 16:00 (08:00 & 14:30 from Balohan Port); and a much slower ferry for vehicles that will take you two hours and costs IDR25k, departing twice a day with the times of departure changing depending on the day in question. I strongly, strongly recommend the former as the latter is absolutely agonising. Both of them tend to be very packed but the fast ferry is obviously much quicker, smoother, and has (very cold!) air-conditioning, which means that you won't end up suffocating from secondhand cigarette smoke. Be sure to board the boat half an hour before departure as there are no announcements at the jetty.

Please purchase your tickets directly from the ticketing booth in order to avoid scams, or ask your taxi driver if he could assist in getting them for you - I'd recommend Usman ( +62 813-7709-7760) if you are looking for a friendly taxi driver to get you from the airport to the jetty and back, or just to take you around the city itself. If you book a diving package with one of the dive resorts, they will normally sort all this out for you--the taxi from the airport, the ferry to the island, and the pickup from Balohan to your hotel. Just make sure you confirm all of this with them beforehand.

Transportation from Balohan to Iboih is either secured by the dive resort or hotel, or after tedious negotiations with the drivers. Expect to pay around IDR50k each for shared transport. The drive itself takes about 45 minutes, and you will find that the narrow, windy roads will showcase the hidden beauty of this small island. Keep your eyes open about 15 minutes into the journey as you will pass some dramatic landscapes over on the right.

Directions from Balohan jetty to Iboih beach

There are plenty of eateries around Iboih to choose from, my all-time favourite being Deedee's Kitchen, a small restaurant that is run by Nurdiana and her family. The restaurant itself is set right on the beach, and the ambient sounds of the lapping of the waves against the shore just below leave a very relaxed atmosphere. The food from there takes a bit of time to arrive but it is well worth the wait as the food is fantastic! While waiting for your food, be sure to give their free WiFi a shot as it seems to be much faster than most other places around Iboih.

Getting ready to head out for a dive from the beach just in front of the Rubiah Tirta dive center

Next : Weh Island (Part 2) - Diving Weh

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