Weh Island: Diving the Untouched Edge

Weh Island (www.flickr.com)

EMBRACED by vivid and healthy coral reefs, Weh Island is naturally untouched despite its small size and convenient access. It is another garden often forgotten. Its location is at the westernmost island of the Indonesian archipelago. Situated at the entrance way of the Malacca Strait, the island is commonly a sea passage and a jewel for many yachts and cruise ships to visit and see.

Diving in Weh Island is a well established recreational activity. Dive masters and dive instructors are ready to offer a variety of dive sites like the fabled Sea Garden in Rubiah Island. You’ll find many delightful sea creatures, most notably manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins and sea turtles.

Diving is surely one of the most recognized activities in the island. Many dive masters and instructors will gladly escort you to explore the underwater universe in Weh island. The current here can be strong and gliding is quite fun. Be careful and always accompanied by a dive master if you are a beginner. You can see how the island separated itself from the Island of Sumatra million years ago.

Sabang is the capital city of Weh Island. Why not explore the town as well? You might want to take a picture of a sign bearing “Indonesia Nol Kilometer” (Zero Kilometer of Indonesia). Water Front Resort is also interesting if you want to see the diversified marine life.

For shopping enthusiasts, try visiting traditional markets to get fresh tropical fruit and snacks. Many other fascinating points of interest include a waterfall, volcano and hot springs, the Japanese bunkers from WWII, the historical graveyard, Durian Keramat (sacred Durian), and Sabang town.

From Banda Aceh, you can take a ferry in the morning in Ulee Lheue Sea Port and arrive in Gapang Beach. The trip will only take a couple of hours, or 45 minutes if you decide to ride a speedboat. Or if you’re from Medan, you can go to Banda Aceh first by bus or plane. Traveling from abroad? Several airlines can be used as well to reach Banda Aceh. Please refer to Banda Aceh to see ‘how to get there’.

Minibuses are available, motorcycles and three-wheeled pedicab or becak are there to explore this island. For a more comfortable journey, you can also rent a car.

To explore Sabang and the beaches, nothing is more enjoyable than walking on foot, although taxis are also available.

You can have your fill of sea food dishes in the restaurants throughout the island. Try to visit Bungong Sakura at Ujong Kareung, Mama’s Jungle, Dang Dang Na, Naguna, and Coco’s Café at Gapang, or Olala, 7 Bungalows, and Chill Out at Iboih.

Stay on Sabang

Come and enjoy a swing on a shady hammock by the high tide hut in an island that many divers call it the unparalleled underwater universe. Although it is a small island, it gives you the sea experience and waterfall up in the rain forest as well. A gateway you can always remember as an Eden.

Weh Island (www.flickr.com)You will be able to swing it, no matter how tight your budget is. Various accommodations are available and you just choose one that fits. Try basic wooden hut if you want to experience the simple life. Perhaps a pricey bungalow is your option for more comfortable surroundings.

Iboih Beach is famous among backpackers, world travelers, and divers. Iboih Beach presents simple life with horizon of fisherman villages. Live like them and use facilities they use. New businesses are opening such as bungalows and dive centers. Open air cafes are irresistible. Everything here is affordable.

Some of the guesthouses along the beach is O’ong Guesthouse, Yulia Guesthouse, Erick Guesthouse, Ayub Guesthouse, Anna Bungalow, Fina Bungalow, Fatimah Bungalow, and Mamamia Bungalow.

Gapang Beach is another resort in the vicinity of Rubiah Sea Garden. This beach is nothing strange to divers. Among the available accommodations are: Gapang Jaya and Ramadila. | www.indonesia.travel