As the northwesternmost outpost of Indonesia, Pulau Weh or Weh Island Indonesia is known for its outstanding beach and jungle. Lots of healthy and untainted coral reefs surround this island, making it a perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. The island itself is a small active volcanic island. How to get to Weh Island? It can be reached in 2 hours by using a ferry or 45 minutes by using a speedboat from the nearest Indonesian mainland, Aceh. Geographically, it is closer to the nearby Andaman Islands that belonged to the British Empire in the past. Most of the Andaman itself is governed by India, with Myanmar also controlling a small number of the islands.
The island roughly bears a U-shape, where the town of Sabang occupies the northeastern part of the island. Sabang is known by many Indonesians as the westernmost frontier of Indonesia, as shown in the national anthem “Dari Sabang Sampai Merauke”, which refers to the westernmost and easternmost territory of Indonesia. However, the natural beauty of Weh Island Indonesia is often overlooked by many as they were overshadowed by more popular tourist destination, such as Bali, Raja Ampat, etc. It can be quite advantageous as the attractions will not be crowded by tourists like in other tourist destination, but as the downside all prices such as flight, boat rent, accommodations, etc. will be higher than other destinations.
The Pulau Weh Island, Aceh Indonesia is popularly known for its fabulous ecosystem, as a large variety of fish species have made their home on the waters around the island. The extremely rare megamouth shark – one of the three known filter feeding shark species in the world – has been spotted in the area. Due to the abundance of marine life around the island, the Indonesian government has declared the area around the island as a wildlife protection area.However, the devastating 2004’s tsunami has been affecting the ecosystem around the island ever since. A lot of restoration attempt has been made, and Weh Island is slowly but surely regaining back their celebrated ecosystem. Once again, the underwater beauty of Weh Island Indonesia is ready to captivate the divers and snorkelers from around the world.
Places to Visit in Weh Island
Weh Island holds a large number of interesting places and major attractions that will surely keep any visitor’s itinerary filled to the brim. From beautiful beaches and amazing diving spots to lush forests and majestic waterfalls, the beauty of this small volcanic island is enough to satiate the wanderlust of every visiting adventurers. In this list, we have compiled the most interesting and beautiful places to visit in Weh Island.
1. Iboih Beach, Aceh
Iboih Beach, or Teupin Layeu as the locals called it, is a small hidden paradise tucked in the western coast of Weh Island. The beach itself is extremely loved by the locals and visitors alike, due to the natural beauty that emanating such a serene and magnificent ambiance. There are many reasons why people love Iboih. Although the sandy beach is only about 150 meters long, Iboih is the busiest beach in Weh Island. Due to its popularity among backpackers and divers, Iboih provides plenty of hotels and resorts, bungalows, shops, and cafes, so visitors should not worry too much about finding a suitable accommodation around the area.
Although it is the busiest and most famous beach in Weh Island Sumatra, the number of visitors are relatively small compared to the other popular destinations. This leads to the fact that most parts of the beach remained largely untouched and the beach itself is rarely crowded, so visitors could really have a good quality time during their visit. Furthermore, there are a lot of diving centers located in Iboih due to there are many spectacular diving spots around the area.
2. Rubiah Sea Garden
This legendary diving spot adjacent to Iboih Beach is renowned for its oceanic treasure, where you can spot a colorful sea garden with so many tropical pelagic fish like angelfish, parrotfish, lionfish, honeycomb moray, and gigantic clams. The number of fish species in this area is pretty impressive, considering the coral reefs is not as abundant as other popular sea gardens and diving spots, such as Bunaken, Raja Ampat, etc. Snorkelers are sure to find a really good time when swimming around this sea garden. You can even snap some underwater pictures if you want, the beautiful coral reefs and colorful pelagic fishes will certainly make an amazing background.
If you’re fond of diving in the deeper water, you can even experience swimming side by side with manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, or even a whale shark. It is truly an experience of a lifetime that won’t be easily forgotten. The waters around this area are crystal clear and extremely calm, making this spot a perfect place for beginners to dive and explore the underwater scenery and marine life. If you are reluctant to do some snorkeling and diving, a glass-bottomed boat is available to hire so you will be able to watch the underwater life without ever getting off the boat.
3. Gapang Beach
Gapang beach is the second most-visited beach in Weh Island. It is located about 18-20 km from the city of Sabang, and can be reaching by car or motorcycle. A typical journey to Gapang Beach from Sabang will take approximately 1 hour. Most people said that Iboih has prettier coral reefs but Gapang has prettier beach, with a crystal clear water and white sand. However, one of Gapang main attractions is the hydrothermal spot, where the bubbles come out from small craters under the sea, resulting in the water around it feels warm. Thus, it certainly can be a great experience for divers and snorkelers alike should they choose to visit this spot.
Do take some precautions when diving around these parts as the currents are quite strong. You might need to crawl from coral to coral using your hands, so it is advisable to bring a glove and a hook with you if you plan on diving around here.
If you are looking for a getaway from the noise of a city life, Gapang will be suitable for you as it is more secluded and serene than Iboih. Gapang offers a selection of more modest accommodation and restaurants, although several years ago, people started building resorts there. Still, the tranquility of the beach remained unchanged and Gapang is still one of the best places in Sabang to relax and enjoy the serenity of the beautiful beach. For more adventure, you can also try several activities offered by the resort such as jungle trekking, flying fox, and visiting a waterfall not far from the beach.
4. Jaboi Volcano Crater
While exploring Weh Island, people tend to only think about its marine wealth and panorama. As a small active volcano island, Weh Island surely has several interesting places other than sea and beaches. In fact, the island also provides you with another difficult offer to refuse, which is an interesting trip to Jaboi Volcano Carter. The Jaboi Crater is located about 15 kilometers from the town of Sabang. The journey might require you to traverse through some forests and rough terrains from the car park, so dress accordingly when visiting this place.
After trekking for less than a kilometer you will finally arrive in an open space with a strong smell of sulfur. When you look around you will see a combination of picturesque sceneries: the smoke rising from the ground and boiling water flowing out around colorful stones. Moreover, the dead trees and the scent of sulphuric gas add the mythical nuance around the crater. This could be a one of a kind experience for the visitors. If you bring a bathing suit, consider soaking yourself up in a hot spring not far from the crater.
5. Anoi Itam Beach
Weh Island Sabang, Aceh Indonesia offers you a more unusual experience in Anoi Itam Beach where you can witness a charming black sandy beach collaborating wit a vast blue ocean. Located around 13 kilometers from the town of Sabang, Anoi Itam Beach’s name literally translates to Black Sand. Anoi in the local language mean sand, and Itam means black. It is the only beach with black sand in Aceh. The sand is black because it contains a lot of nickel which came from the volcano activity on the island. You can’t help noticing that the sand also has rougher texture here. The black sand and the white limestone around it creates a really beautiful contrasting colors to behold.
This beach, however, is also popular of its historical relics such as Japanese fortresses and heavy weapons. You can have yourself the best sight of this beach from a Japanese bunker not far from there.The exotic beauty of this beach has got it nominated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago, according to Garuda Indonesia magazine. The current is quite strong and there are several sharp rocks around the beach, so visitors should keep an eye when swimming and playing on this beach.
6. Sumur Tiga Beach
Sumur Tiga Beach may be the best beach option for you if you only want to chill and relax on your holiday without doing too many activities. It has a white sandy beach with the longest coastline in Weh Island. Therefore, enjoying your time with contemplating by the beach and waiting for a sunrise is perfectly fine.
Sumur Tiga Beach is also said to be the best site to watch sunrise since the beach is facing east. It is also suitable for snorkeling and casual diving if you really want it since the water is pristine, crystal clear, and shallow. There are plenty of corals and pelagic fishes to keep you entertained. You don’t even need a boat to bring you to the snorkeling spot, as you can just run straight to the sea with your snorkeling gear on. Some visitors even get to see dolphins on their way to this site.
7. Sarang Cave
About one hour from Sabang, there lies an amazing natural object filled with unlimited thrilling adventures. For those who wants to try spelunking for the first time, head over to Sarang Cave Weh Island and experience a wondrous journey into a series of caves next to a cove. There are two ways to reach this place, one is by the land and the other is the sea.
The land route is somewhat longer but more adventurous and challenging as you need to traverse through a thick forest and steep cliffs before you reach the Sarang Cave. The sea route involves renting a boat from the locals and sail for about 45 minutes. However, it is a bit more dangerous as the path is peppered with jagged rocks and the wind can be quite strong, especially between May and September.
8. Pria Laot Waterfall
Located about 12 km downtown Sabang, this scenic waterfall is suited for those who love challenges, as the path that leads to this place holds so many perilous obstacles. These adventurous deterrents vary from passing through the steep rocks, wandering around the tropical forest, and crossing the river a couple of times. In the end, all this hardship will be worth all the hassle. The 15 meters waterfall accentuates a 10 square meters natural swimming pool with 1-1.5 metres depth. It’s an exotic stop for the trekkers to relax and enjoy the true beauty of the nature. Of course, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to swim or take your feet for a dip and feel the tingling sensation of fish nibbling your feet. Most of the visitors of course, are really excited about their very first natural fish spa.
9. Taman Wisata Kuliner Sabang ( Sabang Culinary Park)
Do not get too excited with only the natural beauty and historical relics of Weh Island, because that is not all that Weh Island is all about. What could be better than a holiday in a good place with a good food? Roam around the Sabang City and satisfy yourself with the local delicacies of Weh Island. One of the many popular place for this purpose is Taman Wisata Kuliner Sabang. You could have a taste of their best of the best Octopus Satay with choice of Peanut Sauce or Padang Sauce and Mie Aceh Kuah atau Goreng (Aceh Noodle Soup or Aceh Fried Noodle) with various choice of condiments. These nutritious and high-protein foods will certainly boost up your mood and stamina after a long, tiring day full of adventures.
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Fun Things To Do In Weh Island Indonesia
Other than the above-mentioned Weh Island places and major attractions, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep yourself occupied while you’re in Weh Island. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Weh Island Indonesia for every visitors.
[toggle title=”10. Motorcycle Tour Circling the Island” state=”opened”]
As Weh Island is quite small, only about 156 square kilometers, circumnavigating it should be an easy task. You can rent some motorcycles in Sabang and go tour the island with your friends or families to have a really good sightseeing trip. There are surely a lot of interesting this to do while you are circling the island, such as meeting the locals, visiting the beaches, stop and eat some local foods, etc.
[toggle title=”11. Contemplate and Enjoy the Beach“]
For those who come to Weh Island to escape the bustling city life, sitting around doing nothing but enjoying the sound of waves and serenity of the beautiful beach might be a really good idea. With a lot of nice beaches and the low number of tourists, this feat is easily achievable almost everywhere on Weh Island. Enjoy the fine beaches of Weh Island while swinging on a hammock and sipping on some coconut drinks.
[toggle title=”12. Take a Picture at Kilometer 0“]
Since Weh Island is the outer outpost of Indonesia, there is a monument erected here that marks the place as the start of Indonesian territory. This Kilometer Zero monument is extremely popular among tourists, domestic and international alike, as they loved to take a picture in this particular spot. So it is kind of customary for you to take a picture here if you are planning on visiting this island. It surely will become a memento that won’t be forgotten in quite a long time.
[toggle title=”13. Hunt for Sunrise“]
Weh Island is popular among sunrise seekers, photographers who love to seek some good sunrise pictures. There are a lot of beaches in Weh Island that faces east, so finding a good sunrise picture with some beautiful scenery surely is not a hard task in here.
[toggle title=”14. Ride a Becak“]
If you want to circumnavigate or just strolling around the island in a more unconventional way, you can hire a becak and ride around until you are satisfied. The becak in here is quite different than in other Indonesian regions, as they were using motorized engine rather than pedaled manually.
As a final word, Weh Island Aceh, Indonesia is truly offers a series of stunning natural attractions and lots of fun activities for every visitors. Also, if you have plan to visit Indonesia, then Weh Island Indonesia is one of the best places to visit in Indonesia. Thus, you will surely be amazed by its natural beauty beaches, seas, island, and its breezes. As a result, happy holiday to Weh Island Indonesia.
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