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Sabang (Indonesia)

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Indonesia : Sumatra : Aceh : Sabang
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Sabang [1] is a town name on island north of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra. Strictly speaking, the island's name is Weh Island (Pulau Weh) and Sabang is the main town on the north coast, but the names are often used interchangeably. Amongs local the place more well knowned as "Sabang" but amongs tourist is well known as "Pulau Weh". The island is best known for its snorkeling and diving.

Understand

Pulau Weh is a small island off the northern tip of Sumatra. The northern most point of the Indonesian archipelago is known as kilometer zero,or KMZero. It is best known by tourists for its world class snorkeling and diving.

Get in

By plane

Sabang has a small airfield, but there are no scheduled flights. The nearest airport of significance is in Banda Aceh.

By boat

  • Fast Ferry (~1 hour, Rp 60,000-economy 70,000-business 80,000-VIP) leave at 9.30am and 4pm from Banda Aceh and 8.30am and 4pm from Sabang Pulau Weh. For the moment the fast ferry called "Pulo Rondo" only run once a day depart from Ulee Lheue pier (Banda Aceh) at 9.30 am to Balohan (Pulau Weh)and from Balohan (Pulau Weh) at 4.00 pm. Until further notice..
  • Slow Ferry (~2.5 hrs,Rp about 15,000 Leaves Banda Aceh at 2pm and from Pulau Weh at 8.30am. Sometimes there are two trips/day.

See the diving websites of Rubiah Divers and/or Lumba Lumba for up to date information in regards to getting to and from Medan to Banda Aceh and from Banda Aceh to Pulau Weh.

Get around

Travelling from Sabang port to the backpacker hangouts of Gapang and Iboih will cost Rp50,000 in shared transport (~1 hr drive)

See

There's not much to see in the city of Sabang (unless you need to stock up on cash for your stay). Head straight to either Gapang or Iboih beaches (40-50 minutes from the ferry).

The main reason to go to Pulau Weh is for the beaches. Relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, diving. Don't worry about doing anything else.

Kilometer Nol (Kilometer 0), the farthest most Western point in Indonesia is on Pulau Weh. You can rent a motorbike from Iboih for around 70,000 Rp/day and head out on your own, or rent a minivan and guide to take your group.

It's still considered a secret spot even amongst the diving community and Pulau Weh's reefs are genuinely untouched and offer something for every level of experience. The bottom topography ranges from large boulders on sandy slopes and deep volcanic pinnacles to craggy wall sections and coral gardens.

The house reef at Gapang Beach boasts a wide range of macro life including rare critters like Frog Fish, Star Gazers and Gunards. Large pelagics like Mantas, Whale Sharks and Mola Mola also come to feed when the seasons right. All in all Pulau Weh offers some of the finest diving in Indonesia, yet it is still very much undeveloped and untouched.

Do

Diving - see Rubiah Tirta, single dive starts at 25euro cheaper the more you do (which you will)

  • Lumba Lumba Diving Centre, [2]. Sabang's top dive operator.

Snorkeling - Lots to see including octopus, turtles, morays.... Nothing - nice place to do nothing as well :) - Rubiah Island Sea Graden off Iboih is AMAZING even for snorkelling and you can start at the southern end and float along in the currents to the northern end. You could hire a boat (with driver) for the afternoon and should not cost more than 150,000. Must do.

Learn

Learn indonesian. Speak to Eva in Iboih beach

Work

Buy

You can only find ATMs in the city of Sabang, which is about 40 minutes from Gapang and Iboh beaches. The ATM in Sabang only accepts mastercard and has a maximum withdraw facility of 500,000 so consider bringing lots of cash with you (particularly if you are diving- however, you can use major credit cards at Lumba Lumba).

Hand carved necklaces made from coconut shells. You can get them near Lumba Lumba Dive Centre or if you bump into Andy, who makes them.

Eat

Gapang Beach has a few restaurants to choose from. Dang Dang Na is next to Lumba Lumba and serves a range of local and western food, Gado Gado is a peanut and salad based Indonesian dish well worth a try, also noodles and curry available. Best to order early as everything is on island time, and try to relax if your having to wait. Further down the beach you can try Zero Cafe or Mama Jungle (best to order in advance), all places can do fish and sometimes chicken BBQ's, give them a little notice first though.


Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

There are no nightclubs or bars on Pulau Weh, if you like to party best to not to visit. Alcohol is generally forbidden, however some places may have it available.

Sleep

  • Iboih - Backpacker style bungalows from 40,000 per night (longstay) up to 70,000 (short stay) depending on your negotiating ability. Just walk past the village along the water. All bungalows are basically the same.

Julias and Ongs are a bit of a walk from the beach but are the cheapest options. Ericks is a higher standard and costs from 60,000-100,000, it is also very close to iboih beach Diving through Rubiah Divers.

  • Gapang - slightly classier than Ibioh with most places generally having a/c and showers etc. Generally full of NGO workers on weekends and arguably less atmospheric.

Diving through Lumba Lumba Diving.

Contact

Stay safe

Cope

Get out


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