Difference between revisions of "Sabang (Indonesia)"
Revision as of 09:32, 5 October 2010
Sabang  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.
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.
Sabang has a small airfield, but just for militair use
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.
Travelling from Balohan port to Sabang costs roughly Rp30,000 and to backpacker hangouts of Gapang and Iboih Rp50,000 in shared transport (~1 hr drive). You can also take the whole taxi for Rp150,000. Bargain hard, since the prices are not set (although the drivers try to show you written notes with prices). Alternatively you can rent motorbikes at Iboih and Gapang. Besides that bicycles are for rent in Iboih and at Santai Sumur Tiga. If you want to cycle from the port to your hotel its best to rent a bicycle in Banda Aceh and take it with you on the boat.
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.
Single dive starts at €25, cheaper the more you do. Island has around 20 dive sites which are way less populated than elsewhere in Indonesia, and the life under water is simply spectacular.
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 Indonesian. Speak to Eva in Iboih beach
You can only find ATMs in the city of Sabang, which is about 40 minutes from Gapang and Iboh beaches. Two of three ATMs in Sabang should accept mastercard and have a maximum withdraw facility of 500,000 so consider bringing lots of cash with you. Recent experiences show, that mastercard usage is dependent on the bank issuing the card. Get the necessary cash in Banda Aceh if you don't want to rely on Western Union money transfer with banks in Sabang.
Hand carved necklaces made from coconut shells. You can get them near Lumba Lumba Dive Centre or if you bump into Andy at Rubiah Tirta Divers in Iboih, who makes them.
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, prepare for a long wait though. 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 there are Limbo Cafe, Zero Cafe and Mama Jungle (best to order in advance), all places can do fish and sometimes chicken BBQ's, give them a little notice first though. Barracuda is the newest around and also the last on the beach. Owners speak very good English, and serve a comprehensive menu with the tastiest food on Gapang.
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.
Iboih - Backpacker style beach huts from RP30,000 per night (longstay) up to RP70,000 (short stay) depending on your negotiating ability. Just walk past the village along the path. All bungalows are basically concrete based huts with woven matting walls. those huts around the centra of the village generally don´t have bathrooms, so people wash at the communal well in the centre of the green. Other huts further up into the forest and further along have communal or private cold water mandi bathrooms. Think hammocks, balconies and and sea views.