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Sabang (Indonesia)

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Sabang (Indonesia)

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Sabang [5] is a town name on a 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.

Get in

By plane

Sabang has a small airfield, but currently reserved only for military uses.

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. Motorcycles and cars are not allowed on the fast ferry but bicycles can be shipped for 50,000 idr.
  • 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 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,Santai Sumur Tiga and several Places like Kartika and Holiday Hotel. 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.


jetty at Iboih (Teupin Layeu)
There's not much to see in the city of Sabang. 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.



Gapang Beach
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.
  • Rubiah Tirta Divers, [1]. Dive school based in Iboih, with alot of resturaunts and accomodations nearby. Has a big boat and two smaller boats, nice staff and knowledgeable instructors. Local coconut artist Andy Coco works here as an instructor.
  • Lumba Lumba Diving Centre, [2]. Popular western-owned dive operator in Gapang beach. Offers accommodation for divers only. If you want something else than diving and hanging around with them 24/7, or tend to be more price-conscious, consider the other options too.
  • Steffen Sea Sports, [3]. Newest diveshop around. Offers a more customized, relaxed and professional atmosphere with 31 years of experience. Owner is a great Malaysian guy that truly appreciates his customers and it shows in his attitude also. They had nice plans for future in Spring 2010, but are operating from Gapang near Leguna and Flamboyan resorts at least until 2011. Gear is new too, and maintained to strict standards. Highly recommended.


  • Mountain bike and bicycle tours in Sabang, [4]. Aceh Adventure organizes cycle tours on the island.

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. If you like it more for western taste, you should visit the east coast of pulau weh,the new tourist destination, for people who not only want to dive but also can. There are some accommodations at Sumor Tiga area like Freddies or Casa Nemo and further about 6 KM the newest comfort accommodation on Pulau Weh on Anoi Itam Bay the Rasa Seni Hotel Resort.


Mamamia's on Iboih beach serves the cheapest and best food. 15,000rp for noodle soup with egg. She also has 1 cheap bungalow. Cheapest coffees on the beach (5000rp). Free WIFI also.




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.

  • Nora´s place is great. You can snorkel from right there. 30,000 per night or more, you could bargain. Nora is an institution!
  • Julias and Oongs are a bit of a walk from the beach but are the cheapest options. Beware for the bungalows at Oongs, though. This traveller woke up in the middle of the night by being pissed on by a bat that had flown into the bungalow. The staff wasn't very understanding and just adviced me to find another place.
  • Ericks is a higher standard and costs from 60,000-100,000, it is also very close to Iboih beach itself. Erick speaks good English, is very together and in a fountain of information. As the rooms are (unusually) all in one building, therefore there is a community feel at his place.

Gapang There is less accomodation available right on Gapang beach. This means that the prices are higher, and it is somewhat more exclusive. There is a largish upscale resort close to the entrance to the beach, which offers some of the best accomodation on Gapang (glass windows, hot showers, a/c). Don't be scared away though, you can always bargain and the beach has more to do than Iboih for a non-diver.

Kincir Long Beach Also known as Teupin Redeup. A truly secluded beach just before the forest reserve three km northeast from Iboih. Seulako View Cafe & Bungalows has three affordable bungalows and 3 budget rooms above a friendly seafront restaurant. Divers at Steffen Sea Sports can book one of the dive centre's new, colourful rooms.

East coast and Anoi Itam Bay The newest accommodations with higher standard are to find on the east coast of Pulau Weh Island. Fredies Santai Sumor Tiga with nice Bungalows (Fan)in traditional Style and Restaurant with good food and drinks. Casa Nemo also with Bungalows (Fan)in traditional Style. Diving providet. Rasa Seni Hotel Resort Anoi Itam, the newest and most comfortable accommodation on Pulau Weh, with aircondition, hot and cold water shower and Studios also with bathtub, mini bar and much more.Restaurant with international food and asian specialties.Very good dive spots in front of the Resort in Anoi Itam Bay


Stay safe


Get out

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