Perhaps one of my favourite islands to visit is Weh Island or in Bahasa Indonesia “Pulau Weh” it is located at the northernmost tip of Sumatra and is the northernmost point of the Indonesian archipelago. This islands has not failed to amaze me with it’s coral reefs that houses a large variety of fish species and offer some of the most spectacular experiences underwater. As of recent years, Weh Islands has become very accessible to tourist with daily flights by AirAsia flying in from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Getting from the airport to the jetty will only take you around 30 minutes and the fast ferry over to Weh Island is only 45 minutes. Diving in Pulau Weh is also considered very cheap if compared to places such Bali ,Komodo or Raja Ampat.
The main reason that people come to Weh Island (Pulau Weh) is to enjoy the wonders and beauty that lies beneath the ocean. However it is still considered a secret destination among the diving community as the coral reefs are untouched and it is less known to people. The swaying sea fans are a spectacular scenery that will take your breath away, mix that with the abundance of fishes, every dives seem to be nothing but short of spectacular. There is even a dive site called the underwater volcano where a natural hot spring spurs out hot water and gives this shallow dive a very unique experience. The dive sites here ranges from easy to moderate and even advanced. It is best enjoyed if you are “Advanced” certified diver in my opinion as most of the dives will take you beyond 18 meters and it would be a waste if you were restricted to just 18 meters.
One of the main attraction for advanced divers would be go down well below 55 meters to visit the remains of a world war II German vessel “Sophie Ricmers”. The ship lies well intact as the crew had sabotaged it in order to prevent it from being confiscated by the Dutch in 1940. It now home to countless fishes and corals, divers have reports that schools of batfish will surround you as you descent and ascent from this wreck. Bare in mind that this is a decompression dive and you are required to have a certain numbers of dives under your belt before you are allowed to venture to this wreck. It will also cost a bit extra as you will need additional tanks for decompression during this dive.
Aside from diving another attraction which was only highlighted during my second visit to the island was the coves of Gua Sarang. It has rocky cliff which is surround by crystal clear waters. There is a small entree fee in order to enter the area, however we found it worth the small price. The small easy hike down the cliffs will take around 5 minutes and you will soon be greeted by a rocky beach. The trail will then lead towards the left as you walk along the shore, tiptoeing on rocks as you reach a beautiful lagoon, with beautiful rock formations that are covered with small plants. I cannot stress enough how clear the water was were even able to spot a pufferfish from the shore swimming along amongst the rocks. A dip in the crystal clear waters was inevitable, the water was warm and calm, just floating around the lagoon was a relaxing experience with scenery so breathtaking. Be sure to come early as I was told that there can be quite crowd towards mid-day, however most tourist are not adventures enough to venture down the rocky path and chooses to stay on the hilltop enjoying the views from above.
Pantai Iboih (Iboih Beach) is the centre point from where you will find various accommodation, restaurants, gift shops and most of the dive shops are located around this area the reason being that most of the dive sites are never too far from Iboih. There are even ATMs located here so you are never too far from the essentials. Bare in mind that Pulau Weh is located in the Acheh province, you will not be able to find any bars or pubs in the area. However if you keep sharp eye open you will come across hotels and restaurants which will serve a cold beer for tourists. Another important note for travellers coming to Weh Island is to avoid Fridays. As it seem as the holy day of the week, most business will be shut down from morning till around 2pm. I was told that some shops were unable to sell food to tourists as they feared getting penalised by the religious authorities who are known to roam the streets on Friday. Also dive shop and boats are not allowed to operate during these hours so I would strongly suggest against planning any activities on a Friday. Sabang is the main city located on the island, personally I have never ventured into it as it does not offer any sights that would interest me, also taking into consideration that the ferry does not stop in Sabang, divers and tourists pretty much bypass the city all together unless they are looking for something specific. If you are history buff then it is worth noting that the island was once ruled by the Japanese military during World War II and there were numerous bunkers and fortifications built around the island. If you have any questions regarding Weh Island please drop me a comment below and hope you enjoy the video as well.
Weh Island Video