I have a love affair with Pulau Weh.
It was love at first sight. A place where time and stress do not exist. “Bagus!!!” As the locals would say which means “Good!!!”.
Pulau Weh is a tiny island at the very north tip of Sumatra, in the Aceh region. There is a point on the island called “Km 0” (Kilometer Zero) and this is apparently the extreme point of Indonesia where the country starts.
Until few years ago it was very difficult to reach the island since it was not very well connected to the local and international airports.
To these days, tourism is not very well developed which is an awesome thing cause the island maintains its natural local beauty and it is the perfect place to chill out away from the busy world. However, it is easy to fly to Banda Aceh and from there catch the ferry to the island.
Unfortunately Banda Aceh was very badly affected by the 2004 tzunami which destroyed most of the place. Pulau Weh was not so much damaged thanks to Rubiah Island just in front of it that act as a barrier to the wave.
Dom and I had just finished a very busy working season in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia and we wanted a place with good diving where we could relax.
I had wanted to go to Indonesia for a long time, but for a reason or another I always ended up in other places. Now this was the right time for this adventure.
Dom knew of Pulau Weh through friends that had been there and loved it, so he proposed it. I never heard of this island but it sounded awesome.
So off we went. We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Banda Aceh and caught the ferry to the island. We arrived on a rainy day but nonetheless we fell in love with this jewel island straight away!
It was simply beautiful!Despite the rain we hopped on a motorbike taxi that drove us from the ferry dock to Iboih Beach where I heard it was the best place to find accommodation.
We drove for about an hour under the rain through breathtaking settings! Up and down the mountains covered in jungle, we came across some of the best views ever.
We ended up staying on the island for almost two months, chilling, diving and doing a little bit of freelance work at the local dive shop. We became part of the community, the locals made us feel at home!
We loved the island so much that we went back five months later and ended up staying for almost six months, again chilling diving and working at the local dive shop.
The diving in Pulau Weh is simply amazing! Two Oceans meet here, the Indian Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Visibility is always good, very rarely dropping below 15 mt and most of the time around 25 mt.
Some of the most colourful marine species are found here, including the Juvenile Emperor Angel Fish, one of the cutest little creatures of the Oceans.
On a lucky day you could come across a school of Mobulas (Devil Rays) or the giant of the Oceans the beautiful Manta Ray. If you are not so lucky you can still face an encounter with a slender, graceful Black Tip Shark.
There are some of the best deep dives ever and some of the strongest currents ever (washing machine style, underwater rock climbing!!) for a little bit of adrenaline rush!
Pulau Weh offers much more. Waterfalls nested in the jungle, hot springs hidden away, and one of the most beautiful sunsets from Km 0. Best way to explore the island is definitely by motorbike.
Rubiah Island lays in front of Iboih Beach and if the currents are not too strong in the channel between the islands, it can be easily reached by swimming. We spent some lovely days there, chilling, playing volleyball and snorkeling around.
All this is surrounded by the most amazing local people and the tastier Indonesian food! Definitely a place to go back.