Northern Sumatra – Pulau Weh

Pulau Weh, an untouched paradise with the most pristine of beaches and waters. I hope it remains untouched and retains all its authenticity. I hope the footprints of tourism tread lightly here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180409_164039_3891297473122.jpg

Getting from Bukit Lawang was a journey in itself. We took a public bus from Bukit Lawang bus station to Binjai. How would I describe the public bus you ask? A death-trap. A rusty, bumpy, over-packed, cigarette-smoldering, hot death-trap. It is not for the faint hearted. It was a long and uncomfortable ride to Binjai but it sure was cost effective. As they say, you get what you pay for.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_124818.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_125004.jpg

We were dropped off at the Binjai Sempati Star offices. When I say offices, I mean a desk under a tarp on the side of the road. It didn’t seem promising and our next leg of the journey was a 13 hour bus ride from Binjai to Banda Aceh. We purchased two bus tickets and hoped for the best while we waited for the bus to arrive. After a short time, the bus arrived and it was nothing short of luxurious to say the least. We were so happy. The difference between the public bus and the Sempati Star bus was night and day. We were seated on the top deck of a double decker bus. The chairs were big, comfortable and reclined back far enough to cradle our public-bus-beaten bodies. We had tv screens with a decent list of Hollywood movies. The air-con was crisp and we were provided with a pillow and a blanket to keep us warm during the night as we slept.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_214016626736806.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_21424480343970.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_183441.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180407_183450.jpg

🚍Bukit Lawang to Pulau Weh: Firstly, many people said this route is not possible. We say hogwash! We did it. To get to Binjai from Bukit Lawang, take a tuk tuk (negotiate a small fee) from Bukit Lawang town to the bus stop located 1 km away. From the bus stop, take the public bus to Binjai and ask to be dropped off at Sempati Star. We paid IDR 25,000 but we definitely paid too much. I think you should be paying a maximum of IDR 15,000 for this trip. From Sempati Star offices, book a bus for around IDR 200,000 – 250,000 (depending on the bus and seat type) to Banda Aceh. When you arrive in Banda Aceh the following morning, take a taxi or tuk tuk to the ferry terminal (IDR 40,000 for the taxi). From the ferry terminal, take the fast boat (45min IDR 80,000) or slow boat (1h30m) to Pulau Weh. We stayed at Iboih beach and a seat in a shared taxi cost IDR 50,000 and takes about 1 hour to get there.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180408_0740551103461511.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180409_162358_425.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180409_162358_419.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180409_134059.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180409_135345.jpg

Now, very important to note. Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh follow Sharia law. You need to be very mindful of what attire is appropriate, especially in Banda Aceh.

🚹Men should wear long pants or shorts that cover the knees and a t-shirt or shirt. No tanktops and short shorts.

🚺Women should wear attire covering down to their wrists and ankles and up to their necks. No bikinis or hot pants.

On Pulau Weh, the rules for foreigners are relaxed. I wore tanktops and swimming shorts and Celeste usually wore a sarong and a tanktop. Be mindful of the signage at the beaches and public places. Most public beaches forbid swimwear.

🏢 Tip: We stayed at Pele’s Place for the duration of our stay. The bungalows all have aircon and are very comfortable and affordable. It is about a 5 to 10 minute walk from the bungalows down to Iboih beach. You can also rent scooters at the accommodation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180408_1131521366948237.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180409_181901.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180409_1819141.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180409_1820031.jpg

We didn’t have much free time to ourselves to explore during our stay on the island as we had signed ourselves up for our PADI Open Waters course. The course took 4 days to complete and included theory and practical (4 dives).

If you are planning on doing your diving course abroad, we highly recommend doing it through the Iboih Dive Centre. The instructors are great and the cost of the course is the best we have seen. It was much cheaper than doing it on the Thai islands.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180413_175615_9781.jpg

On our last day on Pulau Weh, we had some free time to explore and relax. We were both aching for some beach time. We had heard rumors of a secret beach and decided to set off and find it. A short scooter ride through the island, we found what we believed to be the start of the pathway that would lead us down to the beach. As we descended down the jungle-seranaded path, we saw it. White sands. Crystal clear blue waters shimmering in our eyes. Not one other soul on the beach. We had just arrived on our own private paradise beach. The sand was as soft as powder and the water was warm yet still refreshing. The beach was lined with tall jungle flora. We both agreed that this was by far the most beautiful tropical beach we had ever been on.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180413_114249.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180413_125327.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180413_114727.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180413_114741.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fotor_1524108940644561494366270.jpg

After a month and 1 week of travelling through Indonesia, it was finally time to pack our bags and say goodbye. Pulau Weh was definitely the perfect place to end our Indonesia chapter. We came, we saw, we conquered. Thanks Indonesia. We hope our paths cross again.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180415_042144_42283360082.jpg
Our last sunrise on Pulau Weh

Continue with us to Khao Sok, Thailand

Untitled (1)

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET COMMISSION TO HELP COVER THE COSTS OF OUR BLOG IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU.

One thought on “Northern Sumatra – Pulau Weh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s