Weh Island is a volcanic island in the northwest of Sumatra, Indonesia. Situated at the convergence of the Indian and Pacific oceans, Pulau Weh is a beautiful untouched island, well known for its ecosystem, the coral reefs around Weh are home to a great diversity of fish species, like sea turtles, sharks, rays, dolphins and pelagic staff. With more than 20 diving spots, is one of the best diving site in Indonesia.
The northwest part of the island had been declared as wildlife protection by the Indonesian government because it is the home to many rare species on land. The coral reefs are bursting with large and diverse variety of Indo-Pacific marine life.
The largest city is Sabang. Tourist accomodations are in Gapang, Iboih and Sumur Tiga.
Best time to go
The best time to visit Weh Island is in the dry season, during April to November. This is the time with good weather where you can enjoy more of the sun and sea. Anyway, in Pulau Weh there isn’t “monsoon” season, raining season has random raining days alternated with beautiful sunny days.
The majority of the population is Muslims, so modest clothing is preferred. You can dress casually while still respecting the locals. Are some beaches where swimsuit or bikini is not allowed. On Friday morning is not recommended go to swim, dive or fishing to respect the Ocean, all the dive shops on Friday morning are closed.
With some of the best scuba diving sites in South-East Asia, Pulau Weh is one on the most preferred destination for divers.
There are hundreds of species of coral and different type of fish, turtles, octopus, and other marine life. This is one of the finest underwater hikes you’ll find with clear and turquoise water.
Almost everywhere you find nice snorkeling and you don’t need to compete with other snorkelers about the space.
If you snorkel in Gapang, Iboih, and Sumur Tiga you will very likely see hawksbill turtles. Snorkels and fins are available for rent almost everywhere.
Pria Laot Waterfall
From Gapang beach it’s around 15 minutes ride to arrive. There is a great pond for swimming with cool water coming down from the mountains.
Along the path to the waterfall you walk through some forest area with some monkeys climbing through the trees.
The Waterfall flowing between the cliffs and rocks, and the water falls into the clear water pool in depth of 1.5 meters with 10 square meters width. In this pool you can swim while enjoying the cool air and natural beauty
There is a small volcano on Pulau Weh right in the centre of the island. On the side of a hill is when the vent from the volcano has pushed through the land.
There are large holes with hot steam coming out with lots of small holes scattered around. Around the openings of the holes they are covered with a bright green mineral deposit. At the larger holes you can here boiling water bubbling and streaming through the mountain. Right at the top of the hill there is a very large opening and often you can see the bubbling hot water. The locals refer to the volcano as Gunung Api which is the Indonesian word for volcano, mountain of fire. Right down the bottom of the hill, on the coastline are some hot spings swimming pools for bathing. They collect the boiling water coming down from the mountain rich with minerals and pipe it into 2 small swimming pools which you can sit down in and soak. Due the large concentrations of methane it is very smelly there and there is NO SMOKING allowed in this area. If you light a cigarette up there you will probabaly light up more.
Anoi Itam Japanese bunkers
A booklet of the Sabang Tourist Authority states: ‘A huge number of Japanese bunkers are scattered across the entire island.
This is why Weh Island is known as the “Island of a Thousand Fortresses”. The bunkers were all built between 1943 and 1945. They used to be connected by tunnels that are now closed due to security reasons. There is also a big bunker with many tunnel entrances on Gunung Batu. It is also a popular place for Japanese Ghosts. We did not see huge numbers of bunkers, presumably most of them lie in less accessible places. A small one we saw near the beach of Sabang town (Pantai Kasih). But the finest specimen is located on the east coast at Anoi Itam, just a few steps from the main road. It is a good place to visit also for the view over Malacca Strait. On the hill top is a bunker for the gunner, at the back of the hill what may have been living quarters.
It’s the north-western limit of the Indonesian archipelago. Zero Kilometre monument mark the starting point of Indonesia.
The best time to go there is on sunset, to enjoy the spectacular view of the Sun just going down in the Ocean. Here you can also try the famous Kopi Aceh, the local coffee.
What to taste
Nasi goreng is fried rice, typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallot, garlic, and chilli and accompanied by other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken, prawns or with ikan asin (salted dried fish).
Acehnese curry is a such spicy and tasty dish with different main ingredients: mutton, beef, duck & chicken. The coconut milk and other variety of spicy ingredients like jackfruit, red chili and dried red, etc are main ingredients that make Aceh curry specific and tasty.
Bakso is meatball commonly made from beef with a small quantity of tapioca flour, usually served in a bowl of beef broth, with yellow noodles, bihun (rice vermicelli), salted vegetables, tofu and egg (wrapped within bakso).
Noodle served in rich beef broth soup, kikil (beef tendon), bean sprouts and bakso (beef meatball), kaffir lime juice, and sprinkled with sliced fresh celery, scallion and fried shallot. Some recipes might add beef tripe.
Fresh fuit juices
Almost everywhere you can find fresh juices from different kind of fruits: mango, papaya, pineapple, banana, avocado and chocolate, coconut, soursop.
The juice from young coconuts is a refreshing and hydrating beverage, while the young meat can be eaten as is or shredded and mixed with the juice for extra texture.
Kue kacang AG
Traditional dessert prepared by hand with natural ingredients, with no artificial preservatives, according to tradition. Perfect to taste with a kopi Aceh (black coffee).
Traditional coffee from Aceh, filtered through a cloth lifted up high over the cup. Try the traditional kopi Aceh, black coffee, or kopi susu, with condensed milk.
Rambutan has a juicy-sweet texture, and an enjoyable flavor similar to a lychee, but less acidic. Peel off the hairy skin to extract to fruit, and remove the seed. The rosy flavor of the rambutan resembles the strawberry and muscat grape. Its fragrant perfume characterizes this unique fruit. The rambutan can be eaten by itself or in salads, with vegetables, and in sauces.
Durian season lasts typically from June until August. With his unique odor, durian it’s named the “King of fruit”. You’ll love ir or hate it. To durian lovers, the taste is mildly sweet, almondy and very creamy, not unlike a rich cheesecake. It is widely believed that the combination of durian and alcohol leads to sever indigestion, heartburn or even death.