Our holiday in Pulau Weh (Sabang), Sumatra, Indonesia. - Narcissism is Necessary

Our holiday in Pulau Weh (Sabang), Sumatra, Indonesia.

Thank you Joyce for blogging about Pulau Weh, otherwise I wouldn’t have thought of going there for Gareth‘s birthday in March. We had such an amazing 5 days!

Pulau Weh or Sabang by the locals, was surprisingly easy to reach. First, an hour flight from KL to Banda Aceh via AirAsia. If you’re flying in before March, you would have to stay a night in Banda Acheh.

Depending on your citizenship you may have to pay for 30 day visa (at the visa-on-arrival booth in the airport), which is 25USD at time of writing. You can pay in rupiah as well. Malaysians need not worry about the visa as we and the Indonesians are friendly.

Since we flew in after March, we didn’t need to stay overnight in Banda Acheh so we took a 1/2 hour taxi ride straight to Ulee Lheu ferry port. Taxi services are abundant at the airport, about 100,000Rp on average.

However, we got ours for 120,000Rp which was considered a bit expensive after chatting with some locals but we were okay cause it was a large air-conditioned van which 6’5″ Gareth could sit comfortably in. We also arranged for the same fella to take us back to the airport.

# – Ulee Lheu ferry port, 1/2 hour taxi ride from Sultan Iskandarmuda Airport.

From the airport, you would probably reach just in time for the slow ferry which would take 2 hours to reach Sabang. Instead of boarding the slow ferry, we decided to linger about at the port and have some lunch while waiting for the express 1-hour ferry at 4pm. The tickets for the express ferry started selling around 3pm. You can get discounts for buying a return trip ticket. We got 2 pairs of return executive tickets which basically meant air-conditioning for 220,000Rp.

# – Gareth’s first meal in Acheh. Some awesome mixed rice from a stall filled with locals.

# – My very first Teh Botol and Mee Goreng Acheh (Achehnese fried noodles). Yums!

# – One of the locals drinking coffee from a saucer because the coffee cools down quicker this way.

People are really friendly in Banda Acheh! Seriously, it’s the only place where I’ve been winked back at by a kid after winking at one. Normally they just start crying or shy away as if I’m a serial murderer.

People are always smiling and saying hi. At first I thought it’s because we’re tourists, but we quickly realised that they do it to everybody! On the road, they honk at every passing vehicle not out of warning or anger but just because they want to say hello. It’s nice!

# – The ferry was quite comfortable. We slept the entire journey.

Upon reaching Sabang Port, we had to take a taxi for a half hour journey to Pantai Sumur Tiga, where our hotel, Casa Nemo is located.

Pantai Sumur Tiga is the longest beach on Pulau Weh and is the quietest side of the island. Our man was Lehman (known as Lehman Becak), a friendly guy who charges really cheap (only 50,000Rp). We were shocked at first that our “taxi” was really just a motorbike rickshaw (we had two pretty large luggage) but the experience of riding on one through the villages, up and down the hills of picturesque Sabang was truly fantastic!

There are cars and mini buses (called labi-labi) but I highly recommend taking the bike rickshaws to get around on the island.

# – Lehman Becak.

# – Gareth’s happysauce face on Lehman’s rickshaw.

Our hotel, Case Nemo is located at one end of Pantai Sumur Tiga. What a beautiful place! The chalets are perched on the hillside overlooking the Andaman Sea. Peaceful, quiet and romantic :)

# – Nice & spacious room.

# – View from our balcony.

# – Cows & goats roam free. Really felt very close to nature.

By the time we settled down, it was already evening. We jumped into the sea for a bit before heading next door to Freddie’s for dinner, a 5 minute walk away. Casa Nemo’s kitchen only serves breakfast but we’re told by Ferdy the manager that it will be ready for lunch and dinner in a couple of months time.

The next day, we engaged Lehman Becak again for an island tour (250,000Rp). He took us to an active volcano. It’s my first time seeing and being at an active volcano!

# – The volcano, Gunung Merapi. That place smelled like rotten eggs and it was really warm.

We also stopped by several spots with hot water springs. Then, we stopped at a quaint restaurant in Gapang for lunch. Gapang is the 2nd most popular beach in Pulau Weh.

# – The delicious mixed rice in Gapang. My mouth waters thinking about it T_T. Check out my rickshaw hair.

Next, we stopped by Iboih, the most popular beach on Pulau Weh for a drink. Most of the dive centres are located in Iboih.

# – Man prepared our coconut drinks while 2 local children watched attentively making sure he would not screw up.

From Iboih, we made our way to the last destination of the tour, which was Kilometer Nol (or Kilometer Zero), the west most point of Indonesia.

# – At supposedly the west most point of Indonesia

Coincidentally, a bunch of Navy officers and their wives were visiting from Jakarta. I assume they were very important & high up because there were tonnes of security. They were very friendly though, chatting all of us up. One of the guys told us that the west most point is technically about 2km away but it’s hard to get to so we’re actually really visiting “Kilometer 2”, hehe.

# – All the VIP cars and their security.

There was also some Indonesian TV crew trying to shoot the best sunset in Indonesia. We also stayed for sunset but the sun got hidden by clouds just before it plunged towards the horizon. FOL but FTL more :P

# – The TV crew.

# – Beautiful almost sunset at Kilometer Nol.

We got back and had dinner at Freddie’s again. Then off to bed. I think we were sleeping by 10.30pm every night. So healthy!

The next day, Gareth’s birthday! We decided to dive on his birthday. The dive centre we engaged was Rubiah Tirta Divers, located at Iboih beach. It is the oldest dive centre in Pulau Weh and has a very good reputation. The owners are famous for their efforts in conserving Pulau Weh’s marine life.

They picked us up from Casa Nemo in the morning and headed to Iboih, a half hour journey. We decided on 3 dives. Each dive spot is less than 5 minutes away from shore.

# – With the awesome divemaster, Mur aka Bandet. He’s got a good pace, he really knows the water and he’s funny!

# – Me!

# – Gareth!

# – Fish!

We had really pleasant dives. The visibility was decent about 15 metres & currents weren’t too bad too. Most importantly, it was only the divemaster and us so we felt like we owned the sea hehe.

By the way, if you’re ever at Iboih, you must absolutely eat the prawn sandwich at Dolphin, a restaurant next to Rubiah Tirta Divers. Dolphin also has free wifi.

# – Best prawn sandwich in the world. Succulent prawn pieces with sweet fried garlics & onions sandwiched between buttery toasts. OMG!!!

# – Watch for the friendliest cat in the world at Dolphin. It just jumped on Gareth’s lap and promptly fell asleep.

After the dives, Rubiah Tirta fetched us back to Casa Nemo. We cleaned up and headed to the beach for Gareth’s surprise birthday dinner ;)

I have nothing but praises for Ferdy the man in charge of Casa Nemo. He made our stay at Casa Nemo extremely wonderful. He helped me arranged a surprise birthday dinner for Gareth and he did such a wonderful job!

# – Ferdy with the ginormous fish they caught in the morning, which we happily ate at the surprise birthday dinner :)

Eventhough Casa Nemo does not serve dinner, he specially got his sister to cook us wonderful Javanese dishes (they are from East Java) and set us a table right on the beach! We had the beach to ourselves!

She also baked us a delicious cake :)

# – Surprise for the birthday boy!

By the time we finished dinner, we were exhausted. Mustered up our last remaining strength to climb back to our room and fell asleep. Not even 11pm yet haha.

The next day, we stayed in having long naps at Casa Nemo and hung out at Freddie’s eating & watching the beach. Utter bliss :)

And then, it was time to leave :(

# – Waving gallery at the airport.

One of our best holidays together. Definitely going back!

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23 Responses to Our holiday in Pulau Weh (Sabang), Sumatra, Indonesia.

  1. Amelia April 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    I’m an Indonesian and yet I’ve never visited Pulau Weh before!! Hahahaha..I’ve been wanting to go to Aceh and its’ surrounding since a couple of years back, but then the tsunami came and destroyed my plan. Reading your post makes me wanna go there! I shall plan~ hahahaha

    • Kimberlycun April 10, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      i know what you mean! i think i haven’t been to many places in Malaysia either haha. Pulau Weh is really a wonderful place to visit! cheers :)

  2. KY April 10, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    awesome holiday it seems, and good overseas diving finally ya! :D

  3. ShaolinTiger April 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    What an amazing trip – THANKYOU!

  4. Eric T April 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    looks like it’s an awesome getaway!! not bad.. not bad at all!!

  5. Roslyn Kong April 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Didn’t know about this place until you blog about it! A cool place indeed!

  6. Gina April 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Read about this place from Joyce’s blog also. Glad you had a blast! The personal attention showered by the hotel owner is every traveler’s dream! And lucky you manage to come back before the earthquake! Stay safe!

  7. Lainie April 14, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    looks like so much fun! I definitely want to visit this place then. you and joyce have sold it to me :D

  8. myhorng April 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    What had both of you done? Once came back from acheh earthquake happened. :P

  9. Hans Nuytten April 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    My wife and me we are going to Casa Nemo(Pulau Weh)in September 2012 for 1 week.We go to Pulau Weh for one week of scuba diving.
    We are looking forward to this trip.
    We are from Belgium.
    Thank you for this trip review.

  10. sully86 May 22, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    was the fish on liquid steroids?

  11. Andri September 14, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Hi

    I got know PUlau Weh from Joyce’s blog as well! :P

    Anyway, im planning a trip there next year. Would you mind answering some questions ( if you know the answer to it lah :P ):

    1) We are undecided whether we want to bring our kids ( 2 girls, aged 3 & 5) with us. We’ve rough it out with them backpacking style when they were small , but thats only on Malaysian islands. Is this area suitable to bring kids around? My kids are easy, give them a beach and off they go.

    2) is renting a motorbike the only way to get around the island?

    3) did you have any problems with power at casa nemo?

    4) we dont dive but we do snorkel – i suppose they have snorkelling trips as well? or is it easy enough to snorkel right at the beach ( perhentian used to be like this..until the corals all died :( )

    5) how long is the journey from the jetty at Bandar Acheh – Pulau Weh?

    6) do they serve local Indonesian food around the resorts?

    Thanks for the time! :)

    cheers

    Andri

    • Kimberlycun September 17, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      hi andri, hope you’ll have a wonderful holiday in pulau weh!! here are my answers, sorry if i can’t be more informed:

      1) We are undecided whether we want to bring our kids ( 2 girls, aged 3 & 5) with us. We’ve rough it out with them backpacking style when they were small , but thats only on Malaysian islands. Is this area suitable to bring kids around? My kids are easy, give them a beach and off they go.
      i think they will love it. there’s no tv or swimming pools, just goats and cows hehe

      2) is renting a motorbike the only way to get around the island?
      am not too sure on this. we didn’t go anywhere else much by ourselves. we had a becak tour with lehman, our trips to Iboih for our dives were provided by the dive centre and we had a 1/2 hour walk down the road passing by just local houses for no reason lol. i think renting a bike might be a good idea if you’re thinking of exploring a bit more.

      3) did you have any problems with power at casa nemo?
      yes on our last day there…there was a a couple of hours blackout, then the power slowly trickled back in. it was funny because the fan went from completely still to slow to fully spinning again..quite unusual :D

      4) we dont dive but we do snorkel – i suppose they have snorkelling trips as well? or is it easy enough to snorkel right at the beach ( perhentian used to be like this..until the corals all died :( )
      truthfully when i was there, the waves at case nemo were a bit strong, and the beach wasn’t as powdery as say… redang. if u walked further down the beach nearer to freddie’s, the waves seemed a lot calmer (probably due to having large rocks breaking the waves) and i did see people snorkled there. freddie’s side seemed to provide snorkeling services.

      5) how long is the journey from the jetty at Bandar Acheh – Pulau Weh?
      1 hour for express ferry or 2 hours for ordinary ferry.

      6) do they serve local Indonesian food around the resorts?
      not at freddie’s, but when i was there i was told by ferdy they’re going to start operating the kitchen at casa nemo soon so perhaps you might get some good javanese food? personally won’t consider pulau weh as a place to go just for food.

      hope these help!

  12. Weeser June 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks for the post! I am leaving for Aceh from KL this Friday. But it’s just a 4D3N trip. Didn’t expect Pulau Weh to be such a dive site!

    Good work!

  13. Touch The Nature November 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    wow LOL i was born there, but living outside, and never got amazing experience as yours when i was there

  14. Febry Fawzi May 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Reading your post about your trip in Sabang is heartwarming. I can feel that you had pleasant trip there. I wish I can visit Sabang in the near future.

  15. liza June 24, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Hi..can i get lehman becak phone number??

  16. Andy August 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Hi, may I request for Lehman Becak’s contact number? Thanks in advance.

    • Kimberlycun August 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Sorry Andy, I don’t have his number anymore :(

  17. Ning September 5, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Kimberly, I’m going to Pulau Weh next year, curious that most of the hotel have no air conditioner, will it hot for people like us? Malaysian? =D do you still remember?

  18. B.S.Sivan April 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

    Pulau Weh Is a beautiful Island which I just visited in March (20th-25th) The people are very friendly and The resort I stayed Is calle mr.Bean Resort.All the rooms face the sea and allr equipped with hot water shoer and Air conditioners.New Beds and Pillows n Blankets.The owner is very friendly and very accomodating.I am definitely going back there again soon.He can also arrange dive packages with the Rubiah Tirta Dive Centre at very reasonable prices.Try it out.

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