Weh Island (Pulau Weh) also called Sabang is an off the beaten track paradise! Which is located just of the coast of Sumatras northern most point (Banda Aceh).
Weh Island is a naturally untouched tropical paradise with secret virgin beaches & crystal clear waters!
It’s no surprise that this island is a favourite amongst divers & Snorkellers, who come to catch a glimpse of the rich marine life, from dolphins to sea turtles. A pleathora of tropical marine life can be seen in diving hot spots like the Sea Garden on Rubiah Island.
If you prefer to stay on land, there is plenty to do despite its small size, from Jungle Treks through rainforests, to Volcano hikes and hidden waterfalls! So if your looking to get away from the hustle of over touristic destinations, dive right into to our ultimate guide of Weh Island below!
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Weh Island is in the dry season, this takes place from April to November. During this time of year expect calm seas and lots of glorious sunshine.
Even during Rainy season, Weh Island does not experience constant rainfall and has sporadic rainy days, with period of sunshine.
How to get there?
Flights to Pulau Weh?
Depending upon your starting destination, there is direct flights to Pulau Weh (Sabang)
- From Medan (KNO) direct flights to Sabang (SBG)
- From Jakarta (CGK) connected flights to Sabang (SBG)
You can also take a nice weekend getaway from the busy Kuala Lumpur.
From Medan, you can head to Banda Aceh by Bus also, then take the short ferry over.
Ferries to Pulau Weh?
From Banda Aceh, you can take a ferry in the morning in Ulee Lheue Sea Port and arrive in Gapang Beach. The ferry takes approximately 2 hours, or alternatively you can take a speedboat which takes 45 mins.
Fast Ferry Timetable:
from BANDA ACEH
|to PULAU WEH|
|45 min. · Price: 85.000-120.000 IDR ($9)|
Slow Ferry Timetable:
|Slow Ferry||BANDA ACEH||PULAU WEH|
|Wed · Fri · Sat · Sun||11am & 4pm||8am & 2pm|
|Mon · Tue · Thu||2pm||8am|
|1.5 hours · Price: 25.000-50.000 IDR ($4)|
|Boat schedule does depend on the weather, it is advised to be at the harbor 30 minutes before departure time|
Transport around Weh Island?
Once you arrive on Weh Island you have a variety of options to get around. These include the following:
- Minibuses/Taxi – Available
- Rent a Motorcycle/Scooter – Our Favourite way to explore the island (Also cheapest!)
- Tuk Tuk (Becak) – Also a fun way to get around.
- Car Rental – Is also available but may be overkill, for such a small island.
Renting a Motorcycle/Scooter costs?
Renting a motorcycle costs around 50.000 IDR for a half day or 100.000 IDR ($7) for a 24 hours.
How much does a Mini Bus cost?
Mini Buses (labi-labi) are useful once you arrive at the Balohan Harbour. They will wait for around 15 minutes to fill up then drive to Gapang, Iboih and Sabang.
- From Balohan Harbour Pulau Weh to Gapang / Iboih: around 60.000 IDR ($4) (40 minutes)
- From Balohan Harbour Pulau Weh to Sabang: around 30.000 IDR ($2) (15 minutes).
How much does a Becak (Tuk Tuk) Cost?
A Becak is a fun way to take a taxi, it costs approximately 100,000 IDR ($7) from the port to Gapang and Iboih and 50,000 IDR to Sabang. To get to Sumur Tiga it will cost around 35.000 IDR.
Map of Weh Island (Pulau Weh):
Sharia Law on Pulau Weh:
Like many parts of Indonesia, Pulau Weh has Sharia Law (Muslim Laws). Thus women should usually cover there shoulders & knees in city centre, but your fine on beaches etc. In general, they are quite relaxed compared to other parts of Indonesia.
Pulau Weh was re built after the infamous Tsunami in 2004 and and does now have some of the best roads in Indonesia.
Things to do on Weh Island:
18. Pulau Weh’s Viewpoint
A nice place to start your adventure on Weh Island is to head to the top of the viewpoint where you can see the whole island!
Directions to the viewpoint: Walk from Gapang Beach towards Iboih Beach and pass the three main beaches. Then as you walk the road will incline and its on your right.
The ideal place to take out your photography gear and take some snaps. After you can take a hike down towards the sea and if you take a left you will come to a crystal clear lagoon! This is ideal for couples & like your own private paradise.
17. Diving & Snorkelling
Pulau Weh is a real favourite amongst the diving & snorkeling community. it is considered one of the best places to catch glimpses of a spectrum of marine wildlife from Dolphins to morays, manta rays, lionfish, barracudas, sting rays and many more!
Overall, there are approximately 20 diving sites all over the island with the majority in & around Iboih and Gapang. Here you will find dive operators who offers tours, classes and dive equipment rental.
Fun Fact: On the coast there is even a WWII ship wreck, which you can explore.
Fun Fact: During Plankton season, you can see whale sharks coming to graze.
Due to local religious customs, there’s no diving from sunset on Thursday to 2pm Friday.
If you don’t fancy going the full way & “Diving right in”, then Snorkelling could be a great option. This is a nice beach front activity, which offers a diverse range of marine sealife from fishes to turtles. You can hire snorkeling gear all over the island for 30,000Rp per day ($2).
16. Iboih Beach
Iboih Beach is a hotspot on Weh Island. Here you will find a bustling beach area with plenty of dive shops and tasty eateries.
15. Beaches: Pantai Kasih & Pasir Putih
Weh Islands other beaches such as Pantai Kasih, offer a great place to relax & sunbathe. If you head to the south coast you will come to Pasir Putih Beach, here you will find a breathtaking panoramic view of Aceh and other small island Pulau Breueh and Pulau Nasi.
Be sure to sample the Mie Aceh (Curried Noodle dish) with lobster for just 30,000 IDR ($2).
14. Secret Beach – It really is Secret!
When you arrive on Weh Island, you will here the legend of the Secret Beach. This is actually a very secret beach where only a few people know its exact location!
While in town be sure to ask around and some may be kind enough to lead you there! If you’ve ever seen the Leonardo di Caprio movie the beach, it reminds me of that!
13. Explore Pulau Weh by Motorcycle
By far my favourite, the easiest & most cost effective way to explore Weh Island is via a Motorcycle or scooter. As a small island its very easy to explore and takes around 4 hours to loop the whole island. With paradise surrounding you can stop when & where you like to take photos, eat or just explore.
If you take a looping motorcycle tour you can actually tick of all the major attractions as you go, use our custom map at the start of this article to assist, here is a short motorcycle tour:
- Starting Point: Ipoih Beach
- Route: 8km North through the Forest reserve
- Stop 1: Kilometer Nol (Northern most tip of Indonesia)
- Route: Head back south just before Gapang, take the westbound turing to reach Llong Angen.
- Stop 2: Llong Angen (A Rocky beach great to watch the sunset)
- Route: Head Further a 2km.
- Stop 3: Gua Sarang (Swallow Cave, 5000R), a magical cove ideal for swimming or snorkelling.
- Route: Head Back & go southeast past Gapang for 8km, before reach reach Pria Laot village, take the 1km road to Pria Lot Falls.
- Stop 4: Pria Lot Falls
12. Becak (Tuk Tuk) – Motorcycle Alternative:
If your not into motorbiking simply arrange a Becak (Tuk Tuk) Day tour of the island for approximately, 350,000 Rp ($24).
I used a Becak driver called Mr Deni, a friend gave me his number, he was very knowledgable & friendly but had limited english so make sure you have google translate handy.
Here is the Whatsapp number for our Becak Driver: Mr Deni: +6285270881964
11. Kilometer Zero
Kilometer Zero is a eye catching landmark which symbolises the northern most point of Indonesia!
Fun Fact: Technically Rondo Island, is the northern most point just of the coast but this is close enough.
10. Visit Pulau Weh‘s Downtown
If you take the scenic coastal road from Iboih Beach to downtown Sabang, you will sweep through towering trees and maybe even see a few monkeys!
Insider Tip: Don’t stop near the monkeys they can be quite aggressive here!
As you continue towards the center you will see a few roadside fruit stalls and other small restaurants you may want to stop and take a bite at. When you arrive in downton you will find an atmosphere of fruit markets offering juicy papaya to fresh seafood stalls.
Insider Tip: Try the local sugar sweet called “martabak” from the market.
9. Gunung Api (Active Volcano!)
For some real adventure why not take a hike up an active Volcano! As you ascend you can smell the sulphur and may even stumble across the hot springs.
8. Jungle Hiking
An underwater paradise is not the only thing on Weh Island, why not head further into the island and take a trek through the jungle. Here you will experience wildlife, wild flowers and some memorable nature!
Take the jungle to Waterfall hike, then just dive right in when you get there!
7. Secret Waterfall & Private Lagoon:
After your jungle trek head to the Secret Waterfall (Air Terjun Pria Laot) , which lies between Ibioh and Sebang. Dive into the secluded pool, a great way to cool of after your sweaty hike!
There is a handwritten sign for the waterfall about halfway to downtown. Take the path on the right side of the road. The hike takes around 20 minutes.
Safety Tip: Make sure your out of the jungle before sunset, as the jungle can be home to some gigantic monitor lizards!
6. Danau Aneuk Laot (Magic Lake)
Weh Island is a magical lake close to Sebang, which is well worth checking out.
5. Benteng Jepang (WWII Fort)
If your a history buff, there head to Benteng Jepang, a historic Japanese WWII fort on Pulau Weh.
The Japanese fought was created to stop a potential British Invasion from Singapore.
4. Fishing on Pulau Weh
Of course, with a spectrum of Marine life & clear waters, the fishing opportunities are fantastic. Tuna has a active population here, and you can take a local tour out fishing or rent a small boat.
3. Beachfront Yoga?
Perhaps one of my favourite things to do on Pulau Weh, is yoga at The Flying Elephant Yoga , the only yoga studio on the island. Here they offer a picturesque yoga shala with views of the beachfront, its great for mindfulness doing yoga with the waves lapping in the background!
Classes run in the evenings between 6:15pm – 7:15pm and is suitable for all levels. They even offer bespoke private practices.
2. Pulau Rubiah (Rubiah Island)
Just a short trip from Ibioh lies the small island of Pulau Rubiah. Here you will find gorgeous turquoise waters and some incredible snorkeling opportunities! A boat trip costs around Rp. 30,000 ($2)
1. Pulau Klah
If you fancy heading a little further a field, check out the tiny paradise island of Pulau Klah.
Where to Eat?
Of course all this diving, snorkeling and jungle trekking can build up quite an appetite! So here are great places to eat.
Norma’s Ong offering a traditonal buffet style dinner served at 7 daily. Here you will find fresh fish, meat, veg options and soups! The vibe here is very family oriented and they really make you feel welcomed.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before to reverse a seat at the table, Norma also offers many bungalows to rent.
Dee Dee’s Kitchen – Vegan Pick!
Run by two sisters which cook delicious Indonesian-fusion food. They have some tasty Veg/vegan options and offer large portions to suit guests. You are also very close to the beach.
They have WIFI!
This is a vibrant cafe on Iboih Beach, you can relax at the cafe which is perched on the small hill facing the sea. There is also many locals who love to chat & musicians who sometimes drop by.
The have a roof terrace area with unreal views of shimmering blue ocean!
Bixio Italian Cafè
This offers authentic Italian cooking, cooked by Italians! The food here is gorgeous and close to the beach. They also have very nice bungalow accommodation.
Le Café Bleu
A French lady and her husband create Western-style dishes and french specialities, and they have live music on Saturday Nights.
Where to Stay?
The best Weh island accommodation can be found on the coast east of Sabang or on the northwest side at Iboih and Gapang.
Sumur Tiga Beach: Freddies Resort
Sabang’s best beach is Sumur Tiga, a great resort here is Freddies, run by a friendly german named freddie who is very accommodating!
To Book a place to stay on Weh Island, check out our: Hotel Hack Tool!
Conclusion on Pulau Weh
Pulau Weh is one of the last paradise islands which hasn’t become over commercialised and is a true undiscovered paradise. It is also very cheap compared to other parts of Indonesia! So lets keep this paradise a secret between you & us guys at Town & Tourist! Enjoy!
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