Pulau Weh, Aceh, Indonesia

Aceh Travel Blog

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  • My third visit to Indonesia brought me to the island of Sumatra.  I travelled by sea and land from Singapore all the way up to Pulau weh, the destination of this report, at the top of the much larger island of sumatra.  After reading about the tsunami and the conflicts between the Acehnese and the Indonesian gov't I expected to find the place a bit beat up and in recovery.  Although I had my concerns about going, I was keen to get diving and I heard Pulau Weh was the best sumatra had to offer.  You might think this may have been the state before the tsunami but it must have destroyed a lot of the underwater life.  I had this thought but was amazed to arrive and after a few dives have seen more life and healthy coral then I saw in Bali, the Gilis or even Sulawesi on earlier trips to Indonesia.
      As far as tsunami damage above water, although not so noticable on arrival as there are a lot of new buildings on the island and in the capital.  Once you start talking with people you realize the huge amount of damage done.  Almost everyone I met lost most of thier family in the disaster.  For this reason I did not mind paying inflated prices directly to the local people renting thier newly put up bamboo cabins and cooking amazing meals for me like I was part of the family.  The island was almost deserted of tourists save me, and a few divemasters and the odd other traveller.  then came the weekend and the NGO workers came from the capital and rented every available room on the island bringing with them indonesian girlfriends and thier laptops completely changing the feel of the place.
      Most of the workers are well paid and for that the rates of all rooms go up a huge amount on the weekend.  if you are a budget traveller make sure to let your bungalow owners know that they will give you a reasonable rate for your stay there and treat you a lot differently then they do the weekend visitors.  i found transport out to the beaches of the island where the accom is was non existant, but if you hire a taxi out there, or hitch hike a ride then getting to sabang is easy there will be a bus each day or you could offer someone who has extras some cash to rent a scooter.  I would go back to Pulau Weh anytime, and recmommend anyone thinking of going up there to do it.   It is perfectly safe and the locals are in amazing spirits considering the hard years they are passing through.
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Aceh Sights & Attractions review
When I arrived on Pulau Weh I had intended to dive with Rubiah Tirta Divers. When I was there they were still rebuilding after the tsunami but were s… read entire review
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photo by: crusher398