About Pulau Weh, Sabang, Indonesia
As soon as you will get here, you will feel the Island vibes and time feels to somehow go slower. Every house and shop has a hammock in front of it just in case you will need a rest after whole day admiring the underwater world or the lush greenery.
Consider the size of Pulau Weh, there is surprisingly a lot of to do!
Check our article 17 things to do in Pulau Weh.
Pulau Weh also known as “Weh Island” or Sabang is an Island on the Northwest of Sumatra, Indonesia. Pulau Weh is a small island with 156 km2 but very mountainous. The main reason for visiting this off the beaten track island is for most travellers the diving.
During the plankton season you can even spot manta rays, whale sharks and sharks. The diving here is extremely beautiful, the water is so clear, full of colourful coral and many spices of fish!
Part Weh Island is part of Aceh province, the religion here is an Islamic Sharia Law. That means some rules and limitations for travellers which should be respected.
Alcohol is being sold only at a few places for quite a high price. Small can of beer Bintang costs 40k IDR (4 AUD).
Women should respect locals culture and wear long sleeve pants and cover their shoulders. Even on the beaches is usually prohibited to be in bikini and you need to wear shirt and pants.
Friday is a special day for Muslims and it’s not allowed to do any leisure activities from morning till 2 pm.
Weekends are very busy in Pulau Weh as many Indonesian people from Banda Aceh and Medan come to Weh Island for a holiday. If you are planning to visit some of the more famous spots, make sure you will go there during week days to avoid crowds!
Unlike to Banyak Islands, there are quite few ATMs, just at Iboih beach there are 3. So you don’t need to have cash money from mainland. Although almost everything on Weh Island need to be paid in cash.
How to get to Pulau Weh
Weh Island or “Sabang” is an Island northwest off Sumatra in Indonesia.
From the international airport in Medan you have two main options how to get to harbor in Banda Aceh.
- You can take a domestic 50 minutes long flight
- Or you can take a bus. The bus goes overnight and takes around 12 hours.
From Banda Aceh airport you need to take a taxi to the harbor. Taxi takes 30 minutes and costs 120k IDR. To the city centre Banda Aceh it costs 100k IDR (10 AUD).
From Uleh-leh Harbor you can take fast ferry or slow ferry.
Slow ferry takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs 27k IDR per person. Slow ferry goes every day at 8am and 2pm from mainland to Pulau Weh. Sometimes there is one at 10am as well.
Fast ferry takes 45 minutes and costs 80k IDR per person. Fast ferry goes every day at 10am and 4 pm to the Weh Island. Sometimes there is additional ferry at 10am.
Try to be at harbor at least 45 minutes before departure to get yourself a spot on the ferry, especially during high season and weekends.
From Haloban port on Weh Island you can jump into the public minibus with other locals for approximately 50k IDR per person. Depends where you are going, we went to Iboih beach and it took around 1 hour.
Other options are a private cars for 150k IDR (15 AUD) or Tuk Tuk for 70/100k IDR (7-10 AUD).
How to get from Weh Island
From Bolahan port on Pulau Weh you can choose as well from slow ferry or fast ferry.
The slow ferry takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and goes at 10:30am and 2:30pm back to the Banda Aceh mainland.
27k IDR per person
The fast ferry from Weh Island is at 8:30 am and 2:30pm. In high season there is on weekends another fast ferry 4pm.
80k IDR per person
Try to be at harbor at least 45 minutes before departure to get yourself a spot at the ferry, especially during high season and weekends.
Pulau Weh weather and when to go
Pulau Weh experiences two season – rainy season and dry season.
Rainy season goes from November to March. The rain is often and temperature is really high. The dry season is from April to October. Rain is rare and temperatures are more comfortable.
To avoid crowds yet have a great weather and diving conditions, go to Pulau Weh February – May and September – November.
Keep in your mind that weekends are really busy with people coming for a short holiday from Medan and Banda Aceh. Ferries and accommodation can be quite full.
Pulau Weh diving – what to see and what to do in Weh Island
Weh Island Indonesia is the mostly known for diving and snorkelling around the protected corals and rich marine life.
And we can just confirm that the best thing about Weh Island is the underwater world. As Weh Island is a world class diving area there are many diving centres and free diving centres. Most of them are concentrated at Gapang beach.
When the water gets little bit cooler, from October, the bigger creatures arrive. You can spot here Manta rays, whale sharks or Black tip Reef Sharks.
For shipwreck lovers there are quite shipwrecks, the most known one lies in 40 metres of water, and another one is in 26 metres.
But even if you are not a diver, the snorkelling opportunities in Weh Island are unlimited for you!
The best beaches for snorkelling are supposed to be Iboih beach and Gapang beach.
At Iboih beach every day at 8 am counter opens and sells a half day or whole day snorkelling trips. Half day (4 hours) snorkelling trip costs 350k IDR for boat (2 people). Whole day (10 hours) includes lunch costs 700k IDR per boat.
Snorkelling gear is being rented for 40k IDR per day, but it’s very old and low quality masks and flippers, so if you have your own, it will be a big advantage!
Prices and costs on Pulau Weh
Because Weh Island is still well kept secret, the tourism is not developed that much there yet and prices are really affordable.
Accommodation on the water with Air-condition for two people is about 200k IDR
Meal in local warongs 15-30k IDR
Fruit juice 10-15k IDR
Meal in Restaurant 50k IDR
Small beer 40k IDR
Bike for a day 70k IDR – 100k IDR
Mask and snorkel for a day 40k IDR
Half day snorkelling trip on the private boat 350k IDR per boat (two people)
Weh Island accommodation
The most beautiful beaches on Weh Island would be Long beach, Gapang Beach and Sumur Tiga beach.
The most convenient place to stay for scooter trips and snorkelling trips is Iboih beach.