Ever since I started diving again, I fell right back in love with the sport. I am fascinated by watching the fish swim by unknowingly. I am delighted by finding brightly coloured little nudibranches in the most unlikely places. I am happy tumbling about in the water, with no sense of up or down, just hovering in midwater. I appreciated the quiet and the isolation from the rest of the world – no beeping phones, no flashing messages, no emails, no music, just the quiet bubbly sound escaping my regulator when I breath. Someone once told me diving is not a individual sport. How wrong! It is a very individual sport, and I appreciate the me-time.
I heard about Pulau Weh when talking with some of the divers I met at Perhentian. Apparently it is one of the best sites they have ever been to. I checked it out, and it seems that not many people know about it! Good! The less-known, the better preserved the sites, the quieter the area. It was the monsoon season for the dive sites on the eastern coast of Malaysia, and on the contrary, the dive season for the west coast and Pulau Aceh!
It may not be so easily accessible as compared to the other dive sites, but for the pristine conditions, I say it’s well worth the journey!
The dive conditions were excellent. On the beach we were at, there were only 2 dive operators and each time we head out, there were only 3-4 leisures + DM + DM-in-training, and no one else! The dive sites were pristine with great visibility, and lots of marine life to spot. I love the dive site at Tokong, where we drift-dived and saw some really stunning and huge orange/pink fan corals! I’ve never seen anything like that before! The current at the dive sites are a little stronger than what we’re used to in the Malaysia sites, but it was good training.
Unlike the other diving destinations in the area, Pulau Weh is pretty quiet and free from the parties and drunken revellers (perhaps because it is in an Islamic state?). The food is simple and local, not like the low quality western (or even local) food they serve tourists in many other places. It was a great place to escape the busy city and recharge!
Trip Summary: 4 Days Dive-trip to Pulau Weh, Aceh, Indonesia (Dec)
– Morning flight SG – KL (Jetstar)
– Afternoon flight KL – Banda Aceh (AirAsia)
– Arrive at Banda Aceh at 1:30pm
– Taxi to Balohan Ferry Terminal (120,000 idr)
– Ferry to Pulau Weh 16:00 – 16:50 (90,000idr)
– Check into Freddies’ at Sabang (located on a beautiful beach, Santai Sumurtiga)
– Tuk Tuk to Gapang (It’s a 1hr ride.. so perhaps staying at Gapang is better!)
– 3 awesome dives with Monster Divers
– Back to Freddies’
– 3 more awesome dives at Monster Divers!
– Dinner at this local ikan place in Iboih (ask Sergi from the dive shop!)
– Back to Freddies’
– Half day tour around Pulau Weh (tuktuk, 20,000idr)
– Breakfast at Sabang town
– Pre-war & Post-war cemeteries – though overgrown and ill-maintained, it’s pretty cool to see the different cemeteries (European since 1800s, Japanese & Chinese)…
– War Bunkers near the coastal area
– Wisata Volcano, small volcano into the middle of the island
– Ferry to Banda Aceh 14:00 – 15:30
– Visit Grand Mosque (Only Muslims are permitted to enter. Nevertheless, the architecture is a stunning piece of beauty even from the outside!)
– Visit Aceh Bazaar next to the Grand Mosque
– Overnight in Banda Aceh
*If you have time, you should also visit the Tsunami Museum, a monument and memorial to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
– Flight back to SG via KL