Introducing Pulau Weh
You are in for a real treat at Pulau Weh. The island’s fingers grasp at the mighty Indian Ocean, forming vistas of alternating land and sea. Like the terrestrial landscape, the underwater geography is rugged and varied, creating the scuba version of hiking. Divers describe great walls of languid sea fans, deep canyons and rock pinnacles, plus a lot of big fish.
Hardly on the international radar of beach scenes, Weh is mellow and unconcerned with tourist dollars. Along the muddy island road are little villages with underwear-only kids playing in the yard, lazy cows tied up to a green patch of grass and scrappy goats looking for garden victims. The shops cater to the locals with communal TVs and coffee instead of souvenir kitsch.
Pulau Weh is shaped roughly like a horseshoe. On the northeastern leg is the port town of Sabang, where most of Weh’s population lives. The primary tourist beaches are Gapang and Iboih, which are about 20km away heading towards the northwestern leg.
It’s always a little rainy on Weh, with two monsoon seasons. November to January are the wettest, coolest months but are also the best times to see whale sharks.
Malaria has been reported on the island, so take the proper precautions.
The tsunami did give Weh a minor licking, but the island fared better than the mainland. Many of the coastal businesses that were bashed up have since rebuilt and the villagers banded together to repair roads, replant trees and fill in washed-out pockets of the beach.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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