If you’ve ever dreamt about having a tropical island entirely to yourself, complete with palm trees, powdery white beaches and crystal-clear waters, the Banyak Islands is a great place to fulfil your Robinson Crusoe fantasy. A cluster of 99 mostly uninhabited islands, the Banyak (Many) Islands are situated about 30km west of Singkil. Remote they might be, but they are now very much on the radar of paradise-seeking travellers and surfers. As well as having arguably the finest beaches in Sumatra and a handful of quality surf spots, the Banyaks feature Sumatra’s best snorkelling, with beautiful underwater forests of colourful coral (at least where there has been no past dynamite fishing).
Only two of the islands are properly inhabited: the town of Balai on Pulau Balai is the main entry point to the islands; low-key Haloban on Pulau Tuangku is the other main village.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Banyak Islands.