Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)

  Indonesia: Pulau Weh [Sumatra] - March 2010

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

I dreamed of it, I'm there! Pulau Weh is a small Indonesian island located on the northern tip of Sumatra. The area is well known: it is the one of Banda Aceh, which was devastated during the tsunami of December 2004. Pulau Weh is not very touristic and is famous for its underwater world.

Five years after the tsunami

The island is at the border of the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea, just in the extension of the Nicobar and Andaman islands (which I will surely visit one day, later...).

There have been quite a few casualties here on Pulau Weh, during the terrifying and deadly tsunami of December 2004, unlike the rest of the Banda Aceh region on Sumatra itself.

When the water receded in the distance, a sign of an impending wave, the people of Pulau Weh were able to take refuge in the heights. Apparently, some of them were aware of the phenomenon and alerted the others of the danger.

A little more than five years after the disaster, the city of Banda Aceh, the regional capital, is being rebuilt. With a lot of ugly concrete decorated with loud advertising signs (as in so many other Indonesian cities), as I could see when I went to change money before taking the ferry... Life has resumed its course in North Sumatra. The separatist movement is no longer relevant and visitors are starting to come back.

Pulau Weh, a very quiet island

Pulau Weh seems to me to be very quiet. Only two ATM (automated teller machines) in the town of Sabang.

On the road between the pier and Gapang Beach (where I chose to land), we cross bands of monkeys, cows and goats in goguette, dogs, chickens and children who cross anywhere, anyhow ... Ah, the Indonesian roads!!!

Before leaving, I gleaned a lot of information from travelers' forums. And this recent trip reporton the excellent Transverse notebooksI was really looking forward to it...

I contacted the diving center Lumba Lumbaheld by a Dutch couple. That's where I'm based.

Their bungalows are top notch. And the mention "free wireless internet in the rooms" more than titillated me, I must say... 😜

They too had to rebuild everything after the tsunami. On the picture below, the white line on the windows of the first floor is the level of the water...

Lumba Lumba dive center, in Gapang Beach, on Pulau Weh. (Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Lumba Lumba dive center, in Gapang Beach, on Pulau Weh. (Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)

I didn't explore the island much yet, this Monday. I mostly spent my day sleeping... The jet-lag and the fatigue of the trip got the better of me.

But I still managed to make some pictures of my immediate environment, at the end of the day. And rediscovered the simple pleasure of smiling... in response to the smiles that people spontaneously give you as a greeting, when they pass you.

Ah, how good it is to be back in Southeast Asia!

Fisherman on the Gapang Pier, Pulau Weh. (Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Fisherman on the Gapang Pier, Pulau Weh. (Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
The Cove of Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang beach cove (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Peaceful atmosphere in Gapang. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Peaceful atmosphere in Gapang. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
We are not invaded by the crowd. (Gapang Beach, Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
We are not overwhelmed by the crowd (Gapang Beach, Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010).
View of Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
View of Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)
Gapang Beach. (Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia, March 2010.)


  Indonesia: Pulau Weh [Sumatra] - March 2010

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  1. Thank you for this first post and first photos... Why go anywhere but Indonesia? Not only are the seabeds fabulous (we're waiting for your feedback on this corner...) but also the people and landscapes that take us far, far away...
    Allez ton blog nous emmène un peu là-bas, j'oublierais presque le froid, le bureau et qu'il me faut encore attendre le mois de mai pour être en vacances!

  2. Arrrf the lucky girl !!!! Well.... have fun! Get in the water!!! I hope you won't sink with this new device !!!
    Good diving, see you soon!

  3. Well, I'm back from a nice getaway in Thonon,-3....with a chilly wind...Tomorrow, even more exotic, Saint louis, near Mulhouse, in the IBIS bungalow!!!!
    You really chose the right week to leave....Grande vague de froid en France!!!!Heureusement votre blog est là pour nous réchauffer!!MERCI!!!!

  4. Hello and have a nice stay,

    I can't wait to read more about this trip, especially the underwater discoveries. I don't know why this part of Indonesia appeals to me less than Sulawezi, Raja Ampat or the Probe Islands, but with a few more tickets, I might just change my mind.

    Good bubbles

  5. It's still snowing in the Basque country, with winter temperatures forecast for the whole week, and the Japanese apple tree, already in bloom but covered in snow, is splendid. It's not even missing the little red-throat perched on a branch, as in many Japanese prints! Well, to each his own flora and fauna!
    What happiness to read you!

    Lydie 🙂

  6. Super, it already makes you want to! I can't wait for the rest! Before I go there, who knows... it won't be the first time you've given me ideas 😉

  7. You said: in March, I go back to Asia.
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... March still nothing new, well here it is finally the new destination revealed! We're going to be able to escape from the freezing cold by consulting your site on a daily basis, plus you've got internet "at home"!! 😉
    The area looks really nice, I can't wait to see the photos of the dives.
    Next year, we're going back to Asia too, that's decided. ❗
    Strongly more ...

  8. Blue, green and a very detailed commentary: it's great to see and read.
    Here, it's clear skies and beggar's chill, but you don't care about that!
    Beautiful dives, see you soon

  9. @Malene: yessss, Indonesia is great! First dives yesterday, lots of nice "little" things (harlequin ghost pipefish, leaf fish...). Today, I'm training to handle the monster (my new tank) on the house-reef. I'll report back soon!

    @Anthony: No, I didn't sink earlier on my first try... Quite the opposite, in fact. I made the mistake of removing a weight, thinking that the device was going to weigh me down too much... as a result, I was too "light" and had trouble stabilizing myself with the small beach swell. I'll try again later, with more weight.

    @ Helen: Yes, I feel I've chosen my moment well... Come on, I'm sending you lots of positive vibes from Indonesia. Cheer up for the tour!

    @Myriam: In fact, in Sumatra, it seems to me that only Pulau Weh is a popular dive site. There are no other famous sites, as far as I know... As for Sumatra itself, I won't have time to discover it on this trip, but I've had nothing but good reports from other travellers...

    @Lydie: Oh, my, snow?!! Brrr... I hope it warms up when I get back!

    @Thib: Yes, it seems to me that Pulau Weh could make a very nice trip from Singapore ...

    @Laurence: Voili-voilou !!! Suffice to wait a little ... Diving photos arrive in a future post. Still a little bit of patience.

    @Colette: Yes, I admit, I don't really care about the weather in Rennes right now. Thanks for the note, it's great to see you here again.

  10. Sumatra is a very original destination for a diving trip in Indonesia. As I'm about to embark on my 5th diving trip to this country, I must confess that I had neither considered going to Sumatra nor read any of the reviews except for the following:

    How will you feel about what is described in the link above:
    - the visibility
    - the canyon with "big visitors
    - drifters with "bigger feeders
    - the 134 m wreck

    Excellent dives! Photos of moray eels are expected after the dives at Batee Tokong: D.

  11. @Bertran: I've found quite a few links on Sumatra and Pulau Weh, but more focused on travel than diving. I'll go back to my bookmarks and point that out to you.
    I don't intend to do the wreck, which is too deep for my taste (over 50 metres). I'm more into the idea of "having fun without stress" in shallower, fishy waters, to take photos. I don't really want to have to make endless stops for a few minutes at the bottom... But many divers here at Lumba Lumba ask to do it.
    Batee Tokong, the moray eel site, I've already talked about it here:
    For others, it will be very soon, in future tickets!

  12. Wow, make me dream again! Winter here is getting longer, and this weekend I'm spending it in Poitiers, which is less glamorous!
    and then, I want to see beasts with branches too, I love them. (lumibranches, nullibranches - I do not know the name!)
    Kisses, enjoy!!! 😀

  13. @RolK: I'm delighted to have succeeded in making you dream a little... For the moment, I'm in the water all the time, diving. But I'm going to take a day off, one of these days, to wander around the island a bit. Underwater, no spectacular nudibranchs yet. Just a few tiny specimens, of which I haven't managed to get any good pictures. But I'll try to find some more! Bizzz

  14. @David: Ah, the trip is over, for about three weeks... But I'm extending it, through this blog, with my memories, my impressions, my images. Delighted to have given you desires to leave!!! And I can't wait for the next trip!

  15. Hi Corinne,

    I'll be spending almost a month in Sumatra and Java in August. I think I'll spend a week on your island! Apparently, the seabed is great! What's the cheapest accommodation around here?

    Good day to you!


  16. @Fabrice: For the diving center, yes, the Lumba Lumba is very very good. You will find all the useful information on their site:

    On Gapang beach, where the Lumba Lumba is located, there are plenty of other accommodation options (small, basic bungalows run by locals), which are not at all expensive. The Lumba Lumba also offers rooms that are a little less expensive than its bungalows (which, themselves, are not overpriced and are very comfortable).

    On Iboih beach, likewise, a vast choice of basic, inexpensive accommodation....

    Good preparations !!!

  17. Hello Corinne,

    It's great to see Pulau Weh and the Lumba Lumba again! It's true that it's very quiet!
    I hope you enjoyed it, and by the way thanks for the link 😉