Travel Diary: Hello to the Point where Indonesia Starts – Pulau Weh

PARADISE ISLAND

Fashion Weeks of the world are in full swing at the moment but as I’m in the midst of my travels, I’m unfortunately reporting in denim cut off shots and vest tops….

Pulau Weh is a small horse shoe shaped island located just north of Banda Aceh, North Sumatra and is officially the point where Indonesia starts. We spent 4 days on this beautiful, remote and relatively untouched island on Ibioh beach one of more built up area on the island and home to one of four dive schools on the island, facing the tiny pulau Rubiah.

Small private bungalows made entirely of wood and built on the hilly and palm tree covered coastal landscape is the main choice of accommodation on the island, they’re pretty basic but this adds to the beauty of feeling isolated. Costs for accommodation is reflective of the simplicity of the bungalows however the 100 or so thousand rupiah you pay per night clearly doesn’t take into account the landscape that surrounds you and the views of guaranteed perfect sunsets and sunrises each day.
Our bungalows at Fatimah’s had a balcony overlooking the impressive views of the sea and pulau Rubiah, it’s nestled in the thick tree covered coast giving it a picturesque green backdrop… it was almost too idyllic.

Early mornings and early evenings were spent climbing down into the clear waters below our bungalow and going for a snorkel, there was a whole host of fish in the water by the small shipwreck, our most interesting encounter was a huge octopus slithering along the sea bed changing colours as it swam beneath us. During the day we rode scooters around the island with a bunch of people we had met at Eric’s Greenhouse (an incredible guesthouse run by a very welcoming owner) to explore the incredible cliff edges including the infamous KM0 point, the point where Indonesia officially begins.
We visited Sabang, the island’s largest city and headed further north to the other end of the shoe horse to have lunch at the cliff edge, stopped off to buy bananas to feed the monkeys on the way back.

The final day consisted of an electrifying swim across a 500m or so channel to the small island of Rubiah, we figured after seeing it every morning this just had to be done despite the fact I don’t consider myself a strong swimmer. The swim took around 20 minutes, the island was practically desolate, we walked through the forest taking the brunt of numerous mosquito bites to go for a snorkel on the other side, all while trying to not think about the swim back…. (the current had got pretty stronger by this point!). This was definitely an experience I’m glad I endured…there’s simply nothing more relaxing and super scary at the same time being surrounded by complete blueness.

On the day of departure, the feeling that we were leaving far too soon after only three days on the island was unanimous, we could have easily spent the whole two weeks we had to explore Sumatra there. Bagus scali, meaning very good in Bahasa was the definite theme for our time there.

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