Diving and beach mecca
Located at the far western end of the 5000-kilometre long Indonesian archipelago, Pulau Weh has over the past decade or so become one of those beachside places that successfully treads the fine line between remote jungle-covered island paradise with no facilities and tourist hell filled with hundreds of beach resorts.
It’s managed to navigate this line so well that Pulau Weh may well be that island paradise you’ve always dreamed of, but never been able to find—especially if you’ve tried looking in Thailand.
The atmosphere on Pulau Weh is still low-key enough that you’re unlikely to see more than about 50 foreigners during your weeklong stay on the island. On the other hand, enough people are coming here that hoteliers and restaurant owners are making an effort to ensure their guests’ stay is comfortable for fear of losing out to their competition. At the bottom end of the accommodation range are small huts tucked in the forest with shared facilities—expect to pay about 60,000 rupiah per night for these. At the upper end are all-in resorts catering for people wanting a few more luxuries, but far less gaudy and mono-cultural than what you might find in Phuket and Bali. In fact, when not diving, most people choose to spend their time swinging in a hammock on their balcony, reading a book and sipping on an ice cold beer.
Diving is the biggest draw to Pulau Weh and dive enthusiasts are the real reason that tourism to the island has taken off. On each ferry arriving from the Sumatran mainland city and provincial capital of Banda Aceh are a handful of tourists eager to see what all the fuss is about under the ocean around Pulau Weh. What they find are shipwrecks, canyons, underwater volcanoes and a diversity of marine life that is truly ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)