Sabang island also known as Weh Island, it’s the westernmost of Indonesian archipelago. After almost 3 months I living in Banda Aceh, last week end 19th April 2008 I have a chance to go there.
At 9 PM, start from my boarding house I go to Ule Lheueu Harbor in Banda Aceh. Actually the boat will go at 11 PM but we have to come earlier because they have a limited seats. I buy 4 economy tickets, Rp 60.000,- each person.
It’s a fast ferry, Sabang island reached in 45 minutes, if u like to sailing in a longer time you can choose a slower ferry, it takes 3 hours to reach Sabang island…..also in a cheaper price off course, only Rp 15.000 per person.
11.45 PM we came to Balohan port, Sabang have two port, the other one is a free harbor where a cruiser been there once.
My friend already book a car with driver before, so when we come to Balohan, someone come a near. He is our driver with his old white Toyota crown, well I think there’s no good car rented here even Sabang was famous with their luxury car which sale in a cheap price (Sabang is a free port , CBU car from Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand like lexus, BMW or even Ferrari can landing in this island without any taxation).
And for this old rental car we have to pay Rp 450.000,- per day……….my suggestion is if you want to come to Sabang, better you come in a big group so you can share the transportation fee, because they give a same price for any kind of car……….like kijang or L300 from Mitsubishi.
We decide to go to Gapang beach first to find a hotel, then go around Sabang island after that. Along the trip to Gapang, I see so many beautiful views. I think Sabang government already try to beautify their city, they plant a beautiful flower along the road. I don’t know what’s the flower name, but I think it’s look like sakura flower from Japan.
in some area there’s a Monkey habitat, the monkey will draw near toour car……..some tourist love to give them food.
It takes one hour trip to Gapang, wow it’s such a beautiful beach. Before go around we check the hotel first. Our choice is Gapang Resort, it’s a resort with so many cottages, considering the budget and our anxiety to sleep alone we choose the smaller one, actually this cottage is for 2 persons but we insist to sleep together at that room, thanks God the hotel keeper agree.
It’s not a luxurious one, but with the wood wall and floor, it’s totally ethnic and cool. Still the bathroom are made by ceramic and brick wall. This cottage is completed with an air conditioner, and it’s cheap I think….only Rp 200.000,- for all.
And now is time to have FUN!!!
We go to Iboih beach, next to Gapang, it takes 15 minutes to go with a car.
In Iboih we can buy any souvenir or beach dress at their one and only souvenir shop. My friend said that Iboih already leaved by tourist, Iboih before was so beautiful but now I see so many neglected cottages mixed with maintained cottages. Because it’s already lunch time, we take a lunch at Oong café. Here they only serve instant noodle and French fries. Rp 8.000 for noodle and Rp 15.000 for French fries.
Many tourist from around the world has come to Iboih beach years ago, they introduce the villagers a new lifestyle, here you can find a little boy speak fluently in English, a girl wearing a bikini, or a restaurant serve a beer. Come to Sabang make me feel like hundreds kilometers from Banda Aceh.
Iboih have a really wonderful view under their sea, if you don’t like to dive or snorkel you can choose to sail a boat with a glass window at their floor, at the most beautiful area the boat crew will turn off the boat machine then we can see coral and decorated fish swim under the boat. This boat also go around Rubiah island, a small island next to Iboih. The boat crew tell us that years ago, Rubiah island is a place to quarantine Hajj before they go to Makah, in this island we can found so many colonial inheritance, now some body has built a cottage there. For this Glass Windowed Boat we have to pay Rp 250.000,- go around Rubiah island or Rp 100.000,- for Iboih to Rubiah and back to Iboih trip.
Actually we want to swim but when we took our leg to the water I see so many ‘Bulu Babi’ there, Bulu Babi is a harmful animal, once we touch this you’ll feel a deep pain, and you know how to cure it? Ask your friend to pee on your wound, YAKS!!! But It’s a panacea.
So then we only watch many people who wearing rubber shoes swimming, or the other one going fishing.
Late night we go back to the cottages at Gapang, take a bath and looking for a dinner. We choose to dine in Dang dang na restaurant, you know what dang dang na mean? It’s mean sometimes available and sometime is not, meaning the menus is not always available. If you want a chicken barbecue you have to order before 5 PM.
They serve more varieties menus, like pancake, noodles, fried rice, sautéing vegetable etc. we can eat and enjoy the sea ambience at night, very nice.
Early in the morning, we go to swim, not like Iboih, Gapang beach has already cleared from Bulu Babi, and the beach have a soft sand also. Even though I cannot swim, I decide to rent a snorkeling tools like fin and goggle, only Rp 30.000 per set. I snorkel about 15 meters from the shore and I see beautiful coral with starfish hidden behind lay under my body and decorated fish swim together with me WOW!! It’s a wonderful time, I see how amazing life there, in this time I sad many thanks to my God to sent me to this wonderful place. But just because I’am wearing a life jacket I cannot touch the coral (despitefully I think it’s prohibited too because these will broken the coral) and Unfortunately I didn’t rent an underwater camera, so I can’t memorize this beautiful sight.
Most domestic tourist like to snorkel but the international tourist more interest to diving, tourist from any country come to Gapang, only for diving, I guess deep under the Gapang water is much much beautiful that’s why they come that far to Gapang. I see them sailing to the middle of the sea and disappear, they reappear at lunch time with satisfied face, actually I really seduced to try, but the dive tools must be expensive and I’m not brave enough too.
There also a diving course established here, one of them was established by an expatriate. He also built a resort (with better managementcompared to indigene resort), if you want to stay at this resort you only have to pay 20 euro per night, but you have to rent the dive tools too because originally this resort is prepared for the divers. They put a slogan like “Never try never know” or “Caution diving is addicted, enter at your own risk” I think it’s right because now I really want to go back to Sabang just for snorkel.
Uuuuh too bad it’s time for us to leave, because it’s almost 4 PM where the one and only fast ferry will sailing back to Banda Aceh.
Before we go to the port we go around Sabang downtown, I see so many luxurious car neglected in the outer court like something priceless. Too bad, I dream how if I can drive that one to Jakarta he he…..
Sabang people has an unique habit, it’s a day sleep, so when we go around the town at 12 Am to 4 PM there’s no shop open, they all sleep or stay at home. The town it’s so quiet……and it’s really small too I think, to go around the town it’s only takes 30 minutes.
4 PM we sailed back to Banda Aceh……..bye Sabang!!! I think I’ll should come again before I go back to my home town, Bandung…………..