Why the North of Sumatra is good for a getaway and a visa run
‘Wait a minute, Sumatra is still part of Indonesia, how shall I do a visa run there?’ You might wonder. And that’s right, the Aceh region is located in the northern part of Sumatra and only a short 1 hour flight away from Kuala Lumpur. So when booking your tickets for your visa run you can combine your trip with a visit to Aceh!
Why is the Aceh Region in Sumatra your best choice for an island getaway?
That’s easy: Because it’s simply a paradise. You will find some amazing spots there to surf and kite surf at Lampuuk Beach and Lhokgna Beach in the Aceh Region. A 45 minute boat ride away you find the magical Island Pulau Weh.
Pulau Weh: A perfect island getaway for everybody
Divers, snorkelers and beach potatoes – Everybody will find something to do. Visit a waterfall, explore the wonderful world above and underwater and be amazed by the breath-taking nature of Pulau Weh!
Scuba Diving in Pulau Weh
The island is a true paradise, both above and below sea level. The most popular villages on Pulau Weh have a laid-back backpackers vibe. It’s a perfect paradise to relax and have a good time underwater. We prepared a full article for you. Learn more about where to dive on Pulau Weh and what to see!
Snorkelling in Pulau Weh
Spots that are great for diving are also great for snorkelling, of course. Pulau Weh has some amazing spots. The best ones are in Iboih, at Gapang Beach as well as at Sumur Tiga Beach.
Snorkelling in Iboih: You can simply go from the foot bridges of the accommodations in Iboih or from the public beach in Iboih. Find your accommodation with your private foot bridge in Iboih!
Snorkelling at Gapang Beach: Simply grab your mask,, snorkel and fins and go directly from the beach.
Snorkelling at Sumur Tiga: Same goes for snorkelling at Sumur Tiga. Simply go from the beach!
Snorkelling at Long Beach: This is a beautiful white sand beach with crystal blue water waiting for you to be explored. Enjoy the amazing island view over the island Seulako! Find amazing places to stay at Long Beach!
In the mood for some Island hopping?
Pulau Klah Island: If you can’t get enough from snorkelling, simply go on a trip with one of the local fisher boats and visit the little island named Pulau Klah. Most of the time you will have the snorkelling spots for yourself!
Pulau Rubiah Island: From Iboih you can also swim and snorkel over to the little neighbour island called Pulau Rubiah! Make sure to bring fins, since currents can be strong. To be safe, ask the local dive schools when is a good time to do that – Let’s go exploring!
Waterfall Air Terjun Pria Laot on Pulau Weh
Waterfalls are always a great thing to visit – specially on Pulau Weh. At this Waterfall Air Terjun Pria Laot on Pulau Weh you won’t only see clear waters splashing down, you will also find a beautiful unspoiled forest. The access to the Pria Laot Waterfall is relatively easy. From the main road heading to the Km Nol, you have to turn left after Meunasah Pria Laot. You can park the car near the bridge in front of the drinking water company. If you are coming with a motor bike, you can park it at the residential housing area near the water pump for about 2,000 IDR. Now you can walk through the concreted path that will guide to the Pria Laot Waterfall for more than 1 Km. On the left side there is the river. After walking through the concrete path, you will then walk through the mossy rocks. There will be several bridges that clear up your eyes when seeing the flow of water from the river below. You have arrived at Air Terjun Pria Laot Waterfall! Take a shower and just live in the moment!
Watch Sunset at Kilometer Nol (Km zero of Indonesia)
After diving and snorkelling, the second thing to do for most people coming to Pulau Weh is to go to the Kilometer Nol (Km zero of Indonesia). The location of this place is approximately 30 kilometers from the center town of Sabang, or about 1 hour drive by road. The best time to go there is right before sunset – Watch this spectacular view and enjoy some breath-taking moments on the beautiful island of Pulau Weh!
Simply relax on Long Beach
Welcome Beach Potatoes. There is plenty of beaches on Pulau Weh. Simply relax, get some tan and read a good book. Even though it’s not allowed everywhere in Pulau Weh to tan with your bikini most spots are quite relaxed. Long Beach is perfect for simply doing nothing!
Do want to know more about the Sharia law?
Sharia, Sharia law or Islamic law is a set of religious principles which form part of the Islamic culture. The Arabic word sharīʿah (Arabic: شريعة) refers to the revealed law of God and originally meant “way” or “path”.Sharia, Sharia law, or Islamic law (Arabic: شريعة (IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa])) is the religious lawforming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. … Historically, sharia was interpreted by independent jurists (muftis).
This is called ‘khalwat’. It is a crime for a man and a woman who are not married to be in a secluded place together in Aceh. This is called khalwat and it is punishable by up to nine lashes, a fine of 150 grams of gold or 15 months’ imprisonment.
Alongside khalwat, maysir (gambling) and khamar (consuming alcohol) are also illegal under sharia.
Under the 2014 jinayat, zina (adultery and pre-marital sex), liwath (gay sex), musahaqah (lesbianism) and qadzaf (falsely accusing other people of adultery) are also classified as crimes. Those found guilty of such crimes could face up to 100 lashes or 1,000 grams of gold or 100 months in prison.
It does, but only for crimes that are not regulated under the Criminal Code such as khalwat, premarital sex or homosexuality. Non-Muslim offenders, however, could be prosecuted under sharia if they are willing to do so (the legal term for this is menundukan diri, which loosely translates to “submitting”).
Rent a motorbike and explore the island of Pulau Weh
Feel free & explore the beautiful island. Take some stops, relax, breath and simply enjoy the purest nature! The easiest way to get around on Pulau Weh (and also the cheapest) is renting a motorbike. You can either chose to rent a motorbike for a half day (50.000 IDR) or for a full day (100.000 IDR).
Surfing in North Sumatra: Lampuuk & Lhoknga Beach
Beautiful white sand beaches are waiting for you, ready for relaxing and also some world class surfing and kite surfing at Lampuuk Beach and Lhoknga Beach. Curious how it is there?
More insights & tipps about the Aceh Region
Wake up and live in a dream: Find more places to stay on Pulau Weh!
Everything you need to know: MUST READ about before travelling to Pulau Weh in Sumatra
Transportation in Sumatra: How to get to Pulau Weh and how to get around?
What about an catching some waves? Explore the stunning beaches and waves of Lampuuk & Lhoknga Beach!
Best places to stay in Aceh
Other questions you might have when travelling to Aceh Region
In general speaking North Sumatra with it’s region Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh is very safe. Follow the dresscode and don’t stay out late. Normal awareness when travelling applies here in Banda Aceh and Sumatra. Locals are very friendly. When travelling to rural areas they might stare a bit at you, but that’s just because they are fascinated. Simply give them a smile!
Dress code: The region of Aceh, so also Pulau Weh, is under the Sharia Law. While in Banda Aceh this is more strict, on Pulau Weh it’s very easy going. At some public beaches you are not allowed to swim in your bikini but most of the accommodations have a private beach access where it’s absolutely fine to wear a bikini. On the streets it’s highly recommended to cover your shoulders, elbows and knees. Even though you might see some tourists wearing hot pants and shorts we advice you to not wear this.While being in Aceh, make sure to wear long sleeves and cover (at least) your elbows and knees. As a woman it’s highly recommended to wear a sarong. Respect the culture and simply dress accordingly. We are all tourists on this world and guests in their country.
Learn everything about wifi, ATM’s, getting around and the dress code for Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh. MUST READS before travelling to Banda Aceh & Pulau Weh!
Pulau Weh: Pulau Weh, an island north of Sumatra with Kilometer 0 of Indonesia is a great getaway for snorkelling and diving lovers. Explore the stunning underwater world, white sand beaches, waterfalls. Explore the areas if Iboih, Sumur Tiga, Sabang, Sukarkarya, Gua Sarang and much more.
Iboih: Iboih is a little village right at the shore with most accommodation in the cliffs. Meet some people there, travel on a shoestring and get some world class diving and snorkelling for every budget.
Sumur Tiga: The area of Sumur Tiga has a beautiful white sand beach, nice coral for snorkelling and is only a stone throw away of Pulau Weh’s attraction Japanese Fortress. Close to the Balohan Harbour on Pulau Weh.
Sabang: Sabang is a city consisting of a main island and some islands off the northern tip of Sumatra. The islands form a city within Aceh Special Region, Indonesia.
Sukarkarya: Sukarkarya is the name of the North West region of Pulau Weh in Sumatra. This includes Iboih with it’s nice snorkelling and diving as well as Long Beach and Kilometer 0 – The north point of Indonesia.
Gua Sarang: Gua means cave. Gua Sarang is actually a sightseeing spot. The Sarang Cafe comes with a panoramic view of the blue sea, trekking activities, snorkeling, and cruising the cave into a bird’s nest. Magic on Pulau Weh in North Sumatra!
You have any questions, ideas & tipps about Aceh? Simply ask us in the comments!
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