Once you arrive in Banda Aceh by bus or by plane, getting to Weh island (known locally as Sabang), then onwards to Iboih beach is not hard at all. Unless you hit Banda after 4:00 p.m., you can probably dig your toes in sand on the same day.
|Banda Aceh Airport - Sultan Iskandar Muda|
Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
|Ulee-Lhue Harbour, Banda Aceh - fast & slow ferry|
Ulee Lheue, Aceh, Indonesia
|Balohan Harbour, Weh Island|
Balohan, Aceh, Indonesia
|Iboih beach, Weh Island|
Iboih, Aceh, Indonesia
|Gapang beach, Weh Island|
Iboih, Aceh, Indonesia
|Terpadu Batoh Bus Station, Banda Aceh|
Jalan Teuku Muhammad Hasan, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia
GET TO PULAU WEH
At the airport or bus station, hop on a taxi or becak (a rickshaw pulled by motorbike) to Ulee Lheu Harbour. The harbour is about 15km northwest of Banda Aceh, and you can hang around with a cup of coffee while waiting for the ferry.
The ride is only 15 mins from Banda Aceh town, and 45 mins from Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport. Prices vary but if you are coming from the airport, the taxis often offer a rate of about IDR 100k, becaks a slightly cheaper rate of about IDR 70k (you will find them refreshingly honest most of the time). Prices quoted are subject to change.
The ferry service (fast or slow) is good compared to other parts of Indonesia. The fast ferry is the most reliable in terms of schedules and frequency — it would often travel even in bad weather. On occasion, changes might occur because of public holidays, but this is rare. The ferry is comfortable and mostly air-conditioned, and the journey only takes about 45 mins.
The slow ferry, however, is more interesting. It carries passengers, cargo and vehicles, and is more popular with the locals. Increasingly, we find many backpackers enjoying this option too. You can easily chat up your friendly Indonesian neighbor and enjoy a host of local snacks from the canteen. Choose to journey executive for a spacious and air-conditioned experience or travel economy for open-air seats. The scheduling can be erratic so do check ahead (ask your taxi or becak driver), and the journey takes about 2-3 hours.
- Mainland to island departs daily at 9:30a.m. and 3:30p.m.
- Island to mainland departs daily at 8:00a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
- Prices are about RP 60k++ for economy class and RP 80k++ for VIP class, and are subject to change.
- Mainland to island departs 2:00p.m.
- Island to mainland departs 8:00a.m.
- These are subject to change, and more (or less) ferries may be scheduled. The slow ferry schedule is a bit erratic so if you are pressed for time, take the fast one.
- Prices are about RP 18k++ for economy and RP 30k++ for executive. These are also subject to change
GETTING TO IBOIH
There are many touts once you arrive at the harbor on Weh. If you can, try to see the vehicle itself before deciding whose transport to take. You can usually get a shared taxi for RP 50k per person. A whole taxi costs around RP 200k.
The best way to ride into Iboih is on a superbike-powered becak though. You may need to haggle with the drivers, but the scenery, greenery and fresh air is worth it. Unfortunately there are not so many of these, so you will have to be among the firsts off the ferry to catch them.
Need a reason to visit Weh Island? Here are our Top 5 Readons To Travel To Pulau Weh.
For more information about Weh and other tourist locales in Sumatra, get connected to sumatraecotourism.com.